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Expert Help Please!

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by cavy_gal, Feb 5, 2008.


  1. cavy_gal

    cavy_gal Banned

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    I'm after 100% expert advice from someone who knows how to properly introduce a male and female rabbit for the first time! This is a huge, HUGE risk I'm going to be taking so I need advice from someone who knows EXACTLY what they're talking about!

    I've done research on what would be best in the situation, the obvious information I have done in the past with guinea-pigs but rabbit introductions are completely alien to me. I'd imagine its the same process, just going with common sense there. I've researched about "warning signs" and their body languages when meeting someone/thing new to them. My rabbit is a neutered 6 yr old male who is prone to being moody and territorial so I have that to take into consideration, greatly.

    He has a two tier hutch and the levels can be seperated with the ladder (it has a catch on the ceiling of the bottom tier) so if anything bad happened it'd be easy to seperate them and get a new hutch for the little female.

    Like I said, he is quite moody and territorial so that is why I really need expert advice and not someone who just owns rabbits, thank you!

    cavy_gal
     
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  2. Tweedle Dee

    Tweedle Dee PetForums Member

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    I used to breed English and Rex Rabbits and would always introduce the Doe into the Bucks cage, never had a problem from either sex, usually the Doe's are more aggressive over their territory.

    A youngster should be fine and im sure he will enjoy the company, just keep a real close eye on them. You will possibly want to get her neutered as well as she may harrass your male rabbit when she comes of age!

    HTH Ang x
     
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  3. cavy_gal

    cavy_gal Banned

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    So, put the female in the hutch first and then put the male in after? Or put the female in with the male already in the hutch?
     
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  4. Tweedle Dee

    Tweedle Dee PetForums Member

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    Hi,

    Put the female into the male's hutch.

    Ang
     
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  5. Benson67

    Benson67 PetForums Junior

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    Hi Tweedle Dee, I breed Rex and used to breed English Spots too. I like your taste in rabbits! :p

    cavy-gal, if you are looking to bond them then I would recommend introducing them on "neutral ground" espeically if your buck is territorial and used to living alone. I also have never had a buck attack a doe, but I know people who have and it can be pretty nasty so best be on the safe side.

    First thing to do is to rub a cloth on each rabbit, and put it in the others cage so they get used to each others smell.

    Then take them somewhere that they're not used to, e.g a pen in the garden or the bathroom and put the buck in a carrier or in a pen and let them sniff each other, if there is no aggression you can let him out. Keep it short and sweet if they don't seem to be hitting it off, 20 minutes each day until they get to know each other will do. After a few "bonding sessions" in neutral territory you can try putting them in the same hutch.

    Just take your time, let them get to know each other and they should be fine. As Tweedle Dee said, you'll have to neuter her when she's old enough, as aside from harrassing your buck she will get extremely frustrated and possibly aggressive if she's kept with a buck who won't breed with her.
     
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  6. cavy_gal

    cavy_gal Banned

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    Oh, I will be introducing them in a neutral place the hall or on the landing (my male sometimes runs into the hall but he's never been on the landing before) and introduce them that way because I don't trust my male at all lol, let alone if she was to go in first. I'll clean the whole thing out the day I get her and so for the first few nights, have the tiers seperated so they can smell and sniff each others there but can't get to each other until I'm 110% happy with his behaviour with her.

    Getting her spayed is something I'd come to realise when I was talking to my mum the other day. We went to see some little *adorable!* lops in the place I got my male and she said "well, you won't have any problems with babies but would you want to get her done just incase?" and I thought, it would make is easier in the long run.

    I have a large pet carrier that we use to take him to the vets in, so he has his own smell in that... I could put an old towel or t-shirt in it or would I need to thoroughly clean that out before putting him in it? As he may attack the front of it to get to the female if she comes to close to it, seeing it as "his" territory still? I have ideas of how to do this but I always doubt myself because I honestly do not want to put the females life in danger with him if I do things wrong.
     
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  7. Benson67

    Benson67 PetForums Junior

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    Don't worry, you're obviously a caring and cautious bunny owner, no need to doubt yourself!

    The landing will be a fine place to introduce them, and the seperated hutch will be okay for them to live in. You can give them a towel smelling of each other now in their hutches, the longer they have to get used to the smell the better, it won't be such a shock when they meet.

    Just give your pet carrier a clean so there are no strange smells in it (like the vets, it might make him think he's going!), put lots of hay and treats in it so your buck doesn't feel frightened, then leave him in the carrier with your doe out on the landing. He shouldn't be territorial over it unless he's been in it often, and since the carrier will be in a different place he sould not consider that his territory anyway.

    Just leave them to sniff each other through the carrier and watch their reactions, they will pin their ears back, lower their heads and lift their tails if they're reacting aggressivly. You can have a bottle to spray water at them in case they fight, but he won't be able to do much damage in the carrier. Ears gently forward, side ways and flicking back and forth are all okay to start off with. You know your rabbits better than anyone, if you feel that both are comfortable then let your buck out of his carrier. If not, give them their 20 minutes then try again tomorrow. For now, just let them meet like this and see how they go, it might be love at first sight!
     
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  8. AnimalLoversWeb

    AnimalLoversWeb PetForums Junior

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    I'm not a rabbit expert but I think the keywords in others advice above of gradual, caution and SUPERVISED are definitely the way to give it the maxiumum chance of working, which is the best you can do. There is no magic formula to make it work :(
    As, like people and other animals, some will hit it off and some just won't, even with the best will and planning in the world.
    Good luck with it and don't feel too deflated if it doesn't work, you won't have done anything wrong, you will just have been unfortunate for them not to have gelled.
     
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  9. cavy_gal

    cavy_gal Banned

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    Thanks for your advice! All what you said makes a lot of sense and I will definately give it a go! I'm planning to get a female (after long thoughts) in the Spring time, where she will be able to adjust to the weather gradually rather than being put outside in the cold straight away. I made a mistake once in Dec '98 with one rabbit I had got for Xmas, and he unfortunately passed away by gorging himself as it was so cold outside. So, any animal I have to house them outside, I get during warmer weather so they can adjust to the nights gradually.

    I will resort back to your advice once I get the little one!

    Once again, thanks fro your advice! :)
     
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