Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Help with bonding please!!

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Tao2, Nov 10, 2012.


  1. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    Hi guys, Just looking for a bit of advice about bonding as am a bit of a novice and have ended up with the less than ideal combo of 2 bucks and 1 doe. I've managed to get the doe happy with both bucks. One buck bonded with the doe with no problem. The other buck and the doe did do a bit of fighting but with some supervised exposure in neutral spaces managed to get them happy with each other and they are now happily sharing a hutch. So, the doe now divides her time between the 2 bucks (they are neutered) but I would like them to be a threesome so nobody has to be on their own (getting another rabbit just isn't an option). The bucks just kick hell out of each other whenever they meet. One is particularly aggressive (funnily enough, he's the one who bonded with the doe without any problems!!) and he is twice the size of the other buck so I am now very nervous of letting them near each other. Any advice for bonding? I've followed all the advice I can find except taking them on a stressful car ride (anybody tried this? any joy?).
     
  2. hazyreality

    hazyreality PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    5,964
    Likes Received:
    61
    Hi Tao

    I would give the car ride a try, I always take a ride with the rabbits when I am bonding, I find it settles them.
    I would be inclined to bond the 2 bucks without the doe present, wait until they are calmed down and not fighting and then introduce the doe. She will set them off again, but they may be settled enough to not have to fight over her so much.
    Rascal and Darwin here had one hell of a fight and were hard to bond, so I concentrated just on them, and got them happy before I put them back in the group of 7.

    *Heidi*
     
  3. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    Thanks for that advice, I think doing it without the doe present is a good idea. I have been a bit nervous of setting off with them in the car, not quite sure how to do it. What I should put them in, a small carrier or larger box? And do I get a passenger to put them in together after we set off or try to put them straight in together before we set off. How long do you drive with them for and if it goes OK do I just try and keep them together when we get back or separate them again? I don't really get rabbit relationships!
     
  4. Summersky

    Summersky PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    8,288
    Likes Received:
    1,010
    Do read the bonding sticky before you try - and yes, we do it with 2 people - one driving and one in the back with buns just in case. We take a spare carrier in case of major fight, but have never had to use it.

    A small carrier is best - bunnies moving around can trigger reaction.

    The idea is to keep the car on the move, so don't go anywhere with traffic lights! - the journey is basically stressful, and the buns often huddle together and get comfort from each other. We just drive round and round the village or on quiet roads for a while.

    Then if OK, it is back into a small neutral space - watched closely all the time.

    Good luck.
     
  5. B3rnie

    B3rnie Guest

    Am I right in reading that you have bonded the doe to both bucks as in you split her from one buck to leave her with another and then repeat?

    If I'm reading right then personally that is a very stressful way to bond :001_unsure:


    As for your question, I have never had to resort to the car ride, the method isn't really my cup of tea but it has worked for others so it might work.
    But please keep in mind that the bucks might never bond, some rabbits just don't mix well (a bit like not all humans will get on with everyone).

    As they are in two set-ups now and if they don't bond they will remain in two set-ups why is getting a friend for one of the boys not an option?
    Have you thought about what you will do if the bond doesn't work? Continually splitting the doe can't continue forever as the stress will have an impact on all their health.
     
  6. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    Hi Bernie, What I'm doing currently (now panicking that am doing wrong thing....) is this: I have 2 hutches in garage and 2 runs outside. Doe is in large multistorey hutch with 1 buck, but when they go outside, which is pretty much every day, she usually goes in a run with the other buck. It hadn't occurred to me that this might be stressful for them because, so far, all rabbits seem to be really happy with situation. When presented with a different buck they just snuggle straight up together.I thought it was better that both the boys got some company every day rather than one living alone.
    Getting another is not an option a) financially, would have to buy another large hutch as second hutch not big enough for 2, b) OH would do his nut if any more pets came into our household!!!
     
  7. Lopside

    Lopside PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,941
    Likes Received:
    106
    Maybe the two boys fight more because they both want the doe to themselves? And they can smell the other buck on her. There's no guarantee that the two boys will make a bond without her in the equation, and then once you reintroduce her fireworks might go off again. It's a tricky one! :001_unsure:
     
  8. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    I'm going to give it a go with the car ride. I do realise that they may never bond as a trio but I feel I've got to try everything especially now it has been pointed out to me that the way they are currently living may be causing them all stress.:sad:
     
  9. GerbilNik

    GerbilNik PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    6
    I've bonded two males with a female before (all were neutered) and the boys were easy. It was the female who was a bugger! All depends on the individual buns really as you can never tell how it's going to pan out. Do you have a rescue near you who might bond them for you if you are worried?

    Also I've found in rabbits who show aggression like you say, that living side by side but swapping the sides daily helps get them used to each other first before trying the method of just putting them in together. It can sometimes take months for rabbits to properly establish themselves.
     
    #9 GerbilNik, Nov 13, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  10. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    I've only been and done it!!!The car ride that is. Oh the stress was a nightmare, my stress that is, not the rabbits! Was driving along and so worried about the rabbits that I completely lost my bearings, had to ask friend who was in the back minding the rabbits where I was. We were still on my street....
    Anyway, the rabbits, so far so good. We drove for a while stopped a few time just to check everyone Ok and they didn't kick off so parked up. They mellowed out a bit and had a bit to eat and George (the small, less aggressive one) started grooming Tony. So things seemed good, so we came home. Only then did I realise that I hadn't planned that far ahead and didn't know what to do with them. Anyway, they are now in the shower. With food and a box to go in. They've been in together for some hours and no fighting so far. They had a little chase a few minutes ago but they've stopped now. Will leave them in there all night if things go OK. When should I put them with the doe and where? In the shower? In the hutch? Any advice most gratefully received.
     
  11. Summersky

    Summersky PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    8,288
    Likes Received:
    1,010
    Sounds promising so far!

    Do keep the rabbits on neutral territory, and keep the space small - where they are is good, if you can cope with it - if they go back in one of their hutches, it could make them fight.

    Watch out for the 48 hour mark - that is when they can begin to relax and challenge each other, so fights can break out. Also, dusk and dawn - most active times - can be when rabbits start to chase and things get volatile.

    I wouldn't add the doe today, but others might say different. When they seem calm, do the same with a car ride for 3, get someone to wash out/neutralise the shower tray (vinegar/water mix will do), and see how you go.

    You will need to keep a close eye and ear on things - no social life for you! Many people sleep near the buns to make sure all is calm in the early stages.

    Good luck!!
     
  12. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    Thanks for that Summersky, my gut feeling was not to put doe in with them this early but just wanted one of you experts to say so. Shower room is off my bedroom so should be able to listen out for them tonight, except that my OH is outraged by the idea of noisy rabbits in there all night and is demanding they go elsewhere. Wait 'til I tell him they've got stay there for days and, all being well, will be adding another rabbit in there as well...:yikes:....
    Not all members of the family are appalled by rabbits in the shower, the cats think it is a magnificent spectacle.:D
    Tao
     
  13. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    Just an update: had to split them at about 4am last night :)Yawn:), they weren't fighting but they were circling and humping so I lost my nerve. Put them back together today in a crate in the kitchen and everything has been fine. So, feeling brave, I put the doe in with them which actually seems to have had a good effect. They are all very mellow, eating, napping and grooming each other. They don't have much space in the crate though, how long do you think I should leave them til I give them more space? Bearing in mind, it all started to kick off last night after I put them in the bath to give them a bit more space.
    Irrespective of the success or failure of my bonding attempt, I would like to say a big thankyou to all of you who have been giving me advice! I wouldn't have had the courage to get this far without you.
     
  14. GerbilNik

    GerbilNik PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    6
    I'd keep them in the space they are in for a couple of days to make sure they are ok in what they are currently in. Then very gradually increase the space.
     
  15. Summersky

    Summersky PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    8,288
    Likes Received:
    1,010
    You are doing very well!! - yep, keep the space small. Reduces movement, which is what can trigger chasing and humping.

    Try and keep and ear and eye on them on the crate -some people use baby monitors, others just kip down nearby - great fun when they are outside buns!!

    If things stay calm, you will be able to very gradually increase the space. Anyproblems, jsut go a step or two backwards, or take them for another ride or two.

    Good luck!!
     
  16. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    Day 4 in the mini lop house
    :Yawn:Have spent last 3 nights on the floor outside the bathroom where the rabbits have been spending their nights:Yawn:OH has finally realised that I am insane:Yawn:This morning they have gone into a hutch (just a little one) and so far, everything good:Yawn:Might get to sleep in my bed tonight!!:Yawn:

    Our guys do not usually live in the house: how do you guys with indoor rabbits cope with the hay? It's got everywhere!!
     
  17. Summersky

    Summersky PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    8,288
    Likes Received:
    1,010
    Welcome to our crazy world!!! - and well done and thank you for caring enough to follow bonding advice. So many try and do their own thing with disasterous results.

    And yes - we have 9 indoor rabbits in various groups, upstairs and downstairs, and it is a constant war against the hay. We eat it, wear it, sleep with it ......

    I am a master at unblocking the hoover. We have carpets too, so it is an absolute nightmare - but you just get used to forever hoovering.

    If you get any tips, i'll be very interested!!
     
  18. Tao2

    Tao2 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    397
    I'm trying not to get excited just in case it all goes pear shaped but I am very excited!! If they can all get along together it will be well worth 3 uncomfortable nights. I just can't beleive it has gone so smoothly so far because they really really hated each other before. It seems such a mad idea to put 2 rabbits who loathe each other into a confined space where they can't get out of each others way, it would never have crossed my mind to do it but so far it seems to have worked!! I strongly recommend trying it if you have bolshy bunnies.
     
  19. GerbilNik

    GerbilNik PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    6
    When you do increase the space, if there's a little bit of humping and chasing, don't jump in too early to separate. This is normal for there to be a bit of this and as hard as it is to watch it needs to be done to sort out a hierarchy. If you stop them doing this, it could crop up at a later date and undo all the good work you have done so far.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice