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Bonding -rabbits.

Jesse's pigs

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Hi I realise there is a rabbit forum but I wanted to post on here because I haven't yet quite figured out how to work my way around it :lol!:

Basically a close friend is moving away, but is first staying with someone (until they get a house of their own) who won't allow for her to take her pets (two rabbits, 7 guinea pigs). Obviously being an animal lover and knowing that if I was in that situation she'd look after my boys for me I said I would look into either taking a pair of her boars (in a separate cage of course not to go with Mo & Steve) or one of her rabbits Renly.

After discussing with the rest of the family we are veering towards possibly taking Renly. My friend got him from the adoption section at Pets At Home where she was told he'd been brought back 3 times prior to that. She wanted to bond him with her current female rabbit Brooke who had lived with another male before. Unfortunately (and I believe because she put them both together straight away without him settling in etc) the 'bonding' ended in a ball of fluff- both ok. Since then he has been living next to Brooke and now she is on about taking him to the RSPCA when she goes -which would be his fourth time of being let go.

I would love to try and offer him a home alongside my male rabbit Bigwig. Bigwig has never been with another rabbit par the day I bought him, but he has such a sweet nature- never bitten, friendly -running up to anyone and everyone for cuddles and relatively small. I think he would definitely accept a friend (he's about 6 years old now). Renly on the other hand (not sure of age but must be 4 tops) hasn't had as much socialisation and isn't a cuddly rabbit -he is also a biter at the minute (though getting better) but I would love to attempt to bond them. I think he deserves a chance.

I was just wondering if this is an outrageous idea or whether there is a chance. I've never bonded rabbits in my life and I know or at least have heard it is harder to do than guinea pigs. I think if he's given time to settle etc he might become more friendly and happier with a friend. He also bares an uncanny resemblance to my first bunny Bailey except he was a lop eared.

My friend needs an answer by Saturday because otherwise they need to see if the Rspca will take him.

Black rabbit is my boy Bigwig.
White/Brown is Renly
Guinea pigs are Howard and Peter

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Swissgreys

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It's difficult but certainly worth a go.

First I would recommend joining Rabbits United Forum.
They got me through a lengthy bonding with my current (now inseparable) pair.

But I also learnt a lot from watching You Tube videos on what to expect and how to read body language.
When I bonded my two I did it all on completely neutral territory, and was still separating them at night (the new rabbit was only a baby, and couldn't stay outside overnight).
After about 3 days I realised we were making progress, but then sliding back every time they were separated, so I cleared out the garage, installed a temporary heater and set everything up inside so they could be together 24/7.
This went well for 3 full days, so I decided to move them into the fully cleaned and rearranged hutch/run area - big mistake. It all went well until Daisy tried to enter the bedroom area, and Chili became very defensive and she totally over reacted!
So it was back into he garage pen for a full 10 days.
By this point I was certain they would be fine (they had now been together for 16 days in total) so took all of their toys and boxes out of the garage pen, and put them into the hutch and run.
And from then on they have been inseparable.
Chili is still very much the boss and Daisy is still very much the hysterical 'baby' but they adore each other and I am so glad I stuck with it.
Seeing them interact, despite their large age difference (4 years), and totally different backgrounds, makes me realise how much every rabbit really does deserve the chance to live with a companion.
 

Jesse's pigs

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It's difficult but certainly worth a go.

First I would recommend joining Rabbits United Forum.
They got me through a lengthy bonding with my current (now inseparable) pair.

But I also learnt a lot from watching You Tube videos on what to expect and how to read body language.
When I bonded my two I did it all on completely neutral territory, and was still separating them at night (the new rabbit was only a baby, and couldn't stay outside overnight).
After about 3 days I realised we were making progress, but then sliding back every time they were separated, so I cleared out the garage, installed a temporary heater and set everything up inside so they could be together 24/7.
This went well for 3 full days, so I decided to move them into the fully cleaned and rearranged hutch/run area - big mistake. It all went well until Daisy tried to enter the bedroom area, and Chili became very defensive and she totally over reacted!
So it was back into he garage pen for a full 10 days.
By this point I was certain they would be fine (they had now been together for 16 days in total) so took all of their toys and boxes out of the garage pen, and put them into the hutch and run.
And from then on they have been inseparable.
Chili is still very much the boss and Daisy is still very much the hysterical 'baby' but they adore each other and I am so glad I stuck with it.
Seeing them interact, despite their large age difference (4 years), and totally different backgrounds, makes me realise how much every rabbit really does deserve the chance to live with a companion.
Wow that does sound like it was a very stressful time but at least it worked out in the end! I'm willing to put the time in and see whether they work out but I'm just worried that Bigwig may get hurt due to his older age.
 

Janice C

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It's difficult but certainly worth a go.

First I would recommend joining Rabbits United Forum.
They got me through a lengthy bonding with my current (now inseparable) pair.

But I also learnt a lot from watching You Tube videos on what to expect and how to read body language.
When I bonded my two I did it all on completely neutral territory, and was still separating them at night (the new rabbit was only a baby, and couldn't stay outside overnight).
After about 3 days I realised we were making progress, but then sliding back every time they were separated, so I cleared out the garage, installed a temporary heater and set everything up inside so they could be together 24/7.
This went well for 3 full days, so I decided to move them into the fully cleaned and rearranged hutch/run area - big mistake. It all went well until Daisy tried to enter the bedroom area, and Chili became very defensive and she totally over reacted!
So it was back into he garage pen for a full 10 days.
By this point I was certain they would be fine (they had now been together for 16 days in total) so took all of their toys and boxes out of the garage pen, and put them into the hutch and run.
And from then on they have been inseparable.
Chili is still very much the boss and Daisy is still very much the hysterical 'baby' but they adore each other and I am so glad I stuck with it.
Seeing them interact, despite their large age difference (4 years), and totally different backgrounds, makes me realise how much every rabbit really does deserve the chance to live with a companion.
Will be trying to bond my Flossie as soon as her wound from yesterday’s spay has healed but I ve always understood that you get an opposite gender from yours to bond with?
I’ve had lots of rabbits over the years but they’ve always been rescued ones or pregnant does and I’ve kept the litters so brought up together anyway! Going to visit Mini lop breeder in Edinburgh when she’s ready as they’ve offered to bond one with her. Made them aware too of her having had Pasteurella when I bought her in case this could be deemed a problem.
 

Swissgreys

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Will be trying to bond my Flossie as soon as her wound from yesterday’s spay has healed but I ve always understood that you get an opposite gender from yours to bond with?
I’ve had lots of rabbits over the years but they’ve always been rescued ones or pregnant does and I’ve kept the litters so brought up together anyway! Going to visit Mini lop breeder in Edinburgh when she’s ready as they’ve offered to bond one with her. Made them aware too of her having had Pasteurella when I bought her in case this could be deemed a problem.
Chili is a boy ad Daisy is a girl,so we did go with the mixed sex pairing.
However here (in Switzerland) the issue is slightly complicated by the fact that you can't buy and un-neutered male (which is fantastic obviously), but it is all but impossible to get your female rabbit spayed.
We contacted several vets for this procedure, but because all males are neutered it is deemed 'unnecessary' and costs a fortune (a standard spay costs in excess of 500 pounds here).
So we were actually told that 2 neutered males was also a good option?
 

flowerfairy

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My two bucks fell out when their hormones kicked in.

I was advised to keep them apart for a few weeks in order for them to forget about the fights. (No injuries).

I did this then put them into a large pupoy pen in my bedroom with a litter tray per rabbit and one extra. I used hay grass, apple branches and pellets as distractions whenever any trouble seemed to be brewi g.

They have been bonded since 2013 and get on very well indeed.

Winter is a good time for bonding as their hormone levels will be lower than in Spring and Summer. Have fun. It was fascinating bonding my lot (I also added 2 spayed does at the same time).
 

Janice C

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Chili is a boy ad Daisy is a girl,so we did go with the mixed sex pairing.
However here (in Switzerland) the issue is slightly complicated by the fact that you can't buy and un-neutered male (which is fantastic obviously), but it is all but impossible to get your female rabbit spayed.
We contacted several vets for this procedure, but because all males are neutered it is deemed 'unnecessary' and costs a fortune (a standard spay costs in excess of 500 pounds here).
So we were actually told that 2 neutered males was also a good option?
Good that the males are neutered! Can’t have as many accidental litters!
It cost £77 to have Flossie spayed and I will of course get the male neutered when I find one suitable!
I wonder why they don’t spay the females It prevents any uterine problems.
I’ve never tried keeping two of the same gender together although I know of others that have been successful by pairing an older rabbit and a much younger one. Any time any of my rabbits got near one of the other group rabbits there was a boxing match similar to when you see the March Hares!
 

Janice C

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My two bucks fell out when their hormones kicked in.

I was advised to keep them apart for a few weeks in order for them to forget about the fights. (No injuries).

I did this then put them into a large pupoy pen in my bedroom with a litter tray per rabbit and one extra. I used hay grass, apple branches and pellets as distractions whenever any trouble seemed to be brewi g.

They have been bonded since 2013 and get on very well indeed.

Winter is a good time for bonding as their hormone levels will be lower than in Spring and Summer. Have fun. It was fascinating bonding my lot (I also added 2 spayed does at the same time).
That’s good to know!
 

piggles 7000

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Some rabbit rescues will bond for you even if you haven't adopted from them for a donation towards their rescue.It would take the pressure off you and you will know they are in safe hands.Rabbits United Forum might be able to recommend someone near you.
I just had a group of 6 rabbits bonded by a lovely lady in Rugby but I realise that is too far for you to travel.
 

Jesse's pigs

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I let Bigwig free reign the lawn (it's enclosed and safe but I still watch him) would this be OK for the bonding if I let them both loose on the lawn? I'm just thinking that that way they have the space.
 

Janice C

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Some rabbit rescues will bond for you even if you haven't adopted from them for a donation towards their rescue.It would take the pressure off you and you will know they are in safe hands.Rabbits United Forum might be able to recommend someone near you.
I just had a group of 6 rabbits bonded by a lovely lady in Rugby but I realise that is too far for you to travel.
We only seem to have SSPCA up here. I have been keeping an eye on their site but I particularly want to find a smallish rabbit since he will live in the house with Flossie. Enquired at the Minilop site who are willing to help me even although Flossie had Pasteurella when I bought her. She is free from it just now but it is known to flare up with stress situations such as bonding could be.
 

piggles 7000

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I wouldn't free range them on the lawn tbh.This could lead to lots of chasing which could escalate easily into fighting.Bunnies need to be in a very small area when first bonding to prevent the opportunity to chase and also to be able to control their behaviour if necessary.x
 

Jesse's pigs

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I wouldn't free range them on the lawn tbh.This could lead to lots of chasing which could escalate easily into fighting.Bunnies need to be in a very small area when first bonding to prevent the opportunity to chase and also to be able to control their behaviour if necessary.x
Ah ok I didn't know that. How big would you advise the space they meet on be? :) many thanks for all your replies by the way!
 

piggles 7000

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For 2 bunnies probably 4ft x 2ft.A litter tray containing hay and a couple of tunnels or little shelters with 2 entrances/exits to stop one bunny being cornered by the other.There is a good section on Rabbits United about bonding which might be worth a read.Its full of hints and tips about bunny body language which is important to understand when bonding.Some seemingly aggressive behaviours are normal but its knowing the difference which is important.
 

4pigs&counting

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Good luck with the bonding. I read quite a few different sites before bonding my bunnies (which did work out well in the end). I believe that it is easier to bond pairs of the opposite sex however a same sex bond is possible but may take a little longer. My two took a good week to bond in a neutral area - three or four days of one seeming completely terrified but it all worked out well in the end and they are now very close! Here are a couple of websites I found useful -as well as the previously mentioned Rabbits United forum of course - do start a thread on there, they are very helpful!
Bonding rabbits | The Littlest Rescue

BONDING Bunnies - CottonTails Rabbit & Guinea Pig Rescue
 

*kate*

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Are both of the rabbits neutered?

It is generally much harder to bond 2 males that haven't grown up together, this pairing is never recommended although there will always be the exception to the rule!

I know that small space bonding seems to be the way that most owners go these days, but I bonded mine in a large outdoor run. They were, however, neutered male and female.
 

Janice C

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Are both of the rabbits neutered?

It is generally much harder to bond 2 males that haven't grown up together, this pairing is never recommended although there will always be the exception to the rule!

I know that small space bonding seems to be the way that most owners go these days, but I bonded mine in a large outdoor run. They were, however, neutered male and female.
I’m not looking forward to bonding when Flossie recovers! I’m worried they won’t get on as going to get one from a breeder to ensure it’s a small rabbit as they’ll both be in the house!
Don’t expect I’ll have a lot of time to ensure it goes well.
Mind you, my friend bonded her male with a rescue female and they decided within a few minutes that both rabbits Ok together!
 

Janice C

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Good luck with the bonding. I read quite a few different sites before bonding my bunnies (which did work out well in the end). I believe that it is easier to bond pairs of the opposite sex however a same sex bond is possible but may take a little longer. My two took a good week to bond in a neutral area - three or four days of one seeming completely terrified but it all worked out well in the end and they are now very close! Here are a couple of websites I found useful -as well as the previously mentioned Rabbits United forum of course - do start a thread on there, they are very helpful!
Bonding rabbits | The Littlest Rescue
BONDING Bunnies - CottonTails Rabbit & Guinea Pig Rescue
Going to check out these sites, thanks!
 

Janice C

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Good luck with the bonding. I read quite a few different sites before bonding my bunnies (which did work out well in the end). I believe that it is easier to bond pairs of the opposite sex however a same sex bond is possible but may take a little longer. My two took a good week to bond in a neutral area - three or four days of one seeming completely terrified but it all worked out well in the end and they are now very close! Here are a couple of websites I found useful -as well as the previously mentioned Rabbits United forum of course - do start a thread on there, they are very helpful!
Bonding rabbits | The Littlest Rescue
BONDING Bunnies - CottonTails Rabbit & Guinea Pig Rescue
Just watched the Cottontails videos!
Spent a week bonding two rabbits!
How on earth can I manage that when rescues not near us.
Do people leave their rabbits there and return when they’ve bonded ?
 
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