Rabbits Online > Pet Rabbit Discussion > Nutrition and Behavior > Bonding - when do I move to next steps?

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Old 11-10-2016, 11:57 PM   #1
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Default Bonding - when do I move to next steps?

I've only been bonding Gizmo and Nova for about a week now, and things are going great. I've seen grooming (both rabbits), mounting, mirroring, laying near each other, flopping, eating in front of each other, etc. No aggression whatsoever from either rabbit.

How do I know when the rabbits are ready to 'move in together'? I don't think we're quite there yet, but I'm not sure when I'll know, or what I should be looking for?


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Old 11-11-2016, 01:32 PM   #2
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I thought I'd come back to this post and add a bit more detail...both rabbits are female and spayed, Nova is 1 Gizmo is 3. We've had Gizmo for 1 1/2 years. We let Nova live with us for a week to get used to us before we even started bonding.

Aside from the good things I'm seeing that I listed above, the one thing I'm still seeing that I'm not sure if I need to give more time, is Gizmo still mounting Nova, and Nova seeming to not like it. Gizmo chases her a bit, if the chasing gets too much energy behind it I stop it, but then Gizmo mounts Nova. Nova doesn't lash out or get aggressive but I can just tell she doesn't like it.

Other than that I feel like it's great, I feel like I can leave them alone (although I'm not doing that yet). When I put them back in their pens after bonding you can tell they're still very interested in each other, laying near each other, still checking one another out, etc. even though they cannot touch through the bars. I've started swapping things out between their cages, blankets, toys, etc.

Like I said above, I'm not sure when I'll know to move on to the next steps? Or if I should just continue the bonding sessions for now?


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Old 11-15-2016, 06:50 PM   #3
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Since no one has responded yet I will chime in. Take my advice with a grain of salt because I have never bonded rabbits before.
I don't know how many hours you leave them together but if it were me... on a day that I am home all day I would put them together in a pen and just leave them all day while keeping an eye on them. This is a good test run to see if they are ready to move in. Do not break them up unless they fight. If one mounts the other just let it be unless it gets physical. Depending on how they do with that test will determine the next step.
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katiecrna View Post
Since no one has responded yet I will chime in. Take my advice with a grain of salt because I have never bonded rabbits before.
I don't know how many hours you leave them together but if it were me... on a day that I am home all day I would put them together in a pen and just leave them all day while keeping an eye on them. This is a good test run to see if they are ready to move in. Do not break them up unless they fight. If one mounts the other just let it be unless it gets physical. Depending on how they do with that test will determine the next step.
Thank you for responding I just came back to my post today to see if anyone answered me because I'm feeling like maybe they're ready to move on but I'm still not sure?

Maybe this weekend when I have some more time I'll try your suggestion and see how it goes. We've had daily sessions for about 2 weeks now and I have never seen one bit of aggression from either bunny - the biggest problem I've been faced with is the chasing to mount from Gizmo.

Since I first posted this a few days ago, Gizmo is still chasing and mounting a bit but it seems to be lessening a little bit. I noticed she chases Nova a bit, Nova still runs away, and after about 20 seconds Gizmo gives up and flops onto the floor.

I can sit in there with them for an hour or more (I feel okay leaving the room for a few minutes at a time, as long as I can hear them) and most of the sessions have become quite boring, aside from the occasional chase/mount from Gizmo. Otherwise it's just mainly flopping or grooming between the two of them.

Nova grooms Gizmo a lot. Gizmo not so much, she's done it a little bit but not nearly as much. It's funny because Gizmo will groom herself (sometimes I think she grooms herself in front of Nova on purpose), and Nova will go up to Gizmo when she's grooming herself, and puts her head down to try to encourage Gizmo to groom her instead, but Gizmo just goes on with her own business grooming herself, completely ignoring Nova's request.
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:48 PM   #5
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Actually, I see mounting as something positive- it establishes the hierachy. It will resurge with the tide of hormones if not spayed. They tend to pluck tufts of fur in the process, well, that's the way it is.

In my experience, when you see does mount they do not fight. Imho it's actually a good sign. Some does will go for a kill anyway, but that's rare.
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:41 PM   #6
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Lily let us know how it's going. I eventually plan on getting a second rabbit and I love to learn from everyone's experience
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:35 PM   #7
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I wanted to come back with an update to see if anyone could offer more advise. I feel like things are going really well, I'm just not sure what to do to really seal their bond and make it more solid if that makes sense.

Over the weekend, I put them in a 4x4 pen, with a litter box, toys, water, etc. and just watched how they did. After about 3-4 hours in their they did great, no fighting or aggression at all. But...we're still seeing chasing and mounting from Gizmo. Nova has gotten savvy to Gizmo and runs away, or when Gizmo does manage to mount her she knows how to get out of it, she doesn't just sit there and take it like I know some rabbits will do, but she doesn't get aggressive either. She just hops or runs away, and if Gizmo tries again, she hops away again. In between that happening, Nova groomed Gizmo (still not seeing Gizmo groom Nova), Nova requests grooming from Gizmo but Gizmo doesn't comply. They eat together, they will flop down and just chill for a while (sometimes right next to each other, sometimes not so close).

Like I said, overall I feel like it's going well, and I think I'll continue to do bonding sessions in this now bigger space we have set up if that's the best way to continue for now? I'm also switching the rabbits out to each others cages every day so they get used to the scent of the other rabbit in their living space.

Because they did so well for such a long time, should I just put them in that 4x4 pen together anytime we're home with them to supervise, or should I move forward and try to have them in the same living arrangement permanently? Anything else I can do? Like I said I think things are going well and they seem to like each other, I just feel like I need to make that bond stronger, and hopefully the chasing/mounting will settle down?


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