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Old 10-18-2017, 04:57 PM   #1
usr123
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Default To separate or not to separate?

Hi all,

I have two mini lop brothers aged 8 months who were neutered around 4 months ago. For all intents and purposes they appear to be a very happily bonded pair and spend lots of time grooming each other and snuggling up together - in fact it's very rare to see them apart! Neither my partner nor I have ever seen either of them be aggressive and the more submissive of the pair definitely doesn't seem to be afraid of the more dominant one.

We have had several incidents where we have found one or both rabbits with injuries (typically bites on the ear) which indicate that they have been fighting. The first incident was shortly before neutering and the second shortly after neutering, whilst they were being boarded elsewhere. We attributed both of these to hormones or being unsettled due to a change in the environment and were relatively unconcerned as the vet didn't seem to think that them being housed together would be a problem.

Unfortunately this week we found a large amount of fur in the hutch and both rabbits had injuries to their ears, the more submissive rabbit requiring antibiotics for the bite on his ear. The vet has said that they should be separated permanently, but before taking this measure I wanted to check if there was anything else we could try first, as it seems a real shame to keep them apart permanently given they enjoy being together 99% of the time - but obviously their safety is my number one priority. The only reason I ask is that this vet hasn't proved to be the most rabbit savvy in the past, and a second vet I asked suggested we could try spraying Pet Remedy in their hutch and run as that may help calm them down.

What would you do in this situation? Is there anything else I could try to try and remedy the situation before separating them for good?

Thanks!


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Old 10-18-2017, 07:10 PM   #2
Nancy McClelland
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Separate them. Unless you like paying lots of vet bills. We had 2 bonded females that started fighting with great seriousness after 5 years together--we put them in hutches side by side, and no more vet bills or worries.
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:22 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, male / male is not a very good pairing to attempt (nor is female / female - like most species, rabbits do better with pair composed of a desexed male and a desexed female). It sometimes works when one of them is really submissive and has no desire to become top rabbit whatsoever. It generally doesn't work out because even if they get along, most males will end up wanting to become top rabbits and will alternatively stage coups. As a result, those pairings are often unstable and scuffles are frequent. It's fine when it's just a bit of fur flying even though I find it stressful and wouldn't want to live with chronically belligerant animals, but if they break the skin you just can't make them live together. A split second is enough to cause a lot of damage and even if they like each other, the situation must be really stressful for them.
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