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Depressed Rat

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Let me know if I need to move this to a different thread, I had difficulties figuring out which thread to post this in.

A year and a half ago I adopted my white Rex rabbit, Skylar, from a rabbit rescue. A year later I saw a craigslist post about a dumped bunny in an area heavily populated by coyotes(also it was summer in Arizona with no rain, luckily the neighbors payed out water for her to drink). I spent almost two weeks trying to catch that rabbit. I named her Milo.
She's spayed and healthy now.
But Skylar wants nothing to do with Milo. Milo tried befriending her when I introduced them the first few times. But Skylar always tried to attack her, I intervened before she could bite or scratch.
They have gotten into fights when I'm away because Milo is an escape artist, one fight sent Skylar to the vet for stitches.
Since then I've found a cage that Milo can't escape, but I can feel that they're stressed from each other's presence. Sky occasionally does territorial marking.
I've tried rehoming Milo, but no one in my area.
And I can't keep them in separate rooms because I'm renting a room in a house.
Does anyone have advice?
I've thought about bringing Sky back to the rescue, but she's already spent 6 years of her life there. It feels unfair to her.
 

Mariam+Theo

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Thank you for rescuing Milo! What bonding methods have you tried so far? Have you tried 24-hour bonding? Can you call your vet and see if they will bond them for you at the clinic? If you really think there is no hope in bonding maybe we can find a way for you to keep both of them. I would hate for you to have to rehome one of them.
 

Depressed Rat

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I've tried tub, car ride, sharing food, and litter box trades. I still occasionally switch their boxes, but I've stopped putting them together in bonding sessions because I don't want Milo to be completely scarred from other rabbits. I know that Sky used to be bonded to her sister in the rescue(sister died in the rescue).
 

Mariam+Theo

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I would try the 24-hour method. You will have to keep a very close eye on them, but it might work.
 

Blue eyes

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Whoah. I don't know that I'd recommend what Mariam is describing as the 24-hour method. They've already had significant fights and have since remained in visual/smell range of each other (since you say you are in 1 room). This is not the history one wants before trying to house them together 24/7 under supervision. It may turn into an all out war.

Please bear with the following explanation....

There are 2 general methods of bonding. One is doing short bonding sessions over a period of time and building up to a permanent bond. The other is immersing the 2 rabbits in the same space under supervision until they are both bonded. (This is what is being described as the 24 hour method. I call it 'immersion.')

Either of these methods can benefit from a pre-bonding situation. This would be housing the two rabbits in separate areas for weeks to months with just a couple inches of separation. This way they can see and smell each other, but can't physically touch (ie. scratch, fight). The desired goal is that they get accustomed to each other's presence before beginning one of the bonding methods.

However, once a pair of rabbits has had a serious fight, they remember that they don't get along-- especially if they are kept in proximity to their "enemy" rabbit. In other words, your rabbits have been constantly reminded by each other's presence that they don't like each other. You described this yourself when you said you "can feel that they're stressed from each other's presence."

In this situation, the options are either to stop bonding attempts altogether (and find a new home for one of the rabbits since you are limited to one room), OR continue trying to bond. Given their history, in order to continue bonding, one would first need to totally separate them for several weeks -- out of sight and smell of each other -- in hopes they forget each other and would be willing to try again. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be an option in your case since you have just the one room.

I'm in the Phoenix area and know of a rabbit rescue or two. Most are not even open to taking in any new rescues because they are at capacity. If you are able to find one that will take a rabbit, I'd be very sure that they are clear on your situation. Otherwise, turning a rabbit in to a rescue may prevent you from adopting one from them in the future. (This, at least, is the case for many generic shelters. They don't like to adopt out to someone they consider a risk of not keeping an adopted animal.)

If you do go that route, I would discourage giving Sky back because of her age. Sounds like she is going on 8 and that means she would not be easy for a rescue to adopt out. However, if you explained to the rescue that you previously adopted from them and tried to find a bondmate for her that didn't work out (and, btw, you already paid for the spay of the new girl), then they may be more willing to not only adopt Milo, but also to not hold it against you for the sake of future adoptions.
 

Depressed Rat

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Whoah. I don't know that I'd recommend what Mariam is describing as the 24-hour method. They've already had significant fights and have since remained in visual/smell range of each other (since you say you are in 1 room). This is not the history one wants before trying to house them together 24/7 under supervision. It may turn into an all out war.

Please bear with the following explanation....

There are 2 general methods of bonding. One is doing short bonding sessions over a period of time and building up to a permanent bond. The other is immersing the 2 rabbits in the same space under supervision until they are both bonded. (This is what is being described as the 24 hour method. I call it 'immersion.')

Either of these methods can benefit from a pre-bonding situation. This would be housing the two rabbits in separate areas for weeks to months with just a couple inches of separation. This way they can see and smell each other, but can't physically touch (ie. scratch, fight). The desired goal is that they get accustomed to each other's presence before beginning one of the bonding methods.

However, once a pair of rabbits has had a serious fight, they remember that they don't get along-- especially if they are kept in proximity to their "enemy" rabbit. In other words, your rabbits have been constantly reminded by each other's presence that they don't like each other. You described this yourself when you said you "can feel that they're stressed from each other's presence."

In this situation, the options are either to stop bonding attempts altogether (and find a new home for one of the rabbits since you are limited to one room), OR continue trying to bond. Given their history, in order to continue bonding, one would first need to totally separate them for several weeks -- out of sight and smell of each other -- in hopes they forget each other and would be willing to try again. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be an option in your case since you have just the one room.

I'm in the Phoenix area and know of a rabbit rescue or two. Most are not even open to taking in any new rescues because they are at capacity. If you are able to find one that will take a rabbit, I'd be very sure that they are clear on your situation. Otherwise, turning a rabbit in to a rescue may prevent you from adopting one from them in the future. (This, at least, is the case for many generic shelters. They don't like to adopt out to someone they consider a risk of not keeping an adopted animal.)

If you do go that route, I would discourage giving Sky back because of her age. Sounds like she is going on 8 and that means she would not be easy for a rescue to adopt out. However, if you explained to the rescue that you previously adopted from them and tried to find a bondmate for her that didn't work out (and, btw, you already paid for the spay of the new girl), then they may be more willing to not only adopt Milo, but also to not hold it against you for the sake of future adoptions.
So actually, in a surprising twist they're getting along fairly well. I've been sitting with them for an hour. I got permission to use the living room for this(thank goodness my roommate is an animal lover, just won't let me house my pets permanently outside of my room).
Skylar dominance humped and did a bit of nipping, but right now they're cuddling. Milo has groomed Skyler's face several times and Skyler has accepted it. I have yet to see Skyler groom back. But I think it's a very good sign that they're cuddling right now. Skylar groomed herself, which shows me she's comfortable. I guess outside of their territories they're going to be friendly. I plan to clean my entire room with vinegar so they don't smell each other in there and get territorial again.
 

Blue eyes

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The trick will be getting them to get along in their claimed territories. Right idea on cleaning with vinegar. Ideally, you'd be able to keep them in that neutral area for a week or so before moving them back. That would help them become more bonded first. Good luck!
 

Mariam+Theo

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So actually, in a surprising twist they're getting along fairly well. I've been sitting with them for an hour. I got permission to use the living room for this(thank goodness my roommate is an animal lover, just won't let me house my pets permanently outside of my room).
Skylar dominance humped and did a bit of nipping, but right now they're cuddling. Milo has groomed Skyler's face several times and Skyler has accepted it. I have yet to see Skyler groom back. But I think it's a very good sign that they're cuddling right now. Skylar groomed herself, which shows me she's comfortable. I guess outside of their territories they're going to be friendly. I plan to clean my entire room with vinegar so they don't smell each other in there and get territorial again.
That is amazing! I'm glad everything is going well! Good idea to clean the room with vinegar before putting them back in there.
 

Depressed Rat

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Ah, I forgot to write it out. The same day that they were getting along Sky hurt Milo. They were doing so well until it was time for me to go to bed. I got all cozy and Skylar got really aggressive. I broke up the fight several times withing a short period and finally separated them when Sky ripped out some fur from Milo's cheek and some flesh was attached to the fur. I don't think Skylar wants a friend. I'm not sure I want to try this again because it's always been Skylar who's the hostile one.
 

AVIE

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Poor skye, we have no idea what her past has been like. It's a heartbreaking situation.
 

Depressed Rat

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So now I don't know what to do. I want to keep both rabbits, but this situation isn't healthy. Wish there were more rabbit people around me
💫
😵
 

Blue eyes

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So now I don't know what to do. I want to keep both rabbits, but this situation isn't healthy. Wish there were more rabbit people around me
💫
😵
That's too bad. In this case, I'd suggest what I wrote earlier...

In this situation, the options are either to stop bonding attempts altogether (and find a new home for one of the rabbits since you are limited to one room), OR continue trying to bond. Given their history, in order to continue bonding, one would first need to totally separate them for several weeks -- out of sight and smell of each other -- in hopes they forget each other and would be willing to try again. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be an option in your case since you have just the one room.

I'm in the Phoenix area and know of a rabbit rescue or two. Most are not even open to taking in any new rescues because they are at capacity. If you are able to find one that will take a rabbit, I'd be very sure that they are clear on your situation. Otherwise, turning a rabbit in to a rescue may prevent you from adopting one from them in the future. (This, at least, is the case for many generic shelters. They don't like to adopt out to someone they consider a risk of not keeping an adopted animal.)

If you do go that route, I would discourage giving Sky back because of her age. Sounds like she is going on 8 and that means she would not be easy for a rescue to adopt out. However, if you explained to the rescue that you previously adopted from them and tried to find a bondmate for her that didn't work out (and, btw, you already paid for the spay of the new girl), then they may be more willing to not only adopt Milo, but also to not hold it against you for the sake of future
 

Depressed Rat

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Okay, so I'm trying to bond them again. This time I'm starting with a space that's way too small for an actual fight. I completely vinegar cleaned my entire room. All the floors and furniture.
Withing the first two minutes five fights broke out, but I added food and they paused to eat because they went like 2-3 hours without food so I could clean up. Milo is laying down, she always does during these bonding sessions I have, she's been chill.
I will keep trying to get them to get along for another month or so before throwing in the towel because I don't want to give up either of them. I'll talk to the rescue I got Sky from and see what they suggest and discuss options.
 

JBun

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I think you may need to change bonding tactics. Usually the slow method of bonding works for most rabbits, but for some the constant separation after dates can actually impede them from cementing that bond. It's like they just start to get along and understand each other, then the date stops and they forget their progress by the next day. Then the next date they've forgotten and it's like you're starting all over.

My suggestion would be to try fast track bonding, where you put them together in a smaller pen or space(no bigger than 3ftx3ft) so they can't just run away and avoid each other. If there's too much space that they can move away from each other, they can either avoid getting to know each other or they can lose track of the other rabbit and then when they notice each other suddenly it can startle them and result in a fight.

You want to keep them together until they're bonded, usually 24-48 hours, and it needs to be completely supervised, including sleeping right by the bonding area so you're there to intervene if needed. Then when you move them to their permanent space, you need to set up a small pen to start them out with, then each day gradually expand their space. If you give them too much space at the start, it could result in a fight breaking out.

This isn't necessarily the preferred way as it's a bit stressful for you and the buns at first, but it may be your last option to be able to bond these two.

This has a bunch of links on bonding that could be helpful.
 
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Depressed Rat

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I think you may need to change bonding tactics. Usually the slow method of bonding works for most rabbits, but for some the constant separation after dates can actually impede them from cementing that bond. It's like they just start to get along and understand each other, then the date stops and they forget their progress by the next day. Then the next date they've forgotten and it's like you're starting all over.

My suggestion would be to try fast track bonding, where you put them together in a smaller pen or space(no bigger than 3x3) so they can't just run away and avoid each other. If there's too much space that they can move away from each other, they can either avoid getting to know each other or they can lose track of the other rabbit and then when they notice each other suddenly it can startle them and result in a fight.

You want to keep them together until they're bonded, usually 24-48 hours, and it needs to be completely supervised, including sleeping right by the bonding area so you're there to intervene if needed. Then when you move them to their permanent space, you need to set up a small pen to start them out with, then each day gradually expand their space. If you give them too much space at the start, it could result in a fight breaking out.

This isn't necessarily the preferred way as it's a bit stressful for you and the buns at first, but it may be your last option to be able to bond these two.

This has a bunch of links on bonding that could be helpful.
I have already set up a sleeping area for myself. It's easy for me to gradually expand the pen because I have panels that connect to each other. Right now they're in a pen that approx 1'x1' to keep big fights from happening. I'm hoping that by morning I can make it make it a 1'x2' or 2'x2.' My white bun always starts up the fights and Milo only attacks back in self defense. Sky seems to have tired herself out and has stopped attached Milo. Hopefully this works. No blood had been drawn(from the rabbits, sky did bite me and draw blood).
 

Depressed Rat

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Bonding failed. Big chunk of Sky's flesh pulled out. Doesn't need stitches. Milo was screaming. I broke up the fight several times but Milo started it back up immediately. Milo never started up fights. I guess she's just done with Sky.
I don't want to try this again. I know I said I'd give it a month, but now Milo is starting the fights. I'm going to review my options and talk with the rescue I got Sky from. I really don't like the option of giving Sky back because she deserves to have a home. She lived in that rescue for 6 out of her 7 years of life.😞
 

JBun

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It looks like they aren't compatible. Once it's not just squabbles but a real fight like that, there's really no hope of bonding working. I know I wouldn't try again after that. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I wish it could have.
 

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