Advice: How Much Fighting To Allow In Bonding?

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Troller

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I'll try to make this short but a lot is involved, I go into it in my blog but I'm reaching a decision point (or rather I'm nearly decided). I've been bonding my rabbits off and on for 4 months. I've used all the tricks and procedures listed on dozens of websites and read other peoples blogs about it. I called the local rabbit society but in the end I'm on my own on this.

See, I can have my rabbits together for multiple hours in a day. Just last Friday I had them together for 10 hours and no fighting. They groom each other, not often but they do, and generally laze about together. This week however its been rough. Their fighting, not constantly but consistently during dates. I've been using the stress tricks (all but the car which I may employ) but it seems to phase them only for a short bit. I feel scabs on them, mostly Conan and a few choice placed ones on Xena. This is in neutral territory mind you, in anything shared its often worse.

So I got to ask of those who are experenced bonders how long do you continue to try if promising signs are still shown? If you've failed what was the deciding point in just keeping two seperate rabbits? How far have you let the fur pulling and minor injuries go before you think its too much?

Now I'm at the point where I'm throwing in the towel cause I'm worried about the bunnies continued safety. It's not that I 'm personally stressed, I'm pretty bullheaded and would continue but i don't want to do it for my selfish reasons. This being my first experience bonding I just want to ask others who've done it what was the hardest you had to do and to those who decided not to go ahead any longer what was the final straw?

Thanks folks.
 

Kirsten J

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I have exactly the same problem. I have been trying to bond my two male bunnies for two years now. They are fine as long as I'm giving them both attention. As soon as I step back they attack each other. I still do bunny bonding sessions, but now just as controlled socialising for its own sake, not to any end point. I don't think they will ever live together.
 

Blue eyes

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I'm sure different people have different thresholds, but I've had to abandon a few bond attempts. Fortunately with mine, they were from a rescue that knew I was attempting a bond. So I was able to exchange one bun for another.

The first time was pretty quick. I brought a male back home to go with my female. I put them together in an x-pen in the backyard. My girl was just fine, but the male attacked her every time he could. I knew the first day that this wasn't going to work. He was just terribly vicious. My husband nicknamed him "the rabbit from hell."The next day (I believe...this was about 10 years ago) I called the rescue and explained what was happening. I traded him for another male who bonded easily. Later, I learned, that the rescue determined that that particular rabbit was not likely a bondable rabbit. They would adopt him out as a single bunny home only.

Another time I brought a male home for a different female. He liked her, but she wanted nothing to do with him. I tried all the tricks and attempts over a week's time and they got worse and worse. It got to the point where they went at each other anytime they could. The rescue suggested I completely separate them for 2 weeks and try again. BUT, it was my decision that it just wasn't worth the stress on them or me. I figured if it was this difficult, then any supposed bond would be precarious at best. I exchanged him.

Well, I didn't mean to write so much, but wanted to give examples of my experiences. (I'll forego my latest bonding story)

Ultimately it's up to you. I'm just less inclined to force something that just doesn't seem to be meant to be.
 

teaagan

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I didn't realise what an angel my first bunny was and how lucky I was to successfully bond her immediately to two different boys. I had similar trouble with pumpkin and ellie to what you are having, and after my previous experiences was sure it would never work or that I was doing something wrong. All they would do was chase eachother and and Ellie would bite Pumpkin, but I kept trying to bond them for probably 2-3 months; I found that the only thing that would work was putting them both on my small bathroom floor with my back against our basin so that pumpkin could sit behind me if she didn't feel safe. After I think 2 or 3 of these sessions I was able to keep them together pretty much all of the time, although even now (8 months later) they'll still have a bit of a tiff and if its bad enough I'll seperate them for a couple of hours but then they're fine again. 'Sisterly love' I think ;)

William on the other hand was so aggressive toward both of them (AND he's desexed!) that he was a give up on bonding case, and I think in that situation you do just know.
 

Troller

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See my problem is I just don't know. They groom each other, they eat around each other, they loaf next to or near each other, but then they eventually tussle. One date I had them out for 10 hours long and nothing happened and then the next one they fought after 15 minutes. My gut tells me it can happen them bonding, but my brain is telling me I'm missing something, some technique or sign that would help smooth things along.

In the meantime though between their cuddling when they fight they throwdown. That's what worries me. I'd call bonding quits it's just that they also groom each other and unlike stories of other bonds I've read don't seem to hold a grudge against each other, their fight are of the moment.
 

ATL NINJA

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My pair ( 2 fixed bucks ) were similar to your experience. I would have them together all day but keep them separate at night. After putting them back together the next day they would soon fight. I feel like they re-established dominance, which might be something you cannot solve until you let them be together. I did this with mine ( much to my dismay, but on my GFs suggestion ) and it was the piece of hay that broke the rabbits back, so to speak. Have you thought about giving them a full 24 or 48 hours after something positive like the 10 hour date you described? That might be all they need.
 

EMMIE

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I had never has a problem with bonding and most of my bonds would be done within the first week. That was until Harlie came along, i think she thought every rabbit that she came into contact with was just to make her pregnant. It took me 7 weeks (which, compared to yours, is nothing) but for the first 6 and a half weeks it was constant chasing, biting, humping and attacking.
First i put them next to each other in the run for a day and a night. Then i put them together in neutral territory, but Billy was scared of Harlie still. What i decided (to give him more confidence) was to allow them into his territory so he would feel more secure and know all the hiding places. I read online to but them together for an hour or two a day, that didn't work, once they had settled down it was time to separate them. So i decided to scrap that and let them squabble it out as long as they weren't hurting each other too badly. After 24 hours of being together they stopped fighting and i haven't separated them since.
 

Chrisdoc

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Michael, I´ve love reading about Conan and Xena and I still feel there´s hope for them yet. Two of my three boys have several issues over the time I´ve had them but they are now spending time together again with practically no hassle. It´s taken me 7 months to get to this stage again and it´s been a long haul with lots of times when I really felt like giving up but knew how well they had got along before, they really do love each other and knew that they could get there again. I´ve had periods where they´ve been separated for weeks after bonding sessions on neutral ground and they were spending time out separately with my other boy who gets on with them both fine. It was hard as it meant that they were out less as I swapped them round so they had equal time to run.

I´d been looking to set up an area on my balcony for them to go out so on Saturday, I finally did it. I put Houdini and Snowy out together as they´d never been out there before they were pretty cautious and a bit jittery and spent time cuddling in the corner. For the first time in months, they started to groom and they´ve been fine all weekend and again today. They do still chase and play hard but no fights or serious scuffles. What I´m saying is that sometimes, it just takes a long time for them to get to a stage where they will be together with no real aggression. I must say that for me it´s such a good feeling to see them playing and cuddling and just being together. It´s taken since Christmas for me to get here so I guess I´m just saying that some bunnies just take a bit longer than others so it really depends on how long you want to continue. I think there are signs that they do want to be together but that last hurdle is just taking a long time to jump.
 

holtzchick

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I had tried to bond my buns over 4 months and would not see progress. I would see they would flop next to or near each other in their own cages, and eventually I got them comfortable enough to mount each other. Everytime I was with them, I constantly had to move them away from nipping at each other, there was no relaxation whatsoever. Infact when they came to the mounting stage, both became extremely aggressive so I figured both were type A personalities.

I think I would love another bun to bond with Phoenix but it needs to be a very submissive bun.

Your two are showing great signs but then again, there are buns that play well together and then just aren't meant to be housed together. Ideally it's about how much patience you really have. Best of luck in whatever you decide.
 

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