Are my rabbits fighting?

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Miva13

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Hi all
I have two mini lops Ben 8 mths old and Zoe 13 months old, both have been spayed/neutered. I had Ben first then got Zoe a few months ago from a rescue centre. I kept them seperate but close together pens for the first 6 weeks then 2 weeks ago started bonding them. They started with short dates which went really well then had extended day time together which again went well and have been sharing the same space day and night now for a week. I let them out of their secure enclosure at around 6am top up their hay then went out to give them breakfast and clean their house at 7am I noticed today when I went to to give them breakfast that tufts of Bens fur was in the outside areaI put up a video to see if I could catch what was going on in film. Can you experts out there let me know what you think. I have seperated them for now as I feel like Ben is scared of Zoe who is the dominant one. I did see her chase him away from their water bowl when he went for a drink. Is this rabbit chasing games or the start of fighting 🙁. Should I seperate them.?? Sorry also forgot to add just before the chasing, like 2 minutes before she was grooming him. I’ll try and upload the video. I’m confused 😐 I don’t know how to upload a video can anyone help with this? Also when they are chasing they make no noise, there was no circling and Zoe always chases Ben. Ahh I’m doing photos as I can’t work out videos. First one is just after Zoe groomed Ben you can see his head is down . The rest are the chase.
 

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JBun

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Not necessarily fighting, but certainly dominance issues, which will occur occasionally in most bonds. As long as it's just minor chasing, humping, nipping, and isn't escalating into more aggressive chasing, humping, nipping, or circling and injuries with actual biting, then it's not something I would separate a bonded pair for. The top bun in my bonded group, frequently will chase off the subordinate buns if she's cranky(which is often). But it never escalates to more than minor nipping or chasing, and the other buns just run off to nap somewhere else when she's like that.

But because you have separated your buns, you may not be able to just put them back together. You can try, but any separation for some pairs, can cause a break in the bond and the rebonding process may need to be started over.

You mention letting them out of their secure enclosure in the morning. I would keep an eye on their behavior when you do that. That could be what is setting off the increased dominance behavior. It's not uncommon for rabbits to get overly excited or have increased dominance/territorial issues when let into a new area, given too much space too quickly, or let into a space they aren't always in 24/7. For this, space needs to be expanded gradually. And hold off on having playtime in spaces that aren't their normal living space, at least until they have had more time to cement that bond of theirs.

To upload videos, you need to do it through something like youtube, then link here.
 

Miva13

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hi I’ve tried to upload from YouTube (sry I’m not very tech savvy). I will try and put them together when I get home. They can still smell, see each other just not get to each other - do you think that will be ok. Should I just let them go if Zoe chases Ben again, he has no bites on him when I checked just fur pulled out.


 

Miva13

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Not necessarily fighting, but certainly dominance issues, which will occur occasionally in most bonds. As long as it's just minor chasing, humping, nipping, and isn't escalating into more aggressive chasing, humping, nipping, or circling and injuries with actual biting, then it's not something I would separate a bonded pair for. The top bun in my bonded group, frequently will chase off the subordinate buns if she's cranky(which is often). But it never escalates to more than minor nipping or chasing, and the other buns just run off to nap somewhere else when she's like that.

But because you have separated your buns, you may not be able to just put them back together. You can try, but any separation for some pairs, can cause a break in the bond and the rebonding process may need to be started over.

You mention letting them out of their secure enclosure in the morning. I would keep an eye on their behavior when you do that. That could be what is setting off the increased dominance behavior. It's not uncommon for rabbits to get overly excited or have increased dominance/territorial issues when let into a new area, given too much space too quickly, or let into a space they aren't always in 24/7. For this, space needs to be expanded gradually. And hold off on having playtime in spaces that aren't their normal living space, at least until they have had more time to cement that bond of theirs.

To upload videos, you need to do it through something like youtube, then link here.
I have put them back in together but closed off the outside part and Ben us grooming Zoe. I’m taking this as a good sign?? Should I not them then have the outside area for awhile longer and if so how long do you think?
Thanks also for replying I’ve been so worried about them
 

JBun

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That's pretty aggressive sustained chasing. Not to the point of fighting yet, but if your other bun got fed up, then a fight could certainly happen, risking serious injury occurring. That's the kind of chasing that can escalate quickly into a full blown fight if not stopped immediately. So it's definitely something you don't want to allow to happen at all.

If they are only like this in the outside enclosure, I would restrict that completely for now, and not let them out there at least for 2-3 weeks before trying it again, and then I would do a gradual reintroduction of that space, slowly increasing the amount of area they get access to.

If they are ok and don't do this aggressive chasing in the inside part of their enclosure, then I would think they should be fine staying together and being restricted to just that area for now. But if that kind of chasing is also going on in the inside enclosure too, then I would keep them separated and do supervised dating for a few more weeks before trying them together permanently again.
 

Miva13

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That's pretty aggressive sustained chasing. Not to the point of fighting yet, but if your other bun got fed up, then a fight could certainly happen, risking serious injury occurring. That's the kind of chasing that can escalate quickly into a full blown fight if not stopped immediately. So it's definitely something you don't want to allow to happen at all.

If they are only like this in the outside enclosure, I would restrict that completely for now, and not let them out there at least for 2-3 weeks before trying it again, and then I would do a gradual reintroduction of that space, slowly increasing the amount of area they get access to.

If they are ok and don't do this aggressive chasing in the inside part of their enclosure, then I would think they should be fine staying together and being restricted to just that area for now. But if that kind of chasing is also going on in the inside enclosure too, then I would keep them separated and do supervised dating for a few more weeks before trying them together permanently again.
Thank you. I sat with them in the inside enclosure for a few hours then checked on and off during the evening and so far they are good. At one point they were in the litter tray eating hay together so I think it’s just the outside area that’s causing the problem. I will restrict them to this for a few weeks then take it more slowly this time - I’m still learning and thank you for your advice. I definitely don’t want either of them to be hurt.
 

Miva13

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Hi all
Feeling a bit heartbroken and down tonight. I followed everyone’s advise made the space smaller and have been watching them so closely. I’ve watched them all week and sat with them most of yesterday and today and they seemed to be getting on so well. But tonight I caught Zoe chasing Ben and full on aggression biting his fur out. I feel like she just doesn’t like him even though they were grooming each other earlier. He is panting and obviously distressed - I think I need to return her to the rescue centre . I have grown attached to her but my boy comes first and it was awful to see him so upset, he hopped up to her to groom her after I broke them up but she didn’t want a bar if it. Feeling very sad but I guess I love Ben so much I will have to be his bonded buddy and give him all the love I have.
 

Apollo’s Slave

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Hi all
Feeling a bit heartbroken and down tonight. I followed everyone’s advise made the space smaller and have been watching them so closely. I’ve watched them all week and sat with them most of yesterday and today and they seemed to be getting on so well. But tonight I caught Zoe chasing Ben and full on aggression biting his fur out. I feel like she just doesn’t like him even though they were grooming each other earlier. He is panting and obviously distressed - I think I need to return her to the rescue centre . I have grown attached to her but my boy comes first and it was awful to see him so upset, he hopped up to her to groom her after I broke them up but she didn’t want a bar if it. Feeling very sad but I guess I love Ben so much I will have to be his bonded buddy and give him all the love I have.
Aw I’m sorry. Some rabbits don’t get along as well with others and she may be suited as a single rabbit or the rescue can try to bond her with another male. I hope you can find Ben a suitable partner 💛
 

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