Bonded pair - separation anxiety?

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

kirbyultra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
5,270
Reaction score
35
Location
New York, USA
Kirby and Penny are my bonded pair and they've been together since May this year. Since the very beginning they have been together only about 12 hours a day. Reason being Penny is a huge pig and she doesn't give Kirby a chance to ever eat or drink. When she sees food, she eats it all as fast as she can and she drinks more water than any rabbit I've ever met. Kirby is a leisure eater so by the time he gets around to it, Penny has already eaten his entire portion. To deal with this, I made a decision at the very beginning to allow them to be together all day long but at night they are separated so that Kirby can eat his pellets, veggies and drink some water. There have been times when I've fed Kirby during the middle of the day to encourage him to understand "eat it or lose it" to try to speed him up but no, he never catches up with Penny. He easily takes several hours to make it through his meal. Penny also gets mushy poops when she eats too many greens so the fact of the matter is I really can't allow them to eat together because it's bad for Kirby and it's bad for Penny.

Recently I've noticed that Penny is increasingly getting "wild" and hard to deal with when she is alone during the night hours and early morning hours, away from Kirby. They are near each other, but they are separated by a xpen. She slams herself into the xpen and it looks like it might be a bit painful to do that. When I used to open up the pen to reunite them, she'd dart for Kirby's uneaten food but more and more these days she just seems upset and sad to be away from him. When she breaks out of the pen, she just wants to snuggle Kirby. It's kind of heart breaking to watch her go through this.

RO has always offered some great suggestions for many situations. I am hoping someone has something neat for me to try and remedy this sticky situation?

The key is, if Penny wasn't such a hog, I would be fine with them spending 24/7 together. And honestly I am not gonna wake up in the middle of the night to check if Kirby finished eating so that I can reunite them. :rollseyes It's just not realistic. I dunno what else to do about this other than make Penny suck it up. In the back of my mind I just know that rabbit bonds are deeper than we may understand and I'm afraid that she is really stressed out from being separated. What do you think? :(
 

maxysmummy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Messages
671
Reaction score
1
Location
Sydney, , Australia
maybe put their cages next to eachother, the wire is between them so they can lay next to eachother still touching but she can't get into his food?
 

kirbyultra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
5,270
Reaction score
35
Location
New York, USA
They already do have that, actually. Let me show you a pic of their setup... They are only separated by 1 panel at night so technically they can lay next to each other. But King Kirby prefers to sleep on the top level of his condo so at night when he's alone he sits up there and Penny is alone at the floor.
 

kirbyultra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
5,270
Reaction score
35
Location
New York, USA
Here it is. The pen area is in the shape of an "L". The bottom part of the L shape is where Penny sleeps at night. The top part of the L is Kirby's and it also leads into the condo. Kirby's always had the condo so that's why he gets it. Penny also pees like a monster so it was just easier to keep her on the floor where it's easy to clean.

 

maxysmummy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Messages
671
Reaction score
1
Location
Sydney, , Australia
ahh what a pickle... you said something about her being larger than him, so perhaps put his food in a little room with a door thats only big enough for him to go into? so if she tries to get in there, she cant?

perhaps you could start feeding them both in the morning, then after an hour (or when he's finished eating) let them out, rather than feeding them at night and having to keep them separated all night?
 

kirbyultra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
5,270
Reaction score
35
Location
New York, USA
I feed them twice a day :/ I try to feed them as late as possible so they are together longer. And in the morning I feed them as soon as I wake up so that Kirby will hopefully finish asap, then I can reunite them an hr or two later.
 

Yield

leo (they/them)
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
2,070
Reaction score
22
Location
USA
I'm wondering if Sabriel is doing that to Solara cause he eats SO fast, and Solara is all calm about it.. =/ But Solara seems chubby as usual so it must be okay, =P

Maybe you need to make it so they CAN'T see each other until they're reunited? Maybe if Penny can't see him, she won't slam into the cage? =O
 

maxysmummy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Messages
671
Reaction score
1
Location
Sydney, , Australia
perhaps feed all the pellets and veg in one go in the morning then give them unlimited hay to graze on throughout the day?
 

elrohwen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
1,879
Reaction score
2
Location
Danbury, Connecticut, USA
I like the idea of feeding them in one meal, then leaving hay for the rest of the day so that they can be together the majority of the time. Adding more water choices should also help so that she doesn't drink it all before Kirby can get to it.
 

kirbyultra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
5,270
Reaction score
35
Location
New York, USA
I don't know why exactly but my vet told me that it is better for the buns to feed them twice a day instead of one big meal at once... :?
 

maxysmummy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Messages
671
Reaction score
1
Location
Sydney, , Australia
uh oh really?

we give pellets in the morning, unlimited hay and if we feed them greens its at night - but not every night do they get greens.
 

kirbyultra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
5,270
Reaction score
35
Location
New York, USA
Yeah I don't actually know why that is... I've always been told to feed twice a day so I have always done just that. The shelter where I got Kirby also told me to feed twice a day if at all possible.

I always assumed it was just a healthier way because like people, more meals is better for digestive health, appetite control, and metabolism. But I don't know for sure. With Penny especially, I liked the idea of feeding her multiple times a day, but divide the 1/4 cup of pellets into however many times I am feeding her (usually twice and maybe a third time midday as a snack) because she is such a hog. I would like to train her into understanding that she isn't being starved; she will be fed regularly and there's no need to act like a starved mongrel during meal time. So far it hasn't really worked but maybe with more and more time she'll learn...
 

elrohwen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
1,879
Reaction score
2
Location
Danbury, Connecticut, USA
It might be ideal to feed twice a day, but I've never heard anywhere that it's absolutely necessary or has any demonstrable health benefits. I think in your situation it would be worth a shot. As long as they have hay they'll still have something to eat to keep their tummies moving.
 

Yield

leo (they/them)
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
2,070
Reaction score
22
Location
USA
That's odd, I never heard about feeding twice a day for bunnies. I feed all my veggies at night so that my buns will be quiet while I sleep =P (That was actually a tip I received here on RO =O)

But they get pellets during the day (well the pellets are there for them to eat, but they usually don't eat it until nighttime) and hay whenever they want.. and they eat that hay like there's no tomorrow =P Silas usually waits for nighttime for the hay too though.
 

Latest posts

Top