bonding 5 rabbits

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Magpie689

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Hello all,
I have two bonded pairs and a single right now. All but the youngest are spayed and neutered and she will be as well when she's old enough. A bit about my rabbits;
Peanut, female, 9 year old lionhead/rex cross, bonded to Steve. Peanut is my most dominant rabbit, for sure the boss.
Steve, male, 5 years old lionhead/Dutch cross, bonded to Peanut since he was 8 months old. Steve is the laid back one in the pair but he snuggles with my other two at the divider of their pens. He also grooms my other female who he is not bonded to.
Boo, female, 9 year old lionhead/angora cross, bonded to Marley. Boo is my most submissive rabbit and she is also deaf.
Marley, male, I don't know his age but I believe he's also a senior, lionhead/netherland dwarf, bonded to Boo. Marley is shy about having contact with me but I've caught him grooming Peanut through the bars of their pens, just like Steve does with Boo
Lastly, I have my little Dutch, Primrose, who is 9 weeks old. As I said, she will be spayed as soon as she's old enough.

I have a plan to bond Primrose with Peanut and Steve, then add Boo and Marley to make a group. However, my concern is Peanut and Marley's past.
I tried to bond them into a group of 4 some years back and I thought they were bonded after those first three days; they were all grooming each other and getting along great so I moved them into the room from the neutral territory. The next morning I noticed Marley was hunched over and in obvious pain. I rushed him to my rabbit savvy vet and it was determined that one of the others (most likely Peanut as he was mounting her most) bit his penis. It was very scary because if she had bitten through the urethra then it would have to be amputated and rebuilt. Marley spent a few days at the vet and he is fine now, thankfully. However, I'm worried that because of this incident, they will remember and start to fight. They are also the dominant ones in their pairs.

I plan on bonding the trio in the bathroom, then the 5 in the living room; all neutral territory. I'm sorry for the long post, but there is so much to consider and I'm worried my buns will get hurt. Also, will Boo being deaf put her at a disadvantage? Will Primrose get hurt because she's so young and small? Will the boys become aggressive with each other to protect 'their' females? I have questions. I've done a bunch of research but I can't seem to find much on bonding groups of 5 rabbits. If anyone has experience with this, please help me out.

Again, sorry for the long post.
 

zuppa

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Hi, here's a video about bonding 5 rabbits, might be some help to you.


In your case I would wait until Primrose is spayed and 1 month after that and then I would try bonding all same time, because in my experience when bonding a new group if there were bonded pairs their bond will be broken, most likely. But it all depends on your rabbits.
You described them all so good I feel like I know them myself, but I don't think anyone can tell you what to do now, I think you are good enough at bonding and have experience if your rabbits are 5-9 years old, you know them well, I think your plan doing it in neutral territory is all good, and for the accident you've had there, I think maybe when you are ready to transfer them to their enclosure, maybe you can do changes and move things, maybe repaint walls, remove old toys, so they won't recognise their old place.
I had same accidents with my rabbits as well, Peter's penis was bitten as well but only very end of it, and Harley was also bitten that looked very bad to be honest. I know she was teasing and humping on his head but it looked really scary.

Also in my experience I had Bernie was very super dominant with girls and younger boy I've tried bonding her a few times, she was really mean. But now she is bonded to a neutered male and she's changed dramatically, she is completely submissive and does what he tells her to do, she stopped digging toilet and peeing outside it, she 's changed so much. I had some other examples when a 7-8 months old girl was super submissive with her sisters and mother, then I bonded her with another rabbit and she was immediately very dominant and still dominate in that bond. So I guess it can change sometimes.

So my only advice would be to wait when Primrose is spayed and +1 month after that and start bonding with all of them, and also maybe keep them in neutral territory a bit longer and during that time rebuild and redecorate their permanent territory as much as you can.

Please keep us updated and post some pics as well, we love pics.
 

Magpie689

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Thank you so much! Primrose will for sure be spayed first. I think it will be around October before I actually bond them just because I want to be extra sure the hormones have settled. I feel more confident after your examples. For sure, I will update with pics :) Thank you!
 
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