Bonding difficult rabbits

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Magpie689

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Hello again,
So things aren't working out with Primrose. She's yet to be spayed, but Peanut and Steve both have taken turns pulling her fur when she's out for exercise. Then this morning, Boo (my most submissive rabbit) actually grabbed Primrose through the bars and the two of them were rolling and squealing. Primrose was hurt, not seriously, but enough that I administered a bit of Metacam for her irritated paw and watched her all day. She seems fine now; I think it scared her more than it hurt her.
Anyway, I'm terrified of trying to bond the other four with Primrose now. If my most submissive and mellow rabbit actively fights with her and two of the other three don't like her, I don't want to risk Primrose becoming hurt. She's very small, only 3lbs while the others vary from 5.3-6.1lbs. Getting hurt is a real possibility. Do I continue with the bonding? Is it worth the risk? I know getting her spayed before anything is the best idea, but I don't want to spend $400+ on a spay that may or may not work. Can anyone help me? Maybe share some of their experiences with harder to bond rabbits? I really want this to work!

P.s. Marley has a bald patch on his forehead. Is he more at risk for injury than the others? Odd question, but I'm throwing it out there.
 

Janellek

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I think you should spay her... the scent is probably throwing everyone off the hook! The sooner it happens and the less bad memories they have with her the better:) how big is the bald spot?
 

John Wick

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When you say "on a spay that may or may not work", do you mean the success of the operation or the impacts of spaying on a bond? Also, I wonder if you're able to find a more affordable spay somewhere else. Are there local rabbit rescues in your area? They may be able to provide information on low-cost and experienced rabbit vets they use for their rabbits.

Until you make a decision, you should definitely make sure there is space in between the bars/grids keeping the rabbits a part from Primrose-- she should not be put in any position that she will be at risk for future injuries. It's great she wasn't seriously injured this time.

Getting her spayed, allowing her to recover, and eliminating the possibility of accumulating more negative experiences between all the rabbits will increase the chance of success. I personally don't think you can really know whether a bond will work until all parties are fixed and then they start the bonding process, which includes meeting only in neutral territory at the start. Did the scuffle thru the pen happen in the free-roam space the other rabbits were used to? They are most likely territorial of a new rabbit in their space, increasing aggressive behaviors.
 

Blue eyes

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If she is intact, she should not be anywhere near your other rabbits. Her very presence (hormonal presence) can upset the bond of any of the other rabbits. So even if you completely discount the possibility of trying to bond her with the others, any of the others could still have a break in their bond just from her being in the vicinity.

As for her bonding with the others, that should not be attempted at all unless she is spayed -- that is clear from the reaction already seen from three of the other rabbits.

Also, you would be correct in thinking that getting her spayed is no guarantee that they will bond. It just makes the possibility all the greater. Rabbits generally seem to do best in bonded pairs (according to cottontails rabbit rescue).
 

Magpie689

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When you say "on a spay that may or may not work", do you mean the success of the operation or the impacts of spaying on a bond? Also, I wonder if you're able to find a more affordable spay somewhere else. Are there local rabbit rescues in your area? They may be able to provide information on low-cost and experienced rabbit vets they use for their rabbits.

Until you make a decision, you should definitely make sure there is space in between the bars/grids keeping the rabbits a part from Primrose-- she should not be put in any position that she will be at risk for future injuries. It's great she wasn't seriously injured this time.

Getting her spayed, allowing her to recover, and eliminating the possibility of accumulating more negative experiences between all the rabbits will increase the chance of success. I personally don't think you can really know whether a bond will work until all parties are fixed and then they start the bonding process, which includes meeting only in neutral territory at the start. Did the scuffle thru the pen happen in the free-roam space the other rabbits were used to? They are most likely territorial of a new rabbit in their space, increasing aggressive behaviors.
I just meant that it may or may not have any effect on the way they're behaving with Primrose now. I go to the same exotics vet as they rescues and he's the best price for neuter/spay in my area. And yes, the scuffle was through the bars of their xpens so they could've just been territorial but Boo has never acted like that before. Primrose is also thumping a LOT which is putting the others on edge.
 

John Wick

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As @Blue eyes mentioned, her mere presence can heavily impact the behaviors and bond of your other rabbits. Even "submissive" rabbits can get territorial and activated as a result. This doesn't necessarily mean a bond will not work once she is spayed and introductions/bonding start in neutral territory. The only thing you can really tell at this point is it's dangerous to have her in that space so safe separation is needed. If negative experiences are built up now, it will hurt the chances of bonding in the future.
 

JBun

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Rolling and squealing... this is real fighting, not just a scuffle. So if you haven't already, a very detailed hands on exam needs to be done to check for injuries, as these can easily be missed visually because of fur covering them up. Especially when it involves the belly area. My experience is that when it reaches that point of aggression, there's much less of a chance bonding can ever happen, though not completely impossible.

If you decide to still give it a chance, I would suggest complete separation where she is in a different room as far away from your other rabbits as possible, so they can essentially 'forget' each other and forget the fight, and start fresh later on. Get her spayed, wait 4 weeks minimum(though 8 weeks may be better), then give bonding another try, cautiously, very closely supervised.

Bonding can be done trying with the whole group at once in some cases. Or if that seems like a bad idea, start with bonding her with one rabbit, maybe one that seems the calmest with her, or maybe even the one she has the hardest time with. With bonding there's no set rule. You just have to understand rabbits and their body language really well, then gauge their reactions to each other and go from there on how best to proceed next.

I had my last neutered male I tried bonding in with his family group. At first it seemed like it would work. He was getting on fine with all of the other rabbits, but then he started to get into a scuffle with his bigger brother, who was boss of the group. I would break it up, but it just wasn't letting up between them and seemed like the aggression was starting to escalate. So I stopped bonding attempts with the group and actually separated his brother from the group to bond the two of them together in a separate pen. And it worked. They bonded, then I bonded the two of them into the rest of the group.




Are you sure the bald patch isn't just from another rabbit excessively grooming the area? I have one rabbit with a pretty ratty looking coat because one rabbit in the group grooms him to death :p She is constantly licking and chewing on his fur. Whether your rabbit is more at risk of injury, maybe if a rabbit took a direct bite there because he doesn't have a buffer of fur. Though those rabbit teeth can go right through everything when they really mean business. So even fur padding isn't going to matter in those instances.

If the balding isn't from excessive grooming from a bunny partner, or from normal molting, it can sometimes happen from a rabbit rubbing on something consistently, like sticking their head in a feeder to get at food. Or as a health problem there is something called sebaceous adenitis that can cause unusual balding, though scaling of the skin is most often going to be involved in these cases.

Medirabbit: sebaceous adenitis
 

zuppa

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Hi, as already said above, you shouldn't try bonding them before she is neutered and + at least 4 weeks after neutering.

Doing this 'pre-bonding' with an intact girl you are risking health and life of all your rabbits, even if they won't get physically hurt they can be traumatized by this negative experience and you can have your existing bond broken and all three rabbits stressed, which can lead even to illnesses. I just hate that people doing that to their rabbits, experimenting and then say that their rabbits are unbondable and aggressive, this is your responsibility and your fault, please stop doing that, separate them immediately, any 'pre-bonding' before rabbits are fully neutered and plus 4-8 weeks after won't indicate their bondability, you only make it worse.

If you don't have money to neuter her just find a new responsible home for her, no need in damaging her.

I feel very sad for your rabbits, please try to act as a responsible person, leave your curiosity for your toys.


And, she is not 'difficult', she is just an intact rabbit and she acts as it natural to her.
I've just checked your previous thread, you said you won't be trying before she is neutered, so it was all already explained to you and you simply ignored advice and did that 'pre-bonding', really disappointing that you understand the consequences but still keep doing that.

>>> bonding 5 rabbits
 
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