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Aspen’sbuns

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Hi guys!!

So at the moment I am trying to bond my three mini-lops; a male 1y 1m and two girls 7m. All are neutered. They are all outside rabbits. Our male we got first, we got him desexed at 6m and then bought a huge shed and run as we intended to adopt a girl bunny that was at our local rspca. However, two days after he was desexed bushfires began raging in our area and all animals at local shelters were moved to the city shelters. We had to evacuate and so we decided to just move our male into the big hutch and run as he was only in a small hutch before that. Animals then returned to our shelters but then literally a week later they were moved back to the city because of corona. We then decided to get another two girls from the same breeder as our male. (I’m only saying all this so you understand the circumstances :) ) We have a large concreted area that is secure, so in the summertime they got a few hours together each day, with no major fights. They weren’t allowed in together after mid May as they began to get nippy.

We got the girls spayed at six months old. The buns are living in two pens that are next to each other at the moment. Now we have been bonding for almost two weeks now, and they were going really well. The girls were cleaning our male, and everyone had cleaned themselves fully in each other’s presence. There was only one fight were fur flew, as a binky was mistaken for a lunge. We then moved the xpen we are bonding in near to the two hutches, and put one of the litter boxes in with them. Once again they were fine, there was one nip from the male but after that they were okay, still cleaning and stuff.

The large hutch and run has been cleaned down with vinegar, but it is sitting on a grass base, and obviously the grass can’t be cleaned with vinegar.

Now tonight, I put the x-pen in the run part of the hutch and put them all in there with a litter box. The first half hour, they were all fine, eating hay happily together. But then the male began trying to push out the sides of the x-pen, so that he could run around more. He then went to the girls to ask them to clean him, but they were too busy exploring around and sniffing so they didn’t. He then tried to give them a little nip, which I didn’t intervene, but then he went to go back and nip again so I took him out and placed him in one of the smaller hutches. I then went and chopped some carrot put it in and then put him back in. They ate the carrot happily. He then asked for a clean from one, which she gave him a little clean but then when she went to put her head down he went to nip her. I then took them out and placed them in their overnight hutches.

I’m not quite sure how I should go about moving them all into the large hutch and run, do they just need more time to work it out in there? Should I let the girls run around there in the day so it smells like them too?? I’m not quite sure how to go about this so any advice would be appreciated! Sorry for the long message!

TL;DR
Male moved out of large shed and run to bond. Bond with the girls fine in an xpen. Tried to move back into shed and run (small area for a bonding session) and male bunny has begun nipping. Need help as to how to progress!
 

Blue eyes

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Whatever area you plan to house all three together -- is that where the male is currently? If there is anyway to keep him (and the rest) out of the area for now, that would be best. If that isn't possible, then it may be a good idea to switch the areas they stay in when they are separated. In other words, allow each girl to spend a night in that area alternating nights with the male.

If they are bonding well in the ex-pen, let that continue. Once they are having zero nips, zero altercations, that's when you start the clock. Once they've been perfect together in the pen, keep them there for minimum of 1-2 weeks so that they can solidify their bond. Anytime you move a newly bonded pair (trio in your case), that is the time when conflict can arise. That potential is minimized the longer/better they are bonded.

Also, try not to end a bonding session on a bad note. If they start acting up, try to get them calm and content again before separating them. You want them to have positive 'last encounters' before stopping a session.
 

Aspen’sbuns

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Whatever area you plan to house all three together -- is that where the male is currently? If there is anyway to keep him (and the rest) out of the area for now, that would be best. If that isn't possible, then it may be a good idea to switch the areas they stay in when they are separated. In other words, allow each girl to spend a night in that area alternating nights with the male.

If they are bonding well in the ex-pen, let that continue. Once they are having zero nips, zero altercations, that's when you start the clock. Once they've been perfect together in the pen, keep them there for minimum of 1-2 weeks so that they can solidify their bond. Anytime you move a newly bonded pair (trio in your case), that is the time when conflict can arise. That potential is minimized the longer/better they are bonded.

Also, try not to end a bonding session on a bad note. If they start acting up, try to get them calm and content again before separating them. You want them to have positive 'last encounters' before stopping a session.

No, so we have the big hutch and run that is huge, and our male moved out of there at the very end of June. It has since been wiped down with vinegar. We currently have two hutches on our deck/patio, that since then they have been switching in ie the male stays in one and the girls the other and then the next night they switch.

I had the xpen on an area of our grass, and they were bonding well for over a week; the girls cleaning Brinkley and no nipping or anything. But then it rained and the grass was soggy so I moved the xpen up onto the same deck the two hutches are on, where they were fine again. I thought they would be ready to start bonding sessions in the pen they will all move into, but maybe not yet.

I have been trying to end each session on a positive note aswell, like last night once he nipped I took him out, but put him back in five minutes later with some carrot so they can eat together :)

Do you have any advice on how I could move them into their shed and run when they are ready??
 

Aspen’sbuns

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I should say, with the xpen, as they are outside bunnies, I can’t leave them together overnight in the xpen, so each night they are put into each others hutches.
 

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