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bonding problems

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Amber H

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Hello,

I have wrote before prior to bonding my two male buns. Since then, I have started the bonding process with my Lop Gucci and Netherland Dwarf Kenzo. For months (in that time while kenzo recovered from his neutering), they were in indoor hutches opposite each other and had turns being outside their hutch while the other was in their own. After Kenzo had fully recovered we began the process properly. We went outdoors in a play pen that was neutral territory for both boys (as they are indoor rabbits and had roam of the whole house including the walk in shower haha!) and initially things went really well. There were a few little snaps but after a few days, Kenzo was grooming Gucci and they began sitting closer to one another. After maybe the 5th day, a massive fight broke out between them unexpectedly (thankfully neither of the buns were injured, I had quite a bad injury to my hand when separating them but that was no biggie). I have attached photos of this process the first time around so you can see how they were with one another. We gave them a few days where we did not do the bonding but resorted back to the opposite hutch thing for those days so they were still in one another areas and seeing each other. We then started the process again and from advice from a friend for the first two days had Gucci on a lead, they were fine so we took the lead off and continued. This time there was no grooming, just bashing of heads together and being stubborn. It was not as good as the first time where they would both relax near one another and Kenzo had stopped grooming Gucci. Once again, after a few days another big fight broke out which was squashed a lot quicker than the first. I am at a loss for what to do now, neither boy had injuries but it is still not ideal. I feel as though it is Gucci instigating a lot of the fights by snapping at Kenzo... Should I try a different technique rather than the play pen? Does anyone have any recommendations? I know Kenzo cares about Gucci very much, during his time out of his hutch he always sits beside Gucci's hutch and watches him in everything he does, copying him almost. I am just not sure where to go with it now, I know that they can get on, just not sure what I can do different.

Thanks in advance,

Amber x
 

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Amber H

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not sure if this has any relevance but you can see in one pic there's toys and hay in the playpen. These were introduced after a few days and there was no territorial behaviour towards the food or toys by either bun when the fight broke out the first time round.
 

Blue eyes

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It's difficult to say much without having seen what was going on. What was happening right prior to the fight? were they having a head-to-head standoff? Was the fighting the tornado fighting?

I would not advise ever using a lead during bonding. If they tornado fight, they will get totally tangled in the leash and that can cause even more panic and fighting as they feel trapped.
 

Amber H

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prior to the fight the first time, Kenzo was sniffing Gucci from behind and Gucci just turned and then Kenzo kept going at him. The lead was only used the second time with Gucci for one day (so for one 15 min period and then when I seen there was no snapping, it was removed). it is never Kenzo who instigates the fights so I knew with Gucci being on a lead for those 10/15 min sessions, there would be no fight. I am aware about the issues with the lead but did it as a precautionary measure for a short short period and it was not used after
 

Amber H

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just to clarify, in the first fight Gucci just turned on Kenzo and got agitated which started the fight which I think then led to Kenzo to fight back for himself.
 
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