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Bonding rabbits

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Mrs641

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So I got a new rabbit a little over a week ago, I’ve done many bonding sessions with him and my previous bunny Penny, everything goes great when they are in a small space, I use a laundry basket. He has a pen set up that he goes into during the day (sleeps in his crate beside Penny in her crate), and he is allowed out into the house in short spurts when I have the other bunny put away, just so he can explore and get used to our home. He is becoming more and more territorial over his “area” each day, thumps and growls even when Penny just comes over to sniff, he wasn’t like this before. He is neutered and she is spayed, they fight terribly if they are put somewhere other than the laundry basket, I knew it was going to take a while, but he seems to get more unhappy here each day, does anyone have any advice? Thanks guys!
 

Mariam+Theo

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Are their cages beside each other? If not, put their cages beside each other and swap their cages each day so that they get used to each other's smells. I would stop bonding for a week, and only swap cages. After the week, start bonding in the laundry basket again.
 

Blue eyes

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Rabbits can be territorial. I think it is not a good idea to be allowing him to explore (get used to) the house. That would have been better left until after they were both bonded. The laundry basket has become their only neutral ground, so they are ok in there. It is also small and so there isn't a way to claim territory within the space. Outside of that is another story.

This will be a tough one to undo. (You mentioned he wasn't like this before but those early days were him just getting used to a new environment.)

When you try to put them somewhere other than the basket, is the space still small and confined? Too much space often causes conflict.

Also is that space neutral (someplace neither rabbit has been before?) Usually it is the females that are particularly territorial, but he seems to be the one. I would not let him run around the house anymore or he'll start thinking that it is all his for the taking.

Find a neutral space and keep it small. An ex-pen may work to create such a space. If you don't have neutral space, the best that can be done is to wipe things down with white vinegar.

I'd also suggest putting a mat or similar from each rabbit's cage into the other one's area. That way they can be getting accustomed to the other's scent being in their area when they aren't having a bonding session.
 

Mrs641

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Rabbits can be territorial. I think it is not a good idea to be allowing him to explore (get used to) the house. That would have been better left until after they were both bonded. The laundry basket has become their only neutral ground, so they are ok in there. It is also small and so there isn't a way to claim territory within the space. Outside of that is another story.

This will be a tough one to undo. (You mentioned he wasn't like this before but those early days were him just getting used to a new environment.)

When you try to put them somewhere other than the basket, is the space still small and confined? Too much space often causes conflict.

Also is that space neutral (someplace neither rabbit has been before?) Usually it is the females that are particularly territorial, but he seems to be the one. I would not let him run around the house anymore or he'll start thinking that it is all his for the taking.

Find a neutral space and keep it small. An ex-pen may work to create such a space. If you don't have neutral space, the best that can be done is to wipe things down with white vinegar.

I'd also suggest putting a mat or similar from each rabbit's cage into the other one's area. That way they can be getting accustomed to the other's scent being in their area when they aren't having a bonding session.
So, they both have crates they go into at night, they are side by side. I have an XPen set up in the living room where he goes during the day, to allow more room for exercise. My other bunny is free range and has been since we got her. I switch litter boxes every day, switch their water bowls and blankets they both sleep with every day as well. They eat their breakfast and pellets together on either side of the Xpen, and actually spend a lot of time sniffing and sitting with each other on other side of the pen as well. Today the territoriality wasn’t as bad, in fact, the one bunny weaseled her way into the xpen, had a look around, munched some hay and left, the new bunny didn’t care at all. I wasn’t happy that she did that, and I have fixed the issue with how she got in, but I did take it as a good sign that WW3 didn’t erupt as has happened before. I felt like letting him out to explore was a good thing, he’s getting to know us as well, it’s not the entire house, just a small area in the living room and is monitored the entire time, the other bunny doesn’t seem to care or mark the area at all, nor does he, it’s mainly around his xpen where he spends his time during the day. I hope I’m doing the right things! Thanks for responding!
 

Blue eyes

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It sounds like they are doing much better! The swapping of scented items seems to be helping him be less territorial?

This is quite the change from "they fight terribly" and "he's becoming more territorial." 😁
 

Mrs641

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It sounds like they are doing much better! The swapping of scented items seems to be helping him be less territorial?

This is quite the change from "they fight terribly" and "he's becoming more territorial." 😁
I have no idea what caused this breakthrough, but I will take it! I was really frustrated when I posted my question yesterday! ☺
 

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