Bonding reboot, can experienced bonder offer advise?

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K1marie

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I am reintroducing my 2 buns. They are 15 months old, neutered 6 months ago, original attempts failed. I think I may have tried too soon after neutering and they tornadoed. They have lived separately now since Jan 1. We have been laying them next to each other for about a week on a bed in a neutral room, with an oven rack between them to allow for smells, but we didn't allow them to freely react. We've just pet them and they seem okay. They've looked at each other at times, but thats it. Next step I could use some advice. I realize there are various ways to approach, but I don't want to jeopardize my attempts with a fight which was my initial failure. I am planning to set up a pen on the floor. Should I use a divider first? and see what they do? Or should we let them be able to freely interact and just break up anything? I see a lot of videos that there are boxes and litter boxes set up - they look like they are done in a barn or outbuilding somewhere. I am afraid to have a box or hiding spot because that could cause a face bite and in that small space, I can't get to them quick. I also have a brand new rather large cage that is being preserved as their new home, neither has seen.....I could try them in there instead of an open "pen" . I could set them up the way I had them before their separation, each in own cage right next to each other, but 1 rabbit has had his cage in that spot the whole time, and I don't think bringing the other cage back next to him would go over well. Any thoughts? Should I keep them laying next to each other longer before I go to next step, they get antsy wanting to explore more on the bed.
 

Abi :)

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I am reintroducing my 2 buns. They are 15 months old, neutered 6 months ago, original attempts failed. I think I may have tried too soon after neutering and they tornadoed. They have lived separately now since Jan 1. We have been laying them next to each other for about a week on a bed in a neutral room, with an oven rack between them to allow for smells, but we didn't allow them to freely react. We've just pet them and they seem okay. They've looked at each other at times, but thats it. Next step I could use some advice. I realize there are various ways to approach, but I don't want to jeopardize my attempts with a fight which was my initial failure. I am planning to set up a pen on the floor. Should I use a divider first? and see what they do? Or should we let them be able to freely interact and just break up anything? I see a lot of videos that there are boxes and litter boxes set up - they look like they are done in a barn or outbuilding somewhere. I am afraid to have a box or hiding spot because that could cause a face bite and in that small space, I can't get to them quick. I also have a brand new rather large cage that is being preserved as their new home, neither has seen.....I could try them in there instead of an open "pen" . I could set them up the way I had them before their separation, each in own cage right next to each other, but 1 rabbit has had his cage in that spot the whole time, and I don't think bringing the other cage back next to him would go over well. Any thoughts? Should I keep them laying next to each other longer before I go to next step, they get antsy wanting to explore more on the bed.
Theres a great video below which should help, but can I ask if both of your buns are males? Often male to male bonding can be harder than a male-female bonding process and males are often dominating rather than submissive, then it becomes a sort of 'fight' over who is the alpha male

101 rabbits-
 

K1marie

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They ARE males . When I did my initial research I saw the order as best - M/F , then M/M, then F/F.... but moot point now . I believe I have seen that video ...mine were just so much more aggressive than they seem in the videos ,but I am taking notes from it ! Thanks .
 

Abi :)

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They ARE males . When I did my initial research I saw the order as best - M/F , then M/M, then F/F.... but moot point now . I believe I have seen that video ...mine were just so much more aggressive than they seem in the videos ,but I am taking notes from it ! Thanks .
Like you said previously I think it would be a good idea to sit with the buns in the pen and have something to separate them with, maybe a small dustpan, you could sit with them and if they begin to nip or fight then just gently place the dustpan in between them so they don't hurt each other, although I would recommend only intervening if completely necessary as often some owners interfere too much which could slow down the process, sorry if I'm not the most helpful I haven't had an experience like yours yet :)
 

Abi :)

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Maybe switch their litter boxes and toys so they could get used to each others' smell, or even try stress bonding, but make sure they don't fight during it... You could go for a drive around or place their carriers on the washing machine, if they fight and it gets bad, separate them.

Be patient! Often bonds can take months to work! :)
 

zuppa

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I wouldn't use that new cage for bonding yet, maybe leave for later.

I have some bonding experience, including two males but it was all so unique and I just don't want to advise because how it was for us might not work for anybody else. I just watched them very closely, studied their body language and when I saw the opportunities and they were in a suitable mood I just used it, I also build a very strong bond with each of my rabbits so they take anything from me, I also avoid direct conflicts and distract them with something so they don't fight but have to do something else instead but still being quite close to each other, then I talk to them and say that they are very good and they get lots of pets together.

Honestly I find it quite difficult to describe in details I have a bad memory and just focus all my attention on future tasks and quickly forgetting lots of my past achievements and fails. Also what was my fail last time can become my achievement in the future, I am too flexible :))

Good luck with your bonding please keep us updated :)
 

K1marie

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I wouldn't use that new cage for bonding yet, maybe leave for later.

I have some bonding experience, including two males but it was all so unique and I just don't want to advise because how it was for us might not work for anybody else. I just watched them very closely, studied their body language and when I saw the opportunities and they were in a suitable mood I just used it, I also build a very strong bond with each of my rabbits so they take anything from me, I also avoid direct conflicts and distract them with something so they don't fight but have to do something else instead but still being quite close to each other, then I talk to them and say that they are very good and they get lots of pets together.

Honestly I find it quite difficult to describe in details I have a bad memory and just focus all my attention on future tasks and quickly forgetting lots of my past achievements and fails. Also what was my fail last time can become my achievement in the future, I am too flexible :))

Good luck with your bonding please keep us updated :)
Thank you. I like the idea of trying to keep them distracted . I may try to find some new objects other than food they aren't familiar with. Maybe some of my daughters old stuffed animals, or some old shoes..... something with new smells on it, but not rabbit related.
 

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Definitely keep the new cage reserved for after they are fully bonded.

I would suggest putting them in side-by-side cages or pens with a few inches of separation between (so they can't touch through the pen wall). Putting them on a bed is fine but is just for short periods of time. Putting them in side-by-side areas allows them more time to be near each other without direct interaction (you can still continue your routine of having them on the bed under supervision). I would consider doing the cages near each other for several weeks before starting more intense bonding efforts.

Once that time has passed, you can begin more serious bonding methods.
 

Blue eyes

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For the next level of bonding, you can try putting them in a neutral pen area. The concept behind having litter trays and hidey boxes is that the rabbits have a place to get away from each other if they want to. This method also means keeping them in that area 24/7 (supervised) until they bond. (Another reason for the litter box.) When I've done this, I've slept nearby to be sure nothing got out of hand. I'll look for a video I have that shows such a set-up. The cottontails rescue site shows these outdoor setups of which you speak. I modified a similar set-up for indoors which my video shows.

I am not a fan of stress bonding. I think it lulls the bonder into thinking they are getting along when, in fact, they are simply too scared to fight. I think it may be beneficial only for rabbits that are already inclined to get along anyway. I think it does not help in situations where there have already been fights.
 

K1marie

Lionel and Murphy
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For the next level of bonding, you can try putting them in a neutral pen area. The concept behind having litter trays and hidey boxes is that the rabbits have a place to get away from each other if they want to. This method also means keeping them in that area 24/7 (supervised) until they bond. (Another reason for the litter box.) When I've done this, I've slept nearby to be sure nothing got out of hand. I'll look for a video I have that shows such a set-up. The cottontails rescue site shows these outdoor setups of which you speak. I modified a similar set-up for indoors which my video shows.

I am not a fan of stress bonding. I think it lulls the bonder into thinking they are getting along when, in fact, they are simply too scared to fight. I think it may be beneficial only for rabbits that are already inclined to get along anyway. I think it does not help in situations where there have already been fights.
yes , it was the cottontails rescue site that I was seeing that setup . Thanks for the suggestions. I did the side by side cages for several weeks before last bonding attempt, though as I said - maybe ai didn’t wait long enough after neutering to introduce ... about 4-5 weeks . I thought they were ready to try bc they had dropped territorial pooping along their pens common border .
 
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