Bonding woes

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Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2006
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Traverse City, Michigan, USA
I've been trying to bond my doe and buck for about 3 weeks now. The buck really wants to be friends, but my doe has other ideas. She has stopped trying to attack him for the most part, but she will growl and turn around and bite him sometimes. Other times, she will go up and sniff and then run away.

I've tried car rides and neutral terrority, is there anything else I can do to make her like him?
Bonding can take a really long time with some rabbits. Maybe the biting is just her tring to assert dominance.

Nipping is not necessarily a bad sign, fighting would be, and apparently you are not supposed to let the bunnies circle each other, but I think I read that humping and nipping are ok.

Are you doing it in neutral territory? Maybe try somewhere else and have lots of treats and new toys about to take the main focus away from the other bunny.

Have you googled for tips on bonding? With the Bunny 101 forum being doing it might be sensible to research using google for some info on it.
No humping has occured, and there was circling at first, but that has stopped.

Sometimes they'll lay a few inches apart, but if the buck comes close, he risks a bite/nip. Usually if she goes up to him, she doesn't bite, but if he comes up to her, she is more likely to bite.

Sometimes they are indifferent, but then again, sometimes she doesn't want him near her. I don't know what stage they are in in the bonding process.

I have tried treats as well, and yes, again, it is neutral terrority.

I have read at least 20 websites about bonding, and most of them say the same thing. :(
How are they housed? Are the close to each other when they are in their cages? I would put their cages right next to each other so that even when you are not bonding them, they are in each other's company and forced to smell each other and get used to each other.

Then, continue doing what you're doing, give them some out time in neutral territory. Sounds like they are making progress if they are not immediately fighting with each other.

Also, you can try swapping their cages every now and then - put the doe in teh buck's cage for a night and vice versa. Or swap used little boxes. Put the does litter box in the buck's cage for the night so they get used to having each other's scent around.

Also the car rides or putting them on top the washer/dryer while it's running is a great idea. It introduces a bit of stress and they turn to each other for comfort. That's what was the breaking point for me bonding my pair.

My guys tok 5 months to bond. So it's not a quick thing all the time. Sounds like you're coming along though - don't be discouraged. One day they will decide they love each other... you just have to keep doing what you're doing and they will establish their bond soon. ;)

I would try to discourage that. The skin around the eyes can become irritated and red. Maybe just shoo her mouth away from that area when she does that.;)

Sounds good though. Good Luck, sounds like you're almost there.
Here's a quick update:

My doe tries to groom my buck's face while they are in the playpen together. He gets scared and runs away usually.

If I hold them on my lap together she grooms him constantly - and he lets her. He hasn't ever groomed her back, though.

Is he still afraid she is going to bite her when they are in the playpen?

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