Bunny Bonding Struggles

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Abby Kyhos

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I am bonding my 4 bunnies (2 boys and 2 girls), and they were doing really well. Now it seems like they are back tracking and we are going into week 3.
All are fixed and have been for 6+ months. Placed in a neutral territory

At the start Moe was nipping at Louie, and Chloe would sometimes nip at Georgia but the girls would mainly cuddle together while Moe would nip Louie. I know nipping is part of the process and no injuries or fights broke out. They were quick nips and they would back off.

By the end of the week, they were cuddled in a corner together, Moe was grooming Louie. Chloe still won't groom any of them.

Now Chloe has been antagonizing Louie by going up and nipping at him and now clawing as well and won't leave him alone, then Moe gets in on it. Louie just runs away. It got to a point where Louie squealed (which broke my heart). Luckily no serious injuries and Louie is good.

I removed Louie and Georgia (who are a bonded pair) and put them in their cage to decompress, and am holding off on anymore bonding time.

Does anyone have any advice? Or does this just mean this bond of 4 will not work?
 

JBun

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Often when you are first seeing progress, then things start to back track, it's because the bonding process is being prolonged past what is needed for these particular rabbits. In these cases switching to the fast track method may be what's needed.

Basically what is happening is the slow method of bunny dates works at first. Each date they just start getting to know each other, and then the date ends and they are separated. Then the next day it's almost like they forget everything and you are starting all over again and not making progress. So what switching to the fast method does is they start making that progress in working out the kinks in their relationship and hierarchy, and you don't separate them so they continue to make progress until they are completely bonded. So that's what I would try next.

Though one problem you may still have is it sounds like Chloe is still trying to work out her place in the hierarchy, so may continue to have some difficulty getting that worked out. Just need to keep a close eye on her when resuming bonding.


 

Abby Kyhos

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Thank you @JBun, I think I will need to try that this weekend and just let them constantly be together instead of separating them
 

Blue eyes

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I agree the fast track (immersion) method is a good way to go. Just keep in mind that it will likely take much longer than just the weekend.

When I was attempting such a bond with 3 rabbits using this method, they were adjusting for several weeks. What I recall with mine is that they seem great together at first, then one tries to be dominant and things get unsteady, then they seem to sort it out, then a different one gets assertive. It was a constant changing of hierarchy as they tried to work things out.

I don't know how your rabbits will behave, but it may be helpful to know that it could take some time. I slept beside their area for many-a-nights.

Having 2 males can certainly complicate the process as well as they tend to tussle over the females. Hopefully they can sort things out, just be sure to give them the needed time and be patient.
 
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