Bunny family problems

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BunnyMum

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Hi, I had a bonded pair that we wanted one litter from before getting him neutered, we ended up with 2 litters as he caught her again just before we got him done! We’ve sold most of the litters to friends and we now have mum, dad and 1 girl from each litter left. (girls all un-neutered) They were all living together quite happily. However, the older girl is now asserting dominance over mum and sister, mum is much smaller and quite timid. The older sister is now biting her sister and being quite aggressive. Do you think getting her (or both girls) neutered will help and do you think mum needs to neutered? We’ve had mum for 3 years and she has always been quite settled before this. Thanks.
 

Fuz

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Hello!
Females are spayed, males are neutered. And yes, spaying does help with aggression.
After spaying, you need them to heal separately, and then introduce them again in a new environment, such as a bathroom or room that all have not been in before. One rabbit will be dominant, this is how they are. But, at least she wont bite, or cause other harm. Good luck!
 

BunnyMum

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Thank you. Is it normal that the daughter takes dominance over the mum and then bonds with the male?? This seemed to be what was happening before we separated them, despite mum and male being bonded prior to this.
 

Fuz

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I don't think its anything out of the ordinary or something to be concerned about but hopefully, someone more learned in this than I am may come across your question and give you a definite answer. It may only be an issue if the rabbits continue fighting, but this will likely be alleviated once they are all spayed. :)
 

Fuz

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I think its wise to act fast in this situation. The mum and male were bonded and now separated. This is devastating for her to say the least, and can cause stress.
 

BunnyMum

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I’ve left mum in with the male and then taken both girls out and separated them. So it’s the 2 girls on their own and I don’t want to leave them on their own for long as they’re all used to being in together.
 

Fuz

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Is there any way that you can keep the sisters in the same room, but separate spaces? This is so that they see each other, get used to the presence of each other, and maybe the older one may not be so aggressive?
Also, is it feasible for you to spay them? I don't know how much it is in your area but I do know it can be costly.
 

zuppa

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Hi, I had a bonded pair that we wanted one litter from before getting him neutered, we ended up with 2 litters as he caught her again just before we got him done! We’ve sold most of the litters to friends and we now have mum, dad and 1 girl from each litter left. (girls all un-neutered) They were all living together quite happily. However, the older girl is now asserting dominance over mum and sister, mum is much smaller and quite timid. The older sister is now biting her sister and being quite aggressive. Do you think getting her (or both girls) neutered will help and do you think mum needs to neutered? We’ve had mum for 3 years and she has always been quite settled before this. Thanks.
So I understand that male is neutered and mother and two girls are intact?
What age are sisters? It sounds to me like the oldest one is about 5 months now and the younger probably 4-6 weeks younger?
In fact what you had until now happy family was just temporary thing because girls were just babies and it was not real bond just babies are getting along just fine, and now your older sister is about an adult and this is normal that she will want to dominate.
I think that you did good separating girls from parents and from each other. Adding 3rd rabbit to a bonded pair could break bond in fact they need to be rebonded as a trio if you want to keep them all together. It is not impossible but can take time. If you decide to keep sisters and bond them with their parents it would be best to spay them and wait a few weeks, then d some research on bonding process and be very prepared
 

Preitler

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Hm, I keep my does in pairs, well, a trio and a pair now since there is a leftover doeling from last year, if they get along solely depends on the individual characters, and it is easier with duos than with trios. No rules about who teams up with who, they don't care about age, size, traditions, relationships or whatever. It seems that you've got a strongheaded adolescent there.

Another thing is, they need space. Not just area, but divided space so they can get out of each others eyes for half a day if they feel like it. If one doe is grumpy, and shoos the other away, they can take it as an affront that the second doesn't go someplace else, which isn't really possible in a space where they always see each other. That can escalate things.

Each of my groups has two seperate hutches, connected by a tunnel. They get garden time where it's easier to keep distance when there's thick air. But it's all on their terms, I only seperate in real emergencies for 1 or 2 days to not mess up their hierachy. My groups can see each other all day long, that dosn't help with getting along, the second they get accidentially out in the garden at the same time it's an instant Furnado and most times I end up bleeding when seperating them. But they never lived together to start with.

Oh, it isn't really aggression how they sort out their hierachy, even if it can be hard to watch it is normal social behaviour, not fighting - including evil eye, humping, short chasing and tufts of fur flying (males don't really do it that way). If it doesn't work out and the characters are incompatible there isn't much else to do than to seperate. Spaying can help, since hormones play a big role in their behaviour, but hard to tell how it will work out beforehand. There are several good reasons to spay pet bunnies.

In your position, I would neuter the older doe (my free range house bunnies are my buck and a neutered doe) and after that goes well keep trying to find homes for the young ones.
 

BunnyMum

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The sisters are 8 and 6 months now. I had to separate them as the younger one has small scabs on her back from bites from the older one. I haven’t got space to put them in space where they can still see each other as they are in hutches in the garden. I have two hutches linked to outside space which they all had free run of but have had to put mum and male in one now and two sisters in one level each of the bigger one and give them individual time outside. It’s definitely not ideal and not really sustainable.

I will have to save up and get one girl done at a time, it’s not cheap
 
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