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HELP fighting brothers supposed to go to new home

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Jermhen123

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Hello!

My baby bunnies were together at my house. They’ve lived happily but are now fighting! I’ll explain from the beggining below.
My wife and I owned 2 mini holland lops. They accidentally got together before we could neuter/spay and so 31 days later we had a celebration of 7 baby bunnies!! It’s been such a fun process watching them grow but it’s now at the 10 week mark and we’ve begun selling them Since we sadly can’t keep 9 bunnies lol

they all lived together happily in a big cage. 4 days ago we gave away the first female. Yesterday we gave two males. And we plan another Male to go this Tuesday. So we’ve been taking the ones who are about to go to their new homes and placing them in a new Separate cage.

So last night was first night with only 3 baby bunnies In the cage. I woke up to lots of floor scratching but found the 3 lunging at each other, nipping, chasing and even biting me as I was grabbing them. 2 female and 2 Males. We didn’t separate because we figured they aren’t sexually mature. The 2 males are supposed to be given away this weekend but now I can’t let them by each other as they won’t stop biting and chasing. I’m nervous if we should even give them away together at this point? I figured they were already bonded since being born together but now I’m not sure what to do.
Any help or guidance would be appreciated!
 

Blue eyes

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You are in a difficult situation and are right to be questioning what to do with the 2 males.

Baby bonds don't count as true bonds. Most all babies get along but it is only temporary. At 10 weeks each rabbit should be kept separate. This should be explained to whomever was planning on getting the 2 males. These two males will need to be kept separate until 8 weeks after they've been neutered (to allow hormones to fully dissipate). At that point, it is possible to re-introduce them and attempt to bond them. BUT there is no guarantee that they will bond.

This would also apply to the 2 males you already gave away. I would strongly advise that the new owners be contacted and warned that this type of falling out is quite common with 2 rabbits. It might be honorable to be willing to take one back as well.

Generally, it is not a good idea for 2 baby rabbits to go to a new home together -- not unless the new owners are well aware that they may fight, need to be fixed (both of them, regardless of gender), and then there is no guarantee that they will re-bond later.

On a separate note, for any single rabbits that are given away, I think it is a good idea to let new owners know (especially first time rabbit owners) that a host of hormonal behaviors may accompany the onset of hormones. They should be made aware of this and also know that the remedy is to have the rabbit fixed. Fixing can be rather costly. I'm in the greater Phoenix area and spays here cost around $250!

The reason I say it's wise to let them know ahead of time is there are many who are not only unaware of this, but also are unwilling to pay the high cost of neutering. They would rather surrender the rabbit to a shelter than to pay the cost. Rescues are already struggling (especially with Covid) and many won't even accept any more rabbits. That could leave any such rabbit in a precarious situation.

With each rabbit that is going to a new home, you may want to provide a rabbit care website for them as well so they can learn the basics (diet, litter training, housing, bonding, etc). One link is rabbitsindoors.weebly.com

This forum is also a great resource for any new (or old) rabbit owners.
 

JBun

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10 weeks is early, but it does sound like they are starting to exhibit hormonal behavior. Which unfortunately does mean they need to be kept separate now. Depending on how the females interact once the males are gone, they may still be ok together for a few more weeks, but all rabbits are different and that is just something you will have to judge based on their reactions. The girl buns should not be left together unsupervised unless absolutely sure they aren't going to fight, as fights even at that age, could result in serious injury.
 

Jermhen123

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Thank you for the info and wisdom. Our reasoning behind giving them away in 2’s was because we thought this would make them generally happier/less stressed as they have a friend and because they’re such social animals. But sounds like that’s not always the case.
So the 2 male bunnies who are supposed to go (male1/male2) doesn’t seem like it will happen. We do have male bunny#3. Male bunny 3 and male bunny 1 have seemed to get along better. Should we trial this relationship? Will that even give a true indication of future bonding? I’m wondering if male3 just isn’t as hormonal yet..?

also, to Jenny, I made a typo there is only 1 female baby (plus the mom). However we did plan to keep the baby female. We had the same assumption about bonding. That mom and baby would get along no issues. Could this be a bad assumption? Especially since they’re both female?
 

Jermhen123

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Btw, we are contacting the owners and making them aware. We really want a good fit for the bunnies and the families as well.
 

Preitler

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About the last point, I have 2 mother-daughter pairs. It doesn't count much that they are related in the long run if the characters don't match, I keep kits up to 20 weeks so I could see which get along well with their moms. There's more leeway with girls though than with males, girls can sort out their hierachy even if it's not a perfect match.

Can't tell about male bonds, I do keep them in larger groups for 16-20 weeks, and it escalated only once in 8 years (3 fatalities from one day to the next), but that really depends on the individual characters and circumstances. Imho it's pretty rare that intact males get along (their incentive is not so much hierachy, but driving rivals away), as far as I know somewhat better chances when neutered, here many males get neutered before puberty hits to avoid all those problems, for some reason that doesn't seem to be popular in the US or UK.
 

Blue eyes

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Thank you for the info and wisdom. Our reasoning behind giving them away in 2’s was because we thought this would make them generally happier/less stressed as they have a friend and because they’re such social animals. But sounds like that’s not always the case.
So the 2 male bunnies who are supposed to go (male1/male2) doesn’t seem like it will happen. We do have male bunny#3. Male bunny 3 and male bunny 1 have seemed to get along better. Should we trial this relationship? Will that even give a true indication of future bonding? I’m wondering if male3 just isn’t as hormonal yet..?

also, to Jenny, I made a typo there is only 1 female baby (plus the mom). However we did plan to keep the baby female. We had the same assumption about bonding. That mom and baby would get along no issues. Could this be a bad assumption? Especially since they’re both female?
I assumed your intentions with giving them in pairs was for their presumed benefit.;)

You are correct that rabbits are social and do well in pairs. Unfortunately, that pairing is generally best done after they are both fixed and they've chosen their partner themselves. Some individual rabbits are quite easy going and therefore easy to bond. Others are more difficult and some can be outright crazy choosey.

There is no point in trying out a young pair since it makes no difference once hormones kick in. The cuddliest of babies can turn viciously on each other. Or, babies that may not get along could become best of bondmates later on.

This can also apply to the female. She may or may not get along with her mother. I assume they both will be spayed from what you originally indicated. Once spayed it will depend on their personalities, not their blood relations.

If you hoped to have your male (father), female (mother), and the 3rd (daughter) rabbit all live together, that's another issue entirely. Trios can be done, but again, no guarantees. Pairs seem to work out more easily. Trios can be difficult to achieve. Just more food for thought.

Here's a great article on bonding:
 

zuppa

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So the 2 male bunnies who are supposed to go (male1/male2) doesn’t seem like it will happen. We do have male bunny#3. Male bunny 3 and male bunny 1 have seemed to get along better. Should we trial this relationship? Will that even give a true indication of future bonding? I’m wondering if male3 just isn’t as hormonal yet..?
No, don't do that, they may stay friendly for another week or two and then their new family will be terrified by the fights and they will be looking to rehome one or both. I have one boy from the same situation, he had stitches on his ear all way from base to the end, horrible wound around his eye and more wounds on him, even after 8 months he still has a little hole on his ear.

Answering why they started so early it can be because they are mini sized, dwarf breeds mature earlier and can start fighting at 9 week. By 10 weeks they should be separated, at least you can keep girls with mother for another month or until they become territorial, but all boys should be kept separately. I know it is not easy to do maybe but they can't wait until next weekend, you have to do it asap.

At 10 weeks dwarf boys can be able to get a female pregnant, not their sisters as they are too young (until maybe 14 weeks) but they can get pregnant their mother. Not funny at all. So please separate boys immediately. Sometimes young boys kept separately from females can stay calmer and don't show hormones for another couple weeks, but if they can see or smell a female nearby they can go crazy and all this fighting is for showing dominance over who wins a female, so sometimes they can calm down and stay boys in same cage for a while. But no guarantee, you should watch them. Best separate them all boys individually. They can also start spraying walls soon and it will be very difficult to rehome them, so try rehoming boys first.

As others already said please do not rehome two brothers, this is a recipe for disaster for other people! Unless they are very experienced with rabbits and know that they will have to keep them separately for another few months, min 8 weeks after neutering (neutering is usually from 4-6 months)
 
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Jermhen123

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Thanks everyone for the great info and responses! We’ve had good discussions with the families taking the animals and both families getting duos are still really wanting 2 males. But we are splitting up the original duo and doing male1 and male3 (who still are very friendly with each other As is the first duo we gave away). We’ve let them know kindof worst-case scenario (separating them, neutering, re-bonding, etc) and what to expect (they could potentially stop being friendly and the NEED to get them separate cages at least for time being) and they are open to that and want to try and make it work. We will be in close contact as a resource for both families. But sadly we decided to let the daughter go to a new family, as we don’t think the fit here will work and don’t want the struggle of a trio right now.
Thanks again for everyone’s input!
 
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