Help! Young rabbit siblings fighting

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20200229_214116.jpg I woke up this morning to find fur everywhere and some spots of blood. It looks like Lottie has some bite marks in her ear.

They were absolutely inseparable until now. Always lying with each other and grooming each other. They are sisters - French lops, and are 17 weeks old.

Truffle has been becoming more and more confident... she was the shy one who was more prone to panicking and Lottie has always been very chilled.

I don't know what has gone wrong. What could be the causes of this?
 

Apollo’s Slave

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At 17 weeks (4months), their hormones have probably started to kick in. Causing territorial problems, and one of your rabbits is likely being more dominant the other.

Once they are spayed, if you plan on doing so, their hormones will calm down and bonding them should be easier (spaying helps prevent cancer, hormones and false pregnancies and more I think).

They’re very pretty :p
 

zuppa

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Nothing wrong, they're just not babies anymore and their baby ' bond' doesn't count. They will continue fighting for dominance now I would suggest separating them asap as they can seriously damage each other.
You can try bonding them again after spaying and you'll have to wait 6-8 weeks after that, or if you don't want to spay them they will calm down after 1 year old maybe you can try bonding them again, otherwise females are often quite territorial and not easy to bond.
 

Preitler

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You could arrange their living quarters so that they can get out of of each others eyes for hours, like sectioning off parts of their run with cardboard dividers with at least 2 openings/tunnels.

Now is a trying time, spring fever, there's a lot of action and some tufts of fur in my hutches and in the yard too (right now I have 5 intact does, a pair and a trio)

I do not seperate my does unless there's some emergency, but arrange their hutches (each group has 2 hutches, connected with a tunnel) so they can sort out their hierachy, that is a normal thing to do, even if hard to watch. Sometimes seperating them can be necessary, that's your decision to make.

Mine are 2 groups because I think it would be close to impossible to unite them, at least there wasn't an incentive to try it seriously. Some go into full-out berserk mode instantly. But those does aren't going to be spayed.
 

zuppa

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You could arrange their living quarters so that they can get out of of each others eyes for hours, like sectioning off parts of their run with cardboard dividers with at least 2 openings/tunnels.

Now is a trying time, spring fever, there's a lot of action and some tufts of fur in my hutches and in the yard too (right now I have 5 intact does, a pair and a trio)

I do not seperate my does unless there's some emergency, but arrange their hutches (each group has 2 hutches, connected with a tunnel) so they can sort out their hierachy, that is a normal thing to do, even if hard to watch. Sometimes seperating them can be necessary, that's your decision to make.

Mine are 2 groups because I think it would be close to impossible to unite them, at least there wasn't an incentive to try it seriously. Some go into full-out berserk mode instantly. But those does aren't going to be spayed.
Well from your comments I think you are very savvy and experienced rabbit person and have lots of experience I learn a lot from you, thanks for sharing your tips with us, but in this situation I think you have completely different needs as you need to keep your does intact for breeding and it is easier for you when they are bonded in pairs/trios so you go with letting them sorting their problems while they are still young and also you select your girls leaving baby-girls that are most suitable for bonding with their mothers, that is really smart and all but your situation is very different, as OP only has only two rabbits and can't do selection leaving just best of baby-girls with mother. It is very different from what you have and plan with your rabbits.
 
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This evening Truffle has been mounting Lottie and biting her back for dominance. I've made a loud noise when she has done this to shock her into stopping... but I feel uncomfortable about continuing this.

I am letting one free roam while the other is in the hutch during the day and swapping them around at night so that both get time out of the hutch. It's the best I can do at the moment.

I feel sorry for Lottie bless her
 

Mariam+Theo

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Their baby "bond" is not going to keep them "bonded". I suggest getting them spayed once they hit 5 months. Until then, I would separate them and put them in completely different rooms. After they are spayed you will need to wait 2 weeks, and then put them in cages 6 inches apart for another 2 weeks. After those 4 weeks, you can restart the bonding process. Here is a link and video on bonding rabbits: https://rabbitsindoors.weebly.com/bonding-bunnies.html
 

zuppa

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This evening Truffle has been mounting Lottie and biting her back for dominance. I've made a loud noise when she has done this to shock her into stopping... but I feel uncomfortable about continuing this.

I am letting one free roam while the other is in the hutch during the day and swapping them around at night so that both get time out of the hutch. It's the best I can do at the moment.

I feel sorry for Lottie bless her
You should separate them asap don't wait when it comes to tornado it will be very difficult to bond them again after a major fight as they will remember it. Fights can be very bad I know you still think they are nice and friendly and sisters but it can be really bad and can take seconds so don't risk it please
 
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You should separate them asap don't wait when it comes to tornado it will be very difficult to bond them again after a major fight as they will remember it. Fights can be very bad I know you still think they are nice and friendly and sisters but it can be really bad and can take seconds so don't risk it please
Ok I'm going to fully separate them. One will be in the hutch while the other is free roaming and I'll swap them around so they both get some freedom. I will also make sure that they cannot see each other. Unfortunately I cant put them in separate rooms but I can do this.
 
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20200316_193637.jpg

So I haven't managed to block the hutch area so they cant see each other yet... but I'm finding it strange that they are choosing to be close to each other... even Lottie who is the one being bullied actually wants to be near Truffle.

Any rabbit psychologists here?
 

Mariam+Theo

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Since they have been together they will want to stay together, that is why they are laying beside each other. I would keep that set up and not put a piece of cardboard in between them if they are choosing to lay by one another. But, if any aggression arises (biting through cage bars, pulling on bars, growling, etc.) you will need to put the cardboard up. I might have missed this, but are you planning on getting them spayed?
 
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Since they have been together they will want to stay together, that is why they are laying beside each other. I would keep that set up and not put a piece of cardboard in between them if they are choosing to lay by one another. But, if any aggression arises (biting through cage bars, pulling on bars, growling, etc.) you will need to put the cardboard up. I might have missed this, but are you planning on getting them spayed?
Yep they are 4 months old and will be spayed at 5 months :)

I haven't seen any aggression while they are separate so I'm really glad I don't have to start messing around with cardboard!
 

bunnylove2024

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I think you should let them be by each other like you are now but still have them separate. The are supper cute though! Also if lottie wants to be by truffel, they might just be working things out. Let us know how it goes!
 

Blue eyes

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They may do well separated but nearby. However, just because they lie near each other when they are separated does NOT necessarily mean they want to be near each other. It depends on how they act when they are not separated. Sometimes (not always) that type of laying 'on the border' (so to speak) is to take claim of their territory. It is a way to say, "you may be in your territory, but this right here is my territory."

So long as they seem compatible while separated, it is fine to keep them in vicinity of each other.
 

bunnylove2024

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They may do well separated but nearby. However, just because they lie near each other when they are separated does NOT necessarily mean they want to be near each other. It depends on how they act when they are not separated. Sometimes (not always) that type of laying 'on the border' (so to speak) is to take claim of their territory. It is a way to say, "you may be in your territory, but this right here is my territory."

So long as they seem compatible while separated, it is fine to keep them in vicinity of each other.
Never heard that before but it makes total sense!
 
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They may do well separated but nearby. However, just because they lie near each other when they are separated does NOT necessarily mean they want to be near each other. It depends on how they act when they are not separated. Sometimes (not always) that type of laying 'on the border' (so to speak) is to take claim of their territory. It is a way to say, "you may be in your territory, but this right here is my territory."

So long as they seem compatible while separated, it is fine to keep them in vicinity of each other.
Thank you, I was thinking along those lines too. I will observe them further but I do think that Truffle is keeping an eye on her sister to remind her that she is still there and is still the boss.
 
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