How do I know when the bunnies are bonded?

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by renaelock, May 9, 2010.

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  1. May 9, 2010 #1

    renaelock

    renaelock

    renaelock

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    I still I have alots of bonding sessionsto go with Polo and Potter but they are making progress so I'd just like to know what I amshould be lookingfor to confirm when they are fully bonded.


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  2. May 9, 2010 #2

    Mrs. PBJ

    Mrs. PBJ

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    It can vary with every bunny.

    How are they when they are together?

    Do they still have tuffs have they ever spent the night together?

    Do they eat together?
     
  3. May 9, 2010 #3

    renaelock

    renaelock

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    Mrs. PBJ wrote:
    When they are together Polo is the dominant bunny so he is a little nippy as in "get out of my way I want to sit there" and Potter moves so there is no fighting at all anymore and no "evil" bites just dominant ones. They have started grooming each other and cuddling next to each other. I don't think they have any tuffs because I consider that to be Potter dishing back and he doesn't. They haven't spent the night together yet. The longest they have spent together is about 2 hours and thats because of the pens location - so I can keep an closer eye on them. Soon I will be moving it to the kitchen and they can stay in there longer. They have been in the litter box together once but I have seen them both each hay at the same time but not cuddled up or anything while eating. I know I still have more bonding sessions to do.
     
  4. May 9, 2010 #4

    undergunfire

    undergunfire

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    I think it sounds good! At this point I would be upping the amount of time they spend together every day - when they can spend a whole day together without a full blown fight (I think some light "hey you!" nips is okay), then I'd leave them together over night (with you sleeping next to them).
     
  5. May 10, 2010 #5

    elrohwen

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    To be fully bonded, the pair needs to live together 24/7 without fighting - that's really what a bonded pair is.

    Often, pairs need to go through a period called "cementing" when they first begin to live together. Typically this means giving them a small-ish cage that has been cleaned out of any smells and keeping them confined. Most people start out confining them all day for a few days, then giving them supervised playtime, then eventually moving them into a large permanent cage.

    Every pair is different, so you may need to do different things for different buns. My two were fine living together for 2 whole weeks, then had a scuffle one morning. I realized they hadn't actually figured out their dominance hierarchy yet (both were humping) and they needed more cementing time. So now they're out of the cage all day, but they sleep in a small 4'x2' cage. Bunnies usually won't fight in small spaces, so the small cage forces them to snuggle and spend the whole night together peacefully.

    Some people are able to move bunnies in together without all of this cementing stuff, but I would caution against it because it can result in fighting a week or two later if they've been given too much space too soon.
     
  6. May 10, 2010 #6

    undergunfire

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    Bonding is always soooo different for each person, LOL. I never ever heard of the cementing thing. My rabbits fought in a small space, but when given a larger space they did better.
     
  7. May 10, 2010 #7

    elrohwen

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    That's true, Amy, some bunnies do need more space and it certainly helped your two. Most, however, do better in small areas. I was worried my two would fight more in such a confined area, but it drastically reduced the amount of humping and chasing and eliminated fighting. And I haven't seen cementing discussed so much on this forum, but many experienced bonders that I'm in contact with recommend it firmly. Situations like mine (quick easy bond, but some fighting a few weeks after living together) are actually fairly common, which is why cementing is important - just moving them in together can lead to fights if they haven't totally established dominance to everybody's satisfaction.

    I also found that during the day, my bunnies are content to lay around and snuggle. The times I need to watch them are around 8-10pm and 5am. These are their most active times and it's when the humping really started and lead to chasing and then a fight. I did all of my bonding sessions during the afternoon and evening, so I missed these times and wasn't prepared for their behavior to change. But that's why you need to spend a few nights sleeping near them so you can step in if anybunny gets a little nippy overnight.
     
  8. May 10, 2010 #8

    elrohwen

    elrohwen

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    I wanted to add that bunnies who are ready to move in together aren't always snuggling and grooming all the time. Often this still needs to be worked out between them, which is why cementing can help. If the bunnies aren't particularly snuggly, giving them too much space can allow them to sleep apart. Putting them in a small cage forces them to snuggle together and really feel like a pair. And it can prevent fights if somebunny wants grooms but isn't getting them.
     
  9. May 10, 2010 #9

    JadeIcing

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    elrohwen wrote:

    I have done a lot of bonding and I have never confined them to a small cage no one in our rescue would suggest that either. We advocate for as much room as possible.The most confined space would be a carrier or basket driving or on a washing machine or walking. A bunny needs space to get away if need be. A small space is dangerous if god forbid they start fighting and you can't get them out fast.

    Each bunny is different and each person is different. I tell people only you know your bunnies. We don't so in the end you are the only judge of what you feel is right for your bunny. Not all bonded pairs are lovey dovey.

    I have to go to work but so want to post more in this thread. Someone remind me. :wink


     
  10. May 10, 2010 #10

    elrohwen

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    Interesting, Ali! That goes against most of the advice I have been given by bonding experts. They have all recommended a space about 4'x2' for the first few days of living together before the bunnies are moved to a larger area. The bunnies should not be fighting anymore when they are moved in together and this time in a small-ish cage should seal the deal. I didn't do this for my own bunnies and it actually caused a fight in a pair who were very easy to bond and had never fought before. So I've seen it work on my own bunnies.

    Different things will work for different bunnies though.
     
  11. May 10, 2010 #11

    Tweetiepy

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    I just love the tiny lops and I would love to have one as a second bunny to be able to play with our current bunny (whos also a small breed - lionhead). If I'm reading this right, we'd have to put them both separate but close so that they could get to know each other? Would I have to remove the "old" bunny to a smaller cage (she has a 2x4 NIC cage on two levels) or could I just put the new bunny in a small cage close to the bigger cage? Will the old bunny have to be moved to a smaller cage too so she doesn't get all possessive of her large surroundings? How long does this normally take for them to bond? Is the bonding so that they don't fight? Hubby loves lops and won't really interact with the lionhead - I wouldn't get the lop just for this reason but I would get one if it would be company so she won,t be lonely.

    Are the holland lops the smallest of the lops? I don't have the room for bigger bunnies than the dwarf bunnies.

    Anyone know of where I could get a dwarf lop in the Ottawa region - as a pet - no show breeds wanted.
     
  12. May 10, 2010 #12

    elrohwen

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    Tweetie, the small space I was talking about is only for the final stage of bonding when the bunnies are moved in together to be permanent roommates. Before that, you will need to do a number of bonding sessions in a neutral space (bathtubs are good for this) until they get along (it doesn't matter what their individual cages are like, since they won't be sharing a cage at this point). They shouldn't be moved in together until they have had numerous positive sessions together and aren't fighting. It can take anywhere from a week to 6 months (or more), but doing bunny dating first can speed up the process because you can find the most compatible bunny for your current bun.

    Both also need to be spayed/neutered for at least 4-6 weeks before you begin. For this reason it's usually recommend you get another adult who is already fixed, rather than a baby, because you can start bonding right away.

    I would also do a lot of research about bonding first so you know somewhat what to expect. There are as many stories and techniques as there are bunnies, so it's not always an easy process.
     
  13. May 10, 2010 #13

    Tweetiepy

    Tweetiepy

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    OOPS forgot to ask: Is bonding only for a different sex pair or can same-sex bond together too?
     
  14. May 10, 2010 #14

    elrohwen

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    Bonding male-female tends to be the easiest, with male-male bonds next, then female-female bonds are the hardest. Even within same sex bonds, both bunnies need to be fixed.
     
  15. May 10, 2010 #15

    renaelock

    renaelock

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    wow, what great information! Thanks guys! I am currently looking for a piece of flooring so the rabbits can be in the living room and I won't have to worry about damage to my carpet (teeth or otherwise). Once I find flooring the time they spend together will get a lot longer!! I can't wait!
     
  16. May 11, 2010 #16

    Mrs. PBJ

    Mrs. PBJ

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    My buns even now spend a lot of time apart no fighting or anything. Just they both do their own things.

    As said above it is different for every person.

    I was able to have my bunnies living together in a week if that to be honest. They could have lived together from day one if I was a more experience bonder.

    It hard to say Ali told me the same thing I will know when they are ready. And they are great together.
     
  17. May 11, 2010 #17

    elrohwen

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    We've had a lot of easy bonds around here lately and I think for an easy bond it's not too hard to put them together and they'll get along. For harder bonds I think more care needs to be taking to follow the "steps" that have worked for experienced bonders.

    It sounds like Polo and his buddy have had a very quick bonding experience if you are already thinking about moving them in together, so you might not have a problem moving them right into the same cage together. I just recommend the small cage technique to everyone as it has been very successful for the rescue I work at and a very experienced bonder who has helped me. I've also seen it be successful for my bunnies who had a scuffle 2 weeks after moving in together but have been fine since sleeping in the smaller cage at nights.
     
  18. May 11, 2010 #18

    JadeIcing

    JadeIcing

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    Ok so when it comes to a small cage my big concern is fighting. The one time I put my guys into a small cage(ok was a pen)to work out some kinks I had a really really bad fight that caused several injuries to each of the bunnies. They had been together for loooong periods of time without incident. These were bunnies that had to everyone who saw them appeared a fully bonded group of bunnies. I treated them each for very bad bite wounds. Also myself because I had to dive in and seperate the bunnies.

    I stress more than anything know your bunnies, no one but you knows what they need and what is right for them. Each bonding is different each bunny is different. Respect their needs, and what is right for one bond isn't always right for all bonds.
     
  19. May 11, 2010 #19

    elrohwen

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    Ali, I agree. No one method will work for all bunnies.

    The small cage method has been extremely effective for my rescue, but that doesn't mean it will be effective for all bunnies. And for groups larger than 2 there may be other dynamics at work that make a small space worse.
     
  20. May 11, 2010 #20

    Tweetiepy

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    I don't want to hyjack but I do have a question: Why do we need to bond bunnies? if you go to a petshop to buy the rabbits, they're all in the same area (they are however very young though). Could you not put them together and hope for the best or are they garanteed to fight?

    And if Bun #1 already has a large cage, where do you put Bun#2 while they wait to get acquainted in a neutral area?
     

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