How do you choose? - advice would be greatly appreciated

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pepnclo

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I haven't made a firm decision yet but I don't think my bunnies are going to be friends again and I'm not sure what to do. I've had them for about 7 months and have had to keep them separated for the last 3. I live in an apartment so at the moment I alternate who gets to be in their enclosure and who gets to have free roam of the place. I work 2 jobs and have no one to help me out. I know I must sound like I'm just whinging but I'm wearing thin, to the point that it must be detrimental to the bunnies as well.

Anyway, as horrible as it sounds my question is then is the logical next step to start thinking about finding a new home for one of them?
 

Tessiesaurus

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So the question is how do you choose which of the two to keep?

I thought my two would never bond and I was facing the prospect of either keeping them separate or giving one up, but mine did manage to work it out and now they're friends! Are you sure you've tried everything and that it's really not going to work?

If you do have to choose, only you can know which to choose, I don't think anyone will be able to tell you, but I will say how sorry I am that you're in this situation. :(
I don't know how you would go about choosing, maybe if there's one you prefer, or maybe there's one that is better behaved? Maybe you've had one for longer? If you do have to give one up, make sure they go to a good home.
 

Blue eyes

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Could you give us more background information. Did you get them young? Are they fixed? male/female?

Perhaps you only need some bonding advice. But that depends on the answers to the above questions.

It sounds like they just had to be separated because they became hormonal. The solution would be to have them fixed and then re-introduce them. But I don't know if that is the situation :dunno:
 

Leopold_Ruby

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I'd just keep both. Let one out to run around one day and the other the next.
 

Troller

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Many people think their buns will never learn to get along, but eventually try something new and viola, bonded rabbits. For me it was figuring out that bunny dates just weren't working so I had to run a bunny marathon where they stayed together. Oh it was nerve wracking, 48 hours of near fights and tussles but they finally bonded. I don't know your personal situation but I'd start by asking if your totally positive these two can't work it our and have you tried all the methods to do it?
 

pepnclo

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They're both female and fixed. I got them young and they fought once they hit puberty. They were fixed and then they were friends again and then one day they just started fighting again and now I can't even get them anywhere together without them fighting right away. Before it would be at least a little while before they started with each other. The weird thing is it seems as though they like to be in the same vicinity so will often hang out on difference sides of the cage but close by but that could be them being defensive. Sorry this morning it just all seemed to much. Would also appreciate bonding advice as I feel I read a lot of conflicting views on the subject
 

Blue eyes

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I have had some very easy bonds and some very difficult and some that would not work. I have come to the opinion that with bonding, you, the owner, are probably the best one qualified to assess your rabbits behavior. That said, there are still general guidelines that can help.

If they have been fighting recently, it can be most helpful to keep them out of each other's sight and smell for a couple weeks. Let them forget their tussles. The idea behind this would be to allow them to begin fresh -- as if they have never met each other before.

After that time apart, neutral territory will be most critical. With females this is very important (I learned the hard way). Find an area where neither rabbit has ever, ever been even temporarily.

Once you've waited out the time and found your neutral territory, you'll need to decide on a bonding method that you feel comfortable with. The slow process is the one most often promoted in the US. That is where one has multiple bonding "sessions" for the rabbits over a period of days, weeks or months (depending on the rabbits). Another method I discovered on a UK site promotes putting the rabbits together (supervised of course) and then not separating them at all (unless they are determined to be incompatible). I've used both methods with success. The link for the UK site also has video clips showing various bonds in progress. I found those to be most helpful.

Here are links to these two very different bonding approaches. See which one you may prefer (after separating them for a while and finding neutral territory).

http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articles/bond.shtml

http://cottontails-rescue.org.uk/information/bonding-bunnies/
 

Troller

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This site proved invaluable for me and bonding, and kept me from giving up and got me over the hump.

http://www.wheekwheekthump.com

About neutral territory. I ran in to an issue where my rabbits had dates everywhere in my apt and I had no place left. If your not opposed to rearranging furniture, i moved a large hutch, laid down some coroplast flooring and an x-pen and viola, new territory. You might have to sweep and spray down a spot but you can always make new territory.
 

fluffybuns

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Oh gosh, that sure is between a rock and a hard place. I'd say I would completely exhaust every technique possible before making that decision. Spend a few more days exploring every possible option. If you haven't already, see if you can get a friend or rabbit enthusiast to volunteer to come spend time with the rabbits. Get a friend to calm and soothe one bun while you do the same with the other and slowly get closer together, that way they both feel loved and validated. Sometimes you may just have to let them duke it out before they can start the bonding process on their own. Sometimes rabbits go through spats and rough patches that they get over in time and you may be able to help repair the relationship with physically intervening and redirecting. However, if you've absolutely 100% decided that one has to go, I'd say keep the one who seems to need you more. The one who spends the most time bonding with YOU. The other one may be just as sweet, but overall it may be best to set a hard limit and stick to it. The bun who has been with you the longest may have a harder time coping with a new human family.
 
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Courtney88

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Have you thought about keeping them in separate cages while you're not home? My rabbits stay in their cages when I'm at work and they can come out for supervised play as long as someone is watching them. They are a bonded male pair, but they became un-bonded twice (after an emergency trip to the vet and after a minor surgery). We re-bonded them after each incident, but it take a LOT of work. We found that letting them sit right next to each other while being pet and spoken to in a calming voice helps to reinforce that bond. Snowball still attacks Buttercup randomly from time to time, but keeping them in their separate cages while I'm away helps tremendously. They are right next to each other so they know the other one is right there, but there's no risk of a fight while we can't watch them. And if they are roaming the house and Snowball starts a fight, we can easily put him in for a "time out" and take him out when he is ready. Think about getting cages - it works very well for us!
 

pepnclo

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I'm going to keep trying to bond them but need to be realistic and think about what I do when they break me.

A few of the suggestions are just impractical in my circumstances. I live in a small apartment by myself and as it is, the cage takes up about a quarter of my living room. Apart from that there's my bedroom which they know is my space and I wanted to keep it like that. My door is always open when I'm home but they tend to just hang out in the living room. Making it hard to get another cage for them or keep them out of each others' sight. However, I just had an idea. Would taking them somewhere that did rabbit boarding work?

Unfortunately, I don't have anyone else to help me and sometimes the fights go for a while before I manage to stop them. Since they are like this, I can't do bonding sessions as often as I would like because I also work on-call a lot of the time and am basically expected to drop everything I'm doing if I get a call.

I can't imagine one without the other :( But thank you for all your input. I will read up more about the other approaches to bonding. Its just so heart breaking because every time I finally have an amazing day with think maybe things are looking up, they start fighting soon after
 

GardenSpots

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This is really long, sorry.

Not sure of what your set up is, but it sounds like you have a fairly large area for the buns. I took a bit of an unconventional approach to bonding, one that I have not heard anyone else mention, and one that seems to be a bit of my own invention. It’s kind of a modified fast track. This may work in your situation with some modifications.

I have two boys. I originally bonded my one bun to a female, but she had trouble adapting to our household, so she ended up going back to the rescue. That bonding was a piece of cake – it took all of two hours.

The bonding with the boys was not so simple. I thought there were a lot of fights and a lot of potential for serious damage if I was not diligent about breaking up fights quickly. I expected this. These are my first two buns though, so I don’t have a lot to compare to, but I thought it was a pretty difficult bonding. There was a lot of flying fur, but no injuries to any of us.

I did a lot of research and started out with bunny dates like most people do. I was pretty determined that this was going to work one way or the other, but I was also prepared to have them live apart. I am by myself, also, so no help with the process from anyone.

I started bonding on a Sunday. Usual short dates in the bathtub went well on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday we moved to a very small expen (three panels in a triangle) and the fights began. I found the most effective thing for breaking up fights was a soda can with a couple of pennies in it. If it escalated before I could break it up, shoving the expen around and yelling HEY! in addition to the penny can usually broke them up. I broke up the fights within a few seconds if at all possible. Dates became longer, more like 45 minutes to an hour (I did not want this to go on forever, so I pushed a bit harder than maybe I should have.).

Wednesday I started with stress bonding. I used a small cat carrier on a luggage cart and pulled them around the back yard in the grass… small space, slanted surface and bumpy ride. Then we had a bonding session in a square expen, one panel per side. We moved up to 1 ½-2 hours at this point. I also introduced a litter box, but they became territorial so I took it out for a while and eventually had to add a second one. They COULD NOT eat together in there at all (but could eat together in the small carrier….hmmm).

Friday I decided to try a marathon. There was still a lot of fighting, but I could also see progress being made. One bun was giving signals of being submissive, but the other still would not trust him. My response became, if you fight, you go in the carrier for a stress bonding period. By Saturday a.m., I decided they were not ready for a marathon. Enter the unconventional part.

We continued our marathon, but in a different way. I ran errands for 3-4 hours on Saturday. They went with me in the carrier (I found there was very little fighting in the small space). I carried them around the stores or pushed them in the shopping cart doing sharp turns around corners. I picked up the carrier and put it back down for no reason other than to do it. When we got home, they sat in that carrier on top of the wash machine through three loads of laundry while I read a book. Then I started cleaning the house. Everywhere I went, even if I moved two feet away, I picked up that carrier and took it with me…all day, up and down.

That evening I had to go out for a couple of hours and did not want to undo our progress. I have a slightly larger hard sided carrier that happens to fit perfectly within their condo in such a way that neither bun could fight with the other. The door of the carrier was up against an outside wall of the condo and the air holes in the carrier are too small to get a bunny nose through. So, one bun stayed in the carrier inside the condo, and the other bun stayed in the rest of the condo…forced togetherness.

Over the next four days I rotated who stayed in the carrier and who got the condo during periods of time when I could not be home. They were forced to live with one another and get used to each other’s scents, but in a safe manner. Mind you, the condo had been my original bun’s home for several months already. I did not neutralize it in any way at any time during this process. At night, they slept together in the larger carrier on the floor next to my bed, so if a fight broke out, I could reach down and rattle them around…more forced togetherness. Pretty much, if I was at home, they were together either in a carrier being carted around the house everywhere I went, sleeping together in one at night, or having a bonding session in an expen. If I was not at home, one was in the carrier that was placed inside the shared condo, while the other one was in the rest of the condo with free access to hop on top of and around the carrier, but did not have access to the bun inside the carrier.

Therefore, pretty much from Friday night on, they lived together 24/7 one way or another. During this time, they also had extended bonding sessions of 2-3 hours each day in a fully extended expen so that they could continue working on their relationship in the larger area while also getting some time to stretch their legs. Over the course of those few days, they still fought, but the breakthrough occurred during one of the expen sessions on Sunday evening. I did not actually leave them in the condo together for the first time (with free access to each other) until Wednesday night. And I knew at that time that they were ready. The new bun just simply moved in with the old bun and the transition was seamless, although part way through the bonding process, I was thinking that the transition was going to be really challenging for them.

In 11 days I had fully bonded buns. It was a lot of hard work, but worth it. This is not an approach I would take over the course of weeks. But as an approach over the short term, it worked really well for me.

So, you might consider an enclosure within an enclosure, and forced togetherness. Perhaps a marathon stress bonding session. Think outside the box, and be determined.
 

bright_eyes

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You'd received some awesome advice, and I hope you can work it out!

In the event that you have to rehome one of them (this sounds horribly hippie-voodoo, but it has always worked for me) I have a friend who is an animal psychic and she advised me to just ask the animal! Like a human, just ask for a sign and they will give it to you.

Weird, but it works for me every time.
 

Blue eyes

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@ GardenSpots, part of your method sounds similar to the 2nd method I mentioned earlier.

(my quote): "Here are links to these two very different bonding approaches. See which one you may prefer (after separating them for a while and finding neutral territory).

http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articles/bond.shtml

http://cottontails-rescue.org.uk/inf...nding-bunnies/ "

The second one involves keeping the buns together (while monitored) 24/7.

@ pepenclo, You mentioned rabbit boarding. Have you contacted any rabbit rescues? I have heard that there are places in the UK that do bunny bonding for people. I haven't heard anyone do that here in the US (except for the rabbit rescues bonding their rabbits to be placed as an already bonded pair). I have no idea what may be available in Australia.
 

pepnclo

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Thanks for all the ideas. I am going to give it another go once things die down at work. There'a a lot of information to sift through and decide which approach to take but hopefully it will all be worth it. Thanks again for the kind advice
 

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