I've been scared to try to bond my rabbit again - advice?

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

edikit

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Location
California, US
We have a ~3 year old neutered boy (Nugget) and about a year and a half ago adopted a spayed female (Pickles) to bond with him. When we had taken him to the shelter for the bunny speed date, it was very clear that they immediately hit it off and that she was the one for him. Of course, when we got back to his territory, there was a lot of territorial behavior, but never aggressive. Mostly just a lot of humping on his part.

Now, she had a serious heart problem and we later discovered that she very likely had megacolon as well, so I thought that maybe this is why she never really established dominance (she was quite timid). We took the bonding very slow because of this, but even after they were reasonably bonded, he never really stopped humping. He had already been neutered for 6+ months at this point. She passed due to her health complications and I've been too afraid to adopt another bunny since.

Thing is, he still appears to be sexually frustrated, at times even trying to hump me, and I know it's likely because he needs another bunny to bond with. I'm just worried he'll never stop trying to hump her. Maybe we need to find a bunny who has higher energy than Pickles did? My suspiscioun was always that he continued to behave like that because she never did establish dominance, but I'd love some advice on where to go from here.

Also, he's free roam and there's not really any part of the house he's not allowed in, so I'm sure that plays a part as well, but FWIW I've never seen him act aggressively toward another bun or human (even strangers). He really is a sweet rabbit who just wants love. :(
 

Blue eyes

Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
7,222
Reaction score
3,537
Location
Arizona, USA
The reaction your rabbit will have to another rabbit can be totally different from rabbit to rabbit. In other words, how he behaved toward the prior female is not any necessary indication of how he would be toward another. It depends on the personality of the other rabbit and the dynamic that that combination creates.

If you want a bondmate for him, just do what you did before. Let him meet some other rabbits at a rescue to pre-screen for potential compatibility.

In the meantime, block off a convenient section of the house to begin creating a somewhat neutral area for bonding. Re-arrange things, wipe them down with vinegar, etc. It is usually females that tend to be more protective of their territory. I've found it easier to bring a female to a male's territory than the other way around. So that is to your advantage.

Then when they are finally bonded, you can 'neutralize' the rest of the roaming area as much as possible. Limit their early wanderings so they don't choose territories to defend. Only gradually increase their roaming area.
 

Novabunbun15

New Member
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
Location
New Jersey
I totally agree with the neutral bonding area so neither of the bunnies feel like the other is in their space. You can also do the car ride truck since bunnies tend to bond with others during car rides since they can feel a little scared so they comfort each other. That worked for my bunny when bonding her and her new friend.
The reaction your rabbit will have to another rabbit can be totally different from rabbit to rabbit. In other words, how he behaved toward the prior female is not any necessary indication of how he would be toward another. It depends on the personality of the other rabbit and the dynamic that that combination creates.

If you want a bondmate for him, just do what you did before. Let him meet some other rabbits at a rescue to pre-screen for potential compatibility.

In the meantime, block off a convenient section of the house to begin creating a somewhat neutral area for bonding. Re-arrange things, wipe them down with vinegar, etc. It is usually females that tend to be more protective of their territory. I've found it easier to bring a female to a male's territory than the other way around. So that is to your advantage.

Then when they are finally bonded, you can 'neutralize' the rest of the roaming area as much as possible. Limit their early wanderings so they don't choose territories to defend. Only gradually increase their roaming area.
 

edikit

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Location
California, US
Thank you both for the advice/suggestions. :) I'll definitely be using the car trick!

Nugget has never really been confined to any area before for any length of time, so I worry that limiting his space might create other problems, especially if he's blocked off from my boyfriend or me.

I initially tried to block off my office to him, but he would just endlessly chew on the ex pen to try to break in, didn't matter if the door was open or closed, didn't matter how many chews or toys he had, so I gave up. It's the same deal around Xmas when we block off the tree, he never stops trying to get into that one corner of the house. It's like he sees any space that he can't be in and immediately wants to be there, no matter how much other space he has...

I'm not worried about the bonding sessions themselves, but if we're meant to restrict his roaming space for a time after they're bonded, I worry it'll make him anxious or depressed. Are there any tricks to help with that? Maybe it won't be an issue because he'll have his bondmate to keep him company?
 

Blue eyes

Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
7,222
Reaction score
3,537
Location
Arizona, USA
You're welcome!

A couple more thoughts....

Before doing any "stress bonding" you may want to read the following article:

As for limiting their roaming space when they return to their main area (after bonding), there is reason for that. If they are given too much space too soon, they may choose their own separate "territories" within the larger space (especially the new one). This can lead to fights and bonding issues. By granting it gradually, the new one gets the chance to get familiar with the space bit by bit.

Initially limiting the space ends up being a positive. As an example, I'll show the following video.

My white rabbit had lost her bondmate and I bonded her upstairs with a new male. She was used to having the whole downstairs as her roaming area. Once the two were bonded, it was time to bring them both back downstairs. The cage was one I had kept open all day every day. But when I first brought them downstairs together, I kept them confined in the cage for a couple days so the new one could get used to it. After a few days, I opened the cage door but limited the roaming space with an ex-pen.

Remember, the white one had formerly been used to not being confined. She adjusted since she now had the new male to hang out with. Even though her space was confined, she was overjoyed to have even that limited space. Here she is, so happy to be out of the cage and in familiar territory, limited as it is.

 

Latest posts

Top