My rabbit, Beans attacked my rabbit, Rice

Rabbits Online Forum

Help Support Rabbits Online Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Jan 10, 2006
Reaction score
Queens, New York, USA
I'm so upset. I didn't get to sleep til 4 a.m. and had to come in to work this morning. As most of you know, i had my two rabbits spayed a couple weeks ago and I was waiting til i felt they were completely heeled to start the bonding process. In the meantime, I only let one rabbit out of the cage at a time. Well I was cleaning out their bedroom yesterday and Beans was the one who was out of her cage. I noticed Rice needed more water so I opened her cage and took out her dish and I don't know how I could possibly be so careless, but i left her cage door opened when i left the room.

I swear I was only gone for maybe 30 seconds and all of a sudden i hear thrashing and kicking and all sorts of commotion. My heart immediately sunk as i realized what i did and i went dashing back to the bedroom to find my two babies fighting like crazy. I yelled and smacked my hands together and they broke up. I know Beans started the fight. She is the larger and more dominant of the two and she was fine. I yelled "bad girl" and put her in her cage.

Then I picked up Rice who was completely shaken and petted her and looked her over. She was trembling and completely scared out of her mind. I looked her over and saw no obvious signs of damage until I lifted her ear. Beans put a hole right through her ear! Its not quite large enough to put my pinker finger though but almost. I stayed up all night with Rice. I put hydrogen peroxide on it and gave her some more pain medication that I had left over from when she was spayed.

She seemed to be feeling better but I feel so horrible - like i failed her. Now i don't know what to do about the bonding, orabout her ear - i called the vet and i'm bringing her in as soon as i get out of work, but i just feel awful. Did I do the right thing after the fight?I'm hoping Beans knows that I am angry and she is being punished right now. Is that not the right way to go about this? I don't mean to play favorites or anything - i just am at a loss right now. She usually is out of her cage for 12 out of 24 hours in the day. But i was thinking maybe i should leave her in her cage for longer as a reprimand. I just don't know what to do, please help.
Well my 2 cents are to not beat yourself up. I'm sure you didn't mean to be careless and it seems like you want what's best for your babies. The vet will have good advice as to what to do about Rice's ear.

As for punishing Beans, I doubt she will know what she is being punished for. She was just protecting her territory.

You will want to introduce these two slowly, in neutral territory and with a lot of supervision. You will probably want to wait a while as well to make sure that everybody is healed. You can then try the car-ride method, or many other things that have helped people.
Ok, then i guess there is no sense in keeping her in her cage if she doesn't know what it is for. So you think there may still be a chance for them if I take this slowly - I just feel like Rice will never forget what happened and will never want to bond with Beans...
Everything else sounds like you have it under control, but you may want to call andask your vet what is the safest and mildest antiseptic/wound cleaner for rabbits (I want to know too!). A friend of mine that dealt with wounds in her horses said something about peroxide killing tissue, but I'm having doubts about the accuracy of that--so hopefully your vet can confirm or disprove that.

I can't help much with the bonding because all mine are housed separately (unaltered)--perhaps someone else can step in here?

Good luck! Wish I could be of more help.....

I think that unless Beans is consistently and adamantly against it, it is possible. Here is Stephanie's bondingadvice which might be helpful:

First, make sureyou do the sessions in a neutral territory. I used my bathroom. Basically any smallish area/room where none of the rabbits ever are, therefore there is no scent or territory established.I made sure to have some water and food on hand for them, plus a water bottle (the kind you use tomist plants). Then I just sat there and did nothing and let them do their thing.

At the fist sign of aggression (ears laid flat back against the head),I would spray Abby and tell her NO in a loud, firm voice. I did this every time she was about to attack Valuran. Eventually she began to ignore him, which is what you want. Finally, she went up to him and groomed him, which means it's a done deal. Once you have grooming, their bonded.

This took me two full weeks to do. I would do these sessions two to three times a day, from twenty to thirty minutes at a time. The first two days I would take them in the same carrier on a short car ride, but stopped on day three. It was very frustrating and I very nearly lost all hope of success.

i just feel like Rice will never forget what happened and will never want to bond with Beans...
It is possible. Fey marks a lot more by Mocha's cage since Mocha ripped into her belly during a bonding session.

Keep a close eye on the ear wound, and also run your hands through Rice's fur and look for other injuries. Flip her over and check her stomach and genitals, too. All that thick fur makes it hard to see wounds.

I'm not surprised they fought as they were defending their territory. You can search here for bonding tips, and checkout
I would wait a couple weeks before trying though, and go slow when you do.
I just got off the phone with the vet again and they said that the peroxide is a good idea. They said to keep putting the peroxide on until I can bring her in. So FYI, peroxide is good for rabbit wounds, thank god!!
You've received a lot of good advice here. I agree with the person who said "don't beat yourself up" over this. Mistakes can happen - learn from them (it sounds like you have) and move on.

Remember though that both rabbits need your love right now - not just the one who got attacked. In fact, in some ways, the aggressive rabbit may need your love even more right now - remember that this rabbit was just following its instinct and suddenly it is in trouble. It doesn't understand why.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with sometimes is the fact that rabbits have their own nature - and as much as I joke about what they are doing or try to assign them human emotions sometimes when I blog about them....they aren't human and they don't have the same priorities I have. Their nature is just so different - we focus on 'getting along' whereby they focus on 'my territory'. It isn't always in their nature to share. Also - the aggressiveness is part of their "survival"instincts. In the wild - the aggressive animal would be more likely to survive (I'm guessing on that).

When we have a minor injury here I use triple antibiotic ointment I bought at Walmart. Your vet may suggest something different -one time when I was talking to my vet over the phone, he recommended itand said it would save me a trip to see him unless things got worse. Definitely watch for infection because it will need to be drained by the vet or by you or someone in your family.

Anyway, I would give both rabbits a hug and just spend some time lovingon both of them. You're still a good bunny parent - just remember - accidents do happen. After all - we are only human.

Keep us updated on Rice's condition and how Beans dose too!

shoot, now i feel bad for Beans. i'll have to make sure i give her some lovin' as soon as i get home and let her out of that cage. i guess i messed up on the punishment part. i'll know better next time. thanks for the advice. i feel better after reading your responses.i was kinda scared i was gonna be told I'm an inadequate rabbit mom! :? but i see that's not the case. :D
Good luck with the bonding! I hope the two of them will be friends again. Girls can be tricky. I had two sisters who were best buds as babies, then got altered and disliked each other. I managed to get them bonded again (took a 1500 mile road trip) they stayed bonded for almost a year and a half until one sister needed surgery. After the surgery, the other sister didn't want to have anything to do with her. So I got them both hus-buns instead. lol.

don't get discouraged and I hope your bun's ear heals up good!
ilovetegocalderon wrote:
I just got off the phone with the vet again and they said that the peroxide is a good idea. They said to keep putting the peroxide on until I can bring her in. So FYI, peroxide is good for rabbit wounds, thank god!!

Good to know! I'll add that to my list of "things I know now".;)Thanks!

I would like to counter what someone said above... about "once you have grooming it's a done deal and they are bonded". I don't want to offend or hurt anyone, but I had to bond two female bunnies.... and I always had grooming right off the get go... but they most certainly were not bonded. It took many tries, and the last time took 8 full weeks of dedicated bonding time to achieve a bonded pair. It really depends on the bunnies involved.

I would say that once you feel that they are bonded and you can leave them unattended without incident... they try to leave the room for a few minutes, and then check on them. As long as all is well... keep increasing the time you leave them alone with each other. Eventually take yourself out of the house completely for a short spell and see how they do. You need to feel 100%certain that they are friends before you leave them alone together while you are at work. Rabbit fights happen QUICK and it doesn't take long for damage to occur.

Hope you don't mind, but after all the heartache I went thru, I just wouldn't want any unnecessary heartachefor you.

Good luck!!

Lord knows how QUICK those fights can happen -like i said in OP, i think i was gone for probably less than 30 seconds when i heard the commotion. and in those 30 seconds my sweet little Rice got a hole in her ear.

On another note - since these fights are over territory and i am trying to bond them - what are your thoughts on making them switch cages every night - so their scents mix and they don' t feel so "attached" to one cage....good or bad idea?
I hope he heals soon. But please, don't beat yourself up. It was an accident.
On another note - since these fights are over territory and i am trying to bond them - what are your thoughts on making them switch cages every night - so their scents mix and they don't feel so"attached" to one cage....good or bad idea?

I'm doing this about once a week with Fey and Sprite. I don't know how well it works yet. I'll see what happens when I can start doing floor bonding sessions with them again. Right now I just occasionally pick one up, and the hubby has the other, and we hold them together. They do snuggle a little, and we pet them both to mix their scents together.
ilovetegocalderon wrote:
Lord knows how QUICK those fights can happen
Even under supervision, they can get at each other pretty fast.

I was able to take two bunnies outside in my back yard (with lots of area to run away fromeach other) and let them chase each other until one was determined the dominant one and the other submitted to him. The area was so bigthat there was no territory issues and had enough obstacles to duck behind and hide from the other. Of course, if the fighting continues, you would have to stopthem and try again at a later date.

Rainbows! :)
ilovetegocalderon wrote:
I just got off the phone with the vet again and they said that the peroxide is a good idea. They said to keep putting the peroxide on until I can bring her in. So FYI, peroxide is good for rabbit wounds, thank god!!
Peroxide should only be applied with a Q-Tip to the outside edges of a wound, and should never be used right insidea deepwound. (I think it hurts like heck!).

SASand PIPP :shock::shock:
I would wait a couple of weeks to make sure there are no infections and such and to give them a little time to forget this.

I tried the bathtub, and it didn't work for me. Mocha and Loki needed space to get away from each other- being kept close together made them more stressed and they fought constantly.I moved them to my bedroom, which was also neutral territory, and they began learning to like each other. Try the bathtub (put down towels so they don't slip and get scared), but keep a second location in mind in case that doesn't work for you.
I have no experience bonding (my bunnies came to me bonded), but I have heard that you can let them loose in the back of a car while you drive around the block. The rabbits will both be a little afraid of the car, so they will be less likely to fight with one another.

Latest posts