Nala and Gaz

Discussion in 'Bunny Blogs' started by Imbrium, Oct 22, 2012.

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  1. Oct 22, 2012 #1

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    I haven't started a blog before this for a couple reasons... one, "blog" has always been a bit of a dirty word in my mind and I've always mocked them. the internet doesn't care what you ate for breakfast or how good your nap was, people :p. I'm coming around on them as far as RO is concerned, though, since we're actually a tight little community where we all know each other and therefore have a reason to care what's going on with the day-to-day lives of our bunnies.

    the other reason I never started one is that I never felt I had much to put in one - they eat, poop, sleep, groom, play and look cute every day; hardly anything news-worthy, lol. that seems to be changing, though, as I've had a drama-filled week with the bunnies and I'm sensing a fair amount more to come :(.

    this week's drama is spread out across a variety of threads:
    http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=76236&forum_id=1 - announcement that it was spay-day
    http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=76266&forum_id=16 - started a new topic in the infirmary for some quick answers to post-op questions... initially, how to safely get them out of their carrier when my common sense took a break (forgot that since it's a NIC carrier, I could just cut the side open) and then I hi-jacked my own thread when I realized they weren't really eating and that Nala was licking her incision a ton.
    http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=76342&forum_id=48 - Nala started her first molt and has lost like half her mane in the last three days, which significantly added to my confusion as to whether or not a fight had taken place.
    http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=76324&forum_id=48 - my "did they or didn't they" ordeal trying to figure out if they were fighting or rough-housing

    to continue where I left off in that last thread, I've changed my mind yet again as to what the heck is going on with those two.

    I had them out to play a little while ago in a small area outside their temp cages and witnessed yet another altercation. it started with Nala approaching Gazzles from the rear (kinda looked like a butt-sniffing move) - no nipping or lunging, just stepped up to her/gently touched her rear. Gaz freaked out like she was under attack and took off running, making a little bit of noise in the process and even running face-first into the NIC wall of her (closed) temp cage. I grabbed her as quickly as I could and held her for a few minutes, petting her and talking softly to calm her down (and asking her what was wrong, as I was baffled). she seemed genuinely afraid of Nala for a moment there :S. Nala just sat there looking confused.

    it was the first time I'd witnessed a run/chase event where I wasn't on the opposite side of the room. seeing it up-close showed me that I was wrong on BOTH previous guesses (explains why I could never seem to figure it out) - they're not fighting AND they're not playing. Gaz was definitely upset and Nala was definitely NOT being aggressive.

    after I had Gazzles calmed down, I set her on the floor nose-to-nose with Nala while petting her softly and started petting Nala at the same time so that Nala would stay put and not try to approach Gaz. they both sat totally still, just looking at each other while I pet them. Gaz seemed perfectly calm at this time. wanting to end things on a good note, I pet them for a few minutes and then ushered Nala back into her cage and locked the door.

    Gaz, who normally shies away from attempts at petting her, proceeded to let me lie down next to her and pet her for a good 15 minutes or so.

    I have NO idea what's upsetting my little girl so much or why she suddenly seems afraid of Nala. I've never seen humping behavior in rabbits, so I don't know if maybe Nala was about to try something and Gaz knew it but I didn't? or maybe when they weren't feeling great that second day and I'd just put them back together, Nala nipped her once and she's afraid of it happening again (though I can't find any spots where it seems like she's been bitten)?

    I'm really at a loss here. I'm not even sure what to do about trying to re-bond them, as the articles I've read discuss aggression as a potential response... but not fear. they were SO snuggly and cuddly from 7-8 weeks old right up until spay day and now I can't give them access to each other for even a few minutes without Gazzles wigging out and running around in fear :(. I have one bunny that's terrified of the other getting close to her and another bunny that's baffled because she still thinks they're bonded... WTF?

    my neighbor is out of town right now but will be back sometime today - I'm going to ask her if she'll drive us around for a little bit tonight or tomorrow so I can sit in the back seat with the bunnies in hopes of jump-starting the re-bonding process.
     
  2. Oct 22, 2012 #2

    JBun

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    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Maybe Gaz has PTSD from the spay. Can rabbits get PTSD? :?
     
  3. Oct 22, 2012 #3

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    Jennifer

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    here's an idea of what's happening... as you can see, Nala merely approached Gaz without even touching her and Gaz thumped and took of running :(

    [flash=425,344]http://www.youtube.com/v/3tZQ8yJK4sk&hl=en&fs=1[/flash]

    I'm having second thoughts about trying to take them on a car trip... I think I may just keep them 100% separate for at least a week or two and see if I can't reset things. it could be there was one bad fight that Gazzles needs to forget about or maybe someone has hormones after all, but either way I think some time apart is needed to get them back on track.
     
  4. Oct 22, 2012 #4

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    Morgan

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    Aww poor Gaz! She looks terrified. I wonder what happened to make her so scared. Nala looks like she doesn't know what to think.
    Maybe they came back from the vet smelling different and it scared Gaz. Like maybe whoever handled Nala wore a fragrance that Gaz finds offensive.
    I hope everything gets back to normal soon!
     
  5. Oct 22, 2012 #5

    agnesthelion

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    I'm so glad you started a blog! I will definetly follow :) I actually have never done a blog before either but for some reason felt comfortable enough here to do so! I know that some of my entries are boring, but I realized I'm doing a blog for me too. If others want to enjoy, that is fantastic, but I've enjoyed writing about my bunny journey :)

    Gosh, jennifer, this is baffling me what is going on with your girls. You are right, in that video nala didn't even touch gaz.....? If it is PTSD from thenspay, you'd think it would bring her CLOSER to her friend be ause rabbits tend to lean on each other when stressed.

    I did notice that when gaz thumped and went into run mode, nala did kinda go into aggressor mode and pursued her more, did you see? I watch the dog whisperer sometimes and I find it interesting then when you first see the video of the two dogs, it seems most obvious which is the "naughty" one. But then here comes Cesar and he explains that there is much more going on behind the scenes that we don't see and it's actually opposite of what you think.

    Could that be the case here? Is gaz putting off some sort of offending lingo to nala and then when nala comes towards her, gaz already knows she's been not nice to nala so she's already running and in defense mode?? I just thought it was interesting because it looked like nala was upset with gaz too, it's just gaz is the squeakier wheel so gets more attention.......

    Anyway, this would be frustrating. I do think that separating is good at this point. And who knows, maybe you need to start over on neutral territory again?? Either way you'll definetly have something to blog about now!!
     
  6. Oct 23, 2012 #6

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    Jennifer

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    there was one incident where it looked like Nala was the aggressor, though not that one. in the vid I posted, Nala had a very cat-like response to Gaz running, but I don't know whether she was upset with Gaz as well or if she thought it was a bunny-500.

    I'd wager to say Nala wasn't that upset, though, as she's VERY expressive - I used to joke to her that I should've named her Thumper instead, lol. if I do something Nala doesn't like, she's quick to tell me but she didn't do any thumping there. Gaz has only learned to thump in the last 2-3 weeks or so - she picked it up from Nala. Nala does sometimes nip instead of thumping, though, so perhaps she was planning a nip for Gaz. I've gotten nipped on the hand for trying to feed critical care, nipped on the butt when she'd had enough furminating for the day. her nips are so soft they don't even come close to hurting, though (at least with me). if it makes any difference in interpreting, Gaz has always been the submissive one... maybe she tried to change that at some point?

    this morning, I saw that Gaz had pushed her igloo away from the shared wall of their cages and was behind it. it looked like they were snuggling through the bars.
     
  7. Oct 23, 2012 #7

    Mariah

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    Omg, your buns are adorable! I watched the video and it looks like something happened between them to cause one to be scared of the other.
    Give it some time and it will hopefully work out. Not sure if you have been following my threads on kiwi & papaya but it took me 5 months for my two to bond.
     
  8. Oct 23, 2012 #8

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    Jennifer

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    I'm just surprised at how easily the bond severed. I can't help thinking it's my fault, as they were fine until I had them separated for a day by a NIC grid barrier until I was sure they were eating - a day after I put them together again, this stuff started. I dunno if I put them back together too soon, put them in too small of a space, shouldn't have separated them in the first place or what :(

    I definitely need to re-do the housing arrangements, because at this point I can't be sure that sharing a wall doesn't make things worse. I'm debating whether to put one in the second level of the condo and one in the first (so they can't see each other) or to leave them both on the ground level but separate the two cages instead of having them share a wall.

    I switched them to each others' cages this morning and there was a mini-tiff between the walls - gaz had her face by the bars and nala was on the other side. it looked like she was about to groom gaz, but gaz started thumping at her and spooked her off. dunno if maybe she felt like nala was in "her" cage? a few minutes later, with nala still sitting just the other side of the wall in the litter box, gaz did one of her classic dead bunny flops. I swear that bunny's acting bi-polar lately. sometimes she shuns my attention as usual, other times she actually wants me petting her (which is unusual)... sometimes she acts like she wants to be with nala but if I put them together she flips out.

    I might ask to borrow my neighbor's kitchen to use as a neutral area this afternoon (plus then I'll have a second person to help me make sure there aren't any fights) and, depending how it goes, make a decision as to whether I think the bond can be repaired or not - if it doesn't look promising, I'll probably sever it completely with a full separation and give them a couple weeks to forget each other and then start from scratch like they were never bonded to begin with.
     
  9. Oct 23, 2012 #9

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    Morgan

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    Wow. That is such a difficult situation. I wish I had advice to give you, I'm not very familiar with bonding. It just really sucks that you've had them together almost their wholes lives then something happens and its almost all undone. I don't think its a lost cause or anything, but its crazy.
    I think you blogging about it though, could be a good learning experience for other people who may be go through this.

    I did have a question though, are they still on the pain relievers?
    And do pain relievers make bunnies loopy like they do with people? If they do, maybe with Gaz being on the pain meds, she doesn't feel quite herself and doesn't know how to act. That was just one of my thoughts, but I could be way out in left field with that!
     
  10. Oct 23, 2012 #10

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    Jennifer

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    I gave them metacam on day 2 and day 3 (they had the 24h shot that lasted them through the first day). after that, I felt if they were feeling good enough to roughhouse, they were feeling good enough to not need the meds so I stopped giving them and saw no signs of pain. the fighting did start while they were on painkillers, though.
     
  11. Oct 23, 2012 #11

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    Jennifer

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    good news and bad news. I had them together for a bit and they were actually snuggling in the litter box and gaz didn't seem afraid - nala even groomed her for longer than I've ever seen before! it was so sweet... until I figured out what gaz's deal is...

    nala's biting her bootie!

    I had some video of them, but it keeps giving me an error message when I try to take it off the camera :(

    they were snuggling and cute for almost 3 mins of filming (and a few minutes before that), then gaz thumped for no apparent reason and jumped up onto the igloo and nala came over and bit her bootie! I separated them and calmed them down (though gaz wouldn't come off the igloo) and then nala came up and tried to nip her butt again!

    so it does look like there's potential to repair the bond without having to break it completely and start over from scratch... BUT... only if I can get nala to stop biting gaz on the butt :pssd:

    anyone know why nala might be acting like this with no apparent provocation?
     
  12. Oct 24, 2012 #12

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    Jennifer

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    wish us luck! getting ready to take a quick shower and then pack up the bunnies, a playpen and a veggie dinner and head on over to the neighbor's kitchen for some "neutral territory time" to see how the bunnies react.
     
  13. Oct 24, 2012 #13

    lauratunes12

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    Maybe her butt hurt so she wanted to make sure that Gaz's did too? :p

    Or maybe, Nala is trying to help with Gaz's shedding problem, not realizing that it hurts.

    I don't know, I'm making up things. Good luck!
     
  14. Oct 24, 2012 #14

    agnesthelion

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    The biting of the bootie sounds like dominance/attempt to mount behavior.

    Both females and males mount. It is a sign of dominance. PREmount, buns will bite and attempt to grab hold of the other bun in the rear/back

    I'm willing to bet that the spay and separation threw off their hierarchy and now they are trying to sort it out again.

    From what I have learned, rabbits sometimes need to just work it out. I hope the neutral territory will help.

    Let us know!!
     
  15. Oct 24, 2012 #15

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    Jennifer

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    she nipped gaz on the side once while they were at the neighbor's and the booty nipping doesn't look like pre-mount behavior, which I can now recognize >.>

    when I first took them out over there and had them side by side, gaz HUMPED nala! I broke it up quickly and it happened again... after the second time I broke it up I realized I oughta just let it go for a bit, but it never happened a third time. I was very surprised to see the humping, given that gaz was willingly submissive from day 1 (plus it never occurred at home while I was watching). I told her "no wonder you're getting your booty bitten!" (though when the humping happened, nala seemed unfazed by it).

    there were one or two tiny scuffles which they worked out on their own with nothing more than a "knock it off" from me (no big chase scenes this time) and there was some occasional thumping at the dog when they were done sniffing and he wasn't (the neighbors have a sweet poodle-looking mix named max who is fascinated by the bunnies).

    max and nala touched noses through the pen a few times... the bunns grew up around a dog at the breeder, so they're not terribly bothered by the presence of a dog - I figured having max nearby but safely out of reach would provide a little mild stress to help with the bunny bonding. by the end of the play date, they were hopping around the kitchen together like they owned the place.

    all in all, they did very well together and I may be able to put them back together sooner than anticipated :D

    I've got them back in their separate cages now that they're home, just because it's such a cramped space where they can't really get away from each other and I can't be there full time to monitor them (plus agitated bunny butts + water dishes = mess). I'll try letting them out in the full pen (minus upper condo levels) together tomorrow and see how they do.
     
  16. Oct 24, 2012 #16

    JBun

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    This all must be frustrating for you, especially since they got along so well before the spay. Maybe the spay triggered a last ditch hormonal rush :? At least you know that those hormones are going to fade away, and their behavior sounds like they'll be able to sort things out between one another.
     
  17. Oct 24, 2012 #17

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    Jennifer

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    oh, they're GOING to sort it out... it's just a matter of how much of my time and sanity it takes. I'm not gonna spend the next 10 years housing two bunnies separately and no way in hell could I ever give either one of them up. the bond worked once and I'm determined to make it work again!
     
  18. Oct 24, 2012 #18

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    Morgan

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    I'm sure they're come around, maybe like someone said they're trying to figure out who is top bun again.
    I can imagine being spayed would be a serious thing, to anyone/thing. haha. You probably don't come out of that with your bearings about you.
    They might just need a little more time to remember, "hey, you're that bunny that I love!"
     
  19. Oct 24, 2012 #19

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    Jennifer

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    on a non-bunny related note, I think my raccoon must've told all his raccoon buddies about "the chick with the buffet" - I've got gravity feeders that hold a total of 4.5 lbs of cat food and they're all getting EMPTIED overnight now o_O
     
  20. Oct 25, 2012 #20

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    When I was working on trying to bond the trio, I did observe that it takes alot of trust for a rabbit to "allow" another one near her back end. Sapphire was fine with grooming of her head, but if one of they boys went too far to the back end, or just approached that end, she was gone. Of course, once she was bonded with Mocha, she had no worries about that anymore. It sounds like Gaz isn't liking Nala back there.

    I agree with Lisa that they are sorting out hierarchy -- again.

    Mine seemed to be continually jostling for who was going to be top bun. It seemed sorted out, and then a week later there would be a switch. That's what I thought of when you said Gaz tried to mount Nala. It sounds like they are trying to figure things out.

    I've seen some also suggest keeping the bonding area quite small. And if you think that each session has increased tension, then go ahead with your idea of separating them for awhile. When I tried to bond Sapphire with Sam, I don't think I recognized that building tension as quickly as I should have.

    I know you are determined to bond them. Follow your instincts and I'm sure you will end up with a pair of snuggling bunnies again.

     

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