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BethM

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(Pictures at the bottom!)

A few weeks ago, Husband and I decided we should try to find a girlfriend for Benjamin. He seemed lonely to use, spending most of his time just sitting and staring. (He's not really into toys or chewing.) Plus, after nearly a year of being with us, he's still very shy. He avoids pets, and won't come out of the bunny room on his own. (We are making progress on that, but it involves me carrying him out to the living room, then he hides under the sofa.)

Anyway, we chatted with the chapter manager of the HRS group we volunteer with. As long as we've been involved, single girls are hard to come by. We have tons of single boys, and some pairs, so as soon as girls come in, they are either adopted out right away, or bond with the lonely single boys. We let her know that we were interested in finding a girl for Benjamin, and a week later three single girls came in.

We were able to set up a date today at the foster house where one of the girls was. The date went very well. Benjamin and Digger ignored each other for about 10 minutes, then she presented to him and he groomed her! We watched them for awhile longer, and he groomed her again (licked her ears). They snuggled up next to each other. At no time was there any aggression or mounting. It went so well, we decided to bring her home with us today!

Digger was adopted from a local shelter; we verified with them that she was already spayed. She was stuck into a small cage (I think it would be a good size for a hamster) and used as a classroom bunny at a preschool. :( She was turned over to us last week, with the explanation that she "isn't working out" and she is too shy. She seems to be a little cage aggressive, but is very sweet outside of her cage. (When I was arranging her area for her at home, she hopped right up and presented to me.)

She is a Netherland Dwarf, and we were expecting her to be very small......Well, she's quite large! Her ears are teeny-tiny, but she's almost as big as 5.5lb Benjamin. She is most certainly overweight (probably never got out of her cage for exercise) so we need to trim her down. She also has some goopy poops right now. She probably never had much fresh vegetables in the preschool, then her foster home was giving her lots of cabbage, carrots, and apples right away. I'm going to ease her into salads, and she will now be eating Timmy pellets. Hopefully she will also eat a lot of hay.

For now, we have put an extra x-pen in Benjamin's cage, dividing it in half. It's doubled up with a small gap in between, hopefully there will be no aggression or biting through. I will be worrying about them all day tomorrow! Benjamin is annoyed at his restricted area, but has been relaxing next to the divider. Digger has been hiding in the corner, but has come out for a few minutes to find her water and she ate some pellets.

Oh, and we are not wild about the name Digger, so we're changing her name. (New home, new name.) We considered Bella, because it sounds good with Benjamin, but we're not fans of Twilight. Right now we're trying out Chloe.

We are letting them relax for the evening, and will have some bonding activities tomorrow. She was using a litterbox at her foster home, but hasn't used the one here yet. She has eaten some pellets, though, and she knows where her water is.


(We were secretly hoping Benjamin wouldn't like Digger, as we had our hearts set on one of the other single girls that has just come in....a beautiful Silver Martin. But they got along so well, it wouldn't have made sense to wait three weeks until he could have a date with that bunny. The other available girl is a grey and white Dutch, but the person fostering her couldn't meet up with us today.)


And now, pictures! :

Chloe



ignoring each other



hanging out together



he is grooming her!!



more grooming!



pen divided for bonding; the right half has more floor area, but the left half has a 3-level condo



Chloe hiding under the step


 

BethM

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Our HRS chapter manager was at the "date" with us, and she said if it were her, she'd just put Benjamin and Chloe together now and call them bonded. (She somehow seems to do that with all her bondings and it works out for her.) I am not as worried about Chloe as I was when we were trying to bond Benjamin with Tobi, but am still a bit nervous. I'm a little concerned that there could be biting through the bars of the divider, so I might put some NIC panels up so little mouths/noses can't fit through. :/
 

Amy27

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I am so happy you guys found Chloe. She is so adorable.

I would do what you are doing with bonding them at home and being able to greet through the cage. I would never bring home two rabbits and just put them together even if they did good at their date. That would make me too nervous.
 

Myia09

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Beth, I think sometimes you have to let your guard down a bit...that rabbits can instantly bond..and not fight. Not everyone's fight. Chewy's first partner didn't.

But if it makes you feel nervous, just keep them apart for now. I think they would be fine with the dividers.

Benjamin is so adorable btw! I just love him!
 

BethM

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Kitty88 wrote:
Oh my goodness! How ironic! I guess Chloe is a good black bunny girl
name.
Too funny! I just did a Google search for "girl baby names" and Chloe popped up as a popular name. I think it is a good name!
I like Sophie, but there have been two bunnies go through our rescue with that name.
 

BethM

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Myia09 wrote:
Beth, I think sometimes you have to let your guard down a bit...that rabbits can instantly bond..and not fight. Not everyone's fight. Chewy's first partner didn't.

But if it makes you feel nervous, just keep them apart for now. I think they would be fine with the dividers.

Benjamin is so adorable btw! I just love him!
My first attempt at bonding Benjamin, with Tobi, didn't go well. This is my second bonding, so I feel better using a little caution. I do expect them to bond quickly, though.

I love Benjamin, too! When he didn't work out with Tobi, we were supposed to swap him for different boys until we found one that worked for her- but we decided we loved him and wanted him to stay!


(Now we still need to find a boy for Tobi!)
 

BethM

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Amy27 wrote:
I am so happy you guys found Chloe. She is so adorable.

I would do what you are doing with bonding them at home and being able to greet through the cage. I would never bring home two rabbits and just put them together even if they did good at their date. That would make me too nervous.
I am happy Benjamin likes her! I was so surprised when he just started cleaning her ears. She seems to be friendly, too, and her fur is soft.

:)
 

BethM

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Thanks, everyone! Chloe is still hiding behind her box this morning. She did poop and pee overnight....not in her litter box, unfortunately. I put one scoop from Benjamin's litter box in hers and moved it to where she peed, hopefully she will catch on. I don't know if she knew how to use a litter box in the past, but there wasn't room for one in the tiny cage she was kept in at the preschool.
 

lionheadbunny21

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My bunnies bonded quite quickly as well. They instantly snuggled and the older one cleaned up our younger one. They have been in the same cage for 2 weeks now :)
I'm glad you got a girlfriend for Benjamin. Chloe is gorgeous :)

We have Lillyas well and I think we'll eventually find a boyfriend or girlfriend for her. What size will your cage be for the new bonded pair? I'm hoping the size I have is ok. It looks super small in the pictures but it takes up quite a bit of room in our home. And we have one upstairs for Lilly. Once she's fixed and hopefully we can find a neutered buddy for her. :)

Hope Chloe has a great day today in her new home :)
 

BethM

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lionheadbunny21 wrote:
What size will your cage be for the new bonded pair? I'm hoping the size I have is ok.
My cages are made of NIC panels. They are 4 panels wide by 5 panels long. Each panel is 14". The cages have a 3-level condo on one end. I've been told this us quite large. :). Benjamin had this space to himself previously, but I have a pair in an identical cage, and they do quite well in it.
Surprisingly, Benjamin's litter and hay habits have improved in the restricted area. Maybe he doesn't feel like he has to "defend" such a small area, or he knows he can't just hop away from his mess. He has taught my other rabbits to thump at me when I'm not fast enough with the food, hopefully he can teach Chloe to
do her business in the box instead of on the floor. LOL.


Chloe didn't finish the pellets I gave her last night (she ate just a few) and hasn't touched her salad from this morning. She's been hiding in the back corner all day. :(
 

lionheadbunny21

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That is a nice size for your buns way to go. I don't think mine is big enough, although I am awaiting them to feel comfortable enough to come out on their own and roam around, but they won't unless my other's babies are out of the house are in bed which is understandable.

I've had a bunny for 3 days (Lily) and she's been laying around looking so sad; she's eating but she's just not lively in her new surroundings. I've built her a nice size cage. Only a 4 x 2 with a ramp to jump on + her wire bottem cage attached-she HATES it! Never leaves her cage :( It's only been 3 days tho. We'll see how she does in the next few days.
Good luck with Chloe, I'm sure it's just taking a little time before she is comfy in her new surroundings as well :) Keep us updated. :)
p.s. I think my fluffy is super curious about our new Lily :)
 

BethM

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Tonight's bonding session was....mediocre. :(

First, I got Benjamin out of his side of the cage. After I got Chloe's side open, he decided to dart in there, and she ran out and nipped him. No blood, but it startled him. However, he was so upset at being pulled out of his area, he kept trying to go back into the corner, which is where she set herself up all last night, so she was grunting and lunging at him. I couldn't reach back there quickly, so I stuffed her box/house back to sort of pin them, then pulled poor Benjamin out. Put him in the laundry basket to contain him while I got her out.

She was grunting and lunging at me, nipped my hand once. I eventually got her to settle down and let me pet her on the head. I brought her out, and took him out of the basket. For a minute or two, they ignored each other. Things were fine as long as she was approaching him, but every time he went towards her, she grunted and lunged. Poor guy.

He did lick her ear once, but not for very long, and when he turned away, she lunged at him again. Two other times, they were close together and things were fine, until he suddenly started digging on the floor, which set her off. More grunting and lunging.

Husband and I eventually got them to sit side by side (facing the same way), and we petted them both for several minutes. We ended their session there. However, we couldn't put them right back into the cages- Her squishy poops were coating a corner of one rug, and she'd peed in another place. Husband and I picked up two more rugs this afternoon, so we took out the soiled rugs, I cleaned the whole floor with vinegar, and the whole time poor Benjamin was getting more and more stressed. :( :(
I wanted to leave some of her scent in there, but the rugs were just too nasty.

I am thinking that the divided cage set-up was contributing to her cage aggression. She just camped out in that corner, under the ledge. So, we set up a separate cage for her, next to his. He was also so stressed, I wanted him to have his area back and maybe calm down.


At this point.........I am wondering if I am doing the right thing. I love Benjamin so much, and want him to be happy, and it hurts me to see him so stressed. I worry that I might have hurt him when I pinned him with the box/house, but I was afraid she'd attack him back there.
I almost want to just take Chloe back. I'm not attached to her. It looked so promising yesterday, but I don't know how this will work if she continues to be so cage aggressive??? I can't let him be attacked in his own cage.
*sigh*
 

BethM

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My new bonding set-up. This removes any area where Chloe can camp out, other than in her house/box:


I need to get her a bigger litter box tomorrow. I totally underestimated how big she'd be when I bought that (I was expecting a tiny Netherland Dwarf!) Will pick one up tomorrow. I put down a piece of plywood, then covered with a towel, and a rug on top. The rug has Benjamin's scent on it. I will NOT be happy if my hardwood floors are ruined by her bad litter habits.



My Mr. Handsome:





Chloe hiding in her house/box:

 

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