New rabbits, unsure of behavior.

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by Andreya, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. Sep 13, 2019 #1

    Andreya

    Andreya

    Andreya

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    I haven't had a rabbit since I was 14 (I'm 38) and I only had one. I just got Nyx, a 5-month-old Flemish Giant, on September 2nd. I stupidly thought that maybe since she was big she'd get along with my dogs, but immediately my problem dog bit at the carrier when I brought her in. She's 11 pounds and my cats are terrified of her. So far she loves to nuzzle my hand and lets me pet her and kiss her face. She hates being picked up, so if she's out I have to lure her back to her cage and then sorta shove her back in. She's not spayed yet but my vet thought I should wait a few months to do so.

    So I brought home another rabbit last Sunday and her behavior with this one is bizarre. Moya is 5 and had been living in an outside hutch until her owners decided to give her away. She's perfect. She's almost completely litter trained, lets me hold her, and is very sweet. I'm assuming she is also not spayed. The first time they saw each other, Nyx shoved herself into the carrier with Moya and squished her, which Moya was fine with. Then she started humping her so I separated them; she's so big when she humps you can't see Moya at all. I've had them housed and playing separately, however they seem to go back and forth as to their interest in each other. Sometimes they sniff noses, and Nyx looks like she's licking her. Other times they're trying to bite and kick each other through the bars. In between I will find them lying side-by-side, with one on each side of the cage bars all spread out, like they want to be close to one another.

    I guess I'm not sure how to proceed. I just bought them new large exercise pens that I'm going to set up so that they each have more room. I figure if they start to get along at some point I can combine them into one big pen, but at this point am only semi-hopeful of this. Moya mostly seems to be submissive but definitely bites/kicks back (through the bars) when she gets tired of Nyx's crap. Nyx is very alpha and also more than twice the size of Moya, so I'm hesitant to let them out together at this point. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
     
  2. Sep 14, 2019 #2

    Niomi

    Niomi

    Niomi

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    It has been a long time since I have bonded rabbits, but the last female pair I bonded, the alpha kept humping the other rabbit until dominance was established. Then the humping stopped and they got along. It took a few days and I did not leave them out together until I knew they would not fight. Rabbit fights can get nasty. If you haven't yet, you could do a search up in the right hand corner on "bonding rabbits" and read more about other rabbit owners' experiences.
     
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  3. Sep 14, 2019 #3

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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    F/F bonds can be some of the toughest to do... but it's definitely possible. That said, the size of your flemish and the fact that she's going to get a lot bigger is a complication - her size means she could accidentally hurt the other rabbit more easily. I've had two bonded pairs between a 3-4 lb rabbit and an 8 lb rabbit (watching a Californian try to hide under a rabbit half his size is hilarious) but I have no experience with a bunny as big as Nyx.

    Before you can even begin to try bonding, though, they BOTH need to be spayed AND you need to wait 3-4 weeks post-spay for hormones to dissipate. Until they're spayed, hormones can make them unpredictable and neurotic in ways that cause them to be best friends one minute and trying to kill each other the next. Once hormones are out of the equation, you can begin bonding on neutral territory. Here are some good websites about bonding:

    https://www.cottontails-rescue.org.uk/information/bonding-bunnies/
    https://rabbitsindoors.weebly.com/bonding-bunnies.html
    http://www.saveabunny.org/rabbitcare/bonding-guide
    http://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Bonding_rabbits_together
    https://rabbit.org/hop-on-board-perspectives-on-rabbit-mounting-behavior/

    Even if you decide not to bond them, I still strongly urge spaying them - there's an extremely high chance of developing some sort of reproductive cancer (ovarian, uterine or mammary) in unspayed females and, on average, their lifespan is HALF that of spayed females. Your older rabbit may already have an early stage cancer, given her age - if she does and it hasn't metastasized, a spay surgery would remove the cancer.

    Not sure if you've realized it yet, but a LOT has changed with rabbit husbandry in the last couple of decades! I had last owned a rabbit around age 10 and then got a pair of females as babies when I was 28 (I'm now 35, so we're quite close in age) and I was floored by how much had changed since my childhood. Like a hay-heavy diet, strictly limited pellets and spaying/neutering, for starters. The House Rabbit Society is a great place to start for someone returning to the world of being a bunny slave :).
     
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  4. Sep 14, 2019 #4

    Andreya

    Andreya

    Andreya

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    Imbrium: Thank you for all of that. :) I'll start calling around on Monday to see if I can get better spay pricing, my vet wants around $800 just for Nyx and at her current weight. I had no idea that spaying could remove (non-metastatic) cancer. The hormone thing also explains the bi-polar bunny interactions too, so thank you. The size thing does worry me. When Nyx humped Moya, it took me a minute to figure out what she was doing, because I couldn't see Moya at all until I pulled Nyx off of her.

    It has changed a lot. I've actually read a lot of posts on here, despite still sounding clueless. I don't even really remember my old rabbit getting much hay except as more of a treat. All animal care has changed a lot since I was younger. I remember my mother buying anything that said "Dog food" on it and calling it good. And neutering my rabbit wasn't even something that was suggested back then; little animals didn't go to the vet unless they were dying, and if you could get them there before they did.

    Thanks again for all of the information. I really appreciate it.
     
  5. Sep 15, 2019 #5

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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    Don't worry, you didn't sound clueless! You just reminded me of me when I first got rabbits as an adult so I thought I'd offer some unsolicited advice that was likely to be helpful ;).

    I know she's a flemmie, but $800?? Even in expensive states like NY, I usually hear about prices like $400. In Houston and San Antonio, TX it runs around $230 for a spay. Definitely shop around for prices. I also recommend calling shelters/rescues in your area that handle rabbits and see if any of them can refer you to a lower-cost spay/neuter option that's rabbit savvy. It may take a lot of phone calls and possibly a bit of a road trip but I bet you can save yourself hundreds if you're determined enough.
     
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  6. Sep 18, 2019 #6

    Andreya

    Andreya

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    Any advice, unsolicited or not, is greatly appreciated. :)

    So, I found an animal hospital (near me) who says their rabbit spay is "around $200." So I'm assuming it's going to be a bit more for Nyx, since she's huge, but I have them both set up with physicals there at the end of the month. I'm in Connecticut and prices are high here but my vet is one of the highest I've seen. That said, it's the best clinic I've been to, I trust them, and I've been going there for almost 8 years now.
     
  7. Sep 18, 2019 #7

    zupper

    zupper

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    I thought bigger rabbit would be easier to operate tbh so don't think they should charge more for her size but maybe I am wrong
     
  8. Sep 18, 2019 #8

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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    Bigger does make it easier, but the price difference is probably more about the amount of anesthesia required. When Nala had dental work done I was given a detailed quote and told that it could come out to less - if her mouth was easy to navigate she might not have to be under as long, allowing them to charge less for the anesthesia gas.
     
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  9. Sep 24, 2019 #9

    Andreya

    Andreya

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    Yep, bigger = more money because of anesthesia and the amount of meds. Vaccinations are the only things I've seen that don't seem to have a cost difference based on size. The pricing is still ridiculously inflated since anesthesia meds don't cost that much from the manufacturer, but everything is inflated. I'm just happy to find a place that won't bankrupt me for spays. :)
     

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