New rescue female with food aggression/bonding advice

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Ali-xx

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Joined
May 8, 2021
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Wiltshire
Hi everyone

Looking for some advice please.... I’m a bit of a rabbit novice!

I‘ve had 2 rabbits Tom and Lola for 5 years, Lola passed away last July, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for a new wifey for Tom, who was similar age, Tom is now 7.

I found a 5 yr old female Flo through a rescue site, I took Tom there and she started the bonding process with them, he stayed there for a few days. She had no concerns other than the fact that Flo was humping Tom a lot, this only happened in the hutch but not outside. So I was happy to bring Flo home to attempt further bonding.

Humping from Flo’s side was persistent, I noticed a pattern of food times being a higher trigger. I give them a small amount of nuggets twice a day, fresh food at supper and hay all through the day. Flo doesn’t eat the fresh food, she just likes eating the hard food and some hay but when Tom tried to eat fresh food she would start chasing him round. I don’t know what her diet history was before I revoked her but she’s never had another rabbit living with her and was kept under her previous owners bed, so not a great start in life! She also growled and lunged at me when I put food in. So what I had to do was take her out at night and put her in A separate hutch at night, to give Tom chance to eat in peace and in the morning for breakfast. I don’t know if that harmed the bonding process.

I did some research and read about the issue with having food in a food bowl and introducing tasty food too soon, they obviously had this on their introduction at the rescue centre, so i had carried on. So since then I have taken away the food bowl, I’m scattering pellets around the hutch and not taking fresh food at set times. Since doing this, she has become less of a pain, yesterday I watched and they were both foraging for pellets and she wasn’t chasing him off. Today however, she’s chased him away when he’s tried to eat and again when I bought fresh food out, she went over to him and he stopped eating. I have noticed an improvement but it’s not consistent. She doesn’t always hump him, sometimes she just leans over the side of him and lays over him, and starts licking his ears and face. Most of the time they’re settled, they lie Together and clean each other. I’m just concerned about food aggression and I’m worried Tom isn’t getting enough food now. I don’t want to resort to splitting them up at food times but I don’t want Tom to be bullied.

does this sound like it could settle down? when should I be concerned?


Thanks!
 

LopsAreGreat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Messages
80
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Location
Washington
Hi everyone

Looking for some advice please.... I’m a bit of a rabbit novice!

I‘ve had 2 rabbits Tom and Lola for 5 years, Lola passed away last July, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for a new wifey for Tom, who was similar age, Tom is now 7.

I found a 5 yr old female Flo through a rescue site, I took Tom there and she started the bonding process with them, he stayed there for a few days. She had no concerns other than the fact that Flo was humping Tom a lot, this only happened in the hutch but not outside. So I was happy to bring Flo home to attempt further bonding.

Humping from Flo’s side was persistent, I noticed a pattern of food times being a higher trigger. I give them a small amount of nuggets twice a day, fresh food at supper and hay all through the day. Flo doesn’t eat the fresh food, she just likes eating the hard food and some hay but when Tom tried to eat fresh food she would start chasing him round. I don’t know what her diet history was before I revoked her but she’s never had another rabbit living with her and was kept under her previous owners bed, so not a great start in life! She also growled and lunged at me when I put food in. So what I had to do was take her out at night and put her in A separate hutch at night, to give Tom chance to eat in peace and in the morning for breakfast. I don’t know if that harmed the bonding process.

I did some research and read about the issue with having food in a food bowl and introducing tasty food too soon, they obviously had this on their introduction at the rescue centre, so i had carried on. So since then I have taken away the food bowl, I’m scattering pellets around the hutch and not taking fresh food at set times. Since doing this, she has become less of a pain, yesterday I watched and they were both foraging for pellets and she wasn’t chasing him off. Today however, she’s chased him away when he’s tried to eat and again when I bought fresh food out, she went over to him and he stopped eating. I have noticed an improvement but it’s not consistent. She doesn’t always hump him, sometimes she just leans over the side of him and lays over him, and starts licking his ears and face. Most of the time they’re settled, they lie Together and clean each other. I’m just concerned about food aggression and I’m worried Tom isn’t getting enough food now. I don’t want to resort to splitting them up at food times but I don’t want Tom to be bullied.

does this sound like it could settle down? when should I be concerned?


Thanks!
I think what you are doing is great! Just keep scattering it and spreading it out. It sounds like for the most part she is doing good with him other than chasing him off at feeding times. She just needs to learn to share I guess after all that time not being bonded. You’ll get there though!
 
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