New to bonding

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Redrabbit

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First introduction/ bonding session...
We put the cages close together, our rex (neutered buck) was thumping and burrowing and our lop (spayed doe) flopped and groomed herself. Eventually they both flopped. In each cage (they are each in a dog pen) we have water, food, towel and litter tray with hay.
We’ll keep this up for a week or so but any tips would be gratefully received. Thank you all.
 

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Redrabbit

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I put them together for the first time today and it was a disaster. I lined the bath with old carpet and towels but the rex kept biting the lop, it was horrible, she was so scared - she somehow managed to jump out the bath twice- she’s fine but obviously I can’t use the bath again. Any help gratefully received!
 

Blue eyes

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@Redrabbit , I'm sorry you're having some difficulty. It's never fun to watch a rabbit 'go after' another rabbit.

Since they've had that bad episode, I'd suggest slowing way down. Try them back in their side-by-side cages again. I noticed you had some space (a few inches) between the cages -- that's good for now.

See how the lop does. Notice her body language. If she isn't looking stressed being that close to the rex's cage, then let them stay in their cages near each other for now. I'd give it at least a month. It shouldn't cause any problems to be near each other for even a couple months doing this 'pre-bonding.'
 

Redrabbit

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Thanks so much @Blue eyes This happened on Wednesday so I’ve been carrying on but not in the bath. (Didn’t realise I should have slowed down) I set up a pen downstairs in a neutral area and they’ve been doing a bit better. The rex (Chilli) is happily grooming himself and flopping and the lop (Lentil) is happily munching hay and has flopped in the litter tray. Every now and again Chilli has a little nibble on Lentil, not a bite but not grooming either and Lentil either lets him or runs away. I have always been with them but they’ve been together like this for up to three hours. What should me next steps be? Thanks so much
 

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Blue eyes

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If they are still doing ok together, then that is great.

There are a couple options with bonding methods. You could continue to have them together, 24/7 (under constant supervision) as long as they do well. Or, you can separate them and do sessions of bonding each day.

There really are no concrete answers with bonding. You are the one who knows them best, so you are in the best position to "read" them and do what seems to be having the best results.
 

zuppa

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Thanks so much @Blue eyes This happened on Wednesday so I’ve been carrying on but not in the bath. (Didn’t realise I should have slowed down) I set up a pen downstairs in a neutral area and they’ve been doing a bit better. The rex (Chilli) is happily grooming himself and flopping and the lop (Lentil) is happily munching hay and has flopped in the litter tray. Every now and again Chilli has a little nibble on Lentil, not a bite but not grooming either and Lentil either lets him or runs away. I have always been with them but they’ve been together like this for up to three hours. What should me next steps be? Thanks so much
Hi, glad to see they are doing better this time, I am not a huge bonding expert myself but I wouldn't leave them for night yet, I would separate for when you can't see them and would join playpens again in the morning. For next few days or a week until when you are sure.

By the way I see you are using covered cat's litter boxes I've got one large huge myself and going to use it but without top because I thought they spend so much time in their toilet I won't see them and also how about air circulation in there I think cats only using them quickly could you share how is your experience with this type of litter box.
 

Redrabbit

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I find the cat litter boxes really good, I have open ones as well for the lop as she prefers the one without the lid. She always wees in there but poos everywhere anyway! The rex, Chilli, loves the covered one and uses it for everything- he’s such a clean rabbit. When they’re together I don’t put the one with the lid on in there with them as I’m worried the lop could get trapped. I fill it with loads of hay and change it every other day as it does get a bit smelly otherwise (more so than the ones without the lids)

Hope this helps
 

Alyssa and Bugs♡

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That's amazing! My very first bonding attempt was with a very scared Mini Lop (she wouldn't even move during sessions) and my very social Holland Lop. I did a few sessions outside and that was the only time she really opened up and moved. She was housed outdoors for the first few years of her life so having that familiarity helped. That bond didn't work out because my Holland Lop wanted someone who is just as crazy as he is. She also simply didn't like him and they fought quite a few times with injuries.

Did the lop go sit in the litter box next to the rex or vice versa?

Bonding takes time and trying different things to see what works. Good luck!
 

Redrabbit

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Thanks @Alyssa and Bugs♡ .

The lop was already there and then the rex joined her. They eat greens happily together and will munch hay but every now and again he’ll chase her for no reason. He never causes injury (think he gave up after the first terrifying bath incident which resulted in a mouthful of hair and a flying lop) but they’ve never groomed each other. They both groom themselves but never each other. They’ve been together for hours today but no snuggles or flopping at the same time.
 

Alyssa and Bugs♡

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Chasing is something bonded bunnies will do. It's usually done in a playful way unless there's latching on/aggression. Grooming each other is something that will come with time so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

If the lop let the rex join her without any issue that's great! My two would take turns claiming the litter box and refused to share it and would fight if one didn't get out (which rarely happened because they were both very stubborn).
 

Redrabbit

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Thanks @Alyssa and Bugs♡

If they’re sharing litter boxes occasionally and the rex is chasing the lop (but not catching her) and they’re grooming themselves but not each other can I put them together overnight?

I stayed up until 2am with them last night but then separated them until morning as I was worried I wouldn’t hear a fight.

I guess next steps are they stay together? Thanks so much. I’ve watched a million videos but I’m nervous to get it wrong
 

Redrabbit

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I’ve separated them for tonight but not sure when I’m going to be happy to leave the as they seem fine but the rex still randomly chases the lop who runs away. She always gets away but I don’t want to not be there in case she can’t one day.
 

April LD

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When I adopted my rex for my mixed bun, the rescue told me one they groom EACH OTHER they would be considered bonded.

My mix is a lover and he was grooming her within an hour of meeting. She did not reciprocate until about 4 days later. It took two days for her to flop next to him...they are super in love but there is still chasing, a little nipping, no fights.

I would say to keep separating them at night until you are no longer worried. If you are still worried they may fight, then it's possible. Have you ever left the room but stayed close by or are you always there...this can also cause tension or feelings of stress.

Maybe try giving them 10 mins alone and see if you hear anything, go in and check on them, then if all is well, try 25 mins, etc. And keep moving up until they are alone for a couple hours without incident. Blue eyes is very much correct, you will be able to know best your rabbits. Try your best to not feel stressed watching them, they can feel it!

Good luck :)
 

Redrabbit

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Thanks so much @April LD

They can be left alone in the day now and they are fine, they flop in their own space, happily eat, drink and poop together but every now and again he’ll nip her and she’ll run away.

They are house bunnies and free roam but only have one room at the moment (the rex is a chewer and the lop is a pooper!) but at night I used to put them in a hutch. Until I started bonding they had a room/ hutch each. They are now in the lop’s room as the rex is definitely the more territorial one but eventually need to go into the other room/ hutch.

I didn't want to totally separate them last night so I put the lop upstairs and the rex downstairs but I think that annoyed them so not sure what to do tonight. Maybe is should let them have the room as usual and leave the hutch open as I do in the day. They often go in there to sleep but not always.

Thank you all so much
 

Alyssa and Bugs♡

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If you're nervous about fights during the night, I'd recommend sleeping in the pen with them all night. You'd have to be creative with the pen layout though. My first overnight was done in a 4 foot by 4 foot x-pen and my back definitely didn't appreciate that lol. I ended up making a diamond shape the second night. My second overnight ended with a fight that I woke up to almost as soon as it began. My first overnight went perfectly though.

I think that trying a very long session would help you decide your next step.
 

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