Owner of 2 mini rabbits in need of Help!

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JBun

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It can be done more gradually, starting with first swapping items and putting them in each others area so they get used to the other rabbits scent. If they are acting aggressively towards one another, it might be best to slow down this bonding process and not put them right together just yet. At least until you've read up on more bonding info so you have a better idea of what you're doing and what behaviors to look out for and when it's essential to intervene so a fight doesn't break out. Because once a fight occurs, chances of having a successful bond ever, will decrease significantly. See if you can access some of the info from this link below. It gives a good description of different bonding techniques and the different behaviors to watch out for.


(and some videos of aggressive behaviors to watch out for)
 

Guy A

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We are in day 3 of bonding now and I am guessing things are not too bad. The main quest of dominance was in step 1 when they were in the box together and I thought Rex came up with the upper hand. There was one bad instance where Minori was kind of on top of Rex and I guess Rex bit her as there were some hairs on the surface. But besides this one bad instance it was mostly humping and chasing around. Now in day 3 it seems as if Minori is still giving it a push but Rex is definitely Boss even though he is mostly doing the grooming to her. Right now the only time there is aggression and chasing around is when it’s feeding time and I am wondering, will this stop once the bonding process is complete? Is it complete after 7 days or is there something specific I should be looking out for?
 

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John Wick

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There is no set number of days/weeks/months for when the bonding process is "complete" -- it is simply complete when it is evident that the rabbits have a stable, secure relationship with no tension around the established hierarchy, and this relationship's security and stability remains when living in shared space with each other. My rule of thumb is 48 hours, uninterrupted, in semi-neutral space (i.e. shared living space) with no hint of issues = bonded. That is definitely far away from where you're at right now, but just to give you one parameter to gauge with when nearing the "end".

Ideally you want the aggression associated with food to dissolve away during the bonding process, and in most cases, it should. There are a few cases where a truly bonded pair has some tense interactions around food just due to the sheer influence of food anticipation and excitement, but it should not consistently veer into aggression and sustained chasing.

It's only day 3, so extremely early in the bonding process. As JBun mentions, going slower is better than rushing. Unsure how long your sessions are currently, but personally I do not introduce litterboxes into the neutral bonding space so early on -- litterboxes can be an area of contention and the territorialness can impede bonding progress at times. The same logic goes for food -- while food can be a nice distractor/facilitator of neutral-to-positive interactions between the rabbits, if it's bringing up negative interactions, it may be wise to forgo it for now. If you're not seeing issues with litterboxes or food, that's fine. Everyone has slightly different approaches to bonding, but generally in these early stages, the goal is to maximize neutral-to-positive interactions and minimize negative interactions, especially when preventable.

Again, there are different methods as noted in many videos and in the links already provided. Attached is a graphic outlining another bonding process approach.
 

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Guy A

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We are at day 7 of the bonding process now and i just introduced my bunnies back to their area. Please have a look and tell me if I should add or remove something.

Both of the bunnies have been well with one another these past few days in the neutral area. The only times there was chasing around was when it was feeding time but I tried to put them the food as fast as possible to minimize those negative interactions.

What I can observe now is that they are still both figuring out their hierarchy.

Rex was sprinting around just now from one house to the other and tried to hump Minori one time but Minori quickly ran away from him on top of one of the houses.

Also a few times they were both facing each other with their head down and once Minori groomed Rex’s head.

Right now they are both eating hay from the same litter box.

it’s been around an hour and Rex was the only one sprinting around for now.
 

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Guy A

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I don’t know they seem pretty ok to me. Rex is obviously the dominant of the two. Minori is not trying to hump Rex. The only signed of dominance from Minori is when food is served and she is pushing her head into the plate.

letting them be for now.
 

Blue eyes

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Looks like a good space for them and they seem to be doing well so far from what you describe.

Separate from the bonding, you may want to keep an eye on the pen edges. You have them setup in a way that prevents the rabbits from being able to push the pen out and escape. However, I have had a number of rabbit that liked to grab the bars with their teeth and pull on them. If your rabbits are able to pull on them, that could allow them to escape. Just something to watch out for.
 

Guy A

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Hi Everyone,

I decided to share probably a final post on this very friendly forum as we have decided to return our bunnies to their 'breeder' (or from whom we have bought them) tomorrow.

Very sadly but convinced it's the right thing to do, after the bunnies have just grown more distant as time passed. They actually have never been too connected but for a moment there I thought I was making progress.

After investing much time trying to make them comfortable in their environment, their bonding - which probably wasn't done perfectly as they still run after each other every time it's feeding time. And still, it is their complete disaffection towards me or any of the family members that brought me to a point where I emotionally cannot care for them anymore.

It might be bad luck with this specific pair, or maybe even more likely with the breeder who sold them to us. For some reason it seems to me that she is selling her bunnies with the hope they will sooner or later be returned to her. Or maybe it's me and our household that is not ideal for these bunnies because of the small kids, or me not spending enough time with them.

Well it doesn't matter now.

I anyways want to thank you all for your support throughout this short journey and wish that my bunnies will live a happier life once back with their breeder.
 

Diane R

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Hi Everyone,

I decided to share probably a final post on this very friendly forum as we have decided to return our bunnies to their 'breeder' (or from whom we have bought them) tomorrow.

Very sadly but convinced it's the right thing to do, after the bunnies have just grown more distant as time passed. They actually have never been too connected but for a moment there I thought I was making progress.

After investing much time trying to make them comfortable in their environment, their bonding - which probably wasn't done perfectly as they still run after each other every time it's feeding time. And still, it is their complete disaffection towards me or any of the family members that brought me to a point where I emotionally cannot care for them anymore.

It might be bad luck with this specific pair, or maybe even more likely with the breeder who sold them to us. For some reason it seems to me that she is selling her bunnies with the hope they will sooner or later be returned to her. Or maybe it's me and our household that is not ideal for these bunnies because of the small kids, or me not spending enough time with them.

Well it doesn't matter now.

I anyways want to thank you all for your support throughout this short journey and wish that my bunnies will live a happier life once back with their breeder.
Please don't return them, you were doing so well, getting them neutered and sorting out their environment and everything. We can help you with whatever problem you are having. It takes a long time for bunnies to learn to trust their humans, you've only had them for a few months. Please be patient. I fear for these poor bunnies if they are given back to the breeder.
 

Blue eyes

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You've given a champion's effort in trying to make everything work out -- from coming on the forum, affecting housing changes, getting them neutered, trying to bond them. That's quite a lot of learning especially for someone new to rabbits! I think you've gone above what many would be willing to do.

At the same time, I can appreciate that rabbits are not the ideal family pet for a family with young children. They simply are not suited well for children who like to be hands-on. I had rabbits when my children were small but they were "my" pets. Perhaps there will be rabbits in your future. :) If so, maybe you can get an already bonded and fixed pair from a rescue -- that will eliminate much of the difficulty you had with yours.

Are you under contract to return them to the breeder? If not, have you considered seeing if a suitable family may want them instead?

Thank you for following up with us and letting us know what was happening. Best wishes for you and the rabbits!
 

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