Rabbit fight - please advise

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stevesmum

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Hi everyone,

We've had chip for over a month now, hoping to bond him with our spayed female. He was neutered in January. They have lived side by side and We have done about a half dozen bunny dates in neutral territory. Cali, the female, has growled and tried to bite him several times now, during these dates. So we have been over involved and let them be near each other but not really touch during dates in fear of her hurting him. She doesn't give much warning, she just lashes out and bites. I put apple branches and hay and other goodies for them to share.
Today my husband was vacuuming the basement where they live and I guess he moved the x pen away from in front of chips enclosure. Cali was out and about. We were upstairs. Chip got out of his enclosure somehow. There was a fight. Fur EVERYWHERE. When my husband found them they were both in Cali's cage, she was hiding in her hidey house and chip was sitting on top of the hidey house. Chip has a tiny bite on his ear which I have treated. I can't find any other injuries on him. Cali seems ok but She seems traumatized. Anyway my question is: now what?? Do I assume they hate each other now? Or that they've worked it out? Should we date them again or wait? This was quite unexpected and I don't know what to do next. Any advice is appreciated.
 

Blue eyes

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If they've had that serious of a fight, it would probably be best to totally separate them for a couple weeks at least. By separate, that means completely out of sight and smell of each other. The goal is for them to forget they hate each other.

One of my very difficult females did this to one of the male's we tried bonding with her. He was so sweet but she was just so mean. Finally he had enough and retaliated. The rescue advised we totally separate them in the hope (however slight) that they would totally forget each other. If so, then just maybe they would be able to start over again.

Unfortunately, in our case, there was no change after that time. We ended up exchanging the male for another one (and another). She was an extremely difficult gal but eventually fell for a little guy.

I suppose I could have kept at it for a long time with that first male, but when I saw no change after the two weeks, I decided it just wasn't meant to be. Some people will work for months on end to force two rabbits to bond and may even have "success." I happen to disagree with that idea. If it takes that much effort, it is too forced and then, IMO, likely easily broken. Sometimes two rabbits will refuse to get along.

I would definitely keep these two apart for awhile to let them de-stress and try to forget each other.
 

stevesmum

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Well that's a bummer. I am going back to work in a month and a half and I really wanted them to be bonded by then. We aren't willing to return chip, we're just too attached. He's a special guy. Cali is a mean gir exactly like yours was. This was our third attempt and thought it would work because chip is so sweet. If they have to live on different floors then so be it. It will be more work for me that's all. I still hold out hope they can learn to get along though...
 

Akzholedent

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Pippi has a vendetta against Butterscotch and Ellie (she's a 4 pound Holland lop, and they are both 8 pound rabbits).. We can't have her *anywhere* near them, or she goes into full-blown territorial mode, even though she's been spayed since we brought her home. We ended up building a wonderful condo for Butterscotch and Ellie in our basement and since Pippi can't see, hear, or smell them, she is a lot calmer and happier. Some bunnies are just solitary critters (I think she was taken from her mom too early and never learned to socialize with rabbits). There is always the chance that you can find a buddy for Chip, so he's not lonely, but Cali sort of reminds me of Pippi.. She's a very independent rabbit (she hates getting her nails trimmed, being petted for more than a minute.. Lol) She can be a sweetheart and cuddle with ya, but if she smells *any* animal, she turns nasty quickly.
 

Lokin4AReason

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i would let them out at separate time(s) .... at least one in the cage and the other running around

it ll take time, and they will get used to each other again.

me i used two different cage(s) but placed the food bowl(s) near each other at where they can pick up each others scent

with time, they accepted one another because they were fighting and removing patches of fur on each other
 

stevesmum

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Thanks, maybe there's a chance still for them. I still want to try stress bonding to see if that will snap Cali out of her attitude. At least temporarily. She really hates car rides. We have taken a break and not put them together since the scuffle. If anyone else has experiences or tips to share I'd love to hear them!
 

RavenousDragon

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My two rabbits HATE each other (really, my female is just mean and the male doesn't ever retaliate- but Brandy doesn't want you guys to know that). We have pretty much given up bonding them (it's been over a year) so we have their cages together (they love to cuddle when there are bars between them, but once those bars are gone, Brandy turns evil!). We just alternate which rabbit is allowed free roam (every 2 hours) and they seem to be pretty happy with that.
 

stevesmum

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Well I have this dream where they decide to live in peace and can be free roaming in the basement all the time. Or I could move them back upstairs to the bonus room because I really hate basements and don't like hanging out down there. When I go back to work in June they won't have as much out time if they have to go one at a time. I will feel a lot of guilt and anxiety about that. Already do!

Blue eyes - I'm curious how it went with your mean female when she found the bunny she fell for.. how did she act? How did you know he was the one? And how long did it take to bond them?
 

stevesmum

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At long last I have an update. Chip and Cali have successfully bonded and are living together. I separated them for months. I still had them living side by side, and this is the key part: I switched them between enclosures, faithfully, every single night. I really think this is so important when bonding.
I had no neutral territory left in my house, so I made the upstairs bonus room kind of neutral again with a good cleaning and new area rug. They went on dates and that stage took months too. I couldn’t do it every night and noticed after a few nights apart they would regress in their relationship. So I tried harder. But I didn’t stress bond. Finally they could spend hours together, then we did three days and nights straight. We cleaned their future shared home and they moved in two days ago. It’s been great. Just seeing lots of extra poops around but that’s normal. They seem happy together. I am ecstatic. It’s been a challenging journey with these two.

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Blue eyes

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So glad to hear they are doing so well! Credit that to your incredible patience.

I'm sorry I never saw your prior post asking me a question... I guess it's rather moot now. :)

We'll continue to keep fingers crossed for your two. :yes:
 

JBun

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That's amazing that you were successful. That's perseverance! I tried a difficult bond between two female buns, but finally gave up after several months of continued mutual dislike. I'm glad you were more successful than I was. I hope your buns continue to be happy together and enjoy their cuddles. It's always nice to have a happily bonded pair.
 

stevesmum

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Thanks everyone.. I just had a gut feeling that it would work out for them. I think it just took a lot of time for Cali to get over losing her last partner and open her heart again. To be honest, everyone who meets chip likes him, he’s just a likeable sort. Bit of a food thief, but no one’s perfect!
 

stevesmum

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FCF07BF7-12C4-406C-8B6C-133094954AE4.jpeg Hello all, I’ve been away for a while but decided to log back in and say hi. I admit when the site format changed I just didn’t have time to adjust to it. Anyhoo.
Chip and Cali are still in love and living the dream in our basement. They are mostly free roam. Chip has stopped coming upstairs for some reason, still trying to figure out why. But they seem happy and healthy otherwise. Hope all is well with everyone and their furry friends!
 

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I’m so glad you had success. Sounds like my pair. I have a doe Scarlett we have had her two years now. We lost her partner 8 months ago. I got a spayed boy 6 months old Benjamin he is a lovely calm cuddly bunny. She’s always been a bit grumpy and nips when she’s not into something but she seems to have mood swings when on dates. One minuet she will be cuddling, grooming him, and he grooming her, both being rather affectionate then he will get up to move or run past her then that’s it she will go for him. Nothing major but I’m starting to see small patches of fur missing and small pin pick almost like grazes. I want them to bond but obviously I don’t want him to get hurt. Got any advice as you’ve had success?
 

stevesmum

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@Chelsey: I would say the biggest thing that set them up for success was switching them between enclosures each and every night. And I did that for months. Every step was taken slowly because I was determined to succeed. It sounds like there’s some positive signs with your two, he just needs to accept his submissive role. Sometimes this bonding thing just takes time. Hope it continues to go well for you.
 

Nancy McClelland

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Bravo! We have had some (all rescues) that would fight with a rock and were not bondable and others that were very sweet and go along with all. Time and patience while getting them used to each other is key. We even had 2 intact males that were bonded, but one was a sprayer so they both had their "bits" removed.
 
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