Rabbits hate each other after spay, impossible to bond??

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by sabbsoll, Jul 21, 2019.

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  1. Jul 21, 2019 #1

    sabbsoll

    sabbsoll

    sabbsoll

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    I have two free-roam female lion-head mix rabbits, about 11 months old. They are from the same litter and were very close until 2 months ago when they were spayed. They immediately nip and begin to brawl, which ultimately ends in me sweeping up clumps of hair. I currently have them in separate cages that are close enough for them to interact with each other, without killing each other. I am desperate to get them to love each other again. It is so sad. I feel so guilty for spaying them. Any suggestions? Is there any medication the vet could administer to relax them enough to bond? I am so desperate. :(
     
  2. Jul 21, 2019 #2

    TreasuredFriend

    TreasuredFriend

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    You shouldn't feel guilty for getting your females spayed. Bunnies like to choose their own friends, and hormones inevitably cause disagreements. Give the rebonding process time. Be patient. Often smells at the DVM clinic can force two rabbits to not like each other, or spat after a visit to the veterinarian.

    You are of the right mindset to keep them next to each other in separate caging units. Supervise. I'm happy you don't want them killing or snarling with each other. Gradually re-introduce. Switch out their litter pans and bedding to reacclimate each of the girls with their siblings' scent. End on a Positive Note when you do a bonding session.

    I have never heard of a medication that is given to rabbits to calm them enough to instantly start grooming or accept one another. Anyone else?

    Have you googled for tips on bonding rabbits? Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society has a helpful page on Bonding Dos & Donts.

    Have you had prior bun experience before? Or are the young Female lionheads your first experience? Gosh, I hope you can gradually get the girls to accept each other (again) and live harmoniously in your home without fatal injuries and serious scuffles.
     
  3. Jul 25, 2019 #3

    Pearly-V-Bunnys

    Pearly-V-Bunnys

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    Keep them separate. That is the best way to go!
    Rabbits ARE loners and like to be alone. (This is a true fact.)
    Also, if you keep two or more rabbits in one cage, they will not be near as nice to you as if they are alone, so, just keep them separate.
    ~My opinion ~
     
  4. Jul 25, 2019 #4

    John Wick

    John Wick

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    @Pearly-V-Bunnys , I am curious about what is informing your fact about rabbits being loners and like being alone. There are very few animal species who prefer being alone, and to my knowledge, rabbits are not one of them. I think there's a lot of evidence, both anecdotal and evolution/survival-based, to support that domesticated rabbits are social animals. There are absolutely cases where a pet rabbit is "unbondable" to other pet rabbits, but these rabbits still thrive from interaction with their human owner, rather than thriving when completely alone. That being said, a rabbit would not be happy just being thrown in an environment with a new rabbit - it definitely may be a process before that strong relationship is formed for two rabbits who are compatible.

    @sabbsoll - Following a spay/neuter, the hormones need some time to regulate, so the instant aggression your seeing may be in reaction to the hormonal fluctuations following their spay. I echo @TreasuredFriend , in that you should not feel guilty for spaying your rabbits. There are so many benefits for you, but also more importantly for them, to have them spayed.

    Young rabbits get along with other young rabbits very well in most cases. Some people think it's because they are a part of the same litter, but likely it's because they don't have hormones shouting at them to mate or secure territory. Brother and sister rabbits can naturally fight because of hormones. I call those who get along "baby bonds". Baby bonds are often weakened once one or both of the young rabbits start developing hormones because one starts getting humpy or territorial -- there are stories of owners seeing their two young rabbits cuddling one day and then wake up to find they suddenly fought each other over night. In my opinion, you had two lovely rabbits who got on great, but now they are being aggressive towards another due to the passage of time/hormone development, with the spay procedure potentially being that trigger and/or adding stress to the relationship, tipping it over the edge. It would be good to go through a bonding process with your rabbits, and knowing they got on well before, that can be promising for them developing a lifelong bond this time around. I don't have experience with bonding, but here are good places to read some information about bonding: https://rabbit.org/tag/bonding/ and https://binkybunny.com/infocategory/bonding/
     
  5. Jul 25, 2019 #5

    Preitler

    Preitler

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    Actually, no, not exactly. Rabbits are social animals, although they were bred to be stress resistant and good cage animals for about 200 years and will survive well enough alone they are still pretty close to their anchestors behaviour wise.

    Here, it is even illegal to keep pet rabbits alone (well, a very questionable law, there are some others too that make things worse). Rather rare, imho, but some rabbits indeed are happier alone, had that case once in 7 years, girl got mobbed and depressed in company.
    Although mine qualify as lifestock and not pets, I keep all 6 of them in pairs (my buck got a spayed girl as cuddlebun), because, well, when you see it, you'll know.

    The thing is, the way most of us keep them doesn't really suit their instincts and social needs. It's a compromise.
    Each of mine has a seperate hutch, two and two connected by a tunnel (my buck and his girl are my free range house bunnys, no cage). They always have the option to get out of each others sight, imho that's quite important.

    But even then, characters need to be compatible, two Alphas together don't work. In nature, they just would part ways, they can't do that in captivity. I skipped that whole bonding thing by selecting a compatible companion from a litter, so mine are mother-daughter pairs.
     
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  6. Jul 26, 2019 #6

    Nijn

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    That is not a fact. Rabbits actually do best with a companion. Them being tricky to bond does not mean they do well alone, it just means they are picky who they want to share their home with bit once they find a mate to their taste they form very close relationships with them.
     
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  7. Jul 26, 2019 #7

    TreasuredFriend

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    I wish I could post the picture of neutered Barry (rescue from shelter due to his cage aggression) and the picture of him in the midst of two disabled spayed female buns and a third spayed thriantra. He had his harem of girls and they enjoyed the companionship of each other! -- When my avatar girl disabled Karla's bone cancer required a gentle PTS, Barry was sad and continued his bond with harem member, disabled Tamm. Disabled Karla, Tamm, and mobile-man Barry were a trio.

    That being said, I was at the DVM clinic yesterday, and our DVM mentioned her neutered Californian likes to be the Alpha Bun in her home; she fosters for house rabbit society. Her boy was not pleased with another new "lagomorph" coming into his space. He also is the boss and chases their dog.

    Rabbits do enjoy the companionship of their own species; but personality and alpha traits need to be considered.

    Many friends have had trios, all buns being altered. Baby Bonds, that term makes me smile, John Wick. Has happened to us. Thanks for posting the link info so sabbsoll can access.

    - John Wick and Nijn. Thanks for your Helpful information.
     
  8. Jul 26, 2019 #8

    TreasuredFriend

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    In nature, they just would part ways, they can't do that in captivity. - by Preitler. Well-said.

    Hormones shouting at them to mate or secure territory, - by John Wick. Well-said.

    Q: Do articles suggest lionheads have more s/punk due to their breed? Once they're past the "baby bond" stage?

    We have never fostered or owned a lionhead. Perhaps lionhead guardians who view this can comment on bonding tips with their family members. Or a search feature will pull up extra notes?

    Lots of love to your girls who are fortunate you invested time & money into a beneficial surgery.
     
  9. Jul 28, 2019 #9

    Pearly-V-Bunnys

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    I'm very sorry.....you mis understood me. I meant that rabbits love their owner even more if they are not with another rabbit. Our family has had rabbits for years, so we have noticed this very much. I'm in America, so that's not the law here.
     
  10. Jul 28, 2019 #10

    AmyM

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    Sadly the same thing happened to my 2 female rabbits after they were spayed. We let them out into neutral territory together when they were both healed after the surgeries. At first they just wanted to run around and ignore each other, but as soon as they came nose to nose they went at it! It was like a tornado of bunnies chasing each other round and round round, super fast! They each had bitten the other by the time we could separate them, and we were so sad this happened! That was about a year ago. They now have to be rotated in and out of their houses separate from each other all of the time. The only place that we do not have to keep them completely apart is when we put their harnesses on and let them run around outside. I spoke with a lady that ran a rabbit rescue locally about it, and she suggested that we should let them 'speed date' so they can each can bond with a male... only then, she believed, would it be likely that they'd tolerate each other
     
  11. Jul 31, 2019 #11

    Pearly-V-Bunnys

    Pearly-V-Bunnys

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    Ah that's sad. Well we use to have to bunnies that hated each other and were very mean one to the other
     
  12. Jul 31, 2019 #12

    Imbrium

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    It takes 4-6 weeks post spay for females' hormones to be totally gone, so lingering hormones most likely provoked the initial fighting. Because they're kept separately but so close to each other, they're constantly reminded of the bad encounters, which nurtures a grudge that causes them to continue fighting even after hormones are no longer in the equation. F/F is an especially tricky pairing, but it can definitely be done. I had a bonded pair of girls (different breeds) that I bought together when they were 7 and 8 weeks old and raised together without issue until spay time at 5 months. During recovery from their spays, they started fighting out of the blue and had to be separated and then re-bonded.

    Given how much they've fought and repeated failures to re-bond on neutral territory, your best (and probably only) option is to separate them 100% - different rooms, where they can't see/smell/hear each other. Usually around a month does the trick, but it never hurts to wait an extra week or two to be sure (since if you try to re-introduce too soon, you'll have to start the process over again). Once they've had time to forget all about the fighting, you can start the bonding process again with a clean slate.

    Mind you, this is no guarantee - sometimes two rabbits (once they're adults) simply have an irreconcilable personality clash. However, if it's hormones that started this whole mess and not that they simply don't like each other, they may be able to work things out once you reintroduce them.
     
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