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Rabbits not humping in bonding

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Bees

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Hi! I've been bonding my buns (male lop and female Netherlands) for a few months now.
I started with them living next to each other, then neutral territory, switched toys and litter ect. They got on great straight away and have never fought. At most they get into tiny headbutt competitions for pets but always come to a quick decision and swap shortly after.
I would feel like they're done bonding except they have never humped. The boy has tried a few times (going for the head at first which I corrected) but the girl just hops away. She has never tried to mount him.
He doesn't get aggressive. Sometimes he chased her a foot or two but then gives up.
I'd be fine leaving them alone if neither buried to mount, but with 1 obviously wanting it and never getting to I'm worried it will eventually lead to a fight.
Anyone know what I can do? They've been spayed and neutered a while so I don't think hormones are an issue.
The boy has started to groom her head then slowly move behind and try to hump but she still wiggles away.
He has also tried to mount her head a few times which is part of why I don't feel ok leaving them alone since she doesn't move away from it??

Sorry for all the text, thanks for any help!
 

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Jennifer
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Welcome to RO!

Humping is quite common in rabbit bonding, but it does NOT always happen. I'd say that in at least half the bonds I've done (or tried, such as my quad-in-progress), no one ever actually humped. Really, I've only ever had one rabbit where persistent humping was an issue and eventually one of the two girls I was bonding him with humped him back and that was the end of it. When we adopted Harley Quinn and Barnaby last March, they came home from the shelter and were immediately put together in a bonding area. They had a "love at first sight" type connection and I felt comfortable leaving them together unattended after just a couple of days. There was never a single hump, just a couple of little scuffs that they quickly sorted out themselves. Every rabbit and every bond is different... some of them hit it off much more readily than others.

Your girl sounds pretty submissive so it doesn't surprise me that she just sits there and lets him hump her face sometimes. The important thing is that when she's had enough and tries to get away, he takes the hint and gives up chasing her readily. From what you've told us, I would consider your rabbits bonded - it's time to take the leap and trust them ;). Obviously keep an eye out for signs of fighting in your absence, like tufts of fur that have been pulled out, but I think if you put them together permanently at this point you won't have any problems.

PS: we'd never say "no" to a few pics of your cuties ;)
 

Bees

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Thank you!

If u would believe not 2 minutes after I posted this the girl started to hump the boy bun. He let it happen for a bit then tried to hump back and they got it a little fight which was easily broken up. After they calmed down I let them be together for a few more minutes before I separated them so hopefully no bad feelings.

My girl is actually very bossy and constantly demands grooming which is why I was surprised she never tried to mount him.

U said they sound bonded but does this change that? Should I wait longer to make sure they've sorted everything out?

Thank u so much for the info I had no idea some didn't ever hump lol
 

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Jennifer
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How often do you do bonding sessions and how long do they usually last? What size 'neutral' area are you using? Do you offer food/water/litter box in the bonding area? Do you sit in it with them or watch from outside the bonding area? If you can give us some of these details, it would make it easier to give advice on how to get from where you are to having a fully bonded duo. Also, can you define "little fight" a bit for us?

You've been at this bonding thing a long time... at a certain point, separating them between sessions can start to do more harm than good (especially with shorter sessions). Whenever I've bonded rabbits, I've always done progressively longer sessions and then had a final "marathon" session that lasted a few hours to a day (however long it took to satisfy me that they were truly bonded). I suspect you need to do some longer sessions (1-2 hours *minimum*) to let them work out where the 'line' is (ie when the girl has had enough of being submissive to his humping and/or of having her grooming requests ignored and finally decides to assert herself like she did today).

Bottom line is this: If they're not fully bonded, they sound quite close - I feel like with more information, we can help you tweak your bonding tactics a bit so that you can get the bonding wrapped up and move them in together :).
 

Bees

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Thank u for all of the help ur giving me!!

I bonded for shorter periods of time at first but now it's everyday for 2-4 hours sometimes twice a day.
I was doing a neutral area but move to the boys run (he lives in the permanent place) since they were getting along.
They have hay/water/ litter box and I've feed them together a few times which went great they just ate out of they're own bowl and didn't bother each other.
I sat with at first so I could get to them if anything happened and it seems to calm them down a bit but now they're used to each other I sit outside the area.

For the fight they were in the litter tray and running in a tight circle around each other growling. I couldn't see any wounds on either and once I broke them up they went to other ends of the area, calmed down then went back to each other and acted like normal.

I'm going to try doing longer sessions :) should I keep moving the boy when he humps her head or let her sort it out? I don't want her to end up biting him as vets r expensive :((
 

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Jennifer
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I would continue to do sessions on neutral territory until you're ready to put them together permanently, at which point I recommend making the boy's run seem "new" by deep-cleaning it and rearranging stuff so that it no longer feels like "his"... otherwise, it's confusing to them and they'll be more likely to fight.

I gently deter head-humping and tell the offending rabbit "don't hump the bitey end"... but if you think they're close to being bonded, maybe wait 3-5 seconds before getting involved to give them a chance to sort it out for themselves. He may be humping now because he feels like she's in "his" home, so a move back to neutral territory will probably also reduce any humping.
 
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