Rebonding a once bonded m/f pair

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by New bunny mummy, Sep 11, 2019 at 11:37 AM.

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  1. Sep 11, 2019 at 11:37 AM #1

    New bunny mummy

    New bunny mummy

    New bunny mummy

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    Hi guys.

    I’m pretty new to all this & find myself struggling slightly in what to do to produce the happiest outcome possible for my bunnies & wondered if any of you had any words of wisdom/advice .

    So some background, we got 2 female Lionhead bunnies on 12/4/19, they have the same dad but different mum & there is 2 weeks between them. Cookie was 9 weeks & chip was 7 weeks. They were in the same enclosure when we got them so brought them home, kept them together & never had any issues, happy bunnies .

    Fast forward to mid July & they were both booked in to be spayed. You can probably guess the next part. We left the vets with cookie being neutered & chip being very pregnant! Wouldn’t necessarily have been an issue but we had a holiday booked for 9/8/19 & cookie & chip were booked into rabbit boarding whilst we were away.

    Cookie went off to boarding, the breeder we got them from agreed to have chip whilst she had her babies & we would get her back when her babies were old enough to be weaned from her.

    We got cookie back from boarding & he’s seemed quite depressed & miserable (he’s never been a very human friendly rabbit but loved his bunny companion) so we presumed he was missing chip & not happy being on his own (loves his food & poops fine so I’m pretty certain there’s no health issue).

    We collected chip on Sunday night & my kids fell in love with the babies so we decided to keep one (hoping definitely female this time).

    I naively thought that it would be plain sailing reuniting cookie & chip as I thought he’d be thrilled to have her home.

    We put cookie & chip in the garden to be reunited under our watchful eye whilst holding baby (we’ve named her bugs) & all seemed fine at first but this was then followed by some frantic chasing & a couple of nips, nothing major. Cookie then humped chips head & even though she was the dominant bun before she showed signs of submissing to him but only when bugs was near by (guessing a maternal/protective behaviour?) when she wouldn’t submit cookie gave her a couple of bites to her back end (no blood or broken skin thank goodness) & now I’m slightly nervous & very clueless about how to go about the rebonding process. Do I keep bugs separate whilst rebonding cookie & chip or do I try to bond all 3 at the same time?

    I really don’t know what the best way to tackle this is. I’ve read so many articles & researched bonding rabbits but haven’t came across a similar situation regarding broken bonds & new babies .

    Any help would be hugely appreciated.

    Sorry for the essay
     
  2. Sep 11, 2019 at 7:53 PM #2

    Augustus&HazelGrace

    Augustus&HazelGrace

    Augustus&HazelGrace

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    Baby bonds don't count. All babies will seemingly "bond" but it's not a true bond. @Blue eyes knows a lot about bonding and even has a page on her website on it. She can link it here when she gets on.
     
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  3. Sep 11, 2019 at 9:24 PM #3

    New bunny mummy

    New bunny mummy

    New bunny mummy

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    Oh I never knew this . I’ve had them together again today for around 45 minutes with relative success. A few little nips from him but nothing a clap didn’t interrupt. A lot of grooming being done by him as she kept sticking her head under his chin & I think the nips were him getting frustrated that she wouldn’t groom him back. Both seemed fairly relaxed & happily munching away in each other’s presence. No humping though by either of them.
     
  4. Sep 12, 2019 at 3:46 AM #4

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Has Chip since been spayed?
     
  5. Sep 12, 2019 at 7:42 AM #5

    New bunny mummy

    New bunny mummy

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    She’s booked in at the end of September to be spayed, do you think I’d be better waiting until she’s spayed & then letting the hormones subside?
     
  6. Sep 12, 2019 at 9:01 AM #6

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

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    When it comes to bonding, not only do baby-bonds not count, but nothing truly counts until they're old enough to be spayed/neutered AND it's been at least 3-4 weeks post-spay for females and 6-8 weeks post-neuter for males (the amount of time it takes for hormones to fully dissipate). I would keep them apart until about a month after Chip has been spayed - then and ONLY then should you start bonding... from scratch... as though they'd never met before.

    You said you've read some articles on bonding... not sure which you've read, though, so here are some of my favorites:
    Blue eyes' site
    Cottontails rescue
    Wabbitwiki
    and the House Rabbit Society page on mounting behavior

    Bottom line... you need to wait for chip to be spayed, hormones to be gone and then you need to start from scratch. If you wish to try to form a trio (which can potentially be done but is definitely trickier), Bugs will need to be spayed and post-hormonal as well.

    On that note, bonding a third rabbit to an already-bonded pair is supposedly risky (can upset the existing bond), but I'm not convinced - my hunch is that with 3+ rabbits, they either have compatible personalities or they don't; it doesn't really matter what order you bond in. I've successfully bonded a trio before (added a new male to a F/F pair that started together as babies, got spayed and had to be re-bonded after) and am currently in the process of trying to sort out four rabbits. I'd like a quad... Barnaby/Harley Quinn were adopted together and became a love-at-first-sight bonded pair... I originally intended Barnaby for Nala (after her partner Layne died last January), but HQ (with her soft/tiny nose and crystal blue eyes) conned me into adopting two rabbits instead of one, lol. I'm hopeful for a trio still but more dubious about the chances of a quad - Alice is a demandsing fire-starter about being groomed and is almost always the issue in long bonding sessions (she's the only rabbit to have scuffled with all three other bunns); Nala's recent dental troubles/bout with stasis put the brakes on any sort of bonding, though, since I've had to monitor her eating habits very closely.
     
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