Rebonding females after spay disagreement

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by kasb, Sep 27, 2018.

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  1. Sep 27, 2018 #1

    kasb

    kasb

    kasb

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    Hi there,

    I've been rebonding my female buns after they had a disagreement during their spay recovery,

    Its tough going, however I have seen small progresses and I am in hope this will work.

    My confusion and question comes with the hope that we are able to bond them.

    Since their separation, I have been keeping them away from their original home in hope that if/when they go back in together neither will be territorial, however in reading a lot of articles on bonding rabbits (many of which are in contradiction to one another) if I change there home to the one they had previous they could unbond further. (due to change in environment)

    My question is would it be better to put them into a new (home before spaying) home when newly bonded, or to try and separate that home currently and continue with bonding sessions.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Thank you for reading.
     
  2. Sep 28, 2018 #2

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    I'm not quite sure I'm following you. I think you are asking whether it is better to keep them out of what will eventually be their permanent home OR to divide that home up so that each rabbit is living in one half of what will be their permanent home. Is that correct?

    I'll wait to hear back before responding so I'm answering the right question. ;)

    Also, could you let us know how recent was their spay and what has been your process so far? Bonding sessions? where? how long? how often? how they act toward each other?
     
  3. Sep 28, 2018 #3

    kasb

    kasb

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    That's exactly my question. Sorry I knew I went long way round for that.

    They were spayed just over 5 weeks ago, the vet I spoke with who bonded her own rabbits gave me the advice to start after 10 days for a 24 hour session starting in the bath then larger area for remaining time.

    I didn't last long with and decided to take a slower approach. Lots of prebonding. Living side by side, out in a divided room various times of the day

    After a couple of weeks I tried again, it didn't look good me, I decided to give them my living room (just to try something different) together in the evenings it seemed to work better so thats been increasing from about an to 4 hours each night.

    There has been lots of lunging boxing little nips I removed the boxes I had in the room at one point as one seemed to be getting territorial.

    However last night there was lots of small times of grooming eachother with smaller scuffles inbetween.

    Currently 2 hours in morning separated by wire pen

    4 hours in evening in the living room together

    I hope that makes sense I realise I'm not very concise in my writing
     
  4. Sep 28, 2018 #4

    kasb

    kasb

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    They will eat together and last night lied together just scuffles in between, there has been no mounting, but the do smell each other's butts whom ever is being smelt doesn't seem to like causing lunging ( I don't know what that means)

    I do appreciate your reply thank you
     
  5. Sep 28, 2018 #5

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    If you have photos of your cage set up and current set up, maybe that would help since I'm trying to understand what's going on.

    Typically there are two common recommendations for bonding. One is to allow the rabbits together frequently for short periods of time. This would be at least twice per day for as short as 5-10 minutes each session, depending on how they are reacting. This length of time would increase as they are able and are doing well. This method starts in a confined area like a bathroom or even the tub (if it isn't overly slick). The area size would remain the same until they are showing that they are getting along without any issues for long periods of time.

    The second method involves putting the rabbits together in a limited space (can be slightly larger than a typical bathroom) that has numerous boxes and diversions in the area. With this method, the rabbits are monitored continually and remain together 24/7 until they either bond or it is determined that they won't bond. Once they begin to get along without any issues whatsoever, then they remain in that same area for a week or two (longer if it has taken them long to get to that point).

    With either method, once they seem to be bonded, that bond will be tested once they are moved to a different location or if their area is enlarged.

    It sounds like you've been doing different combinations of various methods which may be rather confusing to the rabbits. I imagine they are not sure about what is shared territory and what is their individual territory. Normally, bonding attempts in a large area (ie. living room) can cause each of the rabbits to establish portions of the area as theirs. This is not desirable for bonding. This is why smaller areas are recommended for bonding.

    Also, to be considered, is what part of the home will eventually be their exercise area once they are bonded and are sharing a cage.

    All this background is given to establish some basics. Ideally, with bonding, if short sessions are being done, it really should be done in a very limited neutral space. When they are not in a session, they should each be in a separate cage. Once they are making good progress (longer sessions and more frequent sessions) there will be a time to place them together into what will be their new, shared cage. That cage should also be made as neutral as possible. If it is a new cage, all the better. If it is a cage that belonged to one of them, then it should be re-arranged, wiped down with vinegar, and items from both rabbits' cages should be placed in there. The idea is to make it seem as neutral as possible.

    Once they are able to share this cage together, they should remain in there for a couple days. After that, an exercise pen (or similar) can be used to create a limited area around the new cage. They can come out and explore in this limited area only, at first. If given too much space too soon, that can cause territory issues and disrupt the bond. So limited area at first.

    In time, the area can be expanded. Again, the idea here is to maintain that bond by not testing it too much all at once. Each time the area is expanded, they should be monitored. If they seem to revert, then the area is shrunken back again.

    It seems, if I'm understanding your description, that they are having both good and bad moments when in the larger area of the living room and also that they may be establishing (or trying to establish) individual territories in that area. My thought would be to not continue in that area. If this will be their future exercise area, this would be even more important (that they not establish separate areas within that area). If this is your only area to use now, then using an x-pen to severely limit the space may be a better option. This forces them into the smaller space discussed already - until they are getting along without any issues.

    Whew. I know that is a lot of writing. Hopefully not too overwhelming and hopefully it makes sense. Let me know if clarification is needed.
     
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  6. Sep 29, 2018 #6

    kasb

    kasb

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    Thank you so much for all this information. I'll take this advise and I'll make the living room area smaller. It does make sense thank you, I need to have a good think.
     
  7. Sep 30, 2018 #7

    kasb

    kasb

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    I've currently set my bunnies up in the loft, in a pen. Neutral smaller territory, I'm just going to hang out with them for the day and night and see if this is going to work or not.

    I'm hoping this works so bad. I just want what's best for them. I didn't have a clue I'd be doing any of this 5 months ago. Total rabbit novice
     
  8. Sep 30, 2018 #8

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Hopefully they will do well in that smaller space. If they do, it's best to keep them there until the bond is well established. This section (scroll down to 'Immersion method") explains in more detail.
     
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  9. Oct 1, 2018 #9

    kasb

    kasb

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    Hey, so it been 26 hours,

    The first 6 hours went really well 10am until 4 pm acting really lovely to one another then. ..

    After 4pm small scuffles started some bigger ones through the night. One rabbit (Marshall) started hiding in the corner but comes out for food and strokes I can put them side by side they like to be stroke and then the second rabbit ( Sky ) will groom Marshall for 10 seconds then leave. Marshall does seem stressed they are napping now away from each other.

    My question is when do I throw in the towel. I can be stubborn because I want this to work but when is it enough for the rabbits? Any advice and experiences. I'm wondering if they will start again around the same time this evening ?

    Thank you
     
  10. Oct 1, 2018 #10

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    Well that is the big question! In all likelihood, you will be the best one to answer that question.

    It's easy for someone who is not there to say "give it up" or "don't give up" but really you are the one getting the best gut feeling for what is going on or what may occur. You are the one who is in the best position to decide when the stress factor of the bonding attempt outweighs the potential.

    It also depends on how serious are these scuffles and whether they seem to be escalating or not. When I'm working on a not-so-easy bond, I find it difficult sometimes to be objective in determining that. I so want a bond to work that I tend to latch onto the positives and try to downplay the negative interactions. But there comes a point when your gut tells you "this isn't going to work" (or "this is going to work").

    I'm going to attach a couple videos of a bond attempt just to show (1) how much things can change, and (2) how serious a 'scufffle' can be just so you have something to compare to.
    This does show an attempted bonding of a trio. But the 2 males (look alike) were the ones that ultimately didn't get along. So I'm showing this so you can see those two. [I had a female needing a new companion and the rescue actually recommended that I try both brothers. The brothers were not bonded but did get along. I now know that 2 males and 1 female is not a good match.]

    First video shows them seeming to get along (immersion method) after 3 weeks together in the bonding area.


    This then shows at them at 4 weeks still in the bonding area. It's a little long, but the scuffles to see start right at the beginning of the video. Then they calm down until the end. They got so aggressive then that I had to drop the camera so I could stop them. I don't like sharing this video but think it could be helpful since it shows an out-n-out tumbling fight starting.
     
  11. Oct 1, 2018 #11

    kasb

    kasb

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    Thank you for sharing that really helps, I'm just such a novice. I'm just trying to do my best for them, but I felt she was stressed this morning. There is progress today, she is more relaxed, but as I can see from your videos this may be short lived.

    I can see Marshall's reluctance to groom sky getting a few tail raises at the moment. Hoping for less scuffles tonight.

    I do appreciate the replies thank you guys
     
  12. Oct 2, 2018 #12

    kasb

    kasb

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    I apologise for yet another question.

    I'm seeing progress but we are not there yet.

    I didn't put any litters tray in due to not having any new ones available and wanting new territory. I bought some new ones today. Can I put them in their area, I don't want to disrupt anything, I don't want to take the risk. But for obvious reasons would like them to have litter trays.

    Thank you
     
  13. Oct 2, 2018 #13

    kasb

    kasb

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    I've put them in, they are fine, think I'm overthinking things.
     
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  14. Oct 3, 2018 #14

    Joyce Guardado

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    If you have some time put them in a small pet carrier and take them for a ride.
    Car rides are not fun for bunnies and they will reach out to each other because they are frightened.
    This teaching out helps the bond
    I have done several bonds including triple bonds and was always told to leave them in the tiniest of space so they can’t lunge and that’s after the car ride
    I had to rebond a pair and I did it by driving them around then leaving them in the carrier for a number of hours
    No bunnies could lunge in the tight space they had food water & hay.
    After that I would move to a small cage and eventually back to their regular home after it had been completely cleaned with a bleach or vinegar solution to remove any smells of prior bad acts.
    Knock on wood I haven’t had a bond fail yet.
    I hope this offers some help
     
  15. Oct 3, 2018 #15

    Joyce Guardado

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  16. Oct 3, 2018 #16

    Joyce Guardado

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    Please let me know the car ride has always turned the tides for me even when I was going to give up
    I learned all this from a woman who runs a rescue and bonds pairs for adoptions
    She has many years of experience and the small space really hopes I would love to know if this helps at all.
    Actually bonding females is generally harder than a male female bond but because they were bonded it can happen again
    Best of luck I have dozed on and off with a carrier at my feet so if any bunny tried anything I could catch it.
    I really think you have a good shot you just need them to be in a tight space where they can’t turn around easy generally for a day or so
    Please let us know...
     
  17. Oct 3, 2018 #17

    kasb

    kasb

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    Hi there, thank you for your reply. They are doing really well. I don't want to get my hopes up, but there have been no scuffles at all last night and only 1 the night before. I'm just popping in and checking on them regularly. They have been grooming but not as much as I kind was expecting they sleep together face to face rather then lying together. So I don't want to say they are bonded but think they are headed there. I'm going see how it goes like this. Thank you
     
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  18. Oct 3, 2018 #18

    Joyce Guardado

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    It sounds like they are on their way if you get another lunge just take them for that car ride.
    I had a time where I put the pair in a large space too early and had to start all over again.
    After a few sleepless nights you can feel discouraged and loose your patience only natural
    Your doing a great job!!!!
    Believe me I have done this many times and it’s not easy but you have progress
    Time and patience they loved before and they can again
    And even if it’s only a little grooming on one animals part that is huge!!!
    It will happen!
     
  19. Oct 15, 2018 #19

    kasb

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    Blue eyes, thank you so much for your help, I'm currently sat with two bonded happy bunnies, slowly working up to more space (the whole house) one room at a time. I was mixing it up to much, It was 100% your direct information that got us here.
     
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  20. Oct 15, 2018 #20

    Blue eyes

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    Glad to hear it! Would love to see a photo of the happy couple.
     
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