Skippy is the brown and white one, and Quinn is the pure white. Quinn is about a year and a half old, and I've had her since she was barely old enough to eat. Skippy is only about 6-7 months I think, and has thus far been the aggressor in their problems.which is which?
@Flakes omg, I'm laughing my butt off at all your posts! I love your attitude... a sense of humor really helps when bonding bunnies! That, and sometimes there's a good bit of truth to be found in seeming absurdity .Have you thought about renting a hotel room for a night as a neutral area. Not only would the car ride over be scary but I doubt either bunny has been to the local holiday inn (or whatever)
@K1marie If putting them together is like spontaneous combustion, then things have gotten very far off on the wrong track. It sounds like they're harboring grudges and animosity from all their previous altercations and it's gotten them to the point of "attack on sight".I haven't gotten to try a car ride yet - I have been afraid to put them together AT ALL. I have to have two people and a dust pan to prevent a tornado with mine.
With the primary aggressor more willing to bond to the vacuum than the other bunny, I'm thinking you should disregard everything I've said about vacuum cleaners . I wonder if a hair dryer would have a different effect (near but not on the bunnies, I mean)?UPDATE:
So, I've discovered that Quinn is not afraid of the vacuum. She attributes it to a cleaner cage and thus permits the hose to be in her space, even touching it with her nose when I moved it by her box (where she was calmly eating). Skippy, however, is terrified of it, and even thumps at it when it's near her. I don't know how this will affect an attempt at stress bonding with the vacuum as a factor?
I realize these questions weren't directed at me, but I'm gonna give my answers anyway .Can you detail a little more how you handled the car ride? Did you start with two carriers each time and return the trip with them together? I can't imagine putting them both in the same carrier....They could really get a good bite in.
Glad you're back and got to see all the fun additions to my thread! I stuck tonight's bonding videos in their own Google folder, so you can see the progress they made. It's looking good!Wow, been busy at work and this thread really took off while I was away! Bear with me while I catch up...
@Flakes omg, I'm laughing my butt off at all your posts! I love your attitude... a sense of humor really helps when bonding bunnies! That, and sometimes there's a good bit of truth to be found in seeming absurdity .
@K1marie If putting them together is like spontaneous combustion, then things have gotten very far off on the wrong track. It sounds like they're harboring grudges and animosity from all their previous altercations and it's gotten them to the point of "attack on sight".
Where things seem to be at with your pair, it is... let's just say 'statistically improbable' that you can get from where you are to a happily bonded pair without a full reboot. This means different rooms and zero interaction (not even seeing each other from across a room) for about a month. That's about how long it takes for them to forget all those negative feelings they have towards each other. After that, you'd start the entire bonding process over from scratch as though they'd never even met before.
There's definitely no harm in trying stress bonding before resorting to a reboot, of course... just giving you my blunt opinion that I wouldn't get too hopeful about it in your case (after rebooting them, it can be a great way to restart the process though).
With the primary aggressor more willing to bond to the vacuum than the other bunny, I'm thinking you should disregard everything I've said about vacuum cleaners . I wonder if a hair dryer would have a different effect (near but not on the bunnies, I mean)?
I'm thrilled to hear that your bunns seem to have turned a corner! Make sure to end every session on a positive note, especially if there was any minor scuffle or nip. I usually press the bunns together, pet them simultaneously and give a treat or two before everyone gets put up.
I realize these questions weren't directed at me, but I'm gonna give my answers anyway .
I've never been comfortable putting them inside a carrier for stress bonding, because they're trapped together in a way that can make human intervention both difficult and dangerous (though type of carrier can make a big difference here). Not only that, but if they're fully confined, it's hard to see their body language and catch/redirect negative expressions before they lead to actual nipping or fighting. The exception is we've sometimes allowed bunnies to get into an open-topped carrier together under strict supervision when the trip was going well.
When hubby and I go for a stress-bonding drive, we haul all rabbits to the car in cat carriers (or cardboard carriers leftover from adoptions) - Harley and Barnaby in one together because they're a bonded pair, and then Alice and Nala by themselves.
Husband sits to one side in the backseat (as opposed to the center seat). Towel goes down over the back seat (for both pee and traction purposes) and then four rabbits get plopped down in the seat together. Carriers go up front and on the floorboard (closed) so that they're out of the way and inaccessible (and block the rabbits from getting on the floor in the backseat or, worse, under the seats). Hubby's job is - hopefully - minimal. He'll nudge rabbits together and pet them a bit to get the party started and then sit back and watch. If someone (*cough* Alice) starts instigating fights, they go into the front seat with me for a time out.
Usually we drive around for a little bit and then end up at Petsmart, Petco and/or Tractor Supply. The towel from the back seat gets folded in half and lines the shopping cart (to cushion their little feet from the bottom of the cart)... and then in go four rabbits. We take some laps around the store and the bunnies get attention here and there but also get to just interact with each other in the semi-stressful environment of a moving cart and a strange store that smells like unknown animals (and sometimes involves an adoptable cat staring at them in fascination from their cage, lol).
I dunno how the pet stores slipped my mind when I was making stress-bonding suggestions - they're perfect if you don't have a second person to ride in the backseat with the bunnies. Just keep them in separate carriers in the car and combine them in the cart where you can give them your full attention.
We take bunnies on outings to the store one (or bonded pair) at a time sometimes, too... in particular, when someone starts getting too big for their britches. A brief excursion to remind them that the outside world exists provides a very effective 'attitude adjustment' when someone gets too entitled and demandsing (yes, I did spell that wrong on purpose... inside joke and a hard habit to break, lol).
Funnily enough, they actually both have blue eyes like me. It's just that the flash reflects off their pupils. But wouldn't that have been a cool coincidence?Oh, whoops, I got them mixed up! In that case, that actually really works to your benefit - you can unsettle the fire-starter without upsetting the more nervous bunny.
Just got done watching the videos... couldn't hear much of what you were saying on the long one because hubby's asleep in the same room as me and I don't wanna turn it up too much or pause the rain sounds 'cause either option will wake him up. I got the gist of it, though... the way you were talking (both to them and to yourself/the camera) reminded me SO much of myself when filming bonding sessions in the past . Also, I melted when I realized you had one red-eyed bunny and one blue-eyed (don't know how I overlooked the blue eyes last week)! Our bonded pair has that combo - Barnaby (Californian, so mostly white w/red eyes and sable tips) and Harley Quinn (mismarked Dutch with blue eyes) and after nearly 8 months with them, I still can't get enough.
Here's my evaluation of the videos:
I like the way you're within arm's reach to play a role without putting yourself in the middle of things - I saw a great balance between being involved and staying out of the way (basically being a chaperone without being a third wheel). The small space + mildly stressful environment of the tub definitely seems to be doing the trick. Their body language towards each other is improving greatly and you did an *excellent* job of spotting and redirecting those naughty impulses with a gentle pet so that they didn't have a chance to escalate. They're unsure about each other and haven't worked out dominance yet (like when they're both putting their head down and asking for grooming at times) but they both have an open mind about the other rabbit - that's the momentum you want to build on.
Later on, you'll have to give them more space and let them work out minor issues on their own... but for now, I would stick with a slow-track bonding style and continue to do short-to-medium length (15 mins to an hour) bathtub sessions at least 2-3 days a week. As sessions go more smoothly, you can lengthen them. When it gets to the point where you feel comfortable leaving them unattended in the bathroom for a few minutes at a time (while you're still near enough to hear if something starts to happen), it's time to figure out a way to set up a larger but still neutral bonding area (back to the kitchen or a portion of it, perhaps) and try introducing a litter box, hay supply, etc. again.
All-in-all, the videos from today look significantly more promising than the ones from last week . I think you guys are really on the right track now.
Maybe put down newspapers, and potty pads under the newspapers (if supervising them, wouldn't leave them alone in the room with potty pads down) around the hotel room? I don't worry so much about the poop but the pee will get into the carpets. Bring a few baby gates you may be able to have them in the bathroom which is usually tile, and maybe the foyer of the hotel room will be tile as well.Lol I could try that??? I guess? Problem being that Skippy kind of goes to the bathroom everywhere though. She's litter trained but not very well.
I did go back and forth trying to decide if I was seeing blue or red, lol! Is it a lighter blue on her? On red eyes, they're red on the pupil but when the iris contracts in brighter environments, it's actually whitish/light pink... I couldn't tell on camera if I was seeing that or another blue eyed rabbit (since pure white rabbits can have either color). Regardless, blue eyed bunnies make me melt!Funnily enough, they actually both have blue eyes like me. It's just that the flash reflects off their pupils. But wouldn't that have been a cool coincidence?
They need to be separated by more than a single fence between bonding sessions right now. Either their fences an inch or two apart or line the bottom foot or so with something to stop noses from getting through (coroplast, a couple layers of cardboard (though that may not work if someone chews a lot), hardware cloth, chicken wire, boards, whatever you can come up with). As you saw this morning, access to nip through fencing can swiftly undo any progress you're making. Fix the fence situation and go back to stress bonding (at least 15 min per session and at least every other day) and you should be able to regain the lost ground.Dang, all the progress from last night is gone y'all. Skippy bit Quinn on the head twice while they were visiting at the fence this morning, which in turn caused Quinn to pull out Tufts of fur when Skippy turned her butt to the fence. I threw some fresh hay at them to get them to separate, but that's really discouraging....