REPOST: Bunny Bonding Woes -- HELP

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by Allen Wrider, Oct 23, 2019.

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  1. Oct 30, 2019 #41

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

    Alyssa and Bugs♡

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    I've been following this thread since it was started but I thought I'd butt in and share my thoughts especially because I see a lot of my bunnies in yours.

    For starters, I've attempted to bond my male with two different females and neither bond worked out. Being around other bunnies makes him jumpy when he's usually a very confident boy. I've accepted he's better off alone. The first female was swapped out after a fight that Bugs got hurt pretty badly during and I felt it wasn't fair that she was double his size and being a bully. My second female and Bugs did amazing at first (kisses all the time, snuggles, all the good stuff) then she began to get more and more humpy despite whatever I tried. He didn't like this and one day he just snapped. He ended up biting her directly above her eye and broke the skin after a nasty tussle. This happened to be the night before move-in day during their second sleepover.

    If I understand correctly, the white one is the original bun? In your videos, I've noticed they don't seem to hate each other but they don't seem in love yet either. You seem incredibly calm! During my first attempt, I was terrified. I kept the oven mitts on the whole time and freaked out whenever they moved. The positive vibes I'm getting from just watching the videos are rubbing off on them which is helping them calm down a lot! I wonder if it's possible original bun is being protective of you. I definitely felt this during bonding.

    I agree with @Imbrium that they should not be able to bite each other at all through the pens. I've seen pictures of sweet little bunny noses that were scarred and just not great looking after incidents like you experienced earlier. I have chicken wire wrapped around my pens to stop nipping. It looks pretty tacky but it works.

    Persistence is key with bonding. Enforce good behavior with treats and veggies and end fighting/negative nipping by forcing them to snuggle next to each other and stroke them for as long as you can. Remember you know your bunnies best. It seems yours just need time to get to know each other more. I like to think of it as two completely different people being forced to marry each other. First, they're completely against it and slowly they realize the other person isn't actually that bad and then eventually they fall in love. Good luck and keep the videos coming! I found your voice soothing, lol.

    @K1marie I don't know how you haven't given up. You're incredibly patient and I hope everything works out for you and your buns sooner than later.

    @Flakes you have an amazing sense of humor!
     
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  2. Oct 30, 2019 #42

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

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    Haha, the calmness didn't come easy. Quinn (the white rabbit) actually ran to me and bit my hand during their first meet. On purpose! But after that, she hasn't bitten me, not once. She seems to recognize that I'm not something that will attack her, even when in fight or flight mode during their encounters, and she will literally roll her whole body away from my hand if I put it in between them during a fight. As a result, I don't feel the need for extra protection (and after yesterday's bonding sesh I think there won't be TOO much more fighting).
     
  3. Oct 30, 2019 #43

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

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    Hey guys is it normal for one rabbit to lightly nip another and ask for attention? Because I'm doing tonight's stress bond and Skippy is very lightly nipping Quinn's foot to ask for cuddles.
     
  4. Oct 30, 2019 #44

    Flakes

    Flakes

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    Dortmund has nibbled me a couple times. I’m convinced he sees me as very large rabbit. So far (and I’ve been tempted) I haven’t nibbled him back. Maybe you should try lightly biting skips foot to see what happens.
     
  5. Oct 30, 2019 #45

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

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    I actually have no idea lol but that reminds me of that scene in Snow Dogs where everyone was just like "bite that dog on the ear! Show him who's boss!"

    As a side note Skippy wtf are you doing IMG_20191029_223040.jpg
     
  6. Oct 30, 2019 #46

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    Nipping like that is a normal form of communication between rabbits... Usually directed at a rabbit that the biting rabbit thinks is lower on the hierarchy. Sometimes the more submissive rabbit will tolerate it... Other times it can start a fight... If it's just one nip and doesn't escalate, let it happen without interrupting. That's something they'll eventually need to work out for themselves anyway before they can be a fully bonded pair.

    Husband taught me the concept that rabbits who nip their humans should be nipped back. It is shockingly effective because you're speaking their language.

    I actually made a "shaming" pic tonight very similar to that.

    IMG_20191030_002455.jpg
     
  7. Oct 30, 2019 #47

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

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    It unfortunately turned into a bit of a biting match in the bathtub. Quinn decided she didn't like being nipped at so they ended up circling and biting one another. I need to do other stressors besides just the dryer in a basket, they get used to it too quickly...
     
  8. Nov 6, 2019 #48

    Flakes

    Flakes

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    How goes the bond8ng?
     
  9. Nov 6, 2019 #49

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    haha - JUST about to post how things have been going. Here is what I have been doing the last 4 days. First To refresh - Murphy (lop) is the one with the Kung Fu moves but doesn't just bite unless they get in a tornado - which I haven't given them an opportunity for in several weeks. Little Lionel seems insecure and is proactive in biting Murphy when they would get together. I have been making them cuddle & hold a cooling rack between to avoid biting - then switch cages every night. I started trying the car. Tonight is night 5. I have been sitting in the back seat with the boys in two carriers for a 10 min ride. After 10 min - I join the two in the larger carrier (cuz thats the one that opens on the top) but have put a pillow at one end - so its a little snugger & they need to stay fairly close , not smooshed. though can still manage to turn front to back (or should they not be able to) . Murphy def seems to want comfort but he's also kind of restless cuz he know the top opens and he keeps looking to escape - but is refraining from his kung fu moves, but doesn't lay down. Lionel ends up laying down. Neither really seek to snuggle eachother. I am too worried about Lionel randomly biting Murph in those close quarters - especially when I push Murphy close to him. To be safe, I put some treats in Lionels treat cup (a 1 oz plastic cup) and he keeps his nose in it like a little muzzle and randomly chews some treats. It slowly comes off, but I just kind of adjust it so its around him so he doesn't turn and bite Murph. HE DOES NOT MIND THIS - they both get treats in little cups that I let them dig out themselves as a game and they have their noses in these cups all the time WILLINGLY with total control. I am just keeping this on for 15 min in the car to start and will totally remove it for the last couple rides. I am just trying to avoid an injury. While they are together - I pet the little spot on their head they love and they are calm while I do this....I am wondering if I should be doing that or not though? Am taking the place of the other buns job or do I want to do this to keep them calm? If Lionel seems to want to comfort Murph, I will get the cup out of the way - I obviously will need to try this with no cup soon and just keep my hand right there and see what happens. I may lose a finger, but I don't know how else to proceed. Last night after the ride, I brought the carrier up to a neutral bathroom and just left the end open. They both happened to be facing away from the opening ....Murphy meandered out after a minute or two and slowly warmed up walking around looking for something to chew. Lionel just stayed put, eventually turned around and after a few more minutes started to slowly emerge. I wanted to end everything calmly - so at this point (5-7 min in) we returned them to their cages. My plan for tonight will be to do the same - are they ready to take the cup out of the equation ? and maybe let them have 10 min together after ... let them approach each other? I am open for suggestions .... No one has actually posted the exacts steps & amts of time for each phase - so not sure if I am missing something that may help.
     
  10. Nov 6, 2019 #50

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    It's important to trust your instincts, as every bonding is different and you're the best expert on your own bunnies ;). Try to stay confident even if you have to fake it - bunns pick up on nervous energy from their humans. It sounds like you're doing a good job so far and have sound instincts. Worst case scenario, you make a mistake and they fight... so you back up a step or two in order to get things back on track. We all make little mistakes in bonding sometimes, but one way or another, it's always fixable.

    What I'm getting at is that there is no "exact steps and amounts of time" because that depends on your specific bunnies. If they seem nervous about each other, slow down... if they seem comfortable with things so far, move forward.
     
  11. Nov 6, 2019 #51

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    Yes, I'm trying to take baby steps and only go ahead when it seems right. They have both remained adorable and loving to me, so they don't hate me yet. I'll post the next update when there is anything of interest.
     
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  12. Nov 6, 2019 #52

    Flakes

    Flakes

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    Maybe Lionel is feeling insecure. Have you considered getting him a dapper little hat to wear to make him feel better about himself.
     
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  13. Nov 7, 2019 #53

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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    Hilarious... And yet there's some truth to the statement, lol. Rabbits definitely vary in intelligence (and iq) in my experience. Some rabbits quite clearly have lower self-esteem than others.
     
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  14. Nov 7, 2019 #54

    K1marie

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    I agree - thought not sure the hat is the solution. Maybe if I give him a bigger mane he will feel more like Lionel King! I kind of I DO think that why he takes the "proactive" bite. Last night we had our 5th car ride, I took his treat cup off him after only a couple of min when I knew nothing would break out (hasn't yet on the ride - but he's also been wearing it) We got home and I carried the carrier into the bathroom, I opened the end up -they stayed next to each other (facing away from us) again for a few minutes. Murphy climbed OVER Lionel to get out and Lionel didn't react. After about 5 minutes Lionel came out. Murphy was again roaming around looking for trouble, but cautiously. They kind of ignored each other...then got close and jumped around a bit - but I didn't let them get into it (it didn't seem too bad, but I couldn't let it get too negative , so I did intervene at that point and spread them apart again. They had another same type encounter....(where again I intervened) it definitely wasn't an instant toranado - maybe more testing eachother...but I couldn't take the chance at this stage yet. I know they WILL have to work it out themselves, but I dont want to go there yet. I waited until they were again ignoring each other and seemed okay and then removed them to their cages for some treats. Car ride #6 tonight.
     
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  15. Nov 7, 2019 #55

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    A good next step may be to forgo the carrier and let them have some space to move around in the backseat with you, as well as perhaps lengthening the duration of the car rides (how long have you been driving around for?).
     
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  16. Nov 7, 2019 #56

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    I was wondering if anyone had done that.... no one has made that suggestion - but I almost felt like I should try that. If I can get out with them before it gets too dark to easily read them - maybe tonight! Thanks for sticking with me on this. Its really trial and error - as you said every bun is different ... but it sure helps getting input and bouncing ideas off someone. Thank you.
     
  17. Nov 8, 2019 #57

    Imbrium

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    Jennifer

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    When we do car ride bonding it's four rotten rabbits and one rotten husband loose in the backseat :D. If someone (*glares at Alice*) gets feisty and starts trouble, they get a time out with me up front for a few minutes. We often end up at the pet store... I put a towel in the bottom of the cart to cushion their feet and we do some laps around the store, looking at the other animals and letting a few strangers pet our quad. Even Alice behaves in the cart.
     
  18. Nov 13, 2019 at 1:50 AM #58

    Allen Wrider

    Allen Wrider

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    Hey everyone, quick update:

    Quinn and Skippy's bonding had a major setback two nights ago and tonight. My aunt brought her two very high maintenance dogs by without ample warning. These two dogs ar not calm and have never interacted with any other type of animal, let alone rabbits. The bigger of the two whined and pawed at the cages and Skippy, who was under a great deal of stress and not used to a dog being so energetic, actually lept clear out of her side of the pen. She jumped a good 5 feet in the air and had a rough landing (all appears to be well), and the dog proceeded to chase her throughout the house.

    I caught her and she began screaming in fear, and the sound unfortunately distressed Quinn a great deal. Now she's attacking Skippy or charging at the separator whenever they see each other. I think she's mad that Skippy "got out"? I can't tell. But she's being very aggressive with Skippy and constantly growling and biting at her through the bars. Thank God I put a separation up.

    I'm at an honest loss, they're both really stressed by what happened.
     
  19. Nov 13, 2019 at 3:23 PM #59

    K1marie

    K1marie

    K1marie

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    Oh, sorry to hear. That is so sad for poor Skippy (and Quinn). Its hard enough working on the bonding WITHOUT the extra drama. So Quinn sensed the extreme fear in Skippy and is connecting Skippy to that negative outbreak? What is happening today?
     
  20. Nov 13, 2019 at 4:54 PM #60

    Flakes

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    This scares me a bit. I’m visiting my sister in St petersburg florida over the holidays, and they have a dog. Plus my parents are bringing their dog.

    my sister assures me that Sasha (her dog) is just a big sweetie and will be oblivious about Dortmund’s presence. But my Parent’s dog was a rescue that was abandoned and had taken to hunting squirrels and small animals before the humane society caught her and adopted her out to my parents. Millie may be old, arthritic, and half blind due to cataracts, but she is a hunter.
     

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