Spayed rabbits refuse to bond and pee on my kids!

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AmyM

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I adopted my two female rabbits as kits from the pet store together over a year ago. They were very good friends then.. they would groom each other, and lay by each other, but it was obvious that Sprinkles was the dominant rabbit and Henry was more submissive. I had them both spayed about six months after we got them because they were peeing and pooping all over our kitchen floor. Before they were spayed, I had bought each of them a separate 'house' so they could have their own space to eat and chill out when they wanted to, and we let them roam the entire kitchen together.
They were spayed 2 weeks apart from each other, Sprinkles went first, and then Henry. We kind of kept them separated during the healing process so they wouldn't hurt themselves or each other. When we tried to let them out of their houses together they both refused to groom one another and started fighting, chasing each other in a frenzy, ripping out each other's fur and biting like crazy. So we took turns letting one 'out' to have free roam, and then the other... we've taken them to the garage and the bathroom to try to re-bond them in neutral 'unmarked' territory, but they still end up wanting to fight...I think it's because Henry wants to be the dominant now, and she refuses to groom Sprinkles.
When each of them is 'out' alone from her own house to roam, inevitably, each of them ends up laying right next to the other one's house, and rests right there.
Sprinkles is extremely jealous of Henry. When Henry gets attention from any of us, or if we let Henry go 'play' and run around the garage while Sprinkles is in her house, she stands on her back legs and bites the metal of her cage like crazy. When Sprinkles comes to the garage, she chins EVERYTHING, frantically... trying to ensure that she doesn't miss chinning anything!
Now Sprinkles has started peeing on my kids when they hold and pet her. They've always held and pet their rabbits, since they were new, and Sprinkles especially loves the affection and attention. I've also noticed that Sprinkles is pooping around the perimeter of the kitchen when she's out of her house, something she used to do before she was litter trained and fixed.
What is going on with her? And how can I re-bond these girls?
 

SharonLee

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I adopted my two female rabbits as kits from the pet store together over a year ago. They were very good friends then.. they would groom each other, and lay by each other, but it was obvious that Sprinkles was the dominant rabbit and Henry was more submissive. I had them both spayed about six months after we got them because they were peeing and pooping all over our kitchen floor. Before they were spayed, I had bought each of them a separate 'house' so they could have their own space to eat and chill out when they wanted to, and we let them roam the entire kitchen together.
They were spayed 2 weeks apart from each other, Sprinkles went first, and then Henry. We kind of kept them separated during the healing process so they wouldn't hurt themselves or each other. When we tried to let them out of their houses together they both refused to groom one another and started fighting, chasing each other in a frenzy, ripping out each other's fur and biting like crazy. So we took turns letting one 'out' to have free roam, and then the other... we've taken them to the garage and the bathroom to try to re-bond them in neutral 'unmarked' territory, but they still end up wanting to fight...I think it's because Henry wants to be the dominant now, and she refuses to groom Sprinkles.
When each of them is 'out' alone from her own house to roam, inevitably, each of them ends up laying right next to the other one's house, and rests right there.
Sprinkles is extremely jealous of Henry. When Henry gets attention from any of us, or if we let Henry go 'play' and run around the garage while Sprinkles is in her house, she stands on her back legs and bites the metal of her cage like crazy. When Sprinkles comes to the garage, she chins EVERYTHING, frantically... trying to ensure that she doesn't miss chinning anything!
Now Sprinkles has started peeing on my kids when they hold and pet her. They've always held and pet their rabbits, since they were new, and Sprinkles especially loves the affection and attention. I've also noticed that Sprinkles is pooping around the perimeter of the kitchen when she's out of her house, something she used to do before she was litter trained and fixed.
What is going on with her? And how can I re-bond these girls?
I read somewhere that when two rabbits grow up together, it does not mean they are bonded. It just means they grew up together. They will get a long as kids, but they still have to go through the bonding process when they get older. I could be wrong, but it might be the case that they were never bonded...just young and therefore got along. You might have to start the bonding process from scratch. I suggest you contact a rabbit rescue in your area, or just pick one and send an email. There are some rescues that help with the bonding process and have info on their website. One like that might be good to contact.
 

AmyM

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Oh wow!! Ok, that gives me a place to start, thank you very much for your reply!!
 

JBun

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If after the surgery and separation, you let them out together without properly rebonding them, that is likely part of what is creating the problems you are now having with them. The other part is that rabbits personalities can change somewhat when they become fully matured, and even though two rabbits get along perfectly before then, it's no guarantee they will once they are all grown up, particularly two bossy females. Whether or not that can be fixed and your buns bonded again is an unknown at this point. Some rabbits will rebond when it's gone about properly, some won't no matter what you try because of personality conflicts.

Probably the only chance left that I can see, of a possible bond would be complete and total separation for at least a whole month(maybe longer). This means keeping them as far as possible from each other at separate parts of the house, with absolutely zero contact occurring, and possibly even needing to change clothes in between handling each so you don't have the others scent on you. They essentially need time to completely forget each other and the bad feelings they have developed towards each other. Once separated for a while, I would think this peeing and territorial marking should die down.

Then once it's been good and long enough, where they have both calmed down and aren't acting territorial anymore(and seem to have forgotten the other bun), and you feel it's the right time, start the bonding process making sure it's done properly and in a completely neutral area where neither bun has been(or not been in for quite a while and has been thoroughly descented from any smell of either rabbit). Decide which process to use, whether to use the slow or fast method, and whether to use a smaller or larger area(different methods work better for different rabbits). I would suggest doing thorough research on bonding and rabbit behavior so you are ready and have the knowledge you need to help make this bond work(if there is a chance it will).
https://www.cottontails-rescue.org.uk/information/bonding-bunnies/

There's no guarantees. Two females with no prior contact is a hard enough combination to try and make work, but you have two with a history and now a history of territorial and aggressive behavior towards each other. And sisters isn't always the best combo. It could possibly end up working out, but you may also find it doesn't and then have to decide whether to just keep them separate, keep separate and bond them with another bun(preferably male and one that you can do dates with before bringing home), or rehome one of them.

There aren't necessarily many places that will do bonding for people here in the US, but you may find a shelter or rescue with someone with experience bonding, that will give you some tips. But just remember that they are just tips and you have to be the one to decide which method and technique is going to work best for you and your buns.
 

cwebster

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Would try slow bonding if you can. We started swapping toys between bunnies, then put them in adjacent playpens, now are letting them meet briefly in a neutral place ( bathroom). Each day we keep the bonding sessions positive and brief then put the bunnies in separate adjoining playpens outside with lots of toys and treats, then in separate levels in an indoor hutch at night. It has taken weeks but it seems to be working. They seem to like each other and there is grooming but no aggression. We want them to really want to be together and feel totally comfortable with each other.
 

AmyM

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If after the surgery and separation, you let them out together without properly rebonding them, that is likely part of what is creating the problems you are now having with them. The other part is that rabbits personalities can change somewhat when they become fully matured, and even though two rabbits get along perfectly before then, it's no guarantee they will once they are all grown up, particularly two bossy females. Whether or not that can be fixed and your buns bonded again is an unknown at this point. Some rabbits will rebond when it's gone about properly, some won't no matter what you try because of personality conflicts.

Probably the only chance left that I can see, of a possible bond would be complete and total separation for at least a whole month(maybe longer). This means keeping them as far as possible from each other at separate parts of the house, with absolutely zero contact occurring, and possibly even needing to change clothes in between handling each so you don't have the others scent on you. They essentially need time to completely forget each other and the bad feelings they have developed towards each other. Once separated for a while, I would think this peeing and territorial marking should die down.

Then once it's been good and long enough, where they have both calmed down and aren't acting territorial anymore(and seem to have forgotten the other bun), and you feel it's the right time, start the bonding process making sure it's done properly and in a completely neutral area where neither bun has been(or not been in for quite a while and has been thoroughly descented from any smell of either rabbit). Decide which process to use, whether to use the slow or fast method, and whether to use a smaller or larger area(different methods work better for different rabbits). I would suggest doing thorough research on bonding and rabbit behavior so you are ready and have the knowledge you need to help make this bond work(if there is a chance it will).
https://www.cottontails-rescue.org.uk/information/bonding-bunnies/

There's no guarantees. Two females with no prior contact is a hard enough combination to try and make work, but you have two with a history and now a history of territorial and aggressive behavior towards each other. And sisters isn't always the best combo. It could possibly end up working out, but you may also find it doesn't and then have to decide whether to just keep them separate, keep separate and bond them with another bun(preferably male and one that you can do dates with before bringing home), or rehome one of them.

There aren't necessarily many places that will do bonding for people here in the US, but you may find a shelter or rescue with someone with experience bonding, that will give you some tips. But just remember that they are just tips and you have to be the one to decide which method and technique is going to work best for you and your buns.
Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for your reply and you're thoughtful advice! I really appreciate your detailed response to my question, it's given me a lot to think about! I did contact the local rabbit rescue and I was able to speak with someone there. She wasn't very sure either about which avenue to take with Sprinkles and Henry, but she invited to come and visit the rescue anytime. She had mentioned that speed dating was something that they do there often, and thought that bonding each of my females with a male might be the best option, but I don't know. Thank you again for your reply!
 

AmyM

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Would try slow bonding if you can. We started swapping toys between bunnies, then put them in adjacent playpens, now are letting them meet briefly in a neutral place ( bathroom). Each day we keep the bonding sessions positive and brief then put the bunnies in separate adjoining playpens outside with lots of toys and treats, then in separate levels in an indoor hutch at night. It has taken weeks but it seems to be working. They seem to like each other and there is grooming but no aggression. We want them to really want to be together and feel totally comfortable with each other.
Thank you so much for offering your advice, I really appreciate it! We're going to try some things, and I'll be sure to follow up with the details!
 
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