Too early meetings?

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Catlyn

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Some people might've spotted my previous threads of Lümi getting neuterd and becoming Storm's buddy-in-training.

Dad and i have reached a conflict on when and how to introduce them. That resulted in the fact that three days ago both were running loose in rooms until fur-pulling and separated, two days ago switched "beds" for the day and today met in neutral territory for 15 minutes, which went fairly peaceful. Some lone poops, puddles by both and in the end nudging side by side for the tastiest bits of pellets. Then got separated.
Dad then left the barrier open and the two met in the kitchen, both backed off into their own rooms.

I'm planning on switching their bedrooms every forthnight and meeting them in neutral small space 15 mins each day to see if anything improves. I have miserably failed on convincing my parents to wait, so the only way for me to ensure both buns' safety is by doing meetings earlier than planned.

Now my question is: as long as they're doing fine on the bonding progress, is there any possible bad side effect to meeting them up a bit too early?
 

Abi :)

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It depends on the buns, if Lümi and Storm fur pulled and needed to be separated it is likely that they will need more time to bond. If they're doing fine then there shouldn't be any bad side effect of their previous meeting, although it could be that they do remember that incident and are a bit cautious. It is important to consider how the rabbits are doing, if they aren't getting along initially and fight give them some time to calm down and try the next day, as going too fast may cause them to not bond.

If you'd like and think it is appropriate you could try something called 24/7 bonding, (however this could be a bit risky as they fought the last time they met so perhaps do a few bun dates before attempting this, or don't attempt this at all). Essentially 24/7 bonding is where two buns (or more!) are put in a small cage or a pen for a day with hay and essentials of course, and they are able to bond over the period of one day instead of meeting and being separated, as some people feel that by separating them through the process of bunny dating can cause the rabbits to 'forget' each other or even prevent them from closely bonding as they are separated before they can get used to each other. You need to be in that room for a whole day and supervise them closely at all times (so you need to choose a day when you are free), if you choose to do this you will need gloves and a dustpan to separate their fights and arguments, but if it gets too rough separate them and give them space, as it is possible that 24/7 bonding won't work with them and bunny dates are better.

This video is an example of how to do it, although it is with 5 buns the concept is the same.


Hope all goes well!
 

Catlyn

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That video is awesome and i've seen it before!

Now the funny thing is that they've been kind of cautiously chill around each other in the kitchen. They hop around there and sometimes even do grooming sessions on themselves.

When mum came with dandi-greens i placed those in the middle and huddled both buns to eat together opposite of one another. It seems they had a competition on who could grab the most as Lümi, a usually slow eater, was almost able to keep up with Storm, a natural food addict. When all was eaten they chillfully pulled back.
Then they went for nosebumps and somehow Lümi seems attracted to Storm's butt. He sticks his head down low into the other's fur and i think he expects Storm to groom him? Storm is a stubborn bud and will rather hop off toward his room to try escape. They rarely had squabbles here and the fur pulling usually happened when both were off the kitchen perimeters.
I think that because both buns have turns free roaming their room and the kitchen, it is viewed as neutral-like territory. The moment one enters the other's room to investigate, they start pulling fur so we drive both back to the kitchen.
I wonder how can i help them view each others rooms as neutral???

With that being said, if they view the kitchen as sort of neutral, leaving their poos (and for the lack of litterbox, also pees) just lying around, perhaps i can just put the two in the kitchen with hay and poop box until they decide to settle? Or will it be a bit too much space?
 

Abi :)

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Have you got an x-pen? Initially throughout the 'proper' bonding process less space is better so they get used to sharing a smaller area, then once they are doing well you can slowly increase their space and eventually let them out in the kitchen properly as it will still be a neutral space. If you want to have bunny dates and don't have an x-pen you could try blocking off a segment of the room with something so they can get used to each other for longer periods of time (as usually with a big area they won't spend as much time with each other).

Is there any way you can close the doors of each of their rooms? The reason why they squabble when entering the others room is because it is no longer a neutral territory and one will begin to get territorial over that space. It's best to allow them to bond properly in one area (in your case the neutral kitchen) and then increase their space.

So for now close their room doors or block them during this time and focus their bonding in the kitchen. If you opt for 24/7 bonding (as you said they are already pretty chill when in the kitchen) make sure you have 2 litterboxes (as they may not want to share at first) and that it is all thoroughly disinfected.

After they are fully bonded (they don't fight and are able to stay together without you worrying about them arguing) you can disinfect both of their rooms, toys, litterboxes and any other things. Then make sure the room they are going to live in together is completely neutral and allow them to live there, if you notice that they are beginning to argue place them in a carrier or back in the pen together (basically a smaller space) and hopefully they should calm down and then when you are sure they are okay again place them back in their room.
 

Catlyn

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Yeeeeah about that.....

I tried letting them chill in the kitchen to test the 24-7 date since i am here, brought both's litterboxes and drinking bowl from Storm. They were doing fine for the first 10-15 minutes, then a small disagreement broke out. Apparently Lümi disliked Storm sitting right next to him, both in their own litterboxes. I moved those away from side by side positions. They shared a bowl of pellets fine, then went chill for some more. Then i don't know what they disliked but a big spat broke out. Storm had grabbed hold of Lümi's rear and had been responded to by ferocious kicking and slamming. I had to shovel them off for about 10 seconds before i could safely grab Storm by his upper back and restrain him enough to carry him back to his room. Then i had to coax Lümi to stop running from me and i got to close his crate door too. I put all the equipment back to where i had taken it from and then for some reason i started counting the tufts of fur on the ground. 10 were Lümi's and 2 were Storm's, plus one loose tuft i plucked off. Both are shedding and Lümi hasn't been completely clear from matted fur but still, clearly Storm has more raw power.
Both their roaming rooms have closeable doors. I did that today and before so they couldn't back off when in-bonding and to reduce territorialness.

I do not have an xpen. I will not get one even if it is useful. We do not have the resources to get a 80€ pen. This isn't USA or UK sadly.
The more neutral and smaller area is our toilet floor. It is perhaps about 3 sq meters free floor space, where two previous dates have occurred, both 15 mins. They were more successful in my opinion. Only a small single bite once. Perhaps i'll give them rest for today and start tomorrow again from the toilet space. That is truly neutral.

The problem is that i want to fully free roam the house (apart from one closed-off room where Storm had already wrecked havoc on) for them and close them off at night to where Storm is currently staying at night. Before i started bonding i did clean all and every floor space and climbing stops possible but for no effect as yes they fight for their rooms. I will need to try switch up their sleeping places later.
 
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