Trying to bond 2 Male rabbits

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by CarmenEx84, Jul 3, 2019.

Help Support Rabbits Online by donating:

  1. Jul 3, 2019 #1

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    I have 2 Male Flemish giants. One of them is about a year and a half, the other is about 6 months old. Both are neutered. I've been going about the bonding process for a couple of weeks with no luck. There isn't any progress at all. Thumper (the older of the 2) is free roaming through the house. Ubu (the younger) is still in a cage but comes out several times a day. Both are litter trained but Ubu likes to mark his place everytime I try to bond them. Thumper doesn't do this. Is there a way to help this process??? I've been told to place them in a stressful situation together, such as a car ride. Will this help??? I really want them to get along so they can both be free roaming about the house.
     
  2. Jul 3, 2019 #2

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,974
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    The most important factor in bonding (imo) is to have them both in neutral territory - neutral meaning some place in which neither rabbit has ever been. If they are both introduced in a space that is totally unfamiliar, that should help.

    Reading back over your post, why do you say there isn't any progress? Is the only issue that one is territory marking? Do they get along? Do they groom each other? If territory marking is the only negative, then that's a different story and I wouldn't change anything.

    I'm not a fan of stress bonding. Here is an article that discusses it.
    https://www.cottontails-rescue.org.uk/stress-bonding-what-does-it-mean/
     
    Theo likes this.
  3. Jul 3, 2019 #3

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    They are in neutral territory. I have a living room I keep closed off completely. That's where I'm trying to bond then. Both of them used to territory mark but only one is now. They do not groom each other. They claw each other and bite each other. I keep a water bottle handy in case it gets out of hand. Thumper will go up to Ubu's cage and sniff him and hop away but when I try to bond them, they fight. When thumper goes near Ubu's cage, Ubu starts chewing the bars and trying to get out. But when I put then in neutral space, thumper is the more aggressive of the two.
     
  4. Jul 3, 2019 #4

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,974
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I guess I'm not following. Thumper is free roam... does that include the living room? Are both cages kept in the living room? Are they being let out separately in the living room for exercise?

    I'm trying to understand the situation. I don't know how they are each getting to the other's cage when out.
     
  5. Jul 3, 2019 #5

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Thumpers cage is in my room. Ubu's cage is in my private living room. There is another living room that I put them in together to try and bond them. I keep thumper in my bedroom when ubu comes out for exercise.
     
  6. Jul 3, 2019 #6

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Should I move both cages in the neutral space? I've put their cages side by side before and thumper almost dismantled his cage trying to get out.
     
  7. Jul 3, 2019 #7

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,974
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    How are they getting to each other's cages?
     
  8. Jul 3, 2019 #8

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    When my bedroom door is open thumper can go into the private living room where Ubu's cage is, as well as the rest of the house (minus the bonding room). Ubu never comes into my room as my door is always closed when he is out exercising.
     
  9. Jul 3, 2019 #9

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,974
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    Well that could explain why Ubu feels the need to mark territory -- the area around his cage is being "invaded" by Thumper. Rabbits 'know' when one rabbit is getting preferential treatment/territory. Thumper gets run of the house (including the space around Ubu's cage) and Ubu sees it. Ubu does not get to see Thumper's space (your room), so Thumper has the advantage.
    This makes bonding rather complicated.

    You may want to consider a different approach to bonding. The immersion method (or fast track) may work better, rather than a series of sessions. You can read more about that here.
     
    Theo likes this.
  10. Jul 3, 2019 #10

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    I will definitely try this approach. I have an exercise pen with a divider set up in the bonding room. I will get some boxes for them to hide in. But i will try this tomorrow. How long should i give them? At what point do you decide that they won't bond? I know this is especially stressful for thumper because his pupils dilate and his breathing becomes rapid. They are both rescue bunnies and are similar in so many ways. I really appreciate your advice on this.
     
  11. Jul 3, 2019 #11

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    5,974
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    How long it takes really depends on how the bunnies react. The important part is to be sure to monitor them at all times. I even slept in the room during this process. You'll want to see them fully bonded before risking taking them out of the bonding area. New territories can cause issues if the bond isn't fully established.

    So once you feel they are showing consistent signs of being fully bonded, then leave them in that same area for another week to cement the bond before moving them elsewhere.

    When they do get to move into a new are (if that is your intention), try to neutralize the area as much as possible. This can be done by wiping things down with vinegar, re-arranging furniture, etc.

    Good luck!
     
  12. Jul 3, 2019 #12

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    CarmenEx84

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Thanks again. I'm about to move both cages to that living room and put them side by side. I've restricted thumper from going near Ubu's cage at all today. But I can't get ubu to come out of his cage at all today....
     

Share This Page