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When is it time to just give up?

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Jaimeh761

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Hi all. Well' it's been six weeks and zero improvement in getting my rabbits to bond. To explain we have an 8 month old mini rex male, and a 3 year old new Zealand white girl we got 6 weeks ago. Both fixed of course. Our male is just not having it. The girl is a love and even after being nipped at and charged and fought with by our male, she still attempts to lay next to him and touch noses through their pen bars. So it's not her, it's him.

I guess at this point I'm looking for any suggestions to mello him out? Will it ever get better or is this a lost cause? There's a clear sense of jealousy with him. I've asked the rescue i got her from for guidance and after feeling mildly shamed (which really offended me), all they've said is do more stress bonding. Which is fine but the minute those sessions end, things go back to just the way they were. They said they will board them and try to bond at their facility for a fee, but when i said "great, let's do it!" they tell me to wait a while. Personally I think they know this isn't a match and they don't want to have to take her back. I haven't been impressed. Or maybe they know something i don't and anticipate things to magically change or get better?

The real frustrating part is that the new bunny is such a love! We would all hate to return her but I also really don't want to deal with bunnies that won't get along for the next 10 years either! And no, I am not willing to give up my little guy either. He's being a jerk, but he's my love.

So any suggestions please. They live side by side in separate pens. They get individual play time. During play time one bun gets upstairs and the other downstairs. Our male was free roaming before we adopted our female. I am going to ramp up some stress bonding sessions again because little guy has been more aggressive than usual lately and I need to do something to see if i can get him over this hump of jealousy and terror.

I know its only been 6 weeks but it feels like an eternity. Is it a matter of just diligence and time? Or am i fighting a battle that's already been lost?
 

Mariam+Theo

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What bonding methods have you tried?
I think you should only let them out for playtime together so that they learn that "playtime" now means getting along with a friend. It will be their choice if they want to ruin the time or if they are going to be nice and enjoy it.
 

Jaimeh761

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What bonding methods have you tried?
I think you should only let them out for playtime together so that they learn that "playtime" now means getting along with a friend. It will be their choice if they want to ruin the time or if they are going to be nice and enjoy it.
Interesting! Since our male would undoubtedly try to initiate a fight right away, would i put them both back in their pens, or just him? Even in a bathtub he will try to attack her.
 

Madelyn L.

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If your boy doesn’t too terribly mind being picked up, gently wrap him in a towel around his stomach so he can’t escape or attack and let your girl rabbit out of the pen to roam around. Hold your boy rabbit in your lap and pet his head once in a while. If the girl rabbit approaches, do not let the boy rabbit escape or bite. Give the boy rabbit a treat or two while your doing this so he is not scared and starts to associate it with good. Repeat this once a day. If your girl rabbit has a blanket or toy she likes, try to maybe put that in the boys pen for a bit so he can get used to her smell. I can’t guarantee this will work for you, but it worked for me. I hoped this helped. And yes, things should get better after a while. I know of rabbits that took around three months to bond, and those rabbits are really close and they LOVE eachother like brother and sister.☺
 

Madelyn L.

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Oh and don’t do this for more than 5-10 minutes. You want them to stay calm. When you think they start to get used to eachother, maybe let them roam around together. And there is always YouTube and google you can use to look up bonding methods. I would personally suggest Lennon the bunny
 

Mariam+Theo

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Interesting! Since our male would undoubtedly try to initiate a fight right away, would i put them both back in their pens, or just him? Even in a bathtub he will try to attack her.
Have a spray bottle ready to spray him with water when he tries to attack her, and have a dustpan ready to split them up. I would always end bonding sessions on a high note, such as cuddling (even if it is forced by you) or grooming. Put only him up if he is being mean to her.
 

Blue eyes

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Sometimes two rabbits simply refuse to get along. If the male is being aggressive every time they get together then I don't see the point in stress bonding. I personally think stress bonding only has merit (questionable merit) with two rabbits that are already inclined to get along. With two that are not so inclined, all stressing them does is lull you into thinking they are getting along. As you've seen, it only works temporarily.

I understand how stressful -- on you -- bondings like this can be. If the rescue is willing to give them a shot, I'd say that's up to you. I don't see why they want you to drag it out any longer and I don't understand why they aren't suggesting you bring your boy in to meet some other potentials. If it were me, I'd be looking to exchange her (as sweet as she may be) since the goal is to find a bondmate for your boy. Whether you want them to try to do the bonding is your choice. If you think they would have better success than you, that's your call.
 

JBun

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Has bonding just been taking place in the bathroom? Did you try any bonding attempts out in the open in your main living space?
 

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