Author Topic: Rebonding  (Read 6853 times)

Offline CarrieD

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Rebonding
« on: January 08, 2012, 07:46:34 PM »
I have two males, brothers, both about 8 months old. They came to me at 3 months old, were neutered at 4 months old, and since then they do not get along at all and I haven't had much success rebonding them.

I've tried neutral territory. Nope. I've tried switching habitats. Nope. I'm not trying the ride in the car thing, can't imagine having that riot in the car and trying to drive. :D 

I now have their pens smack next to each other - at first I had to put a board between, the slowly, inch by inch, removed it, but was still unable to put them together without serious fur flying. I had given up on getting them any closer than pen to pen.

Then on New Years Eve I was giving them treats, and one put his nose as far through the bars as he could, (which isn't far, but enough to get it swiped), I was waiting for the fireworks to start, and all his brother did was groom him. So now I'm hopeful again, but have still had no luck putting them together.

I situated the pens so that there's a doorway between them I can open. I can get in one pen and sit on the floor, open the door and feed them both treats without a problem as long as they both stay on their own side.

I guess my question is, has anyone else had to do this and did it take this long? Am I just torturing myself and them?  :poke: There's been progress, but it's so very slow that I'm not sure it's really going to work in the end. I love my boys, but I really wanted two who could play, snuggle and live together. They are sad, I'm sad. What's to do?

Offline JessicasZooCrew

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 08:35:03 PM »
How long have they been neutered? They need time after they are neutered to calm down. A couple months, really.

As for the car ride, it really works wonders. If you think about why, I suppose it's kind of mean though. From what I have seen, car rides can be stressful. The stress causes them to seek each other for comfort which in turns causes them to bond.

Here's what I would do - keep their cages close together for a week or 2. Then switch the bunnies so bunny A is in bunny b's cage and vice versa. When you are ready to try them together do so on neutral territory (bathrooms can be awesome for this!). Also, before putting them back in their cage/pen/hole - whatever you want to call it, de scent EVERYTHING. The goal is to have everything neutral.

I always do the car ride, it cements the deal.
~~Jessica And Crew~~

Offline CarrieD

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 08:56:52 PM »
They were neutered in September. About 3 hours after coming home, they began again with the aggressive mounting behavior, chasing and jumping to the point I was concerened about their stitches. So I separated them that night and haven't been able to put them back together since.

I have tried neutral territory - an empty spare room that neither had been in before. Nothing doing. I draw the line at first blood.

At first when I had only one pen, I kept them each caged inside their pen and let one, then the other have time out in the pen, (felt like the warden giving out yard time LOL). This only seemed to promote marking - usually one marking in front of the others door, that is, when they weren't fighting through the bars.

Eventually I gave up and got a second pen. They were across the room from each other and there was peace in the valley.

Now the pens are together, and have been for about 6 weeks. The board between is gone. At this point they both know where the door is that opens between the pens, and they'll lay and sleep on either side of it, content as can be (right at this moment, as a matter of fact). Occasionally I switch them, and they don't seem to have a problem with that, other than it seems to bum them out a little bit. No binking for days afterwards. It's like they want to be together, but can't stand it when it happens. <sigh>

How exactly do you do the car ride? I'm alone, and  can't have them flinging themselves about in the car. Do you use some sort of travel cage or carrier?

Offline JessicasZooCrew

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 09:06:21 PM »
Travel cage or carrier. I would never take a rabbit loose in the car, for safety reasons for both me and the bunny(s).

I use good old fashioned pet taxi style carriers. Just make sure it has room for them both to stretch out.

I usually wait for 3 months after rabbits are fixed to try and bond. I had a group of 6 sucessfully living together, but they were older when bonded (5 and up). The last of the 6 passed about a year ago (it was him and 5 spayed does).
~~Jessica And Crew~~

Offline CarrieD

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 09:33:05 PM »
I really appreciate the advice - I do have a carrier that would probably work, and you've talked me into the car ride. I really want to see these little bros back together in a bad way. Thanks!

Offline CarrieD

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 08:54:39 PM »
Okay, so the car ride didn't work. All was pretty quiet in the carrier - it was a little trippy getting them both in there - I could hear them moving around a little, but I don't think they were mxing it up. Completely reconfigured their space, brought them home and turned them loose in a giant 10 ft. long by 4 ft. wide space in a completely different part of my huge office. Fur flew, Lorenzo goes in his house, Lawrence sets up a seige outside the door. I waited all day today for something to give, but after a full night and day with no food or water for Lorenzo, it's over. I give. Back to a separated space.



Lorenzo's out now, had a good munch and a long drink and is starting to explore his new toys. Lawrence is trying to find a hole in the fence between them.  :doh:

I'm pretty bummed and I'm seriously weighing the pros and cons of rehoming one and trying to find the other a playmate he can actually play and snuggle with.  They are both sweet boys one on one with me, but the whole armed camp thing is a drag, and frankly taking up a heck of a lot of space.

Offline JessicasZooCrew

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 09:13:49 PM »
Hmmm - what a bratty bunny! Maybe Lawrence is just one of those bunnies that likes the bachelor life. I've never had it happened but know of 1 rabbit that never wanted a friend. They tried her with other does, other bucks - she never would accept anyone, not even during play time.

Have you ever checked to see if there is a rescue near you? Maybe they can help with bonding the boys - or help you to rehome one of them or have a single lady that would work with whichever boy you decided to keep. Wouldn't hurt to look around and ask.

I have 2 groups of 2 (buck/doe), 1 group of 4 (all does), and a single doe that is waiting to get spayed (she needs to lose a bit of weight first) and can have those 8 plus my 2 show girls out at the same time with no problem. Now my unaltered bucks are a whole nother story - they have be out 1 at a time, can't even have 2 of them out with spayed girls or they pester them (I do have 1 older show boy whom isn't neutered yet that does fine with spayed girls and the neutered boys). 



~~Jessica And Crew~~

Offline CarrieD

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 09:57:44 PM »
I don't know - they were certainly happy and bonded before they were neutered, and the little turds will groom each other through the bars, so I'm thinking company is wanted.

Finding a rescue is good advice, and I'd thought of it. There's a local place that's famous around here -a lady started a business for her disabled daughter and I've taken wild orphan babies to them before. I could definitely get a bun there, but I don't think there'd be any support as far as bonding, and I wouldn't leave one of my guys there - she has all outside hutches. It would be great to have some savvy support with the process if I decide to go through with it, and to know my boy would have a good house bunny home.

Do you think a doe would be a good/better place to start?

I envy you your big happy group, and I very much appreciate your thoughts and advice!

Offline applecavy

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 05:01:46 PM »
Well, I know with the rats that I foster it has happened plenty of times that the introduction of a big mellow neutered male will calm down a group of bratty girls.
I can't really think of a good reason it wouldn't work in reverse?

When we had buns they always just got along, so I don't have any real advice there, sorry.

Offline CarrieD

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 05:27:01 AM »
I've had great luck with the rats and finches, so I guess I shouldn't complain - just a little sad for these guys. I'm going to do some serious reading and get a good handle on my options before I make any decisions. The thought of letting one go is the pits.

Offline JessicasZooCrew

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 08:03:53 PM »
Doe/buck pairs are usually the easiest (after both parties are spayed/neutered of course). I've had luck with 2 bucks and a doe, a buck and several does, etc. I have never personally tried just 2 bucks but have seen it work.

I am not sure how all rescues work but the one I adopted Angel (my second bunny ever) had let me bring Charlie and try him with different bunnies. She was the third bunny and nearly twice his size but they lived very happy together for 4 years. It was love at first site for them, easiest bonding ever.  She was older then him and passed. He was bonded to 2 girls after that, also outliving them both (Charlie lived to be about 12 1/2). He did spend the last 3 months of his life without a cagemate, but I think he was ok with that.
~~Jessica And Crew~~

Offline CarrieD

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Re: Rebonding
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 08:14:04 PM »
Wow, Charlie was amazing! I was thinking the same thing with a rescue - that maybe I could try a girl to make sure it was going to work so I don't compound the problem. I've also thought of trying two more so that both my boys could have a mate. Much as I don't really relish the idea of 4 bunnies, I really, really don't want to lose one of my boys. They are each unique and I love them - it's like deciding which kid to give up for adoption. lol

You'd recommend both to be spayed/neutered for the best results? I'm glad you mentioned it, because I wasn't going to worry too much about that since the boys are already neutered. (I still have a lot to learn with these guys.)