The Bunny Bonding Goes On

07_01_2015_10BONDING. Omg it’s a lengthy process. I’m in no way an expert, and honestly it is basically up to the bunnies whether or not they will get along. I can share our journey so far though!

Successes: Fry and Nibbler. These two were easy to bond as they took to each other right away. This was a bummer for Leela because Fry and Leela were meant to be a pair but had to be kept separate until they were spayed and neutered. Nibbler was already spayed so when she and Fry took a shining to each other I just moved them in together and they have been best buds since. Leela also loves spending time with Fry, but unfortunately she and Nibbler don’t get along so I can’t make them into a threesome as I had originally hoped.

Tonks and Lupin were also very easy to bond together. They are still working on it, but Once they were spayed and neutered I essentially just put them together and they were totally fine. Easy peasy!

07_01_2015_09Failures: Nibbler and Leela are incompatible, it seems. Millie and Fry/Nibbler are also not going to work, sadly, as I thought they could be a trio as well. Leela and Millie are also a big NO because Leela has shown aggression with all females so far. Surprisingly she was ok with Lupin, which makes me believe that there is hope for her to have a husbun eventually, but it definitely won’t be Momo as currently no one likes that little cutie.

In progress: I’m trying really hard to get Millie and Momo together. They are both a little grumpy and neither are angoras so they would be cute together. I have them currently living in side by side pens and they no longer fight through the bars, though we have had a couple of rough introductions. Here’s a hang out that went well for an hour, then went sideways.

Tips that have worked so far:

1. Let the bunnies get familiar with the other bunny’s scent before sticking them together. You can put their pens next to each other but with enough distance between that they can’t bite each other through the bars. You can also pet one, then pet the other, back and forth to mix up their smells. Or swap their litter boxes and toys.

2. Use a neutral space to make the first introduction. This is where I’ve made mistakes a few times thinking I could just let them run around the downstairs at the same time, but there is a bunny turf war going on down here at the moment. Taking them upstairs to where they haven’t scent marked everything has proved easier. Millie and Momo had one good hangout up there where they ignored each other, which is a good first interaction apparently. The key also seems to be to make the interactions short at first. Of 3 “meetings” between Millie and Momo they started out fine but after the half hour or 1 hour mark they got feisty with each other. I’ve also read that taking both bunnies on a car ride can help them bond as it is a neutral space and also stresses them enough to force them to seek comfort from each other. Has anyone had success with this method? It’s next on deck for M & M.

3. Be ready to break up fights quickly. The video above stops abruptly because IΒ  put the camera down to rush over and separate them. I clap my hands really loud and say NO when the buns fight or do other things I don’t like, and it allowed me to separate them without being bitten (they both stopped to look at me with wide eyes – uh oh Mumma’s mad!)

4. Patience! I’ve definitely learned that bonding bunnies can take a long time. Lupin and Tonks already sort of knew each other so it wasn’t that hard. But Fry and Nibbler spent a few weeks living in side by side pens before I put them together. I also let them play together outside of their homes for a few visits before Nibbler moved into Fry’s house.

I’ve definitely noticed that the bunnies I have bonded are much happier. Tonks was VERY nervous and timid when I had her in her own pen, she would panic and crash around if I got too close and always looked wide eyed and scared. Since moving in with Lupin she has calmed way down and even comes to me and stands up for nana treats. Big change for her and in just a few weeks! Nibbler was the same, very shy and nervous around people when I first brought her home. Since living with Fry she has become a lot more comfortable, though she still doesn’t like being picked up. Bonded bunnies are good at grooming each other too; Nibbler keeps Fry’s crazy fibre from getting matted and Lupin has been washing Tonks’ weepy eye. ❀

07_01_2015_26Proof Tonks and Lupin are bonding well, they are relaxing in a bonded pair posture; this is a sign they are comfortable with each other – they are close together and each bun is facing a different direction which is how they watch out for predators in the wild and keep each other safe. CUTE. Also, look at the state of my floors!!! :(:(:(

07_01_2015_13Castle Bon Bon/The Warren is underway! We flip flopped about locations for a few months before finally deciding to just use the space on the side of the house that was the original chicken coop. It’s under the bedroom so it’s within earshot, and also protected from the elements as it’s tucked right under the sunroom. The space is tight so we will start with some large hutch areas and then expand out into the side yard to provide more secure areas to play. I desperately wanted to keep all the buns inside for safety but they have completely taken over the downstairs and are actually doing a fair amount of damage to the walls and our furniture, likely because they are crazy bored. Outside will give them access to grass and dirt to dig in and feel more like their natural habitat. It doesn’t get cold enough here to be worried about winters outside, but if it were to get cold I have no problems with bringing them back inside to stay healthy.

Here are some progress shots of J’s work on the Warren! The spaces are much larger than the hutch we built for inside (they outgrew that super quick and it only houses 3 buns, there are now 7!) and will have more ramps, toys and hay lofts for them to play in. Size considerations for bunny hutches to keep in mind: they should be able to stretch out fully on the floor in all directions as well as be able to stand up tall without reaching the ceiling. They should also be able to hop minimum 3 times down the length of the enclosed area. We are also not using cedar boards which are harmful to bunnies and we unfortunately used for portions of the indoor hutch (doy). The lattice is covered in wisteria (on the outside) for shade and will be covered over in fine mesh to keep the ventilation but keep predators like mink and raccoons out. Can’t wait to get it up and running!!

07_01_2015_12 07_01_2015_11 07_01_2015_08 07_01_2015_0707_01_2015_27It’s been super hot here but luckily the downstairs is nice and cool!!

11 comments

  1. I find it interesting reading your bunny stories, since where I live it is illegal to keep a rabbit. I had no idea about bonding, etc and they look so cute. But I don’t want to go to prison (no joke!) or risk a huge fine!

  2. What a beautiful house. They are gonna love their new digs! I had no idea about cedar. Good to know! Enjoyed the video! Fun post. Fun learning about your fur babes!

    • I hope they love it!! We didn’t know about cedar until after we built them a house… out of cedar lol. I think it’s more so the cedar and pine shavings that are sold for bedding, they contain really smelly oils that damage bunny livers over a period of time. We lined the interior of the hutch with non-cedar boards so they don’t come in contact with any, but it still makes me uncomfortable. I want healthy fur babies πŸ™‚

  3. Good luck with the bonding! I lucked out. Spike and Sweetpea loved one another instantly, T-Rex and Ophelia came to us bonded, and Teddy isn’t fixed, so he’s not fit to bond with anybun. Just keep at it!

    My vet gave me an article about territorial rabbits when we were thinking of trying to bond Teddy with Spike and Sweetpea (that idea didn’t last long thanks to grumpy Sweetpea). I thought it was a House Rabbit Society article, but a quick search didn’t turn it up. I’ll dig through the bunny stuff and see if I can’t find it for you. Maybe it’ll help you with Millie and Leela. Girls are just so grumpy about their space! Except Ophelia, but she’s a tiny little bundle of love and “be my friend”. πŸ™‚

    • Luck definitely seems to be a big part of it! If you could find the article that would be great, I just did a new post about trying the bathtub method which seems to be going well so far. ❀

  4. Hi! I have two angoras I have recently fixed and am planning on bonding. Are you worried at all about increased chance of wool block or matting?

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