A New Bond - Is She Scared?

by Grace

Rabbit Bonding - Fear or Love? ;-)

Rabbit Bonding - Fear or Love? ;-)

My 7 YR old lionhead sadly passed away and left my other 7YR old female alone.

She became very lonely and wasn't herself at all so after alot of contemplating we decided to try bond her with a new pal.

We chose a 4 yr old male who we rehomed from a centre.

After they had both been given a clean bill of health from the vet we started the introductions in neutral territory etc.

I wondered if anyone had any advice on the bond as these 2 buns naturally act very differently from my first couple I bonded.

The male basically is very interested in her and consistently trys to mount her making lots of grunting noises and the occasional stamp of a foot. He has never attacked her.

She allows him to mount her for short periods and just seems to admit defeat and lie down to let him do it! At least for a short while... she then will give him a wee warning after about ten minutes of this to back off.

I have been ending the bonding sessions at that point and then starting again the next day.

Is this the right thing to do?

I'm concerned that my female is scared of him and that is why she is being so submissive. She was very much the dominant one in her last coupling so her behaviour has taken me by surprise.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, I'd greatly appreciate it!

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Mar 13, 2018
Hints & Tips...
by: Kerry (Just Rabbits Ltd)

Hi Grace,

You didn't mention if they are both neutered. A very important factor as you can imagine.

Things will be easier if they are both neutered and it sound like they might be as he's not exhausting her.

This page on Neutering & Spaying may help - https://www.justrabbits.com/neutering-rabbits.html

Rewarding any good behaviour with a small treat during bonding sessions will enhance the recognition between allowable behaviour and linking it with something good happening.

Association training with a clicker may also be something to look at, as some rabbits respond better to a clicker than to a voice command.

The important thing to remember is that YOU must stay calm, confident and in control at all times.

Some pages of information that may help are here:






These two points may help too...

1. Understand rabbit body language. Positive signs include all relaxed behaviour: resting quietly, stretching out, flopping, and purring. Grooming, eating and drinking in each others company are positive too. Mounting the other rabbit is positive, unless the other rabbit is squealing - this can mean some biting is involved and should be stopped.

2. Watch for signs of aggression. Such as tail up, ears back, growling, boxing, circling, chasing and biting. If any one of these occurs several times in a row and neither rabbit backs down you should stop them immediately. A spray of water to the head may interrupt a fight about to happen but it won't do anything to stop them once they start fighting. A gloved physical pick up or a towel used to separate them will be your only options here. (Or a bowl of water poured on them but this is a bit extreme).

You may understand a lot more about rabbit diet, environment and how they 'think' from our new rabbit program - The iRabbit READY System. It's the result of over 30 years of research and it's a great way to fully appreciate your bunnies.

Take a peak here and see if it's for you...

Good luck in your quest to get these two bunnies properly bonded, but by the sounds of things you are a very observant and loving bunny carer, and it shouldn't be long before both bunnies are truly happy together on an equal footing.

Thank you for your wonderful question/story, I hope there are other readers out there that may be able to share their insights and experience with you.

All the very best,
Kerry :)

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