Oops, it's a boy!

by Susie Nichols

Baby Holland buck rabbit

Baby Holland buck rabbit

Baby Holland buck rabbit
Can bucks live together?
Oh my - It's a boy!

My family got our first bunny, a Holland Lop "Broken Chocolate" Buck last spring, he is currently 9 months old.

We wanted him to have a companion, so I bought a "Frosty" doe just a few weeks ago as a Christmas present to my daughters.

Everyone loves her, but our buck doesn't love her so much.

We have been trying to bond them for the last three weeks using combination of car rides and bath tub play dates.

There was a lot of mounting by both bunnies at first and then nipping and then full on fights that we had to break up.

I took the baby doe (who is now 4 mos old) to the vet for a basic check-up and found out that the breeder was wrong...she is actually a HE!

Ahkkk!!! I was so disappointed. The vet said that this may be why we are having such a hard time with bonding.

While we were there the vet noticed that the "boy" (still having a hard time saying "he") had a decent bite mark on his side that had abscessed.

The vet drained the abscess and said to keep the boys away from each other for now until he fully heals.

The vet suggested that the bunnies may never bond.

I contacted the breeder and she was terribly sorry that she sexed the bunny wrong and offered to exchange him for a doe but she doesn't have any does available and it could take months before she has one. Oh, and this breeder lives 4 hrs. away from me.

So... now that I know it's a baby buck, the vet says the neutering could be done sooner than if I had a doe that needed spaying.

But my family is in a debate: should we go ahead and invest the $100+ to have this new baby bunny neutered and start all over with the bonding process?

Or do we give up now because it can be extremely difficult to bond two boys and just get a doe for a companion?

With persistence can you really get two boys to bond?

I will say that before the last bite, I did think things were improving with the bonding, but not great.

The older bunny was constantly pushing his head under the younger new bunny insisting that he groom his face.

The younger one did groom him but the favor was never reciprocated and circling and fighting often ensued.

Any thoughts or insight appreciated!

Thanks, Susie

The pic of them together was during a decent bonding session. The baby seems more relaxed around the older buck. He had just flopped in front of him and closed his eyes.

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Feb 03, 2017
Don't give up :-)
by: Kerry

Hi Susie,

You didn't upload the last picture you mentioned and your bunnies don't have names so sorry for this being a little vague.

I know you probably don't think of rabbits like your own children but let's imagine you did for a moment.

Would you 'give up' your new born baby boy just because you wanted a girl? lol I know it's a little extreme a comparison but if you love your bunnies to this level you really can't go far wrong. There's a reason why these rabbits are in your life. Perhaps YOU need the challenge! That's a deep one for you ha ha.

Hollands live in to their teenage years (up to 18 years old for some!) so the bond YOU create with these bunnies over the years will be a very important part of your family memories.

These little guys, through the magic of the universe, have chosen you and your wonderful family. They may be having issues at the moment but they are moody adolescents creating hierarchies - vital to bunnies. They may be rather hurtful to each other in the process but this is why we intervene where necessary.

It sounds like you know what you're doing and these guys and your family will have a very happy life together. While it may be a little more challenging for two boys to bond, it is by no means a lost cause. In fact, once they are truly bonded, a male to male friendship can be beautiful to see.

I have written lots about this subject and you can find most of the information you need in the following links...

When you are ready these pages will help with your research...

• Rabbit Bonding

• Rabbits Living Together

• Territorial Behaviour

• Neutering & Spaying

Note: It will take from 2 weeks to 2 months for the hormones to settle down after neutering.

You may also want to note that any bonding process should be done slowly, carefully, supervised and on completely NEUTRAL territory (where no rabbit has been before!) until bonding is complete.

It's also important to have at least one person dedicated to one rabbit, when the initial introduction happens and for all subsequent bonding sessions until complete.

There are two important things to remember about bonding:

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 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. Also watch for jealously in an trio dynamic. 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).

The emphasis in all this is the word neutral!

If any familiar smells, sounds, sights or even objects etc are with any rabbit during bonding, they will react in a territorial way.

The trick is to make them think about 'the now' and concentrate on the issue happening right in the moment. That's why a slightly scary situation works so well when bonding because the rabbits are forced to act on the instinct of survival rather than pride and defiance.

Don't forget, you can probably find exactly what you are looking for inside my new rabbit program. It's the result of over 30 years of research and is really easy to navigate and very quick to understand.

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

It's a bit like taking a parenting course after constantly breaking up fighting between two sons. After learning how to deal with them, seeing two siblings playing in harmony together and being loving towards each other is an absolute delight. (They should teach parenting in school I say lol)

Anyway, I hope I have helped, and you don't give up on your little bunnies.

Thanks again for your question and we look forward to finding out more about you and your rabbits soon!

Just Rabbits

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