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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Very shy baby bunny and bonding q's

A few weeks ago I had asked my family if they would consider allowing me to get my own rabbit. We have Mariska, but she is a family pet. They agreed that we had the space and time for two buns and yesterday I brought a new baby Holland Lop home
We got the new baby from the same place we got Mariska, since she has been such an amazing bunny. My first concern is that the new baby is very shy. She doesn't mind being held, but when anyone tries to pet her she runs and hides. This is something we never had a problem with when we brought Mariska home. She was a very social bunny. I know that things take time when it comes to shy animals, but I have read that the first few weeks of socialization are crucial for bunnies and I certainly don't want to miss my chance to get her more confident. I know that I should open her cage and let her come out when she is ready, but should I keep her igloo in her cage or will she get more comfortable with people if she doesn't have the option to hide? And should I be picking her up and taking her out of her cage for playtime or should I let her decide when to come out? I would hate for her to be cooped up in her cage all day because she is scared
My second question is about bonding a pair of female rabbits. We were told it was okay to introduce two babies right away, so last night after we gave the baby a few hours to settle in we introduced them. Things went very well! We took them to the bathroom since Mariska had never been there. They were pretty much ignoring each other for about 6 minutes, but then Mariska went up to the baby and sniffed her for a few minutes. The baby followed her around for a while, too. Mariska even gave baby a few licks! The baby bunny acted pretty submissive, but relaxed. They sat a few inches apart and groomed themselves, which I took as being comfortable with each other's presence or maybe it meant nothing? There was a bump in the road though: Mariska mounted the baby and the baby got scared and tried to get away, but Mariska was a little rough with her and caught her (Mariska never touched her teeth to baby though). Of course I had a squirt bottle handy, so I squirted Mariska and she got off baby. I put them both back in their seperate cages. I know that the mounting and humping is normal and should be allowed, but I'm scared for baby bunny as she is so much smaller than Mariska! If something like that happens again what should I do? The vet has said that Mariska is still a few months away from being the right age to spay, and I have been told that as bunnies get older they should be spayed to bond better (and for health reasons of course). So, should we wait until baby bunny is older to try bonding them? Should we wait until they are spayed? I know introducing babies is easier (not that Mariska is much of a baby. She's two months old now). I have read that it helps the bonding process if we took both bunnies for a car ride, but of course Mariska loves to ride in the car, haha. One of the things we talked about before getting a 2nd bun is whether or not we have the room for them to be totally seperate, if need be (Mariska has her own room, and baby bunny would live in my room). And we definitely do, so if they can't get along it's not a problem at all, but of course it would be nice if they were friends


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-09-2011, 08:19 PM
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I personally would wait until both rabbits are spayed before trying to bond them. Hormonal females are nearly impossible to keep together, and if they manage to get into a serious fight it's very difficult to get them to "forget" that and continue bonding.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 08:33 AM
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Agreed, you should really only bond if both rabbits are fixed first. They can be more unpredictable when they are hormonal and although they may get along for awhile, it's more common that unfixed rabbits will randomly start fights. Like Jennicat said, if they get into a fight it might be pretty much impossible to get them to bond after that.

Congrats on your new baby! Bunnies being shy isn't rare - since you just got her, I'd give her some time alone in her cage to get used to her new surroundings. Her life has completely changed, she's surrounded by people and rabbits that she doesn't know and is in a home that she doesn't consider hers yet. Don't take her hide away - she'll probably feel more afraid if she doesn't have a place she can go to get away from things. Let her come out of her cage on her own, even if it takes awhile. Don't force her into situations that will be stressful for her. Let her come around on her own terms. You want to be working on building her trust, so it's important that she feels comfortable and safe in her new home.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice! If I wait until they are spayed to bond them can they have their cages in the same room, but let them out at different times?

Just an update: I sat with the baby's cage open (I'm leaning towards naming her Jayma) for about 4 hours last night. She didn't come out of her cage but she did leave her igloo and seemed more confident munching her hay and drinking her water with me close by. She used to run and hide when she saw me, so I consider this progress

I am a little worried though: baby bunny's fur under her nose looked damp, or it looked like it was and then dried up. Her nose wasn't running, but she did have a little bit of brown crust in the corner of her eyes. She's still eating and drinking as of last night. I am on standby and ready to bring baby to the vet if need be, but I hope it's nothing. Does this sound like something to be concerned about?


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 03:57 PM
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Congrats on the new baby! I can't wait for pictures

Hm, the crust.. Are you sure its not blood? I don't think you mentioned Mariska attacking her.. Maybe stress related. Leave her alone for a couple days. Talk to her for interaction.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-10-2011, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Pictures coming soon!

The eye crusts haven't returned and she is still acting healthy. Her paws aren't crusty from rubbing them either. I'm very sure it isn't blood. It appears to be a clear fluid that had dried. She seems to be less frightened,but isn't coming out of her cage yet. I feel bad she's been stuck in her cage =\


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 09:25 AM
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Don't feel bad. That is probably where she's most comfortable right now. As she gets more use to her new life, she should start showing more interest in leaving her cage.

Keep an eye on her eyes/nose and take her in to the vet if the running continues. It wouldn't hurt to take her in for a checkup anyways, since she's new to the house.

It should be fine to keep them in the same room but keep in mind that if the new bunny is sick, she could spread it to your other rabbit even if they aren't living in the same cage. Usually a period of quarantine is recommend for new pets until you are 100% sure that they are healthy and don't have anything they could pass on to other pets.

Also keep in mind that bunnies can still fight and hurt each other through cage bars - so even if one is caged while the other is out playing, make sure to keep an eye on them.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dragonrain! She is letting me pet her and stuff now and spends more time out of her igloo (although it is also VERY hot and humid right now where I live so she might just be out of hiding to get cooled off by the fan).

As for the eyes/nose she seems to be a lot better. No eye crusts, and her nose doesn't appear wet, but she still has the dried up fluid under nose. I am planning on a vet visit in the next week for a general check-up.

We always supervise our bunnies at playtime, we never leave them alone. You make a good point about a quarantine period. I am planning on moving baby bunny very soon!


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