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barnickles 06-24-2012 05:53 AM

Face biting during bonding?
Hi everyone,

I'm new here, and I have a question about bonding. My six year old neutered dwarf, Spike, has recently lost his brother/bonded companion, and so we are 'fostering to adopt' a spayed female from the local shelter to see if we can bond her to him. We were preparing for a long haul, and so far we've been at it for only five days (which isn't very long at all), but the sessions have kind of been a disaster!

Spike, who is normally very social and interactive, seems terrified and remains glued to the floor, eyes bulging, and hyperventilating for all of each bonding session. And the new female incessantly bites him - mostly on the face. She's a bit overweight, and doesn't move too fast, and seems to come in calmly at first, but when she gets near his face (usually once every 30 seconds to minute or so during bonding) she bites his face quite hard. And twice today she almost got his eye... one time he squeaked and jumped back in pain and ran over to me thumping his foot, so I figured that was the end of the bonding session (we were only 2 minutes in).

He is free range, and the first few days she was here, he would sleep next to the cage and stick his nose in to say hi to her (and she would ignore him on the other side of the cage), but now he stays far away from her cage at all times.

I'm not sure what to do! I've tried smushed banana on the heads, honey on the noses, car rides, the washing machine, and 5 different neutral environments (I only live in a one bedroom apartment, so thinking of new places he hasn't been is getting tricky!). I'm not sure what else to try. Every bonding session is full of her biting him about the belly, and especially on the face - quite hard! Most of the time I manage to stop her, but I feel bad for poor Spike... he's just lost his life partner, and he doesn't deserve to be bullied.

Does anybody have any advice? I'm not sure what to do! The female rabbit is very sweet with me - she loves to be petted, and comes right up to me asking for attention, but with Spike it's like she's a different rabbit.

Any thoughts anyone might have would be greatly appreciated!



SugarFuzBunnies 07-28-2012 07:26 AM

Hi J,
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it doesn't seem like Spike and the new bunny can co-exist :( perhaps it's better to have them in 2 seperate cages.
I live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment too, and I've bought a 3 storey cage so my bunnies can sleep on different levels, and left an extra litter tray on the outside of the cage for whenever my buck decides to roam around the living room.
Best of luck with them, hope you find someone for Spike soon :)

BarkingPup 07-29-2012 04:23 PM

Rabbit bonding is one of the harder bonding. It does sound like Miss Female does not like Spike at all. I would highly suggest waiting for her to be adopted out then fostering another rabbit and hope it works out.

Some rabbits just don't like each other and some rabbits will never be happy with another rabbit.

Dragonrain 07-30-2012 01:46 PM

Hm, that's tough. It's true that sometimes two rabbits, like two people, will just not get along. It doesn't mean that Spike maybe wouldn't like another friend, that particular female may just not be the one for him.

It sounds like Spike is a bit traumatized by her biting him. Since you've had Spike for 6 years you probably already know, bunnies can hold grudges! It's kind of like if you were hanging out with a friend, and they punched you in the face. Would you want to spend time with that friend again after that?

If you really have your heart set on making this work, I'd suggest maybe separating them for awhile and giving Spike some time to get over being bitten. If you give them some time apart then reintroduce them, Spike may be more willing to give her a chance.

If she keeps biting him though, it may just not work out. Is there anyway you can prevent her from biting him so much? Even if it means just doing really really short bonding sessions for awhile. Usually the key to a successful bonding session is to end it on a good note each time, before either of the bunnies gets violent. Even if that means only putting them together for a minute, then separating them again before the girl even has a chance to start biting poor Spike.

If it doesn't work out you may have to consider either keeping the two of them separate, or maybe letting someone else adopt the female and finding another rabbit to try out with Spike.

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