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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
for those of you who have been reading all this time (search older posts), you know i've been trying to bond my boys.

i've had chrys and charlie since july. they lived together in complete bliss until they were 6 mos old. they were both neutered when they were 5 mos.

for the past 2 months, we've had them separated. we came home one night to find they had gotten in such a bad fight that they had busted the cage door open! we've been bonding them since then and had gotten to the point where we could leave then unattended for a good while and they were getting along really well again.

well, last week they got in another big fight. now i'm noticing that when they fight, there is a strange odor. it isn't urine and neither of them are spraying... but what is it?

charlie, the larger lionhead, is always chasing chrys when they fight. actually, i was going to write a separate post about this. however, i think charlie has a personality disorder--seriously! he is the most skittish animal i've ever seen. you can't hold him for more than 30 seconds or he FREAKS out. you wouldn't even believe it. he writhes so much i'm scared he is going to hurt himself. does anyone else have a bun like this? any chance he will calm with age?

i know this is a looooong post.. but i need some advice!
 

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Hmm, I really don't know about the smell, that's strange. What does it smell like?

It could just be that Charile doesn't like to be held - not many rabbits do. They are ground dweling prey animals and most don't feel safe when held above the ground or when restrained - they think of you as a predator, which would explain why he would feel nervous. And everytime you hold him, it reinforces his fear so that he will continue to think of you as a predator and be nervous around you.

Zeus doesn't like being held, he struggles to get away every time he's picked up - so we don't hold him. Just because you can't hold them though, doesn't mean you can't interact with them. Zeus comes up to us all the time for pets and will jump up on our laps for snuggles, which I actually enjoy more then if I were picking him up because it means he's seeking out our attention, he trusts us and wants to be around us.

Barnaby, on the other hand, is perfectly calm when we pick him up, but is very shy and will only let me pet him when he's out playing, he runs from everyone else. Rabbits are, in general, shy animals and you have to work to earn their trust.

I would suggest, with Charlie, that you try not to pick him up and hold him unless you absolulty have to for some reason, like to transport him somewhere or something. During play time, leave him alone unless he comes to you. Sit quietly in the room and maybe have some treats, so when he does come to you, you have a treat to give him. He has to learn that your not a predator and your not going to do anything to upset him, and to trust you. As he gains more trust he should start coming to you more often, even asking for attention and pets.

I really found that the key to working with rabbits is that you have to let them do things on their own terms, which means letting him come to you when he wants attention, rather then you trying to hold him. I know its frustrating, and it can take alot of patience and time to earn their trust, but it really is worth it in the end when you have a happy bunny that trusts you and enjoys spending time with you.

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/shybun.html
 

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I think I know what smell you are talking about. If Penelope gets stress she lets off an odor. I call it her "stink butt". It will happen if Teddy hangs out in the hallway right outside her room. I stopped letting him run the hall. I believe it has something to do with those "stink sacks" on either side of their tush area. I know I am horribly vague about all this but I am not sure of the proper terms for the sacks and the smell. I have cleaned the sacks on Tabby and Teddy. I don't think the other buns would sit for me to clean them. And it is nasty to clean out.
As for not wanting to be held - I cannot even pet Oliver and Ophelia and we have had them since they were 3 or 4 months old! Penelope is better. She doesn't like it but she tolerates it. She loves for me to lay in bed and put her on my chest and stroke her head. She will lay with me for a very long time. I have to watch because I get so relaxed that I start to nodd off.
Teddy will let you do anything to him. I can tell that he would rather me interact with him when he is on the floor. He likes to hop around me pulling at my clothes and then he likes to sniff my face. He has even given me bunny kisses on my nose while I sat on the floor with him.
Ollie and Teddy both like it when I hand them toys so they can throw them. Ophelia loves it when I hand her choice strands of hay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for this feedback! kathy---yes! i can't explain the smell, it kind of smells like a skunk. i know that isn't very specific. i always wondered if it was some kind of sexual gesture. but if it was caused by stress, that would make perfect sense!

and it feels good to hear you both say that you have buns who don't like the be held. these are my first buns and i thought it was just me. we don't hold charlie often, but admittedly-sometimes i have to do the "oh you are so freaking cute i have to hug you right this minute" thing. i'm going to stop that!
 

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My little rescue lion/minilop mutt baby boy is also extremely skittish!!!!!More so than any other bun I've ever seen. Even though "I rescued him" I do know all his history he was at a petstore for a loooooooong time and they told me he was going to get "desposed"of. I couldn't have that so they gave him to me for free(I didn't want to give them any money if thats their policy). He wasn't abused, he's just a little spaz! I hardly ever pick him up and let him out aloneand still he justs hides!!This is our second yr. together and it's always the same only way to interact w/ him is to just watch him eat his salads and a dig box. Its OK we love him anyway!
 

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When Isaid that I try not to pick him up and let him out alone, that came out weird. I maent that I hardly ever pick him up and HE GETS OUT EVERYDAY but always by himself....he is neutered but he HATES other bunnies! My post came out like I said that he hardy ever got out just wanted clarify myself!
 

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We've bonded our (fixed) male and female enough so they can get along outside of the cage, but if one goes in the other's personal space a huge fight ensues. When Tido is scared he sprays an odor. "Stink butt" is a polite way of saying it.;) Tido is more nervous than Sarah, so sometimes when she goes up to inspect him he'll lunge to get in the attack first, as if to assert he isn't afraid. But I know he's really scared, he runs and hides if I go in his cage and will only come out of his house if he knows I'm in there to give him food. Sarah refuses to be held, only Tido is a cuddle bunny. Although, I think it's more out of fear that he stays still than a love of cuddling. (Although we bribe him with treats if he's a good bunny and stays still.)
 

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I thought that was coming from the litterbox. Now that I think about it...it was when Molly was outside his cage. Only sometimes I would smell it and only when he seemed agitated with her.
 

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I am also trying to bond and we get to smell the stinky butt whenever they are together. It seems to come more from the male than the females. It is there way of saying "hey I don't know if I like you or not, so just in case smell this!"
My little dutch loves to be picked up and will even come and stand up on my leg whenever he wants me to pick him up. When I do he just puts his head under my chin and snuggles. Of course I have had him since he was 12 weeks. I have a female who hates to be picked up and grunts whenever I do it. Then I have a very abused rescue rabbit that I have had for about a year who knows she gets to go somewhere fun when I pick her up so she has accepted it more.
 

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Can't Stop Touching Her Eyes
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Bunnies may not always be the most cuddly creatures but they make me laugh when they play. I just love to watch them.
And yes - every once in a while I just have to grab Ollie and hug him - but I use the time wisely and give him a quick feel to be sure he doesn't have any lumps or bumps.
 

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are ur to buns from the same litter? sorry i know this has nothing to do with this topic but i was wondering cuz usually rabbits from a diffrent litter will fight. but what suprises me is that their nuetured, rabbits usually get along when their nuetured. and about the smell my old rabbits did the same thing when they used to fight. rabbits do that when their stressed or angery ( thats what i read) but if ur rabbits are starting to get better with each other keep on bonding them little by little and it helps if u take them to places they dont know to bond like a 5 min. car trip usually helps... i dont know why but when my rabbits used to fight i read alot abt how to bond rabbits and they always said to take them on a car trip :confused:
 
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