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Rabbits/bonding two males?

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Zachariah Rigby
Zachariah Rigby  
I recently had taken in a rabbit from a coworker who was begging me to take care of the last of his accidental litter. He initially informed me it was a female. Wanting a friend for my small Dutch (Zach) I thought after spays and neuters it would be best for both rabbits. Turns out the new rabbit (Space) was misgendered. I now have two unaltered bucks. Hopefully altered within the month. At first all was well. Zach was excited to have a new friend and groomed Space who sit perhaps weery of the new environment and take the kisses. Flash ahead a week and Space seems to be tired of Zachs company. They kept distance from another during bonding dates. Until today, my husband and I took the rabbits outside in the garden for their next date. Right away I could tell Space looked a little defensive, ears back sitting on his feet like a bunny meatloaf. Zach approached in to lay with in and Space lundged in and boxed. Before I could separate either Space had Zach in his teeth. Zach rolled onto his side and closed hos eyes. Space didn't tear skin but held on like a pit bull refusing to let go. As soon as he let up. I took Zach to a separate side of the yard. He's pretty bubbly and it seemed like he immediately forgot what happened. He grazed happily while space pulled on his leash on the other side of the yard, ears back. Since then each rabbit is in there own cage in different rooms of the house. Is it likely that this spoiled a chance of a bond? That Space just hates Zachs little bunny guts? Will neutering and separation help the general attitudes? They are both about 10 mnts old and newly hormonal. I figure Zach wouldn't be the dominant rabbit. Compared to a regular sized rabbit and even a Dutch he's very small. Maybe a little bigger then a guinea pig.

Answer
Hi Shannon

Sorry for the delay in reply.

I definitely recommend keeping completely separated until they are neutered and allowed a month to heal and the hormones to leave their system.

After that you could try one more bonding session on completely neutral territory and see how it goes, make sure you have water bottles and brooms to hand in case a fight breaks out!

Bonding two unrelated males is tricky at the best of times. It can happen but the most secure boy/boy bonded pairs I know have been brothers.

So yes, do the neutering and try once more. I have a horrible feeling, however, that these guys are not going to get on. Do have contingency plans in place!

Good luck!
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Expertise

I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.

Experience

I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

Organizations
I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

Education/Credentials
I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

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