Monday, April 20, 2015

Bunny Bonding- the Longest Journey

Many of you already know we have pet bunnies. When most people find out- we are met with shock and AWWW.

Indy turned 7 this year. We've had him since 5 weeks!

Nero is turning 4? As a rescue, you can never be too sure.

Both are fixed, litter trained, and cohabiting. The road to get here was long and treacherous. But rewarding in the end. This is their story:

Indy has been an only child since he was an infant. So the introduction was not smooth. Nero was also a rescue, so not only did we not know his background he also had to get fixed and had other medical issues that cost us $800 in the end. It was many months before we could really start bonding the two.

When bonding bunnies, you have to start slow and in neutral territory. We used a fence and our back porch for this, as neither spent a lot of time there alone and Indy pretty much has free run of the whole house. We spent our free evenings out on the porch with them. Eventually, as they got more comfortable, we would go to the kitchen or living room and let them explore together until a scuffle would erupt. Lucky, both rooms are connected to the porch with sliding glass doors- better to keep a close eye on them.

Some days were good, they could be out together for hours on end without bickering. Other days, Indy just couldn't be bothered to have a little brother. We started to refer to Nero as Indy's shadow. He is much younger and just wanted to be near his new friend! Indy is middle aged, and most of the time wanted to be left alone. We also discovered Indy was territorial about his tent that he lounges in. SO we removed that from the equation for some time.

Many fights ended in tufts of fur floating around, but we were quick to interject and not leave them unattended in the beginning. Later on, Indy just grunted at Nero and he would scamper off. Nero learned when he wasn't welcome. But we would still scold Indy. Indy ended up in time out by himself on more than one occasion.

After what seemed like forever- we finally made the bold leap to take the fence down for good and see what happened. Its important to note that after closely watching them, I felt the time was right. They made it overnight without killing each other, there may have been some fur floating around, but no real damage was done so we let it go.

We're happy to report that there seems to be a mutual like between them now. One litter pan, one water bowl, one food dish. It remains clear Indy continues to be more dominant. But I'm pretty sure Nero is OK with that. Indy will actually try to get Nero to groom him, but Nero can be a loner so Indy does most of the grooming. And Nero is still Indy's shadow.

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