Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bunny Bonding: The Week of Terror

Current Bunneh Living Quarters

I was out of town part of the week last week, so I don't have a new Red Door bunny video. However, in my own home there has been a lot of bunny action. My bunnies, which I adopted from Red Door, are litter mates that were bonded and just this spring began to fight. It began with a little nipping and more aggressive chasing when they were playing and escalated to the point where I came home from work one day to a bed covered in poop and a floor covered in fur. I immediately separated them and put Swatch in the bathroom. I took Swatch to the emergency vet, because his eye looked irritated. The vet gave him a clean bill of health and I returned him to the bathroom for the evening and the next day, since I had to work and could not keep an eye on them. The next day, I got some advice from Toni at Red Door and put them in their current living situation- one in an exercise pen in the bedroom, one free to roam in the same bedroom. Now our morning routine goes a little something like this:

1. Bunny in pen shakes the pen at first sight of sun (currently right around 5:20am)
2. I wake, let loose bunny into the bathroom and release penned bunny
3. I snooze for a little longer
4. I clean the pen
5. I put bathroom bunny in the pen (sometimes I pick them up, sometimes I use a laundry basket or litterbox for bunneh transport)
6. Everyone gets breakfast

While I have gotten used to- and quite good at- this routine, I miss them being buddies. So I've decided to buckle down and really be consistent in my bunny bonding this week (or longer) and try to force them to remember the good ole days and be friends again. I tend to do better with these things when I keep track of my efforts so I'm really faced with how much or how little work I did each day- so I'm going to keep a bonding journal this week.

Day One:

Prior Bathtub Bonding Session (Swatch is spotted, Rolex is black)   
We took a nice long car ride today. We stopped by my favorite pet store, Parkview Pet Supplies. Then we drove by a vets office that my boss told me about. All in all, about an hour drive of total bunny terror.

When we returned home, I set up an exercise pen on the landing between apartments. I don't have any neutral territory in my apartment anymore because I let them run free when I was home. It was about 11am, so I don't think any of my neighbors were home. I'm hoping I can continue to use this space, because it seemed to work pretty well. I made the pen just big enough for me to sit with them and for there to be a little space in between the litter box and the basket of salad I brought for them (Tiny Liz from RD's suggestion). While I was preparing their salad and setting up the pen I kept them in the carrier together.

Swatch seemed pretty shaken up when he first got out of the carrier into the pen. They put their heads together but no one caved and groomed the other. On the plus side, no one got aggressive either. After about 15 minutes, Rolex got a little aggressive with Swatch, which I stopped immediately, and then they both were pretty calm together. Swatch even groomed himself while Rolex sat nearby.

All in all, it was the most successful bonding session I've had at my apartment since this all began. I made the mistake of leaving their treats in the bedroom, so I wasn't able to reward them until they were back in their respective areas for the day. Tomorrow I will have to remember to bring them along. 

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