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View Full Version : Neuter? Bonding? HELP!



buttons
03-10-08, 06:54 pm
I've been quite set on getting my male rabbit neutered.
I've already booked an appointment for him, $90...

Anyways, I plan to have him live with my female. (Yes, I used to breed)

Is it OK if the female is un-spayed?
(I'm a teen and right now - have no job - no money...)

I read that I should only put them together 6-8 weeks after the operation, because the male still has some sperms in him.

Anyways, how do I get them to bond?
I'll be building a new cage for both of them...anyone have any good closed design ideas?

Will the male mount the female thinking he wants to get her pregnant - even though he'd be neutered?????

Is is even OK to have a female and male living together??
Will they be OK with each other??

Well, I know I asked a lot of questions, my main question being:
Is it OK that the female is un-spayed?

Thanks in advance!

buttons
03-10-08, 07:09 pm
3172

3173

3174

These are my rabbit pictures...they are both/all pure bred mini rex rabbits.

CavyLover94
03-10-08, 09:18 pm
I have a neutered male in with an unneutered female so I think that it's okay. She mounts him more than he mounts her. But the more time that goes bye since he was neutered, the less he has done it and the calmer he has become. Yes, you do have keep them apart for 6-8 weeks to let the sperm die. My two are perfectly fine with each other, but that might be because they are brother and sister. Well, good luck with your bunnies and I'm sorry I don't have any ideas for a closed cage.

willowfaery
03-10-08, 09:30 pm
You should browse through the "Cages for Other Pets" section of the photo gallery if you haven't already. I saw some closed rabbit cages in there.

crazywiggy
03-11-08, 11:37 am
First of all can I just say a big CONGRATS for the fact you said you used to breed! I can only assume that means you have learned about all the reasons not to and decided to stop and that is gerat - well done!

Anyway - males and females often make the best companions as same sexes are slightly more likely to fight. They should be fine together - but obviously it is important they have a big enough cage. This is even more true for rabbits than for guinea pigs as they like their own space.

It is true you should still wait a few weeks after his op before putting the two bunnies together. Neutering involves removing the testicles so he can not produce any new sperm - but there may be some already in his tubes so to speak. A wait of a few weeks allows these sperm time to die off.

Once your male is neutered and has waited, you can put him with an entire female. Some rabbit experts suggest females should be spayed for health reasons anyway, so this may be something to consider in the future.

I don't have a huge amount of experience of neutered males so I'm not sure if he would still try to mate or not. I would assume not, because removing his testicles should removes his desires. On the other hand if he has bred in the past he may continue as he has already learned the behaviour. Of course, like most animals rabbits can mount eachother as a display of dominance.

There are pics on the gallery of closed cages, so you can get some ideas there. Personally I would want at least a 3x4 for a single rabbit, at least 3x5 for two - preferably bigger. Another idea would be to buy a large, encosed rabbit run and then just make the coroplast base to go in it.

Just want to add please make sure your cage is tall enough - one grid is NOT high enough! The rabbits must be able to stand up fully on their hind legs without touching the top. I'm sure you know your bunnies but I have seen so many people get this wrong....

buttons
03-12-08, 09:54 pm
Thanks,

But really - it's not that easy crazywiggy, huh, both of my parents think I'm crazy to spend SO much money on a neuter, and they think it's mean to neuter him - AND they think that it's not necessary to have them live together.
But I feel like a horrible mum to them - they live outside. Sure in our barn, but I don't get to connect with them.
I feel like getting them a friend is the least I can do. (I've had the un-neutered boy in my room, and my mum freaked because he sprayed the whole room and stunk it up. She kicked him out.)

So I'm planning on a big cage and a companion for them.

And no worries crazywiggy - then cage will be tall, lots of levels. Hopefully it will work out though, because my dad won't help me build the cage, because he feels it's unnecessary...

*Wish me luck!!

And thanks for the answers everyone!!

Cavy Carnage
03-13-08, 09:40 am
I have a male and female together. We adopted our male already neutered and then adopted a female who wasn't spayed. To bond them we placed them both in a neutral area for 10-15 mins at a time and fed them treats (small bits of favourite fruit and veg). The male hated her, would chase her around etc but no blood shed or actual physical violence, just pulling of fur. After maybe 2 weeks of this he just suddenly accepted her. Ever since she has not stopped humping him and he had never once mounted her. We have since had her spayed and she still does it. She only humps to assert dominance I feel. Depending on the personality will probably determine who humps who, it isnt always sexual.
I would say though that to get your female spayed as soon as you can afford as females run a very high risk of reproductive cancer and it's so hard to see knowing you could have prevented it, (I sadly speak from experience). As for a cage just make it as large as possible, if it isn't possible to be inside I don't think I would recomend cubes as the cold air could easily get to them. Though I am not sure what would be good.

crazywiggy
03-13-08, 11:40 am
Sorry to hear you're having trouble convincing your parents... maybe I can explain in a way that will help...

Neutering - it isn't mean. It is usually a very straightforward procedure, and the vet should ensure the rabbit gets suitable pain relief. Neutering often makes boys less aggressive (even towards people) and has a number of health benefits. If you are spending your own money then the decision should be entirely up to you.

Companionship - rabbits are a social species and need the company of their own kind. It is not natural for them to be on their own.

I did my dissertation on animal behaviour / welfare and there are loads of published papers proving that keeping social species on their own causes serious problems. (I have a BSc animal management).
eing lonely causes chronic stress - which causes a number of physiological effects in the body. In the short term these aren't too bad, but long term they cause damage, including reduced immune response. It also causes psychological problems, such as aggression or depression, steretypic behaviour etc.
It has been well established for some years now that gregarious species need the company of the own kind in order to be happy and healthy. Even the guidelines on keeping lab rabbits states they should be socially housed wherever possible.

Seeing as you already own two rabbits, it seems crazy not to let them be together.

Indoor vs outdoor - as you will have noticed this forum does not advocate housing pets outdoors, indoors is much better. Perhaps you could point out to your parents that neutered bucks are much ess likely to spray, and that rabbist can be litter trained?

But - if you really can't move them indoors, at least being in a barn is better than completely outside. You should still make sure it is weather proof and draft proof and well insulated. I would also recommend putting a smoke alarm in there just to be extra caerful.

Would it be possible to let the bunnies free-range in the barn, or at least part of it?

You could simply build a partition to keep them inside (so they don't escape when you open the door!) and let them hop around in all that space. You could then litter train them so you don't have to use a mountain of bedding. This way you would only need to build a simple run or fence type structure, rather than a whole cage. You could also add in wall-mounted shelves to give them extra levels to jump on.

Finally - about cages - I'm sorry your dad feels big cages are unnecessary... they are absoluetly necessary for happy, healthy pets! The problems with inadequate housing are similar to those for single housing, ie it causes chronic stress. This causes various health problems (which may be expensive to treat), welfare problems (the animals can not exhibit their natural behaviours and become frustrated and bored), and can ultimately reduce their lifespan.

I am SO pleased you are doing your best to care for you bunnies - you are doing a great job and I'm sure you'll be able to amke a big difference for them. If you want any more help or info just keep posting or pm me. Good luck!

buttons
03-14-08, 06:17 pm
Thanks so much for the feedback crazywiggy, it really supported and ensured me in my decision. (Because I WAS beginning to doubt...)

And thanks everyone for the help.

Crazywiggy, we have cats in the barn, and stray cats too, so I'm thinking a large cage would be best.

And thanks cavycarnage for the introduction tips, I'll try that, like guinea pigs I suppose...

One more question:

Will the rabbits mind the cats.
Because before they've been away from the cats, on a stand.
I cage plan I'm thinking of it on the ground, it works best that way - all of the cats are friendly, and stray cats stay more in the back, not to be seen, and if they don't, those stray cats are friendly too.

crazywiggy
03-15-08, 11:48 am
With cats in the barn I would agree an enclosed cage would be better. Even if the cats seem friendly I don't think it would be worth the risk.

In my experience rabbits are surprisingly brave - once they know the cats can't actually get to them I wouldn't think they would take much notice of them. My old rabbit used to deliberately go and sit by the fence to wind up the neighbours dogs!

I think the easiest way would be to build a large version of a basic rabbit run. I will try to explain, but it just an idea and I won't be offended if you think it sucks! I just hope it makes sense....

A walk-in version would be perfect and really easy to get in and clean and play with the buns.

Build each panel separately. Build a rectangle frame with wood, then attack strong wire mesh. Make the panels big enough so that when stood up they are taller than you! Join the panels together, eg with screws or nails, to build a tall run that you can comfortably stand up in. Build panels to fit the top so the roof is enclosed.
With one of the panels, do not screw to the others. Attach one side with hinges and put a bolt on the other side to make a door.
That way, the rabbits get plenty of floor space, and as much height as they want. For extra levels you could just use normal hutches, which they could hide in or jump on. Being so tall you could just walk straight in - making it really easy to clean out.
Sorry - I'm getting a bit carried away with all these ideas.... :crazy:

buttons
03-15-08, 09:07 pm
Haha, you and I must have a very similar mind!

I was thinking something like that too.

3181

I drew this picture on paint...so it's not the best.
Is this sorta what you mean?
Do you have any suggestions to make it better??

3181

The box on the 3rd level is a hidey house, like the one on the 1st level/floor.

crazywiggy
03-16-08, 02:53 am
Yeah that is pretty much exactly what I was trying to describe! I also tried to draw it on paint but I couldn't get it to resize to fit so I gave up....

I think that looks great! The only thing I would suggest is on the highest level put an edge around the shelf so they can't accidentally fall off. But that does look like a great cage for a pair of bunnies!

buttons
03-16-08, 03:52 pm
Thanks.
I'll definitely add a railing, thank you.

How long would you suggest the cage be?
Is a meter OK? Or should I go longer?

(Remember, I have to build this myself, as my father has NO interest in helping me, because he doesn't support my decision, he thinks I'm throwing away my money...)

crazywiggy
03-20-08, 03:12 am
Well the RSPCA suggests the minimum size cage for one rabbit is 6 x 2 feet. (About 183 x 61 cm). However, this may be deceiving as they also suggest the rabbits should have access to a run as well during the day - so it may in fact need to be bigger. Of course, two rabbits would need more space than one rabbit anyway.

I guess it depends on how much space you actually have available, and just build the biggest cage you can.

My last rabbit lived in a 3 x 3 foot cage (just under a metre squared). Being honest that seemed too small, and he was on his own. Now I wouldn't put even a single bunny in a cage that size.

If you are planning on building the cage like we discussed, and like in your pics, I would make each panel 1 metre wide.
That way they would still be easy enough to build (and it will be easy to find the wood and mesh big enough). It also means you can then make as many panels as you can fit. The minimum I would go for would be 1x2, although 1x3 or 2x2 would be better.

To make it easier for you it might be a good idea to have a detailed design ready before you buy the materials. The store may then be happy to cut the wood to the right length for you. (I know they do in the UK).

You know, I'm starting to think I'm as excited about this as you are!

pink piggy lips
03-21-08, 02:14 pm
Hi, I wanted to post my own experience to offer you any ideas you can get. Also, it's so great that you are getting him neutered and that you are giving them both the gift of companionship.

Ok, 2 years ago I found a female for my neutered male by driving a few cities away to a House Rabbit Society chapter. We brought him with us the one he chose, which basically was the one he fought with the least. I let her get acclimated before we started bonding sessions.

The lady there had told me to do bonding sessions in an x-pen. Well, that didn't work. My male felt very defensive and trapped with her and they would fight.

What I did was let them both out to play (supervised) in the room together. They didn't squabble as much there. We also had them in a divided cage, so they could get used to seeing each other.

One night around 2-3 months after we had brought her home, I got a good feeling about them. My husband got started on building a multi level deluxe C&C rabbit pen. While he did they were both in an overturned laundry basket in the kitchen. When we took a break we put them in a carrier together in the car and went for a drive. That sealed the deal for them right there. Both feeling vulnerable like that, they depended on one another. I've also read that's a great way to help rabbits bond, along with bonding sessions.

I'm going to link a picture of the pen my husband built. When we moved recently, we decided to get new coroplast in the shade of deep brown. Then my husband slightly modified it to make it even better. It's 3X4 in grids. Currently the door opens on the side and I can totally step in it to do whatever cleaning I need to do, etc. He's about to change the door location to the front, but it will be the same principle of full access.

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j39/twitchy_noses/critters/rabbit%20habit/refried004.jpg


Please excuse our mess, haha. We are massively cleaning out as we settle in more and more to our new place. I just wanted to give you some ideas. If you have any questions about it, just ask.

Around

buttons
03-21-08, 06:58 pm
Thanks, I'll start building the cage soon!

And thanks pink piggy lips for the picture, I really like it!

I'll post a picture soon! I can't wait!!

pink piggy lips
03-21-08, 10:46 pm
Sure thing, Buttons!

One thing I forgot to mention. Be careful how high you make the platforms. All of ours have the same amount of height in between the lower level and higher level. I'll have to count that for you when I get home. We counted the number of grid squares (to measure) each time we added a platform.

You just want to make sure your bun is comfortable jumping to different levels.

buttons
03-21-08, 10:52 pm
I forgot to ask that question - of how high the levels should be...

I won't be using grids for the cage...so if you could measure the height for me instead...thank you

pink piggy lips
03-22-08, 10:48 am
Sure thing, I'll definitely measure those for you in a bit. I've woken up prematurely so I'm still sleepy right now. Oh, don't forget that to cut down on mess and to encourage better litter pan habits, hay racks go great over the pans themselves. My 2 buns also like to hang out on the top platform a lot, up there we give them a pile of hay.

buttons
03-22-08, 05:40 pm
Yup, I'm definitely going to litter train them and get a hay rack!

So what would your recommended height be of the levels so they can jump up there??

pink piggy lips
03-22-08, 06:48 pm
Ok, we made each platform 1 foot high. I wouldn't recommend going over that by much. My bunnies are really hoppity and handle it just fine.

However, I have another pair and when they had platforms (we have to build again after we get them new coro and we haven't fully reinstated their cage since so we moved so I don't know the exact measurement there) I believe their platform was less than a foot high, by a few inches. That was because my male in that pair is not very flexible and is quite clumsy, lol.

In fact, because of that, they cannot have a multi level cage like the first pair I showed you. But my husband has been designing a multi level pen idea that might work for them. It's more complicated than this one because that darn male is so clumsy.

Oh, as for support of the platforms, we used dowl rods and ballisters securely strapped underneath. Let me know if you need any more pics.

buttons
03-22-08, 10:33 pm
How much is a foot in metric?

Could I see the cage for the other pair without the multilevel cage (with the clumsy male)

Thank you

pink piggy lips
03-23-08, 12:26 am
I'll convert that for you later on. I've been swamped with housework and cage cleanings tonight so my brain is very tired.

Ok, the other pen is just grids and coroplast. That's it. Nothing fancy about it. Think of it like an extra tall cavy cage. We have to rebuild theirs.

I'll take more pictures when I get up tomorrow. Ok, off to bathe the yuckiness off of myself.:crazy:

buttons
03-23-08, 02:27 pm
Haha, alright, I don't mind waiting - LOL

pink piggy lips
03-23-08, 08:13 pm
I'm assuming you mean centimeters by metric? It would be 30.48 centimeters.. =1 foot

buttons
03-25-08, 07:52 pm
Thank you again pink piggy lips.

By the way, Whiskas, my bunny, just came home from surgery this morning.

He's inside now, and I made him a quick, small cage out of left-over grids and the bottom of a "large" pet store cage.
He's eating fine, and I haven't seen him licking his wound yet...

But sometimes he'll be like "shivering" almost (but not shivering) might he still be in a little bit of shock? scared?

Otherwise he seems fine, and the surgery went well too.

crazywiggy
03-26-08, 01:07 pm
I'm so glad the surgery went ok! Well done for getting it done and for being so dedicated to your buns. :)

buttons
03-26-08, 10:06 pm
Thanks, does anyone have any suggestions for making it more comforable/enjoyable for my bunny?
Would you let him out for free time already (surgery was tuesday)
Should I let him out later on for free time? (maybe he needs to be confined for a bit??)

Thanks in advance...