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Bunny attacking his brother

(4 Posts)
MorbidBibliomancy Sat 13-Jan-18 04:02:42

Background: DP and I adopted two male bunnies this time last year. We adopted them through a rehoming scheme that was part of a pet shop nearby. When we got them we were told that they were a year old, neutered and microchipped. Several staff members assured us that they were chipped and neutered. Everything was fine for about a year. They're indoor bunnies and live together in a pen in our living room. When they went in for their first set of vaccinations (a few weeks after we adopted them), it turned out they weren't chipped after all.

Just before Christmas one of the bunnies (Wilbur) became a little ill. He wasn't eating or pooping. He was taken to the vet that afternoon. He got some injections and we were given a mixture to syringe feed him. In the meantime we put him in a separate cage (which was a few inches away from the pen containing his brother, Jeff). 48 hours later he was back to himself again, so we tried to put him back in with Jeff.

It didn't go well. Jeff has always been the dominant one, and we've seen him trying to mount Wilbur on a number of occasions. Previously Wilbur just put up with it: it was never aggressive and only lasted a couple of seconds. The rest of the time they were very well bonded.

But now, when we try to put them together, Jeff gets very aggressive towards Wilbur. He tries to mount him constantly, and Wilbur puts up more of a fight. DP and I have had to break up fights between them each time we try to reintroduce them, and Jeff has pulled out some pretty hefty lumps of fur off Wilbur. He also gets aggressive if Wilbur moves within his eyesight, and ends up chasing him about. We've kept them in separate cages as a result, though those cages are close enough that they can see / smell / touch noses with each other.

My questions:

1) It seems to us as though maybe they aren't neutered. We've asked our vet to check, and she fobbed us off saying it's hard to tell and that we can have a look ourselves when they're on our laps and chilled out. We told her that they aren't lap rabbits, and she sort of shrugged us off. The things that make me think that Jeff at least isn't neutered are the aggression towards Wilbur, plus the fact that he grunts and digs a lot. Does it sound like they haven't been neutered? And how do you check if they are if your bunnies don't like being on laps / being handled too much?

2) A few times we've moved them both to a neutral space and re-introduced them there. It went alright for maybe 5 mins, but then Jeff was back to chasing Wilbur and trying to mount him. I don't want to keep on trying this method before we get confirmation as to whether they're neutered or not, because it seems like it stresses them out and will be pointless if the main issue is that they aren't fixed. If they are neutered and our only option is bunny marriage counselling then we'll keep at it. But does anyone have advice / experience?

3) They're both due their booster shots in a week or so. DP is going to call ahead of time and make the vet aware that we need their help in working out whether they've been neutered. Does anyone have any experience of getting vets to take them seriously when it comes to these matters?

Any and all help is appreciated! We just want our boys to get back to how they were sad

Nasreen Sat 13-Jan-18 10:34:21

Surely a decent rabbit savvy vet should be able to tell whether a rabbit has been neutered or not? Could you go back to where you got the rabbits and ask to see the neuter receipt or confirmation?

Do you have a rabbit rescue centre near to you? They are often the founts of all bunny knowledge and might be able to advise you what the next steps might be. It could be that the buns are just not getting on anymore. Is there anything on the RWAF site? This their number. 08443246090

Not sure what to suggest really. In my experience, rabbit rescue centres are the places to contact when these situations arise.

Hopefully someone will come along soon with some good advice.

bunnygeek Sun 14-Jan-18 14:15:23

Find another vet. That one sounds useless. The RWAF have a list of vets who really know rabbits. For two unneutered boys - obvious plums would be obvious!! Telling if a female is spayed however is very tricky without going in with an op and looking. The shop you got them from is notorious for bending the truth for adoptions or sales.

Same sex neutered pairs can be delicate bonds in any case and divorces in neutered pairs can also happen. To be honest I'm not sure these two will bond back together either way, they tend remember who they've had arguments with and definitely hold grudges!

ChickenDinnerChecky Sun 14-Jan-18 14:17:39

We separated our two females after they were neutered and have never managed to get them back together which is a real shame. We have tried but they do the same as yours!

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