It only took 3 weeks and it’s not the most ideal situation but we have peace at last!
Basically we have figured out that for the sanity of the entire household, the boys cannot physically SEE each other or be next to each other AT ALL.
Initially we separated them and let them sit side by side with a fence between them. Thought this would stop the fights but they ended up putting their snouts in between the bars of the fence and biting each other.
You would think that one would just walk away and ignore the other but they didn’t. As soon as they knew each other were there, they stared each other out.
Next thing you know, they were chasing each other side to side, looking for a way into the other’s section.
Paris presented his face to Rome for grooming which is a rabbit’s way of saying they are the dominant one… “I am the boss. Groom me!” is pretty much what that means.
Rome wouldn’t have any of it. This kept going for a while until Rome pretended he would groom but really he was licking the bars to take Paris’ scent off them and put on his own.
THEN he makes the movement that he’s going to groom Paris’ head and bites him instead.
This infuriates Paris and instead of presenting himself to be groomed, he just made sure he bit Rome every single time Rome put his face near the fence. It was all over then. BOTH were biting and getting more and more aggravated.
Our solution was to put cardboard against the bars so now they had the fence and cardboard between them.
They couldn’t see each other but still had proximity so knew each other were there. This worked for all of 24 hours. By that time, they had bitten through the cardboard, made eye contact and were biting each other through the small gap they created, all over again.
They both also attempted to jump the fence, using the cardboard for leverage.
Fearing some sort of injury from all the jumping and falling, we separated them completely. As it is, Rome’s nose looks funny so we think that perhaps this was Paris’ doing.
Rome is now in the hallway, Paris is in the lounge.
Both are fenced in so they can’t explore and happen upon the other. We have given them enough space to run around by themselves.
We now have no room to move ourselves. Effectively we are caged in too and cannot walk through our flat without walking over fences which is not ideal BUT we have peace at last.
There have been no fights for 48 hours and I actually slept through the night for the first time in over 3 weeks, this week.
Our door frames are mangled though so I’ve bought some chew toys which I’m waiting to be delivered.
On the upside. Rome is very happy to spend time with Tony and I. He licks us on the face and jumps on our backs.
There’s something so rewarding when a tiny, vulnerable animal, used to being prey and having an innate urge to run and hide from everything lest it get eaten, gives you, a giant human, their trust.
You know, my little boys are only 1 kg each? That’s 2.2 lbs! They are tiny!
Paris is still quite cautious with us and remains at least 1 foot away. We are still not allowed to touch him unless we bring treats and even then he runs away.
It is funny to watch him run toward the treats and away from the pats, back and forth until he finally finishes the treats but at least he is comfortable enough to have us in his space.
It’s progress and now they are safe from each other, are no longer stressing each other or us out anymore. Both rabbits have settled down a lot too, since the separation.
Now all we have to do is stick with the schedule, keep earning trust, get them used to being petted and wait until they’re old enough to be neutered.
After that, it’ll be a load of retraining for toilet habits and a slow process to re-bond them.
The end goal, whenever that may be, is that they will be friends again, perfectly toilet trained and our flat will be fenceless so they can run around wherever they like. What a process!!
For now, I’m just finally kicking back and relaxing for the first time since getting these bunnies.
“Ahhh the serenity….”