A New Bunny Rabbit in the House
Today, we headed back to Animal Care League in Oak Park, to introduce Phineas to a few rabbits. We visited several bunny rabbits last weekend, and had a list of the ones we liked. Our goal today: introduce Phineas to the top contenders, and see if he liked any of them as well.
At Animal Care League, our favorites were Janis Hoplin, Hedy, and Mona. On arriving, we learned that Mona got adopted (which is great news, as I was worried her shyness would have made things problematic).
We introduced Phineas to Hedy, and they got along ok. There were a few moments of aggression, but the two of them more or less ignored one another and got along. When introducing bunnies together for the first time, you kind of hope that they ignore one another.
Ignoring is a good thing. When they begin fighting immediately and start lunging for one another? That’s when you know there’s no way it’s gonna work.
We set up a makeshift area in the hallway (outside of several rooms). And in the flurry of the initial meeting, I didn’t get a chance to take photos of Hedy meeting Phineas.
When Janis was brought out, things got off to a really good start. There was some ignoring, but also some close inspection. No real fighting, no real aggression.
There were several moments where both rabbits were whipping around in a circle, each one trying to “mount” the other. Despite what most people think, when rabbits start humping one another… it’s usually not a sexual act. It’s an act of dominance, with one rabbit establishing itself over another.
Both Janis and Phineas seemed intent on mounting the other, so at several times we were witness to a small cyclone of bunny, spinning in a clockwise circle.
Phineas, relaxing. Which was another really great sign.
When rabbits stretch out like this, it means they’re comfortable. Similarly, if rabbits begin cleaning themselves – it’s also a good sign that they’re comfortable with their environment. If they’re stressed, they usually won’t be doing either of these things.
Janis has had a bit of a rough history. She was a classroom rabbit, so she was likely prodded and poked a lot by children. Additionally, she was bonded with another rabbit… and then they were separated (a really difficult and traumatic thing to have happen to rabbits, once bonded).
Also, we learned that Janis had a litter of small bunnies – but that someone moved her and her litter soon after (apparently, this is a really bad thing to do). As a result, Janis ended up destroying the whole litter due to the stress of the move.
This was a story that was shared with us by one of the volunteers, but we were told it wasn’t something they shared publicly. Since we were pretty experienced rabbit owners, they felt comfortable enough to share this bit of Janis’ history with us.
We were also warned that Janis had some territorial issues with her cage area. Liz saw that Janis was wary initially, but after a few moments… Janis became very affectionate.
Janis was at the top of the list for Liz. And since Phineas seemed to get along so well with her, we decided to take her home shortly after their meeting.
We initially set the two of them up next to one another, halving Phineas’ current space.
After about 20 minutes of settling down, Phineas began to show a lot of aggression. He kept following her around, mirroring her movements. And would try to nip at Janis through the gate.
Liz and I talked strategy, and we decided it would be best to give Janis her own area, separate from where Phineas is at.
For Phineas, we downsized him ever so slightly. We plan on slowly making his area a bit smaller over time.
Janis got her own penned area near our closet. The two rabbits can see one another, but they’re pretty far away – and eac with their own areas.
While Janis Hoplin is a pretty awesome name, we’re still trying to figure out what to call her. I once had a friend tell me that animals will eventually tell you what their names are… and I always thought this was a load of hooey. But I’ve had this happen several times now, with a name I never would have picked coming out of the blue… and seeming quite appropriate. We’re waiting to see.
Our eventual goal is to have both rabbits sharing the same area. And this will likely involve us clearing out Phineas’ area competely, and setting them up anew with new carpet tiles and all that jazz, when they’re ready.
For now, they’re each in their own areas and we’ll be introducing them to one another on neutral ground. When we bonded Baxter and Quincy, it took a really, really long time. With Quincy and Phineas, the bonding happened really quickly. We’re hoping this time around, the bonding happens faster.