Rabbits are sensitive, social animals who require almost constant companionship. For this reason, most rabbits do best with a bunny companion. Rabbits kept in isolation, with limited contact with their owner, run the risk of developing depression and that can lead to failure to thrive which shortens your precious bun's lifespan. With the work, family, and school demands most people face, it simply isn't practical for even the most devoted pet owner to give a single bunny the time he or she needs to live happily. This is why we recommend, whenever possible, adopting a bonded pair.
While rabbits thrive best in a bonded relationship with another rabbit, the process of bonding two rabbits, however, is not as easy as one might think. In addition to being time-consuming, there is always risk associated with introducing rabbits, as they are territorial and will perceive the other rabbit as a threat. Rabbit fights are often brutal, and sometimes even deadly.
Romeo Rabbit Rescue is happy to offer bunny bonding services to safely assist your buns throughout the entire bonding process. Bunny bonding sessions are offered in exchange for minimum donations, of which 100% goes directly towards the care of RRR buns. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about bunny bonding at RRR.
If you choose to attempt bunny bonding yourself, here are a few tips to help ensure success:
STOP! Before introducing new rabbits, it is critical that both rabbits are spayed or neutered and AT LEAST SIX weeks post-surgery. It takes about six weeks for your rabbit's hormones to leave their system after surgery, meaning for those six weeks, your rabbit's behavior will be that of an unaltered bun. It is also important to note that male rabbits can still impregnate females up to six weeks after being neutered!
- It is always best to introduce new rabbits in a neutral space that neither bunny has been in before, and therefor has not claimed it as their territory.
- Be sure to introduce them in a small space such as an XPen or a bathroom to promote interaction. (Keep hay and water in the bonding area)
- Never leave two bunnies unattended before they are fully bonded.
- Always be in arms reach and keeps hands on both bunnies to maintain a calm environment.
- Be prepared to intervene at the first sign of dominating behavior, to prevent a fight. It is a good idea to wear protective wear on your hands and arms to avoid injury during early bonding sessions.
- Gradually increase the number of hours your rabbits spend together inside the bonding pen. When all dominating behaviors from each rabbit have ceased for a period of a few hours, gradually increase your distance from the rabbits, while maintaining a watchful eye. Be prepared to jump back in as needed.
- For the first few days after all dominating behaviors have ceased, continue to keep them separated at night and when away. Once they have made it through several days without any dominating behaviors, begin leaving them together at night. It's not a bad idea to set up a pet cam or baby monitor so you can hear if a fight breaks out during the night and intervene.
- Once you have achieved success and your rabbits are fully bonded, you are free to resume your life with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your rabbits are happy in each other's company rather than sitting in isolation wondering when their humans will be back to spend time with them. It is truly wonderful to see the connection that develops between two bonded rabbits. And the time they spend with each other, will be less time they are pulling on their owners for attention or acting out due to boredom.