Bunny Bonding!: Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
So last week we briefly discussed bunny behavior and dived a little into how your bunny can communicate with you through their behaviors. The key message I hope you got from the last post was to read your bunny’s body language and know what that means! That key message will be really helpful for this week’s topic: bonding your bunny.
There are plenty of bunny owners who want to add another bunny to their family, or maybe want their bun to have a friend to play with. Although rabbits are territorial, they are also pretty sociable animals and research has shown that bunnies often live longer, healthier lives if they have a friend to share it with. It’s perfectly okay if you want to get a friend for your fur-baby, but please keep in mind that the bunny bonding process is a very slow and timely one. You have to keep in mind that it is very rare for two bunnies to instantly become friends at first sight. Imagine you meeting a stranger for the first time and learn that you have to share a room with them for the rest of your life. You would be weary at first too, trying to get to know the person well to see if you can trust them before you let them in close. It’s pretty much the same for bunnies. If you are wanting to go through the bonding process, please make sure you have the time and patience for it. It could be months before your bunnies are okay being alone together and until then, you need to put in some work for it to happen. But what’s a little work if it means our buns are healthy and happy, right?
Now, before we go over some of the more nitty-gritty details, there is one key thing to remember if you ever want to bond your bunny with another bunny. YOU NEED TO GET YOUR BUNNIES FIXED BEFORE BONDING THEM!
One key reason for making sure your bunnies are fixed before starting a bonding process is that if you want to bond your male bunny with a female bunny (or vice versa), you will have baby bunnies hopping around in no time. Unless you are interested in become a breeder, I highly suggest you make sure your bunnies can’t breed or you will have a lot more tiny mouths to feed which can be suck up a lot of your time and money.
Second key reason for fixing your bunnies is that, as previously mentioned, rabbits are pretty territorial, especially females. It’s not uncommon for rabbits to fight or bully each other over space and food, and this can all be solved by fixing your rabbit and taking away the hormones that make them want to fight. Sure, you can prevent breeding by getting two male rabbits or two female rabbits, but you might come across the risk of them fighting for dominance.
It’s of course your choice on whether you want to fix your rabbits or now, but I would recommend at least doing some more research (maybe calling a vet) before you make your decision.
Now, like I said, it’s pretty rare for rabbits to instantly bond at first sight. Rabbits are sometimes hard to trust so it takes a while for two bunnies to trust each other completely. Until then, it is essential that you keep them living separate and monitor their interactions at all times. It’s not unheard of for two rabbits to want to fight each other at first, so keeping them separate or under watchful eyes is needed to make sure they are both safe. When I was bonding Millie and Prince Ali, I kept them in two separate pins next to each other with a little bit of space between their fences. They were able to see and smell each other through the gates but they couldn’t bite at each other in case they decided to get feisty.
I had Prince Ali for a whole year before I adopted Millie, so most of the house was his domain. To make Millie feel safe and to make sure Prince Ali didn’t get territorial, I let them out together for supervised dates in the one space Prince Ali wasn’t allowed: our bathroom. Since this space was untouched by both bunnies, it put them on equal grounds. Plus the small space allowed me to get to them in case they decided to fight (I made sure to wear pants and gloves in case biting got involved).
I let my two rabbits interact with each other every day for an hour, letting them get comfortable with each other. I even brought out some hay and toys so they could interact with each other by eating and playing. Thankfully those two never got too violent, just some displays for dominance and soon I could bump up the dates to two hours together in the bathroom.
After about two months, I let them out of the bathroom and let them explore the living room together. Soon enough, they were able to go into each other’s cage while playing and after six months, they were finally able to share the same cage all the time. I know six months sounds like a long time, but I wanted to take things on the slower side to make sure the bonding was successful. Some people have bonded their rabbits in only two months. I just depends on your rabbits and the pace that they want to set.
Now, I really have only scratched the surface on bonding. If you are ever serious about this process, please do a lot more research and make sure you understand everything that goes into bonding. It can be a very stressful time for both you and your bunnies, but the end result is amazing and totally worth it.
Please make sure to do your due diligence as an owner and read more about this process, because a great bunny owner is an informed one!
Below are some more helpful information on this topic!
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This is interesting. It’s like a random youtube recommendation that comes out of know where and you don’t realize why you’re watching it but you’re glad you are. I have never had any knowledge on keeping bunnies as pets but now I know a lot of information on the subject and it was an easy read. Good job!
After reading your post, I have a better understanding of bunny behavior. I didn’t know bunnies’ were such territorial creatures until now. Keep up the good work!
This was a very interesting read! My friends rabbit is very territorial so he does better with humans and dogs rather than other rabbits.
I would have never thought about all of the little details and work required to care for bunnies. This blog never fails to teach something new. Thanks for sharing!