While some rabbits happily live solo with their human companion, most of them enjoy having another rabbit around. Once two rabbits become the best of friends, it’s truly a wonderful and heart melting experience. But be prepared, bonding two bunnies takes time and a lot of patience.
Before attempting to introduce two (or more) rabbits, please make sure that both are spayed/neutered. This is important since the procedure significantly lessens their aggressiveness. Please do not try to bond rabbits that have not been spayed or neutered as this could result to serious fights.
Our first experience with bonding rabbits was when we bonded Burrito (female) and Biiru (male) back in 2015. It was a smooth process – we really believe it was love at first sight. The first time we brought them together, they instantly snuggled and licked each other. Bonding them lasted only 3 days.
Unfortunately, Biiru passed away unexpectedly in 2016 due to unknown reasons. We knew Burrito needed another companion, but we wanted to wait until we were all ready.
Last year (2018), we brought home our new family member, Barley.
He was a curious and very independent rabbit. We loved how kulit he was and we were excited to introduce him to Burrito. Of course, we had to wait until he got neutered. After his operation, we waited a month to be sure that all his raging hormones disappeared already.
But before we officially started the bonding sessions, we made sure that they were already familiar with each other. We kept their enclosures beside each other inside our home. They ate at the same time too. We let them smell the other rabbit’s fur that we got from brushing sessions. Getting bunnies familiar with the other’s scent is critical to the bonding process.
After thinking long and hard, we decided that the laundry basket technique was best for the two.
We placed them in a clean laundry basket and in an unfamiliar place in our home. We moved the laundry basket from time to time to just make them a little uncomfortable and to seek comfort in each other. We did this for 2 days for almost 2 hours each day. We were relieved that they did not show any signs of aggressiveness. On the second day, we were super happy when we saw Barley licking Burrito for the first time!
On the third day, we decided to let them roam in a small open but still unfamiliar space. We watched and waited, and we were happy that Barley still licked Burrito from time to time. They also snuggled with each other once in a while. We watched them roam around some more and we felt that they were ready.
We placed them in their new home and checked on them the whole afternoon. Barley was able to hump Burrito, which is a critical point in bonding as it establishes who was dominant between the two, and Burrito let him.
We’re really over the moon that our two rabbits have found their forever companions in each other. It’s truly a wonderful thing to experience as a bunny parent.
Just a few notes to keep in mind when bonding rabbits,
- When you notice any signs of aggressiveness, try to stop it before the action even happens. It’s harder to bond rabbits if any violence has occurred.
- To stop aggressive behavior, you can spray a little water on the rabbit’s face with a spray bottle.
- Never pressure rabbits to bond. It really takes time.
- The easiest pairing to bond is with a male and female. Siblings are also easier to bond.
- Car rides help rabbits bond. Before we officially started bonding Burrito and Biiru, they experienced several car rides together when we had to move them from one house to another.
- Always bond in an unfamiliar place to avoid territorial behavior.
- Humping is not actually a bad sign. It’s a critical point for rabbits to get along. It establishes the hierarchy between the two. If a rabbit tries to hump the other one, observe the one being humped. If it looks like he/she is getting annoyed, try to calm him down by petting him on the head.
So there you have it. Hope this will be helpful to those wanting to bond their little ones.
It's also important to note that some rabbits are more compatible than others. Our two boys, Barley and Acorn, are simply incompatible. So far, no matter what method we've tried, none worked. We've also heard from other furparents that some take years before they finally bonded. So don't let it affect you too much if they don't seem to get along!