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Bonding rabbits is very easy if you know the techniques and understand the behavior associated with rabbit bonding stages.
I have explained all the noticeable behavior that will allow you to realize when your rabbits have started to make a friendship with each other.
In this post, you will find the 2 stage process for bonding rabbits and answer to the frequently asked questions associated with bonding house rabbits or bunnies.
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What is rabbit bonding?
Rabbit bonding means the gradual build-up of friendship among rabbits. Rabbits are very social animals.
In order to prevent rabbits from becoming lonely or reduce rabbit stress, bonding rabbits is essential.
What is the purpose of rabbit bonding?
The sincere purpose of bonding rabbit is to create an environment where two rabbits will live with each other happily.
If it is not a bonded rabbit pair, the rabbits may fight with each other if they are close enough. The rabbits will definitely act territorial.
Therefore it is important to bond rabbits or introduces two new rabbits with each other slowly and under supervision.
Trying to bond a new rabbit with your existing pet rabbit can be difficult. The previous pet rabbit may attack or show signs of aggression towards the new rabbit.
Unbonded rabbits may fight each other and can cause serious fatalities. Regardless of a male or a female rabbit, you have to follow rabbit bonding stages.
The practice of building a friendship and maintaining few basic rabbit bonding stages can create harmony among your rabbits.
As a result bonded rabbit will not be territorial anymore.
Which is the best rabbit pairing for bonding?
Any rabbit pairing works very well. However, the best pairing is between a neutered male rabbit and a spayed female rabbit.
A male and female pairing will bond with each other very well and it may not be as difficult as trying to bond two female rabbits.
Female rabbits can be very territorial in nature. Although two female rabbits are spayed, they will try to attack each other.
On the contrary, trying to bond two male rabbits can be quite easy. Neutered male rabbits can become very good friends.
But regardless of the gender of the pair, you have to follow the instructions in this article.
Can you bond different breeds of rabbits?
YES, you can pair two different breeds of rabbits that are spayed/neutered. And you have to also choose two different breeds that are similar in their size.
Do not choose a breed that is larger than the other rabbit because bonding a larger breed with a smaller breed of a rabbit may not be successful.
Rabbit bonding stages:
Now all the common and basic questions aside, you are finally here to learn more about the rabbit bonding stages and the process that you can follow.
Bonding a pair of rabbits is not always easy neither difficult.
You have to be patient and observant of your rabbits’ behavior. Understand how the rabbits are reacting to the presence of each other.
Normally it takes 3 weeks for a pair to bond with each other. But in some unusual cases where the bunnies are too stubborn, it may take up 2 to 6 months for a bunny to bond with the other one.
Rabbit bonding stage 1.
The foremost thing you as a rabbit guardian have to do is allowing the rabbits to get used to with each other’s smell.
Rabbits are very sensitive to smells and a new rabbit close enough to each other can cause stress.
So allow some time for the bunnies to get used to with the smell.
You can start by keeping the two rabbits close to each other but in different cages. So they are not far yet pretty close.
Stressed rabbits are not happy rabbits. To get used to with each other smell you can keep the cages close or maybe you can use a playpen to divide the space they are running around.
Purpose of the playpen is to keep the rabbits apart so that the rabbits show no signs of aggression neither get into a fight.
Although they are close to each other and learn how the other bunny smells like.
When these rabbits are not close, you can daily swap the litter boxes of the two rabbits which will slowly help get used to with each other smell too.
As well as you can share the same treatment for both of the rabbits.
Like human beings, rabbits require some time to date with each other before they become friends.
These process of keeping them separate using playpen or cage will allow them to know each other.
In case the rabbits smell each other, bring their nose near the other rabbits through the adjoining cages, it means they are starting to know each other.
Rabbit bonding stage 2.
Allow your rabbits to finally meet each other outside the cage only when you are satisfied that your pet rabbits have begun to know each other.
When you one them to meet each other, introduce them in a neutral territory where none of the rabbits have been before.
Neutral territory is best because none of the rabbits will act territorial towards the other rabbit.
Start this by keeping the rabbits together for a short period of time and under supervision. You can give them foods together which they may share.
Sharing and having foods together is a good sign.
Other than that there few common noticeable things which will aid you to understand how long it may take for the bunnies to fall in love with each other and become a bonded pair of rabbits.
First once the cage is removed and the rabbits are brought together, they may attack each other immediately. It is a negative sign of bonding rabbits. In such cases, you must go back to stage one and start by placing them in separate cages face to face each other.
Second, the rabbits may get close to each other right away and start playing with others. If they play with each other run around or sit near each other, that is a very good sign.
It means they are enjoying their time together and they are becoming friends now.
Third and the most common scenario is:
One of the rabbits regardless of the male or the female, one rabbit will approach the other. The first one to approach will sniff around, circle around the other rabbit.
One rabbit may also try to mount the other one. Do not worry about that much because that is how the rabbit will try to establish dominance. A submissive rabbit will quickly accept it.
However, a less submissive rabbit will run away.
As you will be observing them during the introduction process, keep an eye on them whether any one of the rabbits is being too stressed with the process.
Removing them from being in the same enclosure and placing them in their separate cages is the only thing you must do to reduce stress in your rabbits.
And you can try to bring them together the following day again.
Eventually, one of the rabbits will take control and be the dominant one. Similarly, they will become friends with each other too.
You can continue placing the rabbits together every day under the supervision and gradually increase the amount of time you give them together.
Nipping and fur pulling is a normal thing and there is no need to separate them if they are doing so. They must be separated right away if serious signs of aggression are seen.
How do you know if the rabbits are already a bonded pair?
The most noticeable thing is when you see them sitting close to each other and they have relaxed with each other’s companionship.
As well as they love to groom each other means these pair of rabbits are friends for life now.
Rabbit bonding problems and tips.
The most problematic stage out of all rabbit bonding stages is if the rabbit is not neutered/spayed.
Unneutered/unspayed rabbits tend to fight a lot. Being aggressive towards each other rather than being friends.
Here is something interesting to read by Bunspace >>> Stages bunnies go through while bonding.
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3 thoughts on “Rabbit bonding stages.”
Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for your provided information.
I appreciate the article, however, I am concerned because there is an image of a rabbit being bathed under the title “want to keep your rabbit happy and healthy” which indicates to uneducated rabbit keepers that, bathing a rabbit is okay to do, generally speaking, it is unsafe to bath a rabbit and can cause death. I question the ultimate knowledge of the writer if they are promoting bathing rabbits. I am unable to recommend this site to others with that bold misnomer of an image up.
Thank you for the advice! I am trying to bond my rabbits right now and this is helpful. I do worry about the photo you have of the baby bunny completely wet, as it can send a wrong message that bunnies need baths when they can in fact die or experience extreme stress.