All international orders outside of US/Canada, please email: info@tokihut.com with your full address for a custom international shipping quote

Rabbit Bonding Technique: Easiest and Fastest Method That Works For Us


"Microspace" coupled with "Marathon" Rabbit Bonding - easiest and fastest method in 1 week!

 

**Please note: with this method (and pretty much any other rabbit bonding method)  you must supervise at all times, even at night! Be prepared to sleep near them in a sleeping bag or on the couch!  Rabbits can do SERIOUS damage to one another when they are not bonded so we always want to prevent injuries! You cannot leave rabbits unsupervised (not even for 5 seconds) until they are fully bonded! Also, you cannot try to bond rabbits until ALL rabbits involved have been neutered/spayed!!!

I think it's important for you to go into rabbit bonding with the mindset that rabbit bonding is simply about letting the rabbits establish hierarchy - nothing more, nothing less.  I suggest googling rabbit bonding and reading numerous other blogs/articles besides this one to help you get an overall idea of the bonding process because different methods work for different rabbits and situations. Other blogs may also cover bits of information not mentioned in this blog that might help you as well.  The duration and difficulty of your bonding process is going to vary, there is no "set timeframe" but with this method I have had several successful rabbit bonds in 1 week or less.  It's important to note that rabbit personalities play a huge role (given that the bonding set up is done correctly).  So when you hear some people say their rabbits had "love at first sight" and bonded right away, I believe they just happened to match rabbits that are more "easy going" compared to others.  I have used this method for successful male/male and female/female and male/female bonds, as well as a trio of 2 males/1 female and 2 females/1male.  I strongly believe the difficulty level with the bonding process has more to do with rabbit personalities, instead of the sex of the rabbits.  Yes you'll commonly run across "bonding stereotypes" on the Internet which say that same sex bondings or certain group bondings are very hard and/or impossible. But having gone through multiple bondings myself that have debunked all these stereotypes completely, I always go into bonding telling myself that it's all about just personalities and also it's up to me to make sure the bonding process is done correctly from my end. 

LET'S START WITH THE BONDING PROCESS:

Again, you CANNOT start the bonding process until ALL rabbits involved have been neutered/spayed and at least a month must have passed since their surgery to allow hormones to subside! (I personally would wait 6-8 weeks post surgery.)

Basically, this method is bonding rabbits in a very small neutral space over a length of time and slowly increasing their space 2-4 inches per day every 2-3 days, while still keeping them together until they are fully bonded.  (To confirm they are "fully bonded" I like to see the rabbits grooming one another - NOT just one rabbit grooming the other. It has to be mutual and they must be grooming each other/snuggled up in their bonding area with no fights/disagreements for several days to a full week before they go home to their permanent area).  Get ready to take your rabbits with you in a carrier everyday IF things start to escalate beyond tiffs!  If you'd like to try this bonding method, I recommend planning it during a long weekend or a time when you'll be home to monitor the rabbits AT ALL TIMES because once you put the rabbits together, the goal is to NOT separate them at all until they are bonded, even at night! But you have to supervise at all times!! Oh, and have heavy duty gloves nearby in case you need to stop a fight!  

Today we'll be using the bonding example between Mochi (9 years old) who lost her husbun and Arthur (2 years old) who never had a partner before.  Since Mochi was free-roam in my place, she knows every corner and smell of the house, even the bathrooms!  Since I do not have a single inch of "neutral territory" in my place, I will be going to a family member's house for the bonding process as neutral territory is CRUCIAL!  (Tip: as long as you have areas of your house that your rabbit hasn't been to or familiar with, you can use those areas for bonding.  My female rabbit happens to have a personality that is VERY territorial that even in our bathtub or kitchen tiles she still gets fussy and knows she's at home even though she doesn't go into these areas at all!)

8AM: I like to start the bonding early in the morning because that gives me the entire day to monitor - which is especially important on the first day to see how the rabbits interact with each other.  (Note that after you get past a full day and night of no fighting/disagreements, then the rest of the bonding days are usually pretty uneventful - however if you increase their space too much too soon, they will get territorial and have fights!) I take Mochi and Arthur from their enclosures and place them both into a small sized carrier and immediately go on a minimum 10-15 minute car ride. I do not put them in separate carriers, the whole point of going on a car ride in the same carrier is to jump start the bonding process. (Tip: the smaller the carrier, the better, so that they have physical body to body contact during the car ride - that way they're leaning into each other for support and comfort.  I've used a medium sized dog/cat carrier before and it wasn't that effective since the rabbits ended up on opposite ends of the carrier during the car ride - which is pretty much the same thing as putting them in separate carriers, so it defeats the purpose).  It's important that you don't spend time putting on your shoes or have a quick bite to eat after you've put them in the carrier!  Do all these things BEFORE you put them in the carrier - you want to go on the car ride ASAP so that you don't allow any fights to occur in the carrier.  I've tried the bonding method without a car ride and half the time the bonding process got off to a bad start so I swear by the initial car ride!  This also gives them the opportunity to huddle up to each other as their first interaction together.  If you're the one driving, make sure there's another person with you to separate the rabbits in the carrier in case they start fighting. Or if you want to be the one to separate, then have someone else drive. (In my experience, rabbits haven't fought during these car rides. But of course, every rabbit is different so better be prepared and safe while driving!)

stress rabbit bonding with car ride

 

8:30AM: Once I arrived at the new house, I stacked about 8-9 puppy pee pads on top of each other, made a very small space - about 1.5ft by 1.5ft (15inches x 15 inches) with their pen and put both rabbits inside. (Tip: Anything used during the bonding process should be free of any rabbit scents/marking so that no one has a territory issue. Remember, rabbits recognize scents better than us!  Wipe everything down with vinegar, even the pen!  In a previous bonding I even had to replace a big rug in my house to get 2 rabbits bonded!)  Now I understand tons of people will say this is torture to keep rabbits in this tight space, but the whole point of this method is to temporarily keep the rabbits together and in contact yet at the same time not allowing for any rabbit to claim a certain area as theirs - during bonding you don't want anyone claiming something as theirs, which is why I don't have anything else inside this set up such as a hidey house or litterbox, and I will not introduce these items until day 3 or 4 of bonding.  This current starting set up is a small enough space so that rabbits don't lunge/attack from afar and also so that no one can claim a big area as theirs.

Now the hardest part is sit back and watch, don't interfere because all they're going to try to do is establish dominance and figure out who's who in the new relationship. However, you must always supervise and be ready to interfere (wear thick gloves!) and know the signs that differentiate between an acceptable "tiff" which you want to leave alone and an unacceptable fight which you need to interfere (because it can lead to serious injury, really fast).  The differences are outlined below. You must always be supervising them because things can go south really quick and serious injury can happen!! I kept a distance, staying at least 6-7 ft away.  I allowed them to focus on each other instead of me, yet I'd be close enough so that if something escalates, I can interfere. The first 10 minutes was them being curious about the new environment.  Arthur groomed himself followed by Mochi grooming herself - I was relieved to see either one of them grooming themselves because I see it as a sign that they must be comfortable enough with the other new rabbit in their space.  Then Arthur started trying to mount Mochi.  When he tried to mount, she tried to get away so for the next few hours it was pretty much him on and off trying to mount her and them staying in opposite ends of the set up - during this time I did not interfere at all because although I saw some of her fur flying, I saw he wasn't viciously attacking her and not biting to draw blood. She also wasn't attacking him back to lead to a fight.

If something escalates to an actual fight, first try turning on the vacuum or making a loud noise to distract them.  If that doesn't work, put them back into the carrier and walk around the neighborhood (or use a pet stroller) or go for another car ride and come back and put them back in the pen.  Don't separate them if things start to escalate!  It will teach them that bad behavior gets rewarded by separation and rabbits catch on very quick because they're very smart.  In a previous bonding, I had to take the rabbits with me everywhere: to the grocery store, to run to the bank and everywhere else I was going for the first 3 days before the rabbits could learn to get along together in their pen! (Tip: when you're trying to stop a fight/pick them up, make sure you're wearing heavy duty gloves!  When they're fighting they won't be able to tell the difference between your hand and the other rabbit.  Trust me, a rabbit bite hurts and can penetrate the skin!)

Over the years I've come to know that tiffs are acceptable and we should not interfere: 

Acceptable "tiffs":

  1. Lunging or light boxing, then retreating. No pursuit follows. These behaviors are usually one bunny giving the other a warning. It is body language – a type of nonverbal communication of displeasure.
  2. Nipping that does not produce a full bite or appear to be harmful. Again, this is typically body language indicating “back off”, “stop doing that” or some other warning.
  3. Mounting. This behavior is often misunderstood. While mounting (aka humping) is often a display of dominance, it can also mean that one rabbit accepts the other one as a partner.
  4. Nose-bumping. Rabbits often use their noses to “bump” their partners to get attention.

Signs of unacceptable fighting (you need intervene to prevent injury): 

  1. Chasing. One rabbit is pursuing the other one with intention. Chasing will happen during bonding process and you don't want to interfere UNLESS the chasing leads to the rabbits fighting.  Otherwise, one rabbit will usually chase/follow/pursue the other rabbit to try to mount - this is okay as long as the rabbit being followed doesn't attack back and lead to a fight.
  2. Biting. Bites don’t always break the skin, but often they do. They can be very serious and cause severe damage, depending upon several factors. The fur might be missing in the area of a bite, and there will either be a tear (very bad!) or teeth marks in the skin of the rabbit that has been bitten.
  3. Circling. This is when rabbits are literally chasing each other in a circle – going round and round. It is often called the “tornado”.  You want to monitor the circling because half of the time the rabbits will circle as one rabbit is trying to mount the other and after about 5-20 seconds they stop circling on their own and figure it out amongst themselves which is fine.  If the circling goes on for too long and they end up fighting, this is when you want to stop them.
  4. Rough mounting or mounting that is upsetting the submissive (bottom) rabbit. Also, mounting where the submissive rabbit is getting bitten, is trying to escape or starts thrashing.  (Again, you want to let them mount because mounting is one of the main behaviors that let them figure out their hierarchy.  As long as the mounting isn't leading to full on fights and tornados, then you need to let them mount.)
  5. Grunting (a rabbit growl-type noise). This typically indicates severe displeasure – often the sign of an angry rabbit.

(Here is a link to a youtube video of a rabbit bonding journey that someone uploaded. As you closely watch this video from beginning to end, you can see that  towards the end on August 26th, she had the most successful bonding session when she reduced the bonding area to a much smaller space!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bxk4ZEA2i4k

Back to my blog: 

In the afternoon I placed a handful of hay in the middle of the pen and later that night I scattered some pellets on the floor, which they ate fine together and also let them drink from separate water bowls.  While a friend was slightly lifting up the pen, I gently pulled the soiled pee pad from under them so that they can spend the night on a fresh pee pad (you want to keep doing this until you introduce a litterbox).  Again, I placed a handful of hay in their pen and I slept next to them in a sleeping bag so that I can interfere if necessary to prevent injuries at night.  During bonding you do not want to feed them from one bowl because they can get territorial and this will cause a fight. 

The next day Arthur occasionally mounted Mochi but it had significantly decreased  from day 1 and Mochi was calm about it.  They were requesting grooms from each other and neither of them were giving in.

In the morning of the 3rd day I saw that they were still doing good so I increased their space.  They weren't snuggle buddies but they weren't having any tiffs either.  When I increased their space, Arthur mounted Mochi a few times and then calmed down.  You want to slowly increase this space depending on your rabbits interactions with each other!  If increasing space causes a fight, make the space smaller again - they are not ready for this next step!  If you want to play it safe, you can increase their space 2-4 inches every 2-3 days and keep increasing in these increments until you reach a space that is about 6ft by 6ft. Your rabbits will let you know if you gave them too much space too soon by nipping and tiffs.

Towards the evening of that 3rd day, Mochi finally groomed Arthur!  This is when I decided to feed them pellets from one bowl and they did fine!  However, just because one rabbit is grooming the other doesn't mean the bond is established!  I like to see mutual grooming from both rabbits and see this for a couple days before moving them to their permanent space!! This means at day 3, these 2 rabbits are still not fully bonded.

The morning of the 4th day, I decided to take the plunge and introduce a fresh litterbox since they were getting along well.  Bringing in a litterbox and/or hideouts are tricky because one rabbit can get territorial over it and bring you back to day 1 of bonding all over again, slowing down the process.  Please note, in the picture it looks like I moved them to a new spot but it was really just a few inches from where they were (their initial area was blocking a doorway).  (Tip: as long as the bonding is going smooth, you want to keep them in the same spot until they're fully bonded!  Changing their location before their bond has solidified can spark a new territorial tiff and bring you back to day 1 of bonding!)  

With the new litterbox, Arthur mounted Mochi again a few times and calmed down again.  After this, he didn't mount her again!

Evening of the 4th day, they were all snuggled up and Arthur groomed Mochi back!  All evening they were grooming each other.  Usually, this mutual grooming signals the bond has established - but I like to see this mutual grooming behavior along with snuggling for several days to a week before moving them to their permanent area.  Since I was off that whole week, I kept Arthur and Mochi in this exact spot on the 5th and 6th day just to "solidify" the bond.  When I took them back home, I placed them in the general area where their litterbox will permanently be placed, but I closed if off to a small area since their bond is fairly new and I didn't want Mochi getting triggered with territorial behavior over her old area.

After a few days like this, I slowly increased their space every day to where now they're completely free-roam and a great bonded duo!  The key is to SLOWLY increase their space in their permanent area because they're still "newlyweds" with a fresh bond.  You don't want to just set them free in an entire room. Remember, they can have tiffs over new territory!  As a guide, you can increase their space 1/2 to 1ft per every 2-3 days.

Over the past several years I've had different rabbits with different personalities - and had numerous bonding trials/errors throughout the years which has helped me introduce a new rabbit to a bonded duo or trio, bond a new rabbit to a rabbit who has lost his/her partner, or re-bond a bonded pair after they've had a fall out over new territory.   This technique has also worked for male/male or female/female or male/female bonds and more importantly, it has helped achieve rabbit bonds in 1 week or less! Although I'm not a professional, I've been through many different scenarios with different rabbits and have found this bonding method to be the quickest, easiest and least stressful (for both my rabbits and myself).  Although it might not work for everyone, it's a method that is worth trying.  

41 comments

  • Reply to Elle

    Hi Elle,

    Your situation reminds me of my VERY territorial female bunny. When I mean territorial, I mean EXTREMELY territorial. It seems your male bunny is the same personality.

    When I bonded her into a trio with another female rabbit and male rabbit, she bonded quite fast with them (1 week). Just like you, I wiped down the pens, the toys and everything I could but it was never enough for my territorial female bunny.

    What I ended up doing was: buy completely new hideouts, toys, condos AND I also had to change the carpet because no matter what, as soon as she recognized a TINY hint of her own scent, she would nip the other two and chase/mount them all the time just like your situation. Yes they’ll have their flopping and grooming moments but she would never just let them be!

    It’s ultimately up to you on what you decide to throw out and what you decide to purchase but having gone through your situation before, if I were in your current situation, I would toss the condo, all the toys/hideouts, replace or lay down a brand new rug/blankets and start it all NEW!

  • Reply to Rachel

    Hi Rachel,

    Yes I would wait much longer than 3 weeks post neuter/spay surgery before trying bonding. I personally would wait at least 6-8 weeks to “make sure” the hormones have subsided. This is important because during bonding, you want to eliminate factors such as hormones to help you determine their true bonding behavior and the reasons for their behavior. This means you’re trying to figure out if they’re showing aggression because their hormones haven’t gone down since their neuter/spay, or if they’re showing aggression just for hierarchy reasons. During bonding, I only want to see “aggression” due to hierarchy reasons so that I can figure out how the bonding progress is going and how I can help to get them to the next levels/phases of the bonding process.

    Since they’ve had a pretty bad fight incident, what I would personally do if I were in your situation is to completely separate them in separate pens for about 2 weeks. This means that during the 2 weeks, they shouldn’t be able to see each other AT ALL! The main purpose is to let them “forget” about each other and to “start fresh”. It’s best if they’re kept in different rooms during this 2 week period as well so that they don’t smell each other from litter boxes. Once the 2 weeks have passed and your’e ready to start the bonding process again, you have to choose a completely NEW neutral space for the bonding period and don’t forget about the car ride!

    There are many articles online about “bonding stereotypes” such as male/male and female/female bondings are very hard and/or impossible. Or like you said, you read that “that some rabbits who are bonded stressfully can start fighting again because they only tolerate each other”. I personally think ALL rabbits no matter their age, gender, breed can be bonded. So I don’t think you need to worry about having to choose one rabbit or the other. Plus, you said during the kitchen bonding that you had, they were flopping and grooming themselves at some point before the female started to lunge. I just want to say that when rabbits are in the same space together, they only show actions such as flop or groom themselves or groom the other rabbit because they are comfortable with being in the presence of the other rabbit in the shared space. They wouldn’t groom or flop if they didn’t like the rabbit near them. Just to give you some motivation: I’ve had a previous bonding years ago with 2 females and 1 male (a trio). In the beginning the 2 females immediately attacked each other viciously as soon as I introduced them in a neutral small area. None of them were flopping or grooming at all. But 1 week later into the bonding process, all 3 were best of friends : )

    Goodluck!

  • Reply to Margaret

    Hi Margaret,

    Thank you for your feedback!

    I’m not 100% sure what could have happened that set them off all of a sudden since they were in that exact space, unchanged for the past 5 weeks. I currently have 2 buns that are happily bonded but will have their tiffs every other day just because they both have equally very dominant personalities (yes, they’re bonded hehe), however I never have to interfere because they always work it out on their own with no serious bites or injuries. They’ll have a mounting war as well as small lunges at each other on who gets the first bite from the pellet bowl, who gets the best flop spot, who gets the most and first attention from Hooman.. it all lasts about 5-10 seconds and one or the other backs down/runs away. 10 minutes later they’ll be flopped together like they were best friends all along. This is one of my most unusual bonded rabbits I’ve ever had but I guess every relationship is different haha.

    I remember a few years ago I had a trio of 2 females and 1 male. One female had the very dominant personality and the other 2 rabbits were very calm/submissive. One early morning I walk in on the dominant female rabbit and the calm male rabbit lounging at each other from afar and tumbling into a tornado. Just like your situation, they were in their regular normal space that they’ve been in for a couple months with no changes. What set them off? I have no idea to this day. My calm male rabbit was always submissive his whole life and never lounged or showed any negativity at any rabbit no matter what until that one morning!

    What I did was immediately take all 3 into the same carrier and went for a car ride for 10-15 minutes. When I got back, I closed them off their area with a pen (about a 4ft x 4ft space) and observed them for several hours and they were fine. Nothing like this happened again. That night I opened up the pen and let them have their regular free roam area.

    The only thing I can think of is: did you happen to re-introduce one of their previous toys/bowls/pretty much any item that they haven’t been around for a while but have had in the past? One of them could have recognized an old scent and that triggered a territorial response to the other rabbit.

    What I suggest is: if still to this day you’re having difficulty re-bonding them (meaning every time you put them together, one or both are attacking and you are currently keeping them in separated in different pens), I’d recommend you to let them have 1-2 weeks apart from each other. (I like to give it 2 weeks). This means they should be in separate pens and they shouldn’t see each other AT ALL for the entire 1-2 weeks. It’s best if they’re even in completely different rooms so that they can’t smell each other from their litter boxes. I feel as though this gives them time to “forget” about the negative interactions with each other and to let them “start fresh”. (I’ve always done this when I try bondings with certain rabbits and it doesn’t progress anywhere. I let them be separated for 2 weeks and when I start the bonding again, it works out successfully). So what this process also means is you’re starting from phase 1 of bonding, you’re doing bonding all over again. You need to use a NEW completely neutral space and start again with small space and gradually work up to a bigger space.
    Goodluck! If you have more questions please write again!

  • Elle

    Hello,

    We adopted a timid but curious 1ish year old girl a month ago (August 2020) to keep our bold and fearless 7 month boy company. The girl was found alone on a street corner when she was rescued. She was living in the shelter and bounced around a few foster homes for one year but didn’t have any luck finding a partner.
    We adopted the boy when he was 3 months old (May 2020). He was born in foster and is very comfortable with humans and very adventurous (loves jumping on backs, high surfaces, and out of his pens). He was bonded with his mother and 2 sisters but had to be removed from them because he reached sexual maturity and wasn’t neutered.
    I am unsure when the girl was spayed but it was definitely over 2 months ago and the boy was neutered 3 months ago.
    The boy was free roam in half of our living room and would stay in his bunny condo during bedtime and when we are out of the house. The bunny condo is 108cm wide x 108cm deep x 72cm tall.
    They did very well at their first meet and didn’t exhibit any aggressive behavior. Ignoring each other or some curious sniffs and looks. When we brought them home we kept them in a small X pen for 2.5 weeks before moving them to the bunny condo.
    The first time I let them out for play time in the bunny condo and surrounding area he lunged at her and she ran away, he chased, pulled fur and then a bunny tornado ensued but I broke it up and no fights or attacks happened. Before this I made sure to vinegar the foam mats, bunny condo grids and wash all the fleeces with vinegar before I let them play in that area. I haven’t seen a bunny tornado since then. When I let them out for playtime or introduce a new box or one of his old toys he can get territorial. He nips at her belly or bum, he pulls her fur(never to the point of blood or open wounds), he lunges and chases her. She can wander around and lie down in the living room and he will ignore her if he is running around the couch or distracted by something. I still have some of his old tunnels, blankets and rugs in the living room but I made sure to wash them.
    They were doing very good in his bunny condo until they went to get vaccinated 2.5 weeks ago. They were driven by the rescue in a van full of bunny smells and other bunnies and it wasn’t a short trip. When they returned he didn’t seem himself. He was quite annoyed at me for a couple of days, the girl was fine. He started chasing, lunging at her and pulling her fur in the bunny condo. It doesn’t escalate to a brawl and fizzles out after a few seconds but it’s not like that behavior is going away.

    They still successfully share a water bowl, litter box, hay feeder and kibble safely without any scuffles. They will sometimes mutually groom each other and cuddle but sometimes avoid each other like the plague.

    I have been doing some car ride stress bonding and small sprints of rebonding in the X pen for 2-4 days and notice they do very well in the small space. Lots of mutual grooming and cuddling but when I give open them up to more space either in the bunny condo or living room I notice he gets more territorial/aggressive.

    I feel really bad for her because she is so sweet and doesn’t deserve to be bullied. Please help! Thank you!

  • Rachel

    Hi, I have two littermates, male and female, almost 3 weeks post op. They’re 5 months old, and I had been trying to maintain their baby bond even with their surgery, by just letting them see each other (supervised) for a bit each day, and feeding them together, and swapping their litters and all that. It was okay, until a couple days ago when the female, who has been more dominant, mounted the male, but I guess he was done being submissive and he turned around and mounted her, which led to the tornado and grunting and full blown fight. She ended up ripping out a big chunk of his fur, and a chunk of my skin, in the process. I got a bit panicked, honestly, and have been having a hard time finding other examples of people getting littermates and rebonding them after their surgery, as almost everyone says if a rabbit pair are fighting then they are probably not going to be a good match. But what am I supposed to do? Choose which one to keep? We are committed to both, so I am just wondering if you think I should wait a while longer after their surgery? As I said it’s only been 3 weeks. And if that might help a bit, like mellow them out? And do you think it’s now doomed because they have had this fight. I have since tried confining them in a laundry basket together and walking around with them, and then feeding them together again, to try to have positive associations with each other. And then tonight I tried putting them in the kitchen (a neutral space because they hate it in there) and monitoring them. First they flopped near each other, and then they bumped noses, and then it seems like one was going to hump the others face, so pushed them apart, then she they were grooming themselves, and at one point the male groomed the female, and then before you know it, she pinned her ears back and raised her tail and started to lunge. I am stressed. I feel like I’ve messed this up. Because I have read that some rabbits who are bonded stressfully can start fighting again because they only tolerate each other. Has this been your experience at all? I don’t know what to do.

    Any advice would be very appreciated!!

  • Margaret

    First, your blog has been the most helpful resource I’ve found on binding rabbits. Wonderful job.

    I have two male lops who we got about 2 months apart, from the same breeder, 3mo and 4 mo old when they met each other. Love, in the beginning. Then we got them neutered and they hated each other’s guts. We tried every method of bonding, through doors, different rooms. Side by side through other cages. Car rides. Play dates. You name it, we tried it. Then we came across your blog, were in the process of buying a new house at the time, so we basically got the opportunity to truly start fresh. Started your method and bam first time in over 1.5 years that they got along. We slowly worked them up to a 10×12 room over the course of the next two months or so. Then tonight, we had a major setback and we can’t figure out what could have possibly happened. They’ve been living harmoniously now for the last 5 weeks in the same size room they are in now and bam a tornado, hissing, biting We tried to immediately put them in a 2×2 set up and they went at it. (One more so than the other) I don’t know what to do. I’m so sad for them. They are so much happier together but I can’t let them injure one another. I don’t know what to do. Maybe you have some insight. I would love to hear any feedback you might have.

  • Reply to Kimberly

    Hi Kimberly!

    The fact that you’ve made it to DAY 3 of bonding tells me they’ve been doing good so far! Bonding takes different time frames for different rabbits. When you increase their bonding space TOO SOON, your rabbits will let you know, and in your case, they are definitely showing signs that increasing space on day 3 is too soon! hehe

    What I would do in your situation is take it back a step: start with a car ride with all of them in 1 carrier again. Put them in the space size that they were doing good in. I’d keep them in that same space for longer than 3 days this time and more importantly, when you want to increase space, increase at very small increments! About 1-4 inches at a time!

    The key to bonding is to not give up to early! If you change something and it messes everything up, that means it’s time to take it back a step and go slower!

    **HINT: I personally don’t think there is ever a situation where rabbits cannot bond. There are several rabbit rescues both in the US and overseas that also say this same thing!

  • Reply to Jesse Snelling

    Hi Jesse!

    Prior to bonding, I personally don’t let the rabbits see each other AT ALL. From your story it seems your resident rabbit is getting very territorial over “her house” and that’s why she’s attacking the new male rabbit the second she gets a chance to get in contact with him… and he’s probably fed up with it and confused so he’s not taking it either. You especially don’t want to introduce a new rabbit in the territory of the resident rabbit. Even if it’s a room in your house/apartment that you resident rabbit has NEVER been in, I’ve noticed from several bondings that when you pick up a resident rabbit from his/her main area and simply bring them to the bonding room in your house, they usually know that they’re still at home. This is the reason why I always start any bondings by taking them on a car ride in the same carrier – so that when you bring them back home and place them in the new neutral room in your house, your resident rabbit thinks he/she is in a completely new place and will show less territorial behavior.

    What I would highly recommend for your situation (please remember this is just MY opinion. Different people will have different preferences) is to give your rabbits a break for 1-2 weeks by keeping them in separate areas and don’t let them see each other, not even a peek! This allows them to reset from the negative experiences they’ve had with each other so far and sort of “forget those memories” in a way. Then when you’re ready to try the bonding process again, take them from their separate areas and put them in 1 carrier and IMMEDIATELY go for a car ride. Again, just like I mentioned in my blog, don’t take time to put on your shoes or eat a snack or look for your car keys after you’ve placed them in the same carrier. On your way to your car, gently shake the carrier to simulate movement.

  • Reply to Leslie

    Hi Leslie,

    During the bonding process you should not leave them alone without supervision, event for 5 seconds. If you need to go somewhere, I would personally put them into 1 carrier together and take them with you. Other people might disagree with this, but I think it’s an opportunity for the rabbits to get closer to one another and lean in for support during the car rides. More car rides help for more stubborn buns. I’ve had a situation where one bunny kept lunging and attacking the other bunny, so I had to take them on my errands for a few days in 1 carrier before they settled down and now they’re best of friends! The thing to keep in mind about taking them on car rides is: yes, it’s a stressful time for the rabbits however, the long term gain of them being inseparable best friends for life is worth the temporary uncomfortable car sessions. Please also take time to search the web from SEVERAL sources to learn what “acceptable tiffs” are and what are serious fights. Often times us humans are more “emotional” during the bonding process and react quickly to rabbit behaviors during bonding, most of which are “acceptable tiffs”. But like you said, if your rabbit has drawn before previously, then yes take extra precaution and I highly recommend taking them with you on your errands!

  • Kimberly Tirona

    I am trying to bond 3males, daddy, and his 2sons. One of the brothers is a lionhead, looks and acts just like his momma. Strong willed and very dominating. I am on day 3 and just made their space bigger. I thought we were good until lionhead started a fight with daddy. Then daddy picked on thumper the 3legged brother. Just now in closing up Their area again, lionhead growled when he went after daddy. My question is, is there hope? Daddy is a New Zealand albino. Curious, strong willed, a bully but also chicken. Thumper is chilled don’t want no fights, he will lick the others head bald as long as no one makes him hurt his stump. Mufasa on the other hand is smart, curious, strong willed and very dominant. They act like they are getting along until I give them space. Help I’m afraid one will have to go

Leave a comment