Most rabbits enjoy the company of another rabbit in their life. While some rabbits can experience love at first sight and bond right away, in most cases the bonding process can take several weeks – or even months – and be quite challenging. The reward, however, will make all your efforts worthwhile. Having two bonded rabbits can provide them with years of joy and fun.
First, you’ll want to make sure that both rabbits are spayed/ neutered prior to bonding as it will make the process easier. While female – male bonding tends to be easier, you can certainly bond two females or two males together.
Next, each rabbit will require its own space with their own personal things. While they shouldn’t be in the same shared area together at first, due to rabbits being highly territorial, they should be able to see each other. Separating the areas with x-pens is a good idea as it allows the rabbits to see and smell each other, but not be in close enough contact to allow any biting. Swapping their belongings every couple of days to get them used to each other’s smell is also recommended.
Keep in mind that any introductions need to happen in a neutral space. Choose a room in the house that neither rabbit spends time in. Ensure the room that you’ve chosen for introducing them doesn’t have any areas where one rabbit can be cornered without you being able to intervene. Initial sessions should be kept to a short length of around 15 minutes. This can be slowly increased as you go.
Expect to see some behaviours like chasing, nipping and mounting. As long as these behaviours don’t escalate to fights, they are considered a normal part of the bonding process. One tip is that you can help keep both rabbits calm during the bonding sessions by petting them.
Another tip is to avoid giving the rabbits any items they can fight over early on in the process. As the introduction sessions become more and more successful you can start providing toys, bowls and litter boxes, always making sure you provide two of each. You’ll notice that rabbits that are successfully bonding to each other will start cuddling and grooming one another. It’s important that you only leave rabbits unsupervised together once you are sure they have successfully bonded.
If you are still having trouble bonding your rabbits you can try switching to a new area, rub mashed up banana on their heads, and let them run around alone prior to their session so that they are calmer. Another option is to try exposing them to a stressful situation, such as a car ride so that they look for comfort in each other. Sadly, there will be times where two rabbits just won’t bond to each other regardless of what you try. Once this becomes clear, don’t force rabbits who aren’t compatible to spend time together.