4In the wild, rabbits are not solitary creatures. Actually, they spend much of their time hanging out in groups with other bunnies, whether they are foraging for food or hanging out in a nest. Because rabbits are social creatures, giving them a companion can be the best idea, especially if your bunny spends a lot of time either in the house or in their hutch alone. But, how do you bond two rabbits that are complete strangers?
The Bonding Process in 5 Simplified Steps
On the first day, place the new rabbit in a crate several inches away from the other bunny. You want them far enough away that the two cannot nip each other through openings, but close enough that both rabbits can clearly see each other.
After the first day, switch the rabbits and put them in the other’s crate or hutch. Do not completely clean the crates before switching them and don’t switch out the feed bowls, toys, and other furnishings inside, as this allows the rabbits to get used to the odour of the other bunny. Again, keep the crates separated just as you did on the first day. Follow this same process on the third day by switching the bunnies back to their original crate.
On or about day four, pull the rabbit’s crates or hutches close together. Watch your two bunnies closely to make sure they are not showing signs of aggressive behaviour. If they try to bite each other, pull the crates apart and try the crate swapping process for a few more days.
Once your rabbits are comfortable being close to one another in their crates, it is time to place them together in a neutral play area, such as a fenced area in the garden or an enclosed area in the house. Just be sure the area is not too small so the rabbits have room to keep their distance. Make sure your bunnies have several things to hide in or behind so they feel safe and keep a broom on hand so you can softly nudge the two apart if they decide to fight. At this point, your rabbits may portray several different reactions:
- they may immediately seem curious about each other and start to cautiously play
- they may keep their distance for an extended period and gradually get closer to each other
- one rabbit may portray dominance behaviour to the other and they may even scuffle a bit
Allow your bunnies to spend some time with each other in the neutral play area as long as you have time to supervise the interaction until they are comfortable together. It’s important at this stage to not leave the bunnies alone together for extended periods. So if you only have time for brief neutral play time, complete this step every day for several days until the rabbits seem fine together.
While bonding two rabbits can be a slower process than introducing other types of pet companions, it is well worth the effort in the end. You will enjoy seeing your rabbit with its new companion and your rabbit will be more content. For additional hutches and rabbit supplies, check out our supplies on Rabbits.ie.