By nature, the rabbit may have a great need for bonding with other rabbits, as they naturally live in large colonies. A pet rabbit also has a need to bond with other rabbits, be social and receive care in the form of cuddling, playing or feeling love from someone else. It is therefore a REALLY good idea to get two rabbits so that they can receive care and farm with each other.
If you, as a rabbit owner, have acquired a rabbit, and then buy a rabbit afterwards, it is important to be observant about the union between the two rabbits, as rabbits are also quite territorial. If your rabbit does not accept the new mover, it can lead to fights and stress for the rabbits - it is therefore important that the integration is approached in the best way.
The bonding that occurs between two rabbits is fertile ground for bringing them together and it is important that they get to know each other over a longer period, on safe and neutral ground. A merger can take several weeks, if not months. It is therefore a virtue to have patience, give space and get an insight into the rabbit's behavior via articles or with the help of a veterinary clinic, for example. This period may seem long, but is for the best, for your rabbit's well-being, as it for a long time
in the future will be enriched with a friend or lover.
A joining or bonding period can be divided into several phases, which are adjusted according to the rabbit pair. The prerequisites for a merger and the bonding are decisive for how successful it is.
We will give some advice on what a successful period can look like below.
The prerequisites for bonding between two rabbits
The two rabbits that are brought together must both be sterilized (females) and/or castrated (males) so that they can then be brought together after 6-16 weeks.
When looking for a rabbit that could suit your rabbit, it is important to look for your rabbit's personality. A very shy rabbit should not be put together with a very domineering rabbit, but two rabbits of the same mind will also get into carambolas. The best match is a more reserved rabbit, with a more outgoing and bubbly rabbit. The two rabbits will rub off on each other in terms of personality, and luckily it turns out that the more positive personality traits are the most contagious. It may also be necessary to work on one rabbit before joining and bonding can begin - in the case of a very shy rabbit, for example. The fact that a rabbit can be more shy can cause a stressful bonding period, therefore it is important to work on such traits in the rabbit before focusing on a union between two rabbits.
The rabbits must not be able to fit together in terms of personality, age and size are also decisive for a good match between two rabbits. The reason why age is important, for example, is that you want them to be able to follow each other for as long as possible, but also the fact that the young rabbit will often have a higher energy level than the older rabbit.
How do bunnies meet for bonding sessions?
First of all, it is a good idea, before a rabbit date, to vaccinate all rabbits involved, so that no diseases are spread.
It is a good initiative for your rabbit to meet several different rabbits before you settle on one rabbit that you want to start farming with your rabbit.
A rabbit date or a bonding session takes place on neutral ground on a base that is approx. 1x1 meter, where one of the owners himself is in the middle and the other is on the outer edge of the base, to stop any fights or moves to this. The neutral base takes place where neither rabbit has been before, on a solid base, such as a carpet, which does not smell of either the owners or the rabbits.
This way of meeting is most optimal for both rabbits and owners.
It is not recommended to let rabbits meet with a fence between them, as the rabbits cannot approach each other, which can be a stressful situation for both parties. Another way, which is also not advised, is by 'base-switching', as the scent of one rabbit can stress the other
rabbit and create some aggressions which are unnecessary.
One tip is to farm every day - where, for example, 10 minutes is enough at the beginning, sometimes less, and then you can farm for longer periods of time as the days go by.
Function of the rabbit:
- You are physically there during the bonding sessions.
- You are observant of your rabbit's behaviour.
- You talk soothingly to your rabbit and soothe it by cuddling.
- You can play bunny videos on YouTube to calm both bunnies.
- You are observant of your own mood – better cancel a bonding session if you are not in the mood for it.
- You don't leave your rabbit behind - pee off before the session, for example.
- You can spray with Petremedy spray (calms).
- You can 'force sniff' (stimulates your rabbit to positive behaviour).
- You can consider the time of year, as your rabbit may, for example, have spring fever in the spring despite neutering.
The rabbit's behavior during the course
- Your rabbit may be 'on guard', growl or stomp on the floor, e.g. Soothe your rabbit here.
- The rabbits can be nose to nose, which is a sign of a fight between the two. Here you can again
soothe by petting your rabbit. NOTE: snout to snout, can also be a kiss.
- Even though the bunnies seem to be kissing and enjoying themselves, it is still important that the bonding sessions in
the start is especially not longer than 10-30 minutes max. Better to stop too early than too late.
- You can see which rabbit is cuddling or kissing, it is the submissive one.
- You can tell that your rabbit is irritated if it raises its tail.
- If one of them starts to wash himself along the way, it may be a sign of insecurity or that he is afraid.
- They may come up with 'bumping' each other, which is ok if they are both in on it, but not if
it takes place towards the head, as bites to the genitals can occur here.
- If they start running in circles around each other, it is often a sign that a fight will break out, which
is called 'Bunny tomato'. Get them apart and calm them down.
- If they are running/chasing each other, it must be interrupted, but this usually does not happen in very little space.
Should you ever give up bonding between two rabbits?
Does a different kind of behavior occur when they are back home on their own territory, for example if yours
rabbit seems stressed or more withdrawn, it may be a good idea to abandon the bond between them
two rabbits. If the rabbits are beaten during each bonding session, despite being sedated, it may be
incentive to abandon the bond between the two.
The rabbits are simultaneously placed in the neutral base, on firm ground. Calm and pet your rabbit. Whose
there is a rabbit that has a more negative behaviour, this needs to be calmed down to a greater extent. This phase can
take up to a week's time. It can be considered to proceed to phase two, when you do not have to soothe or cuddle
the rabbits to the same extent.
Phase two can be initiated and gradually extended from day to day, as long as there is a good atmosphere between the two rabbits. It is a rule of thumb that there should not be a rabbit that starts digging in one corner, as this is a sign of insecurity. If this is the case, it is a good idea to stick to the time interval you have had so far. See the time for each passing day. If you pass the 45 minutes for a bonding session, it is important to set a neutral water bowl that they can drink from.
After several bonding sessions, where there has been no need for you as rabbit owners to interrupt or calm the rabbits, you can sit outside the enclosure.
Good treats for the rabbits
After several successful bonding sessions, snacks or treats can be introduced to the rabbits. It is important here that you as a rabbit owner remember back to the first few bonding sessions, when it may be necessary to interrupt, calm and cuddle the rabbits some more. After the introduction of snacks and treats, you can leave small piles of hay for the rabbits.
Expansion of the neutral base between the two rabbits
You can expand the base of the two rabbits as soon as the two rabbits can pass each other without tension or negative body language of any kind. The location for the base should be in the same place and you can leave the hay piles alone, so you simply extend the base by, for example, 50 cm in length and width.
Next, the rabbits can start eating some small meals together, for example 10 food pellets to share. Both rabbits must show a relaxed attitude towards both being able to eat the meal. Then the two rabbits can share a neutral toilet and as their area gets bigger and bigger, they can get a neutral one
hay house etc.
The two rabbits must have alone time
After some time, when everyone has shown a sense of security about the situation, you can leave the rabbits alone for a short while, for example when going to the toilet or if you go out and make a cup of coffee. However, it is important to be at a reasonable distance if something were to happen between the rabbits.
When you enter phase three, the two rabbits can be alone together for an hour, in addition to negative behavior between them. This is where you, as rabbit owners, can introduce 'non-neutral' things for each of the rabbits. A start can be their toilets, which are placed close, with a distance of 20 cm, to each other. By
placing the toilets too far apart, they will most often seek their 'own' toilet.
During the introduction to the toilets, it is important to again be observant of the bonding and the session as a whole.
The rabbits can now be together for several hours, with and without supervision, in a larger area. Now the planning of the move in between the two rabbits can begin. It is a good idea to do it on a Friday or before a holiday, so that they can be observed more over a few days. They must be in the bonding base during the first night. You can then close up small areas of the house at a time.
If both rabbits move into one rabbit's territory, it is important to clean their base before they move in together. Move things around in the base, replace the rabbit's toilet with the new rabbit's toilet, but keep the original rabbit's toilet in the base, just in a different place. Generally have both rabbits' items in the base.
First night in the same cage
The best thing is if you, as a rabbit owner, can sleep with the rabbits and hold them in the morning. It is important that you are observant if there is a tendency to riot or some other form of conflict overnight. If there is, it is interrupted and the rabbits must be put in their respective bases for the rest of the night. The rabbits only sleep together again a week later, when they quietly have time to bond again in the days leading up to it.