Bonding Multiple Rabbits
Rabbits are sociable animals who enjoy group living but they are also territorial due to their prey nature. Prior to introducing them, it is important that the rabbits are certified healthy by a vet and sterilized. The introduction process, known as ‘bonding’, can take months and it is important to prepare for success.
Like humans, not every rabbit falls in love at first sight. If you have a rabbit, it would be best to introduce him to a new friend in a neutral space. You will need to closely monitor their interaction. Positive signs include grooming, eating and resting near each other. Chasing and mounting are normal as well.
Here are some suggested tips for bonding rabbits:
- House the new rabbit in a playpen next to the resident rabbit/s so they can see each other all the time.
- Place their litterbox and bowls facing each other to encourage more ‘face time’.
- Switch litterboxes, toys or playpen so they can get used to each other’s smell.
4. Allow both rabbits to interact in a neutral space for 10-15 minutes daily. Gradually increase the time or frequency if you notice good interaction. (Tip: A good way to ‘neutralize’ a space is wiping it down with vinegar + water solution at least twice and rinse with water).
5. Typically, 2-3 weeks is enough for rabbits to be calmer around each other. When they are able to co-exist in the same space for over an hour, you can house them together overnight and observe.
6. Feed, pellets or even treats together to build ‘happy experience’. If any of the rabbits has food anxiety, it’s ok to feed using separate bowls to minimize stress.
7. If the rabbits do mount or chase, calm them down by head rubs and gently move them side by side to increase contact.
8. If the rabbits chase too much, place both of them in a top-open carrier and give head massage to calm them down. You can carry the carrier around the house or even the neighbourhood for 10-15 minutes to increase ‘adventures’ together.
Bonding is never overnight and does require owners to commit to the process. It should be done with patience and under close supervision to ensure safety. We encourage owners to conduct the bonding in their own home but if experienced help is needed, we recommend engaging rabbit-savvy boarders such as ‘Bunnify Boarding Place’, ‘My Happy Tales’ and Little Bobtail Resort’.