Mountain Sky Rabbitry
One of our most frequently asked question is, "Will my bunny be lonely by itself or does it need a partner?"
Bunnies are very social, some more than others. We highly recommend bonding buns, and especially buying sibling pairs since sibling buns are already almost 100% bonded! Buying two buns and bonding them is a great idea, as it will keep them both entertained. The bunnies will always have a companion, in case you need to travel somewhere or work full-time.
Research beforehand! Do your research and ensure you're ready to care for and bond two bunnies. It is a committal that requires patience and TLC from you. Bonding is not overly difficult and easily achieved with time.
Always, always, always spay and neuter your bunnies! This has many benefits, including easier bonding process and less hormonal/aggressive behavior. Wait at least three weeks before attempting bonding, and four to six weeks for a male/female pair to ensure they cannot produce babies.
Basic Bonding Guidelines - Sibling Pairs:
Bunnies from the same litter are usually already bonded. If they struggle to work out their differences or are of different genders, spaying and neutering them is a must. It will clean up their litter habits, reduce hormonal behaviors (e.g. spraying and humping) and strengthen their bond. If that works but doesn't totally eliminate aggression, place the buns together in a neutral space that neither of them is regularly in, like an exercise pen, for 30 minutes per day. Let them play with each other and gently push one off the other if they become aggressive. If they get too aggressive, separate them for five to ten minutes and try again.
Basic Bonding Guidelines - Non-Sibling, Same-age Pairs:
Adopting two baby bunnies from different litters can pose some challenges. It depends on gender and temperament, but these buns could take a little more effort from you to become besties! Since they are the same age, however, they will likely have little aggression or dominance toward each other.
Step 1: Ensure you have two bunny homes/spaces so the buns can be kept separate for the first week. Have their homes in the same room and near each other, but don't keep them in the same space. They will be used to each other's presence after the first week and be more open to bonding.
Step 2: Create a neutral space that the bunnies can interact in (e.g. exercise pen, unused room)
Step 3: Choose a time where you can devote at least 30 minutes daily to work on bonding the bunnies.
Step 4: Place the bunnies together in the neutral space you created in Step 2. You may want to stand or sit inside the space to act as mediator in case the bunnies become aggressive.
Step 5: Watch and listen for scared behavior like thumping, chasing, or nipping. If this behavior begins, separate the bunnies for five to ten minutes and try again. Continue for at least 30 minutes. Same-age pairs are generally easier to bond, so they will likely be good friends after a couple of weeks. Some may even hit it off from day one!
Basic Bonding Guidelines - Baby Bun + Older Bun:
Steps 1-3: Same as above.
Step 4: When you place the bunnies in the neutral space, put the less dominant bunny in first. This will typically be the younger bunny. This can act to prevent dominant behaviors like cornering and humping from the older bun. Watch and listen, and if dominant behavior occurs, separate the buns for five to ten minutes and try again once the more dominant bunny has calmed down.
Basic Bonding Guidelines - Doe (female) + Buck (male):
NOTE: Before you attempt to bond a male and female bunny, please ensure they are spayed/neutered and fully healed! Bucks can remain fertile and produce babies for up to a month and a half after neutering.
Steps 1-3: Same as above.
Step 4: When you place the bunnies in the neutral area, put the buck in first. Does are territorial, and though the bunnies are spayed/neutered, their hormones may still flare up at times. Once both buns are in the pen, allow them to greet each other. If spraying occurs from either bunny, wait a moment to see if it escalates into humping or chasing. If not, leave them together (supervised, of course) and allow them to get to know each other. If spraying does escalate into humping, separate them for five to ten minutes and try again. If humping happens again, put them back in their individual spaces and try again the next day.
Basic Bonding Guidelines - Doe + Doe (two females):
Steps 1-3: Same as above.
Step 4: It depends on the does' temperaments and ages, but when you put them in the neutral space together, they may become territorial. If they try to bite or hump each other, separate them gently with your hand. With one bunny on either side of your body, sit and watch for interest from either bun. If they do not hump/spray/bite each other, allow them to get to know each other. If they do begin hormonal or dominant behavior, separate them for five to ten minutes and try again. If one begins to squeak, thump repeatedly, or cower in a corner, take both bunnies to their separate homes and try again the next day.
Basic Bonding Guidelines - Buck + Buck (two males):
Steps 1-4: Same as the steps for two does.