• The Process of Bonding or Pairing Rabbits.

    Written by Marisa May

    The first date

    Make sure you are working in a neutral area, meaning that neither of the rabbits has claimed the area as their own. Rabbits are territorial! 

    Both rabbits should be fixed.  We recommend each has been altered at least three weeks prior to beginning the process. This will reduce a lot of unwanted behavior between the rabbits.

    When the rabbits placed together someone should be close enough to separate the rabbits if something goes wrong. You will watch for certain behaviors, such as grooming (a good sign) or aggressive chasing, humping, or thumping (not the best signs).

    Some chasing is normal, and so is a little humping. Humping is a sign of working out who is going to be in charge. This behavior is common and to be expected.

    In rare cases, rabbits will start grooming each other after just a few moments, which is a very good sign. Sometimes rabbits fight from the very beginning. This is not a good sign and should be interrupted for their safety. If it continues, the date should end.

    Once both rabbits are calm together and not showing any signs of aggression, you can take them home. The rabbits should live in two side-by-side enclosures (playpen or exercise pen) so they can see and smell each other. You can swap their litterboxes,or let them sleep in each other’s pen.  The idea is to let them get used to being “together” safely. 

    If side by side pens is not an option, the rabbits can stay in different rooms at the times when you are not available and interact only when you are watching them.

    Everyday, they can have some playtime together but you need to be there with them the whole time. If you see some fighting on the first day, this is okay but if you notice the fighting for 4 days or more, this is a sign that the rabbits are not getting along. In that case, you should try another rabbit.

    After they are accustomed to each other, you can hook their pens together so that they share a wall. Eventually you should be able to put them in the same pen and trust them not to fight.  Grooming, cuddling, and using the same litter box means the relationship is going well and the rabbits are working on becoming bonded, or are already bonded.

    Note that if another rabbit comes into the area, the two bonded rabbits may chase each other and bicker. This is aggression against the intruder, redirected at the companion (usually because the companion can be reached and the intruder cannot!)  This is normal, and usually not an indication of their bond breaking.  Just interrupt the “fight” by clapping or placing an object like a broom between them, and make sure the intruder leaves promptly.