Bonding rabbits???

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by chickenwhisperer, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. So I know Ive asked about rabbits getting along with each other in the past . . .

    I just got 2 male californians today, they love to be around each other, I think they are brothers . . .
    I also got 2 females earlier this week, separately of course.

    Id like to get the 2 females to bond so I can put them both into one large hutch.
    One is a young smaller lionhead, who is very sweet but not quite friendly, a little on the submissive side.
    The other is an older larger female who must be some kinda mix or meat type and shows some signs of grunting and territorial-ness, but not altogether UNfriendly.

    Right now they are in separate cages that were donated to my unnofficial CL rabbit rescue, and not the small cages they came in.
    The cages are just far enough apart so they couldnt reach or bite each other, but are in plain view and very close.
    I thought I would leave them this way for about a week or so, then see how they do with an on-ground visit out on the lawn, neutral territory so to speak.
    If that went well, Id try them supervised in the hutch together for as long as there is no problems.

    How does one know exactly when the rabbits become bonded, or should I say IF . . .
    Is this something that can ONLY be done at a very young age???
    Once rabbits are bonded, they can be trusted to NOT fight ever???
    If this is unsuccessful with 1 or the other, can I expect all future attempts with other rabbits to be unsuccessful as well(meaning can I add a 3rd into the mix to see if either of the 1st 2 take to her instead)
    Am I asking for the impossible here???

    If this can be done with these 2(or 3) rabbits, it would really make my life so much easier . . .

    My haiku :
    More water bottles
    A big ole pain to fill up
    One rather than two
    l l
    l l
    (\\__/) /
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010

  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    The easiest pair to bond, of course, is male/female, but that really only works if they are neutered/spayed (or so elderly they really don't care anymore!). Intact does can be as impossible as unrelated bucks. You are working in the right direction thinking about introductions being done in neutral territory, but if the one doe is already showing signs of being territorial, she may not ever appreciate a roommate.

    I have a little problem with the idea of "bonding," because to me it suggests that the rabbits have formed some sort of dependent relationship with each other. In some cases, that may be true, but most of the rabbits I have seen together seemed to have a relationship of mutual tolerance, and were perfectly fine alone or together. Most of these so-called pairs had one subordinate rabbit, and one moderately dominant rabbit that pushed the other one around but didn't absolutely run it ragged. I have also seen some "pairs" that went suddenly, horribly wrong, resulting in bloodshed and injuries (fortunately, that is not the way things usually work, but it can happen). I have also seen two that were good together, that suddenly couldn't stand each other when the owner added a third to the mix.

    Assuming that the cages are spacious enough, it is as with most things rabbit; in that it depends on the individuals. I have had some does that I kept daughters with long past the youngsters' adolescence, and other does that began attacking their offspring once they passed what they obviously considered weaning age. I have had rabbits that were in adjacent cages that liked to sit cuddled against the wire side-by-side, and others that lost toes or pieces of ear to the rabbit in the cage next door.

    While I am sympathetic to your desire to make things as easy on yourself as possible as far as cleaning and feeding and filling water bottles, you need to be aware that any cage containing more than one rabbit is a potentially volatile situation. You may be able to get these two does to get along (or possibly one of these with a (hypothetical) other rabbit, you never know how personalities will mesh) but you will need to watch for signs that things are going sour. It is easier to get young rabbits to get along, but even that may not last long-term. I would suggest that you keep an empty cage available at all times. If you see signs of fur flying, you will be able to separate the combatants, hopefully before anybody gets seriously hurt . Otherwise, you may find yourself having to keep a rabbit in a carrier or other unsuitable space while you scramble to get another cage in which to house it.

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