Rabbits are very sociable creatures, and they're usually happiest when they have a rabbit companion to share their days with while their humans are at work. There are many ways to bond rabbits. Here's a method that works well.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Work Gloves
- Bath Rugs
- Cage Bedding
- Rabbit Cages
Take the rabbits to a neutral place in your home - a place that neither rabbit has marked as his or her own. Usually, this is the bathroom or a bedroom.
Keep your rabbits from sliding on a slippery linoleum surface by placing a rubber-backed rug or a flannel-covered, waterproof baby crib mat on the floor. Block off the shower stall and bathtub and close the toilet lid and cabinet doors.
Ask another adult to help you. Each of you will be responsible for one rabbit.
Place the rabbits in the room one at a time and allow them to react to each other. Stand nearby, with each person ready to grab a rabbit if they attack each other.
Talk to the rabbits calmly and praise them for being good. Encourage them to be nice to each other. Only one person should talk, so the rabbits won't get confused.
Speak loudly and clearly if they begin to fight. Say "No no no no no! No fighting, no biting!" Clap your hands loudly.
Separate fighting rabbits with a grease splatter guard (the kind used to cover a frying pan when cooking). You can separate them with your hands if you're wearing heavy gloves for protection from bites. Rabbits have very sharp teeth and their bites can draw blood.
Continue for 10 to 15 minutes. Stop immediately if the rabbits fight viciously.
Repeat this bonding process for about 10 or 15 minutes every day, until they begin to groom each other almost immediately when placed together. Then continue for a few more days.
Place the grooming rabbits in a neutral cage or play area. If they get along, leave them in the cage for a few hours at a time. Watch them closely. Do not leave them alone.
Place the rabbits together in an original cage once they get along in the neutral cage or play area. Do not leave them alone. This is the big step. If they get along here, they have truly bonded.
Put them in a play area together. Let them run around for a while, but always watch them. If they get along at this point, the bonding is probably complete. You can leave them alone when you are certain they will not fight when you leave the room.
Tips and warnings
- Watch for these signs that your rabbits are beginning to bond: They do not fight, they groom one another for several minutes at a time, they lie down next to each other and snuggle and they romp about playfully together exploring their play area.
- Rabbits will nip one another when mating. Don't confuse this nipping with the harsh nipping involved in fighting.
- Rabbits will often mount each other as part of the bonding process. This act is a bid for dominance, with each rabbit asserting his or her status as the top rabbit.
- Stop any fighting, harsh nipping or biting immediately. Rabbits are fierce fighters and can seriously injure or kill each other in a matter of seconds. Never leave two rabbits alone unless they have bonded with each other.
- The bond between rabbits can break, although this is rare.