Rabbits are highly social animals, in the wild, they live in large extended families called warrens that can be made up of more than 40 rabbits. They have intricate social hierarchies and many different ways of communicating with each other and collectively look after the group. Domestic rabbits or pet rabbits are also social animals. Pet rabbits often live healthier and happier lives when they live with other rabbits. But that does not mean that rabbits always get along with each other right from the get-go.
Rabbits can be incredibly territorial and quite aggressive to other rabbits if they are not bonded with each other. They can attack and even injure one another. The best way to house two or more rabbits is to get them to bond together and live peacefully. Here is how to bond two rabbits.
Bonding Or Pairing Rabbits
Bonding rabbits is the process where two rabbits are introduced to each other so that they can become comfortable living together. Since rabbits are territorial and extremely timid around anything new in their environment, they are usually weary or aggressive towards other rabbits that may be kept together.
Through the process of bonding, both rabbits can slowly get to know each other and eventually become friends or mates and live happily together in each other’s company.
Studies have shown that keeping rabbits in bonded pairs results in the rabbits living a longer healthier life. This is because they can interact and be comfortable around their rabbit friend even when the owners are not present. Just like us humans, rabbits are social animals and don’t do well in isolation living by themselves.
This is why the House Rabbit Society of America recommends that you keep any pet rabbits at home in pairs or small bonded groups in order to provide them with a happy and enriched life.
How To Bond Two Rabbits?
Bonding two rabbits who are complete strangers can be a long and difficult process. Even though rabbits are gentle and calm pets, they can become extremely aggressive towards other rabbits if they are not handled correctly.
This is especially true for rabbits that are not spayed or nueterd as their are driven to agressive and dominating behavior due to their hormones. Rabbits that are fixed generally have a much gentler temperment and can bodn with humans or other rabbits much easier.
With some effort most rabbits can get used to living together without any problems as long as you bond them correctly. Here is everything that you will need in order to successfully bond two rabbits.
- Two rabbits that need bonding.
- Two separate cages or a cage with a separator.
- Thick gloves in order to break up any fights.
- Time and patience
- Lots and lots of rabbit treats.
Once you have everything ready move on to the first step of how to bond two rabbits.
Step 1 - Introduce The Rabbits
The first step to bonding two rabbits and perhaps the most critical is to introduce them. Having the rabbits in the same place allows them to see, smell, and feel each other’s presence, which is a critical first step in bonding two rabbits.
Always keep the rabbits in different cages or separated by a wire mesh when you are first introducing them. We want this to be a calm and relaxing exchange for both the rabbits.
Any fights or signs of aggressiveness at this stage can prolong the bonding process and make it harder to bond them. Make sure that both rabbits remain safe in their own separate spare and let them get to know each other first.
Since both the rabbits are separated from each other, this step will not require too much supervision. Keep them near each other for a couple or days or a week and move on the next step.
Step 2 - Let Them Interact With Each Other For Short Periods
Once you feel that the rabbits you are trying to bond has gotten used to seeing and smelling each other, it is time to let them interact with each other for short periods of time.
Bring both the rabbits out and let them interact with each other but in a controlled manner. This step is to help the rabbits be near each other and not behave in an aggressive manner.
The best place to let them interact with each other is a neutral space where they have not been before. This is needed as this room will not have any smells of the other rabbit so any chances of territorial behavior is minimized.
Try to keep them distracted from each other by providing treats and toys to play with during this time. Letting them be together during feeding time is perhaps the safest.
Step 3 - Separate The Rabbits If The First Sign Of Aggression
Even if you know how to bond two rabbits, the process of bonding can be stressful for everyone involved.
One you start letting your rabbits interact with each other, they can show signs of aggressive or dominant behavior that can leads to fights which can be quite dangerous for your rabbits.
Be vigilant and separate the rabbits at the first sign of aggression and try to prevent fights before they even start. Always have a towel or thick gloves which can keep you safe from scratches and help to separate them quickly.
Once you break up a fight, stop the bonding process for the day and keep tying the next day. One or two fights are really common when you are trying to bond two rabbits but it does not mean that the rabbits will not get bonded together. Have patience and keep trying.
Step 4 - Let Them Rabbits Live Together When Bonded
Once you feel that the rabbits are comfortable around one another, they are happily laying down and grooming or licking each other, they have been successfully bonded.
Rabbits that have been bonded or paired together can safely live together at all times and are rarely aggressive towards each other. They love to play, eat and rest with each other and that is a great thing for us rabbit owners as it keeps our pet rabbits happy and adds enrichment to their life.
The road to bonding two rabbits can be a hard one but the reward is well worth the effort.
Can Rabbits Of The Same Gender Be Bonded?
Even though rabbits are quite territorial and have a hard time living with other rabbits of the same gender, it is not uncommon for two rabbits of the same gender to get bonded and live together without any fighting.
It all depends on a number of factors which determine whether or not rabbits of the same gender be bonded. Are the spayed and neutered? Are they related to each other? Are they from the same litter? Do you have any other pets or rabbits living in the house?
That being said it is not uncommon for rabbits of the same gender to get bonded successfully and live together without any problems. It just takes some time and patience to get them used to each other while keeping the rabbits safe.
Bonding Two Male Rabbits
A lot of rabbit owners thing that bonding two male rabbits is impossible but that is certainly not the case. Two male rabbits can be bonded given enough time with each other especially if they are from the same litter and have be neutered when they were young.
A lot of the problems that arise in the bonding process like fighting, mounting, biting and chasing can all be attributed to hormonal behavior. Male rabbits that are neutered can live happily with each other if care is taken during the bonding process to separate them at any sign of aggression.
Here is exactly what you need to do to bond two male rabbits.
1. Slowly introduce the rabbits to each other while being physically separated.
2. Let the bunnies interact with each other with careful supervision.
3. Provide treats to keep them engages and out of trouble.
4. Separate them if you notice and aggression.
5. Keep at it until the rabbits are comfortable living together.
It may take a bit longer to bond two male rabbits when compare two bonding a male and female rabbit but with enough time it can be done successfully.
Bonding Two Female Rabbits
Bonding two female rabbits is perhaps the most difficult bonding process of them all. Female rabbits are generally more territorial and dominant compared to male rabbits., They are also more aggressive to other rabbits that get into a fight with them.
Getting the female rabbits that you want to bond together spayed is essential here as it is practically impossible to bond two unspayed female rabbits. It can be helpful if both the rabbits are from the same litter or are mother and daughter. Unrelated female rabbits can also be bonded but it is generally more difficult.
Here are the steps to bond two female rabbits
1. Introduce the female rabbits while they are seperated
2. Let them get used to being each other’s presense
3. Keep a close eye on the rabbits and make sure they don’t fight
4. Seperate the rabbits at the first sight of any agressive behavior
5. Once they are comfortable being with each other leave them unsupervised
That is eactly how you bond two female pet rabbits.
Closing Thoughts On How To Bond Two Rabbits
Even though bonding rabbits looks easy on paper, it can be a difficult and drawn out process of getting two rabbits to bond with each other but it is definitely rewarding.
Watching out pet rabbits being happy and enjoying life is the biggest win for us rabbit owner who want the best for our pet rabbits. So there you go try out these steps to get your rabbits to be lifelong friends.
Check out some of our other article on pet rabbits below
- The Ultimate New Rabbit Checklist For Bunny Beginners
- Rabbit vs Bunny vs Hare – What Is The Difference Between Them?
- How To Check If A Rabbit Is Male Or Female?
- Top 10 Things To Keep In Mind Before Getting A Pet Rabbit