Bonding and Bonded Bunnies
Rabbits are very sociable creatures, which means that most rabbits like to have a friend to snuggle with, play with and live with. Finding a bunny friend for your rabbit can be easy, but equally, it can be very challenging to find bunnies that suit each other.
Bonding rabbits does not depend on a rabbit’s age or breed; what it depends on is the personality of each rabbit. This means that a continental giant could bond with a netherland dwarf, or a young spayed/neutered bunny could bond with a geriatric bunny.
Bonding rabbits does not depend solely on the gender either. The easiest and most traditional bond is a male and female, and this can also be the easiest to succeed with. The next easiest bond is the female to female, followed by male to male. However, it is possible to bond all combinations if the rabbits’ personalities allow that to happen.
It can be hard to bond rabbits, and even when bonded, they can still separate or divorce. This means bonding is never an exact science and can evolve and change with time, and it is important that any rabbit owner is prepared for the possibility that they may end up with unbonded bunnies and be willing to deal with that if it arises.
When you are bonding your own bunnies you need to know and learn as much as possible in order to do the best thing possible for your bunnies.
Different ages of rabbits and bonding
When bonding rabbits you have to look carefully at the ages and be aware of the potential difficulties for each age.
~ Baby rabbits. A baby rabbit is anything from birth until adolescence. It is important to remember that rabbits should generally not be away from mum until 8 weeks old, and should not be sold or rehomed before this point. Baby rabbits don’t have hormones so can act very cuddly and friendly, which can make them easily adaptable to having a bonded friend. They also still feel the need to huddle with other rabbits, similar to when they were in the nest and they also have no territorial issues, which again can also make bonding easier. Adolescence can cause extreme problems though so be aware of that.
~ Adolescent rabbits. The age a rabbit hits adolescence can vary from rabbit to rabbit; however for a buck (boy) it is generally around the time when his testicles drop (when this happens depends on the breed; generally it is later in bigger bunnies, but can be anything from 3-6 months- Unknown (unknown), and may also occur later than that, or earlier), although he may feel/act hormonal before that. Adolescence is generally later in does (girls), and on average happens at 4-5 months and onwards, but again, it can happen either earlier or later.
When rabbits go through adolescence, it is very common for them to unbond from siblings, bonded friends or mum. This is to do with the surge of hormones and the way it can affect them. This means if you have rabbits on adolescent age living with each other it can be sensible to separate them before they fight, and then rebond them back together once they have both been spayed/neutered. Obviously, if you have two rabbits living together and one is a male and one is a female it is sensible to split them up to avoid any accidental breeding problems.
~ Unneutered/unspayed adults. Each adult rabbit will behave slightly differently. The surge of hormones that adolescence brings will have eased, which means it is possible to bond a fully intact adult, if the adult will allow it and if the other bunny can tolerate the actions of a hormonal rabbit (such as humping or chasing). Whilst it is sometimes possible, it should really only be a feasible option if for some reason the rabbit can not be neutered/spayed, such as having a problem that prevents them going under anaesthetic.
If you try to bond an unneutered male to an unspayed female rabbit, this will be dangerous and potentially you will end up with at least a litter of kittens....