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I promised this post over a few months ago when our bunny Mabel passed away. And I also hinted about bonded bunnies back in September with my post about gendering rabbits. But what does the term ‘bonded rabbits’ even mean?
Bonded rabbits are 2 bunnies who are personally bound to each other. And they help each other negotiate their world manually and mentally. Below are more bonded bunnies facts.
Bonded Bunnies Facts
- They live in groups
Rabbits are meant to live in groups, not alone. They groom each other, rest, and eat together. So if you get a bunny, don’t just get one solo rabbit. It’s best to get a pair.
However, there are plenty of animals that can make a good companion to rabbits. Cats are at the top of the list, as long as the bunny isn’t afraid of said cat.
- The bonds are lifelong
Bunnies form bonds for life. Maybe that’s because, in nature, the wild European bunnies bond for life.
- Forming bonds can take time
It can take weeks to years to form a bonded rabbit pair. But you know your bunnies are bonded when they can hang out with each other, groom each other, and sleep with each other with no aggression. Because that means they feel safe with each other.
Thus, be patient, because it takes time.
- Do NOT separate them
If you have a bonded pair and ever separate them, they’ll smell different to each other, could reject one another, and begin fighting. Bring them everywhere together. Period.
We experienced this when Mabel got fixed. We were totally unaware that we were supposed to BRING Ricky to Mabel’s appointment too, until the deed was already done.
After Mabel healed from being neutered, they started fighting; the fur was literally flying, and Ricky was no longer putting up with Mabel’s dominance. He started using the bathroom all over the living room, and they both looked so miserable.
So we confined them to the kitchen and living room as we tried helping them in their relationship. Then we phoned the vet, asking for advice, which is how we learned our mistake. We were advised to keep them separated, one in the hutch, the other loose, and yet have them in the same room. That was so they could start getting used to each other again.
They took turns being in the hutch and being loose. However Mabel’s unhappiness really weighed heavily on me, being restricted as he was and what he perceived as the loss of his friend.
- Some pairs make better bonds
The best pairing is a buck and a doe, as this is what occurs in nature. However, 2 does from the same litter can work, because usually they’re sisters. And finally, the least likely pairing to work is 2 bucks.
Although, that doesn’t mean it’s entirely impossible for 2 bucks to bond. They both need to be neutered, introduced slowly, and one of them needs to be submissive, otherwise there will inevitably be fighting. And a lot of it.
Mabel was fixed, but at the time, it was still too early to neuter Ricky. I think he still had at least a month to go before he could get fixed. And still neither of them wanted to back down on their power plays; neither was giving ground. So we found Ricky a home with other rabbits. I missed the Mabel who first came to live with us: his curiosity and joy at exploring the rest of the house and being the center of attention.
That’s our experience with bonded bunnies. And we messed up, because we didn’t know until too late. Hopefully, if you have rabbits of your own, you have better luck.
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