You’ve adopted Thumper and are completely thrilled with her. She makes you laugh when she binkies. She cozies up to you when you’re lying on the floor reading, and you love being a bunny mom or dad.
But, you wonder, is she lonely when you’re not at home with her? If your bunny is going to be alone for eight hours or more a day, you should give serious consideration to adopting her a friend.
It’s a simple fact that some rabbits have the perfect personality for bonding with another rabbit, and some bunnies just have to be single buns. A single bunny, who is spoiled and lavished with love and attention, can be just as happy as a bunny who is bonded with another bunny (who are both spoiled and lavished with attention by their devoted bunny owners.) Many bunny experts will argue, however, that all bunnies are happiest when they have both a bunny and a human companion.
It is extremely important that before you get your bunny a companion you have her spayed or him neutered. Both rabbits should be altered, and it’s best to wait until two weeks after the operation to introduce your rabbit to a new friend. This time period will allow your bunny to fully recover from her surgery. If you have a male bunny, it will also give his body time to be rid of its hormones. (For up to two weeks after neutering, males are able to impregnate fertile females.)
Or, you might want two bunnies right from the start. You can find many already bonded pairs at shelters and rescues – you won’t have to worry about the process of helping them bond. (You may find bonded trios for adoption as well.)
We should also dispel some common myths. While it is true same sex pairs generally don’t tend to get along very well upon first meeting, that doesn’t mean it is impossible to bond two girls or two boys. It is possible if you have patience and understanding of the bonding process. It’s also possible to bond a tiny dwarf bunny with a larger rabbit. The size is not the dominant factor.
Before you introduce a new bunny to your present bunny, you should consider having a few “dates.” (Really, bring your bunny to a shelter and arrange some contact with potential bunnies).
Not all bunny dates are love at first sight, so it’s important to have an idea of what to expect. First, you shouldn’t be surprised if one bunny mounts the other bunny. This is more of a sign of dominance than anything else. It’s the bunny saying, I want to be top dog. Don’t be surprised if your little girl mounts the boy she’s meeting; she’s just setting some ground rules for what she expects from him.
If the boy mounts the girl, and she doesn’t react, that’s a good sign that the bonding should go fairly smoothly. If she runs away when he tries to mount her, don’t worry. The way to know you’re going to have to take time and have patience with the bonding is if the girl turns around and tries to attack or becomes in any way aggressive when the boy tries to mount her.
Another common reaction upon first introductions is one the chase. (One bunny chases the other). This is perfectly fine, if the chased bunny doesn’t turn around and fight back. If the chased bunny does fight back, separate the two bunnies and realize the bonding process is going to have to move more slowly than you had hoped for.
In fact, don’t be surprised if there are fights during the bonding process. It’s not the end. It just means you should be prepared to take things slow. There’s bound to be some scrapes between bunnies, and this is normal. You can stop a fight by yelling no or making a loud noise.