I have two boys (both castrated) called Jasper and Alfie. Currently they live side by side in hutch/runs. In the past they have each lived with a female bun but are now on their own. Rabbits are social animals and generally enjoy the company of other rabbits so the ideal solution to both of their current single status would be to live together. This is a diary of how they felt about that idea.
First let me introduce the two of them...
The scene for the bonding sessions is the kitchen. Its enclosed, neutral territory which means I can keep a close eye on them and neither of them is defending their home.
Day 1 (Thursday)
Jasper is busy racing up and down the lounge exercising when I bring Alfie in. When I said the kitchen is enclosed I should point out that has a arch way leading to the dinning room and from there to the lounge. Something which Jasper makes the most of if I turn my back. Alfie is quite nervous of the new place and sits corner. I bring Jasper into the kitchen and he immediately starts mounting Alfie. Alfie ignores him and Jasper seems to decide the whole things a bit boring and hightails it off back to the lounge.
After chasing Jasper around I eventually shepherd him back to the kitchen, where he again mounts Alfie. Jasper alternates sitting looking bored with mounting Alfie who keeps his chin on the floor.
They spend 30 minutes together before they go back to their respective hutches. There hasn't been any signs of aggression (growling, nipping, fighting) so the bonding is off to a good start.
Day 2 (Friday)
Day two and again Alfie spends the session sitting in the corner with his chin on the floor. Jasper alternates mounting him with siting down or moving around the kitchen. Eventually he lies down about a foot from Alfie. A couple of times after he mounts Alfie he gives his ears a quick lick (Alfie's not his own).
After 30 minutes I let them back out again. Alfie's obviously quite nervous about Jasper or the Kitchen or both.
Day 3 (Saturday)
Alfie's seems to be more confident today, he doesn't spend the whole time in a corner. When Jasper moves away A-looks around when J moves away he puts his head up and explores the bits of kitchen around him. He's particularly fascinated with the washing machine. When Jasper notices Alfie not sitting with his head down he rushing back over and mounts him. As Jasper rushes up Alfie returns to his chin on the floor position.
There's also a little bit of chasing as Alfie gets braver and moves around the kitchen. Rather than sitting still he moves away when Jasper tries to mount him and Jasper follows. Its quite relaxed still though and before long Alfie stops long enough for Jasper to mount him.
They spend 45 minutes in the kitchen this time. Alfie's obviously getting more relaxed around Jasper but is still happy to let Jasper act the boss.
Day 4 (Sunday)
Big step today, Alfie sat with his head up whilst Jasper was near him. Before he was only doing it once Jasper moved away. Even better Jasper didn't show any aggression at him for doing it. In general Jasper also mounted him less than on previous days.
Note: Incase your confused when Jasper mounts Alfie its to demonstrate he is dominant over him not because he thinks Alfie is a girl. Sometimes he'' mount backwards so he's sitting on Alfie's head.
Day 5 (Monday)
Another good day. Alfie is much more relaxed he explored the whole kitchen when Jasper disappeared off to the lounge again. Jasper only mounted Alfie a few times. Alfie spent most of the time with his head up only going into the chin down position when Jasper mounted him. Alfie washed Jasper's nose briefly! Both of the wash in each others presence. Jasper has washed before but this is the first time Alfie has. They spent an hour together.
Day 6 (Tuesday)
Jasper didn't mount Alfie until about 30 minutes into the session. He only did in once during the two hours they were together. A couple of time he half heartedly put his chin on Alfie back like he was thinking about it a few times. Again they washed whilst sitting near each other, all the bonding must dirty work! The end the session by spending the last half an hour sitting next to each other!
Day 7 (Wednesday)
Not quite such a good session today. Jasper gave the impression he wanted to play, but Alfie didn't seem interested. Jasper raced off into the lounge and returned quickly to sniff Alfie like he expected him to follow. He also explored the kitchen and ran up and down a few times. Alfie ignored him so I separated them again after 45 minutes as Jasper seemed to be getting a little annoyed at the lack of response.
Day 8 (Thursday)
I decided to take the plunge and put Alfie into Jasper's run. It took me awhile to decide which run they should meet in and I finally decided on Jasper as if he decided to attacked Alfie for invading it wouldn't upset the hierarchy they had formed as Alfie attacking Jasper would. Fortunately there was no attacking by either party.
Alfie explored the run thoroughly acting very confident much braver than in the kitchen. Perhaps as it is so close to his run and would smell familiar. Jasper left him to explore, I was quite surprised he didn't show any dominant mounting behaviour. Alfie marked various parts of the run by rubbing his chin across them, Jasper then remarked them as his in the same way. Alfie briefly washed Jasper nose.
They both moved around the run a lot instead of settling down after awhile as they had in the kitchen. About an hour in Jasper eventually mounts Alfie who doesn't seem particularly bothered.
4hrs later - Still together, there's been abit more washing from Alfie and Jasper kicked his heels up and did a 'I'm happy' hop. They're still both very active moving around and interacting.
Day 9 (Friday)
24 hours later and there still togther. They are still quite active and have tucked into breakfast. Both of them have hopped around excitedly and Alfie's washed Jasper several times.
Day 11 (Sunday)
Well that went well! No aggression and happily living together in eight days. They are still together and are spending quite a lot of time sitting side by side. They both seem much happier.
Are you bonding bunnies? Why not share your diary with Rabbit Rehome readers. Just email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.