Last Post by ea hurse at 10/19/2006 9:18 AM (38 Replies)
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User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
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8/30/2006 8:23 AM

With Boo recovering from her spay this week and myself finding a new job I have decided that I would like to get her a friend to spend the day with. I understand that rabbits are sociable animals by instinct and I cant bare the thought of her spending hours alone.

How soon after her spay can I get another rabbit and start the bonding process? I dnt want to distress her and since she needs lots of TLC I dnt want to deprive her of lots of cuddles and nose strokes. I have contacted a local shelter and they said that I can bring her down for an afternoon meeting some rabbits.

Should I wait a month or so just until her hormones sort themselves out?

Also she is a tiny rabbit ( either a netherland dwarf, a polish or a cross of the two) just (1.4kg) would a rabbit of the same criteria be more sensible than a larger breed?


User is Offline Gina Won
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8/30/2006 8:55 PM
Hmm... I have no idea about when to start the bonding process, but in terms of size... it seems like the more important matter would be temperament. I have seen several very loving rabbit pairs with one little dwarf and one bigger, medium sized bun so it might simply depend. But I'm no expert! Perhaps call House Rabbit Society?

User is Offline BB
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8/31/2006 11:05 AM
Posted By tallullu on 08/30/2006 11:23 AM

How soon after her spay can I get another rabbit and start the bonding process? ......Should I wait a month or so just until her hormones sort themselves out?.....Also she is a tiny rabbit ( either a netherland dwarf, a polish or a cross of the two) just (1.4kg) would a rabbit of the same criteria be more sensible than a larger breed?

Great questions.   Yes, wait at least a month so the hormones can die out.    The size, or type of rabbit won't make a difference.  Sometimes big (easy going bunnies) can be bossed around by tiny more tense bunnies.  Most of the time opposite sexes work best, but really the big thing is dominance. 

When you go to the shelter, you will be able to discover what kind of bunny Boo is with other bunnies.  She may be very dominant or passive or somewhere in between.  No matter what  two dominant bunnies won't work (and dominants come in all shapes and sizes) 

If she shows dominance right away, she may need a more easy-going passive bunny.  If she's a passive bunny she may be okay with another dominant bunny.  If she's somewhere inbetween, she'll most likely do well with a passive or like-minded bunny.  A dominant bunny may or may not make her mad at some point.

I'm so excited for you.    I know the whole bonding routine - too well!   So when the time comes, we're here if you need any tips.  


User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
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9/05/2006 2:00 AM
With Boo fully recovered and up to her usual mischief I took her down to the local shelter so she can have some dates with the resident boy bunnies. Turns out Boo is indifferent showing neither passive or dominant behaviour however I am aware that her hormones are still crazy after her spay so this could change. She got on really well with a 9 month old buck whom my bf promtly called whiskey. The shelter has reserved whiskey for Boo and providing they still like each other in 3 weeks time ( hopefully when her hormones have died down) then he will be good to come and live with Boo and myself. Till then I have been reading the bonding info and looking and binky's journals I think Im in for a hell of a time. hooray!

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/05/2006 7:47 AM
that's great news! I'm glad she found a potential friend :-)

the fact that she didn't show any aggression is a great sign, females tend to be pretty territorial on their home turf - but it all depends on the bunnies.

~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline BB
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9/06/2006 9:47 PM

YEAH!! That is great news!  Being indifferent is better than being a queen!  Queens can really be hard to please.

The bonding journal between Rucy and Bailey are really quite the acception. I still need to update it, because it goes on for a long time. (longer than what's shown)   And they didn't get a chance to meet each other like your Boo did.  That's why encourage bunny dating first so you won't have to go through a long difficult bonding.  But at least the journals may help you see the body language.

The bunny dating method has always been the easiest, and I don't have a journal for that because it was pre-binkybunny and I didn't think about getting pics.  But the time that I did the bunny dating - it only took three days for them to bond at home  (though average is about three weeks)

I'm so excited for you!

So what does "Whiskey" look like?


User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
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9/06/2006 9:55 PM
I'll be sure to make a bonding journal I'm quite excited about the whole thing. whiskey is a lovely mini lop, he is tortoise shell coloured, black and kinda of orangey tan, Hence the name whiskey he looks like a jack and coke with ears hahaha.

User is Offline BB
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9/07/2006 8:21 AM
Ah, sounds really handsome!   And inspired by one of my favorite whiskey drinks (2nd to Maker's Mark and 7up)

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/10/2006 9:59 AM
oo a bonding journal sounds like a great idea! that's too funny about his name :-)
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline Elena Niznik
Glasgow (Scotland)
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9/10/2006 10:55 AM
hahaha yeah its quite a fitting name. its been almost 3 weeks since Boo's spay and i collected whisky from the shelter yesterday he has settled in well and spent most of the evening rearranging his cage.I'm hoping to start the bonding process in the next week and a half. I was just wondering If it would be best for myself and whisky to bond first before i attempt to bond him and Boo? Or just let the two of them get on with it and bond with him later. I just thought that if the two of them do have a scrap both will feel better if they trust me and know that I will give them a reassuring pat? any ideas?

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/12/2006 8:38 AM
aww - congrats on bringing Whisky home! I think it's good for Whisky to feel like it's a safe place and you spending time with him will make him feel more comfortable.

I think you'll bond with him more as you're working with he and Boo on getting along. In bonding I've always worried more about the bunnies getting along, but let's see if anyone else other suggestions for you :-)
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline ea hurse
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9/13/2006 11:17 AM
i am about to start 'THE PROCESS" of bonding m'bunnies (2 of them anyway). i have found it really useful to myself bond with Blue before beginning the journey, one hopefully not too epic... Not only does she seem to trust me, as compared to the nervous wreck she was when i 'rescued' her, but i am more confident with her, i know how she reacts to various noises/ movements/ situations etc and i do think this will help with predicting the atmosphere at their meetings. i guess it depends on the bunny and the owner, i was determined to find a playmate for Lollo (and found 2 instead) in good time for me to bond with the new rabbit first. However i think this is mainly perhaps because i had a more negative experience of bonding with Lollo than most, though we're now getting there in leaps and bounds (it's hard being rejected by a bunny!). i guess what i'm saying is follow your gut instinct, there's not going to be any right or wrong answer. if you feel confident then go for it but if you have any doubt then maybe delay by a week or so, spend a bit more time getting to know your new addition and wait until the time is good.

User is Offline BB
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9/14/2006 1:18 AM

OH yeah!   Congratulations on  your new bunny Whiskey! 

I absolutely agree with Gravehearted.   In my opinion,  I don't think you should wait until you bond. Whiskey hasn't had time to claim a new space and become too territorial, so this is a good time to start introducing them  in a neutral territory. (make sure it's a place that Boo is not allowed or doesn't go into - like a bathroom or ???.     The fact that you will be offering comfort for Whiskey - petting him etc, while he's getting to know Boo will also help him bond to you.  (And probably quicker than if you just did it on your own.)

Keep us updated! 


User is Offline carlie
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9/15/2006 5:18 PM
I have an 8 month old lop named Isabella. She was an only bunny until about a month ago. I got 2 dwarf bunnies. They stay in the same cage, and Isabella has a cage. I let them out to play in an 8x8 closet together, but my plan was that all 3 of them could run the house freely. Isabella already does that. They don't seem to be fighting. One of the twins is more dominant than the other and mounts Isabella (pretty funny considering she is about 2 pounds and Isabella is 8) Anyway, Isabella tolerates it quite well. Both of the little ones love to be with her, and when they are in their cage, she lays right next to it. The problem is the bunny poop!! All 3 of them are trained in their cages. But when they are out in the living room together, I literally can't walk anywhere without stepping in it. I have to vacuum with a shop vac after they've been playing. Is this ever going to stop?? None of them are spayed yet (all girls). Isabella is old enough, but I wanted to wait until she was over the trauma of the new bunnies before putting her through the trauma of surgery. The babies aren't old enough yet. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

User is Offline BB
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9/15/2006 8:49 PM
Posted By loopy-lop on 09/13/2006 2:17 PM
i guess what i'm saying is follow your gut instinct, there's not going to be any right or wrong answer. if you feel confident then go for it but if you have any doubt then maybe delay by a week or so, spend a bit more time getting to know your new addition and wait until the time is good.

I can appreciate that and I think that is great advice too.   Though I may feel a certain ways about some things, you are rightt:   Bunnies really are all so different, so there is not a truly right or wrong answer - bottom line - it's all by trial and error and what works for one, may not work for another. 

Thanks for that great reminder.


User is Offline BB
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9/15/2006 8:58 PM

It's actually amazing that they are getting along so well CONSIDERING they are not spayed.   Usually their hormones will drive them to fight over territory - so what looks like what is happening is they are being passive aggressive - meaning, poop wars.    They are marking up the place which is also a territorial behavior.

So in their own cage, they may not feel threatened, but once they are out, where they are all allowed, the scent of each other is driving them to mark.    

You will need to claim this as YOUR place, which means when they start marking - back to their place they go.   Also, you may be giving them too much freedom too fast.   How much freedom do they get (and for how long? )

This territorial marking will get better once they've established a relationship and when they have all settled into their roles.  But spaying them should really help with this.  It takes about a month for the hormones to die down after surgery and without those hormones, their drive to mark will be less (as well as the smell of their urine will be much less pungent.


User is Offline carlie
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9/16/2006 4:26 AM

Thank you for your response!!  Last night was the first night that I let them out in the living room.  They were out about 2 hours.  Usually they are in the 8x8 closet together.  It's really not the babies so much, but Isabella.  She just poops everywhere!  I guess the trauma of bringing the new ones in has done this.  I'm probably not very good with the discipline as I should be.  She's my first, and my big baby, so I tend to let things slide.  She's going to be spayed soon, and I'm sure that will help.  Thank you so much!!!


User is Offline ea hurse
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9/16/2006 8:40 AM
WELLLL- Lollo and Blue had their first 'date' today. All did not go well. There were no fights and no injuries but i may have two incompatible bunnies to say the least. I took the pen from the yard and put it upstairs in my bedroom, neutral ground, where neither bun has been. I covered the floor with towels and i put the bunnies in. for about 5 seconds they sniffed around then Blue mounted Lollo, which he took, no argument. sigh of relief. Blue turned her back for about a second and Lollo mounted her (- i say mounted, he looked like he was trying something a bit more friendly than that...) Blue sort of took it but did move off a little. That over, Lollo decides to sniff the towels. Blue mounted his head first and then sort of clambered down his body. Lollo tried to mount her in return..... and so on and so forth. Then they started doing that 'death spiral' thing that i read about on a different thread i think so i seperated them. Is this normal???! i'm so very disappointed because i had dreams of them living together in bunny harmony; i figured that even if Chino could never be part of their gang, at least they would have each other...! anyhoo, also the reason for me getting Blue was to be Lollo's companion!

User is Offline BB
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9/17/2006 11:11 PM
Posted By loopy-lop on 09/16/2006 11:40 AM
Then they started doing that 'death spiral' thing that i read about on a different thread i think so i seperated them. Is this normal???! i'm so very disappointed because i had dreams of them living together in bunny harmony; i figured that even if Chino could never be part of their gang, at least they would have each other...! anyhoo, also the reason for me getting Blue was to be Lollo's companion!



Don't despair!  This is normal and in no way means they are not compatible.  Even bunnies that want to kill each other in the beginning can be the best of friends later.   And yours aren't even like that.    Yes, the spiral means they both want to dominate, but that doesn't mean one won't back down.  You did the absolute right thing.  You allowed them to mount (which is the same thing as humping so yes it can look pretty friendly) but you didn't allow them to fight.. 

Note:  Stop bunnies from mounting the other's face.  The other bunny can actually bite the other's privates! YYEEEAOUCH!

The other good sign is that they allowed to be mounted - meaning they took it for a little bit. What you can do during this time is pet the one that is being mounted.  Offering comfort during this time is really important.  

Also petting them both throughout the process can help keep them calm.

Another tip:  Have gloves and a water bottle ready.  SO that if they do actually fight or begin to fight, then you can squirt them and break them apart with your hands - many times bunnies who are fighting with each other will bite you by accident.   

If they begin to go into a spiral every single time even if you are there offering comfort, you may need to first do the stressor method like the car ride.   You can also try and put them in a carrier and walk around if that stresses them out enough to cuddle with each other.  It really depends on your bunnies.

And don't worry, you're doing a great job and the average bonding time is 3 weeks, so keep calm, and just pet them both to offer comfort and mix scents.


User is Offline ea hurse
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9/18/2006 10:11 PM
yay! i really did need telling not to despair, i've been so despondent, i really don't want to have to keep all 3 babies seperate in the long run. i have a dream of custom building a cage for them all to share eventually. i guess they're going to have another date tonight then, i'll get my gardening gloves out.....

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/18/2006 10:30 PM
I hope it will go better today...

It can really take a while for them to bond and get along, and there are lots of things that BinkyBunny suggested that can really help. I've had good luck with car rides and shopping cart dates too. It's just going to take some time and patience.
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline ea hurse
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9/19/2006 1:59 AM
about the car ride idea, can you give me the specifics- do i need a large cardboard box or can i use my carry-case? it isnt huge but they would both fit in- they'd both be straight out the case unless i zip it up, or out a carboard box unless it was sort of sealed up, and then how do you stop them fighting in a covered up container?!!

User is Offline ea hurse
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9/19/2006 2:02 AM
p.s, we don't really 'do' things like take animals into pet stores where i live, certainly not push them round in the trollies-they'd probably chuck me out if i tried! it's a shame since it sounds like a great idea, the noise would certainly help with my 2.

User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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9/19/2006 9:59 AM

will you be on your own when going for a drive?  I know i was quite concerned when we took our two scrapping bunnies for the first drive and i had my husband there... but they were so scared that they just huddled together the whole time, well almost,  there was a point when Mable tried to jump out!

We took them in a cardboard box with a blanket over the top (when carrying them to and from the car) and husband took it off when we were driving. I prefer the box as its easier to get access if world war 3  kicks off..

You could try putting them in a box or carrier and walking them round as this works for my two also... the only problem being they can get heavy after a while...or i read that some people put the box on top of a washing machine (switched on)..or maybe you could 'borrow' a supermarket trolley or purchase one of those shopping bag things with wheels and put the box on top... or if you have a wheel-barrow... (i would stay in the garden with this option in case you are mistaken for a homeless hobo) ha ha the things we do!

i also had beautiful visions of 'happy ever after' but we're not quite there either...but I am strong and I will not give in - so the saga continues......


User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/19/2006 8:16 PM
Posted By loopy-lop on 09/19/2006 5:02 AM
p.s, we don't really 'do' things like take animals into pet stores where i live, certainly not push them round in the trollies-they'd probably chuck me out if i tried! it's a shame since it sounds like a great idea, the noise would certainly help with my 2.


I can see it now on BBC world news...  woman arrested at local petstore as she was pushing around two surly rabbits in a trollie...  he he
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline ea hurse
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9/19/2006 11:51 PM
yeh, i could do with a little excitement in my life, maybe i should just go ahead and do it- could be like a Benny Hill sketch, the security guards chasing me up and down the aisles in fast motion with the store musak playing abnormally fast in the back-ground, i manage to elude them for a while; they finally catch me and throw me and my bunnies out the door but the sketch ends with a close up of Lollo and Blue snuggled blissfully together......

anyhoo... they had their 2nd date last night, it lasted not very long. they started off ignoring each other, but once they decide to be interested there's no stopping them. Once again they were humping each other, Lollo seems to accept the humping and can't understand why Blue won't take it in return! It was quite amusing watching Lollo desperately try to get a grip, his back legs were working overtime whilst Blue scuttled around with him semi-attached! I again seperated them when they started spiralling (set off by a rather large clump of fur that Lollo had literally sawn off her back with his teeth!).

The car ride is an option but at the moment the various people who would help are holidaying, the others mostly think i'm barmy. I guess the only way would be to get someone to allow me to sit in the car with the bunnies whilst they drive 'to' somewhere they'd be going anyway (so they can pretend they're not actually just driving round for the sake of bunny-love!) ah, to be perceived as normal - maybe one day!


User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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9/20/2006 9:26 AM
ooo man am i cracking up visualizing that - the fast motion muzak really adds to the visual, he he

It sounds like they're still figuring out the dynamics - the humping is all about trying to determine out who exactly is in charge. Lots of fur flying during bonding isn't really uncommon - but as a bunny parent is pretty anxiety provoking.  The spiraling is pretty stressful too - but the good thing is that wasn't ALL they did.

Some other tricks you can try.  Feed them together - there's nothing like some yummy greens to distract you from kicking someone else's butt, right?  You can also swap pens for the night - or just litterboxes - this can help too.  *thinking good bonding thoughts for you*
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline BB
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9/21/2006 11:23 PM
Posted By loopy-lop on 09/19/2006 4:59 AM
about the car ride idea, can you give me the specifics- do i need a large cardboard box or can i use my carry-case? it isnt huge but they would both fit in- they'd both be straight out the case unless i zip it up, or out a carboard box unless it was sort of sealed up, and then how do you stop them fighting in a covered up container?!!


You can do either.   Having a container helps keep them from flying around the car  if you are whipping around corners and going at a normal speed.   Sometimes I just took mine around the neighborhood, and went slow, so I just put a blanket in the back seat with their litterbox.  They usually both jumped in the litterbox and huddled together.

I think it's a good idea to take someone with you just in case th fight OR just stay on local neighborhood streets, so that if they start fighting you can quickly pull over.


User is Offline ea hurse
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10/11/2006 6:05 AM
i need advice yet again- at what point do i say enough is enough and stop with the attempts to bond Blue and Lollo? Blue is a bully and their session just now has ended with out and out scrapping; Blue just wont leave Lollo alone even though he is happy to say hello to her (and even put up with a bit of humping) then do other stuff (ie hopping around sniffing!). he doesnt seem at all interested in grooming her which i think is what is p*ing her off. it was really difficult to seperate them, she just kept going at him- luckily no-one was hurt but i'm a nervous wreck. it isnt getting any easier, in fact they are getting worse. Blue is now ignoring me whereas Lollo seems to need a pile of reassurance.

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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10/11/2006 8:51 AM
oo that's so frustrating isn't it? It sometimes takes several months to bond a pair - sometimes even longer!

Since they keep fighting I'd recommend taking a few weeks to let them chill out and then start over again. I wouldn't abandon all hope yet, as it's only been about 3 weeks at this point.
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline wendyzski
Chicago, IL
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10/11/2006 10:26 AM
I hear that a good alternative to the car-bonding is to put them in a laundry basked on top of the washing machine on spin cycle.  The idea is similar to to the car thing in that they should be a little frightened and seek comfort from each other.

I know somoene else put a dab of vanilla on each bun's head to encourage them to groom each other

User is Offline Ester Yeh
Houston, TX
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10/11/2006 10:57 AM
I've heard about the vanilla too. I had read to put it under the bun's chin and bottom area to mask their scent.

User is Offline Gravehearted
Campbell, CA
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10/11/2006 2:10 PM
I have heard it works well for some people

I tried the vanilla with my Pandora & (edited: Hareiette) and somebunny started screaming as they chased each other (like the horrifying death scream) and it scared the h*ll out of me. I think they got freaked since they couldn't smell it was the other!
~ bunny mom to to HRH Hareiette, Viktor the crazy Krum and Pandora, prima binky ballerina ~ Save a life, Adopt!

User is Offline BB
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10/11/2006 9:02 PM
I had  not heard of vanilla, but i have heard of putting  banana on the forehead to encourage them to groom.

User is Offline BB
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10/11/2006 9:04 PM
Loopy-Lop

I agree with gravehearted's advice: To give them a break and start over.  Bunnies who have a nasty fight can keep grudges.

Starting slowly and do short bonding sessions.   You may have to start with a stress method before you put them in a neutral territory if they still want to kill each other when they see each other again.

When you do start again,use the kitchen strainer trick - it's  a trick that I learned from SaveABunny.com:  use a fine netted kitchen strainer  when you introduce them - to keep them separated while they can still sniff each other.  This way, if one goes nuts and tries to bite the other, they can't do any real damage and you can know right away whether you need take them on a car ride or put them through some sort of stress method first.

User is Offline ea hurse
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10/12/2006 8:18 AM
its so good to get support at the point when i'm giving up! i'll wait a few weeks then try a different way. i couldnt get them both in a box together when i tried but will give it another go. neither likes banana, beetroot is their vice but it might stain Blue's fur (not Lollo's cos he's black!) When you say vanilla, would it be the pure essence you use? My friend said her rabbits hated each other so much they couldnt even be in seperate cages near each other; in the end she took them to the local 'Pet's Corner' where they have large natural-environment type enclosures for various small animals. apparently the expert bloke took them away and when he came back they were loving each other. he'd rubbed them both with the same smell (dont know what though) and it worked a charm! do you think the fly-strike prevention spray would mask the bum-odour then i could use the vanilla on the heads to encourage petting?

The other thing i was thinking was to try bonding Lollo and Chino first as Chino is small and maybe would'nt be so intimidating to Lollo, plus they see more of each other (through a pen-panel) and so maybe are quite used to each other? she isnt spayed yet but he is neutered. is it a silly idea?

User is Offline BB
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10/14/2006 8:31 PM
LoopyLop : I can't answer the vanilla question (I'll need to research it a bit)  but maybe gravehearted will be able to specify the type of vanilla better.

Regarding Chino's smaller size - Small size actually doesn't
guarantee submission.  Many times smaller bunnies can actually be more dominant and boss bigger bunnies around.  It really does have to do whether a bunny is dominant or passive and those characteristics can come in all sizes.

Though most experts suggest that both bunnies be altered, I have heard of success stories between an altered and unaltered bunny.   You can try.  But,  I still think you should wait. and give Lollo a break from bonding since it's been rough.   Lollo may be defensive.

When you do start bonding again, I would start the sessions with the car ride method.  

User is Offline Faye Perry
Leicestershire, UK
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10/18/2006 5:21 AM

Loopylop - I am in the same-ish situation.  Don't give up!  I'm sure it can be done...

My bunnies are still seperate... i've started bonding twice and the 2nd time all was great but then 'dearest hubby' didn't watch them carefully (enough) and a fight broke out.  we keep them separate but the cages are together -although they are kept apart enough to stop damage through the bars and we have to put a mesh around them when one is out (Mable has bit Booboo's nose! and she was the one out!) So I've given them a break of about 3 weeks, and i'm going to start again soon.  We have let them out breifly together, most of the time its ok, but we can tell if tensions rise..and we can't take our eyes off them.

I think you have to be patience and not rush things..but it can be very frustrating and disapointing x

What seems to kick things off with mine is in the evenings, they both love to runs around binkying and skipping, but when they do this and they're both out it seems to annoy the other, and it turns into the 'death spiral' (god just saying it makes me scared) and thats it.  Its awful when they're gunning for each other..But i will keep trying and if i'm still here in 2 years saying the same thing then i will admit defeat, but not until!!

Taking them for a drive really helps mine, but so does putting them in the cardboard box and carrying it around x


User is Offline ea hurse
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10/19/2006 9:18 AM
thanks bunnybabe, its not that im glad that you're in the same boat but, well, i am kind of- it's good to know that people understand. its so gut-wrenching to see them fight when they are both so nice individually, and poor Lollo, he looked gutted that Blue had started on him! i will wait a few weeks and try again. thanks all for the support!


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