BUNNY 911 – If your rabbit hasn’t eaten or pooped in 12-24 hours, call a vet immediately! Don’t have a vet? Check out VET RESOURCES

The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

       What are we about?  Please read about our Forum Culture and check out the Rules


Home Forums BONDING leo and ollie, try bonding again?

This topic contains 6sd replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  DanaNM 1 year ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #1321283


    hello everyone, so I am in need of some opinions. 

    just a brief background summary, Ollie is my neutered Netherland Dwarf who is five years old & we also have Leo who is a neutered mini lop who is around 2 years old. I tried bonding in the past, we did neutral territory timed sessions in the bathtub, and in the hallway, and once those resulted in no fights and mutual good signs for longer periods of time, we moved on to semi neutral in the living room, and they actually were there together in an ex pen for whole days at a time with no problems, and multiple good signs as well. After about 5-7 days of that I decided to move them into a ex pen which would be ideally their permanent home base together, and things were good for about 7 days. then randomly a fight broke out, and we separated them because my parents were leaving on a last minute trip and there would be no one here to supervise them 24/7. that’s how they’ve been since then, I would say this is about a year ago.

     they’ve been living in their own ex pens with one shared wall now for about a year and they’ve not had a problem with this setup, but what I’m wondering is, since they only had minimal problems after that first week of living together permanently, should I have tried to just go through parts of the bonding process again? 

    I feel that their is a possibly that they could still live together. I also have more time at home now also to dedicate to a quality bonding process, is this something that you see as a possibility for them? Has anyone ever had a similar situation? I’ve always wanted them to be able to live together as I feel that they would be happier in the long run. But is this something that is in the cards for them if I go through the ropes of the bonding process again? 

    I am going to be reading up to refresh my mind on the ways to bond and what would work if I do decide to try again, but for now I am looking for all of your honest opinions and tips or experiences of a successful bond. Thanks in advance!



    Oh man, bummer about that fight. My impression is that since the fight broke out really early on, that they could be bonded. It sounds like make they just weren’t quite “cemented”, so something upset them. With time to supervise (and maybe a return to the semi-neutral space), I’m wondering if they could have sorted things out.

    I think given their history, you will want to make sure to allow extra time for supervising during the cementing period, just in case there are any flair ups.

    I also think that since they have been living side by side for a year, that they will have a different relationship going into things, as this might even be considered a prolonged pre-bonding period.

    I guess in my mind it doesn’t really hurt to try, because worst case you end up with them going back to the current set up? There was a member a while ago who had multiple rounds of thinking their buns were bonded, and then several days into cementing a fight would break out. In that case I think those buns just might not have been a good match. So I think if the same thing happens again (2 weeks of peace followed by a fight), then it might be that your two are just not a good match.

    I will also say that moving from neutral to semi too quickly can sometimes cause issues like this, so I tend to wait until the buns seem 100% bonded in neutral before moving to the next space.



    thanks for the quick reply DanaNM!!! also big thanks for the good advice. I will most likely just do some short sessions in a completely neutral space and see how that goes for a while, will make sure not to move onto semi-neutral too fast, as I’m not in any sort of schedule for this, I think too often we expect them to just get along and progress at our “human” pace and don’t let them figure things out completely on their own time. patience is a hard thing when you want them to get along so badly!!

    a quick question though, what do you recommend for neutral space in terms of how it’s set up? I’m going to be using my kitchen, but wondering if I should let them have free roam of the whole thing and just block off doorways, or if I should set up an smaller ex-pen? Do you know of any way that works “better”? I’m not sure if one right way even exists but just wondering if you (or any other members) had any experience with either of those options.

    Also , another quick question, in order for cemented bonding to occur, do both have to be grooming each other the same amount? Last time I tried, leo was bonding Ollie a significant amount more than vice versa. Any opinions on this? Is that just because Leo established that he was the “top” bun and Ollie was more submissive?

    Thanks again and sorry for the extra questions!!!

    Will most likely start a bonding thread to keep track easily for myself and maybe help others in similar situations.



    You are completely right about the patience thing! Aside from neutral territory, it is the most important thing in bonding!

    I’ve always had the best luck with larger spaces, provide they are truly neutral. So if you kitchen is really neutral (not bordering their area), then I would use the whole thing. Some people do like smaller spaces, but in my experience things tend to escalate to full on fights more easily, as they can’t get away from each other. (Kinda like being locked in a closet with someone… if you feel threatened by them you might feel like you need to defend yourself).

    The grooming doesn’t necessarily have to be equal, but you should see lots of cuddling, absolutely no nervousness around each other, litter box sharing (usually), food sharing (bonded pairs will take food out each other’s mouths), and just a general high level of comfort with each other. Within my pairs it’s always seemed like something just “clicked”. If you find yourself questioning it or worrying about them, then they prob aren’t bonded yet. For example, in an unbonded pair, if one bunny goes near the other’s rear end, that will make one bunny nervous. They might flinch, run away, or even turn and lunge at them. But in a bonded pair they can practically climb all over each other, sniff wherever they want to, and basically push the other bun out of their way without anything happening.

    The bun that asks to be groomed is the dominant, the one grooming is submissive. But, as time goes on, usually you will see grooming from both.



    DanaNM – I really appreciate all of your help!! I already feel more prepared than I did last time, and more confident that they will hopefully (fingers crossed) be able to be bonded. The kitchen is quite far away from their area, so I feel it will work well. It is tile so I will most likely put down something to allow for more traction, although they are both used to tile and not really bothered by it anymore. When we tried bonding before, they had no problems eating around each other, they both flopped and were semi-relaxed from the very beginning. I’m thinking that I moved on too quickly and that their bond wasn’t fully cemented in the time that I gave them. Ah another human/patience mistake.

    I’m hoping that if I do a detailed bonding journal, I will be able to get some other members opinions along the way on how things are going. I will probably do the first session later today and see how initial reactions are. My hope is that in their little minds they’ll be thinking “hey! I remember you!” but maybe that’s too high of stakes hahah.

    bun that asks to be groomed is the dominant, the one grooming is submissive. But, as time goes on, usually you will see grooming from both.

    I had no idea this was the case! I thought it was the opposite lol! You learn something new everyday! Thanks again for the great advice and knowledge!!!



    I had a pair that had more one-sided grooming but they were really cuddly. As to your question, I have had a similar experience. I was working on a trio, gave up, and let them continue living with a shared fence for over a year. One day out of the blue, about a week ago, the bonded pair hopped over the fence to the single bunny, and they r now a trio. With zero effort on my part. Im not saying put them together and expect a miracle, but I do believe that an extended living arrangement with a shared fence, makes future bonding entirely possible, and probably easier.



    That’s awesome Vanessa! And so nice to see you on here again

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.