My Secrets to Bonding My Bunnies
I am often asked how I bond so many of my bunnies
together. In order to keep from writing the same information over and over, I
decided to create this page. I can't guarantee that these steps will work for you
but it is what has worked for me.
I begin by placing the new bunny in a cage in the area of the bunnies
that I want to bond the new bunny to. This allows them to get to know each other
through the cage and start mixing their scents with each other. I leave the cage
with the new bunny in the others bunnies area for several days and take the new bunny out
of the cage and the area for some exercise time.
Once I have done the step above for a few days, its time to move on to
the next step. I spend several minutes rubbing and petting each bunny to get their
scent on my hand. I then go on and start petting and rubbing the next bunny to add
the first bunny's scent and pick up the next ones scent. I make sure to rub my
fingers all the way through the fur down to the skin. I continue doing this until I
have rubbed all bunnies twice and mixing them together.
Now it is time for neutral territory. I have used my bathtub if it
is a small group but I prefer my dining room table. It is high enough that they are
not likely to jump down and I can be standing up to easily intervene. When doing
large groups, I usually use my husband and kids and we stand all around the table to break
up any fights and to be sure that no one falls.
If the session starts out with the bunnies ignoring each other, I know I
will have success. If they lay into each other immediately, it is still possible but
will take longer. When the bunnies are on the table, we stand there and just watch
them. If they start to tussle, I put a hand on each to separate them and loudly
shout NO. I continue to separate them each time they go back after each other.
Depending on how they are getting along determines how long I leave them up there.
If they are just sitting around and couldn't care less about the others, I leave
them there for at least 30 minutes. If they keep tussling with each other, I may
only do it for 10 minutes the first time and then try to gradually increase the time.
Once the bunnies are getting along on the table, its time to work on
joining them in there area. I start out by cleaning all litter boxes, wipe
everything down and wash the floor to remove as much of the scent as possible. I
leave the newest bunnies cage door open and let them all out in the area at the same time.
The existing bunnies will often go in the new bunnies cage to check it out.
At this point, you can expect them to start tussling again since a new bunny is in their
I continue to separate them any time they start to fight. This is
where most people give up and think that the bunnies will never get along. It is
very difficult to watch a bunny that you love fighting with another bunny. Now is a
good time to bring on their favorite treats. I shake the bottle of papaya or get
them their fresh salad or dried fruit and start giving it to them. They suddenly
stop any fighting and everyone happily eats. Its ok to let them mount each other and
do a little fighting and there may be some fur that flys. I will allow them to do
this for about 10 seconds at a time and then separate them. It is important for them
to establish who the dominant bunny is and see if the others give in.
I would repeat the above steps until there is no more fighting and they
all seem to be getting along. In the meantime, I put the new bunny back in the cage
for the night so that it can't get hurt while I am not there to watch. Once everyone
seems to be getting along during the day, then I will allow them to stay together at
This entire process usually takes me 2-3 weeks. What I have noticed
is that the larger the group of bunnies, the easier it is to add another one in. I
will generally have at least 1 or 2 bunnies who are mellow and laid back and will help to
protect the new bunny from the dominant one until they are all getting along.
It is important to realize that with large groups of bunnies, they won't
all be in love with each other. You will notice that they find their favorites who
they cuddle with the most but that doesn't mean they can't all get along. If one
bunny always seems to be left out, never cuddling with any other bunnies or is getting
picked on, I strongly recommend trying to put that bunny in with a different group or
trying to add a new bunny to the bunch. It would be very sad for one bunny to have
no other bunnies loving him/her and grooming him/her so you must watch the dynamics of the
group and be sure that everyone is being accepted.
My bunnies have gotten used to accepting new bunnies that it is usually
very easy to add a new bunny to the group. They have plenty of place to run around
and play as well as get away from each other when they want to. I certainly hope the
steps that I use may help you to get your bunnies bonded together.