How we bonded our rabbits - Nini and Eddie
Read about the bonding between our rabbits Nini and Eddie and why it's good to keep two rabbits together
Here is our experience with bonding rabbits. Fortunately, the joining of rabbits does not have to be difficult.
After our beloved free rabbit Ninus died, we bought a new rabbit, Nini, which was to be a happy cage free bunny in our house. We’d had Nini (the brown rabbit) for a little while, but she has a pretty anxious personality. She doesn’t get much out of her enclosure, even though the door is always open, and when she gets out, she stays under the furniture.
We’ve really tried to tame her. I started by sticking treats in through the bars so she could eat out of my hand. It succeeded after looong time. Then I sat inside the enclosure with delicious greens in my hand every day, but she wouldn’t come up to me and eat out of my hand. After a long period of time we got so far that she jumped over and quickly took a bite and quickly jumped away again. It was a shame; for her, and for us, because we didn’t get much out of each other. That’s why we decided to get another rabbit.
The adoption of Eddie
We found Eddie inside the danish adoptions site on Facebook. He lived with a nice lady who was very fond of him. But unfortunately couldn’t keep him because of allergy. We went home and visited Eddie, and agreed on a date when they would come home to us with him. Eddie is a very relaxed and calm rabbit, so we thought it will provide a good counterbalance to Nini’s anxious personality.
Preparations for bonding
First of all, of course, we made sure that both rabbits were neutralized. If one of the parties is not, the bonding of the rabbits will be difficult because of fighting. We made two smallerenclosures next to each other out in the kitchen as it is a room where Nini usually never stays. And therefore is a neutral room. If you put them together in a place where one rabbit lives normally, it will feel the new rabbit entering its territory.
There were also opportunities for the rabbits to hide from each other in small houses and tunnels if they wanted complete peace. Their feed bowls are far away from each other so they don’t feel like they have to fight for their feed with each other.
Day 1: Eddie arrives: Rabbit bonding starts
Eddie arrives at noon. We’re going to the fence with his carrying bag. Nini seems curious and comes and sniffs at Eddie. We carry both rabbits simultaneously into the new enclosures in the kitchen. Eddie gets some of his old stuff from home into the cage. His basket, the pee tray, his tunnel, his teddy bear and his food bowl. That way, we think the move will be a little more comfortable and safe for him.
Nini bites Eddie’s old owner in the hand as he puts his hand down to her. That’s a clear indication that she’s very uncomfortable with the situation.
We’re getting a little nervous if the bonding is going to go well.
All afternoon, Nini tries to attack Eddie through the bars every time they go to sniff at each other. Eddie seems pretty relaxed with it all and is curious and wants to smell Nini. He just takes a step back when she tries to bite.
In the evening, however, there is already calm in there and we hear no more attacks on the bars.
Day 2: The first progress
The next morning, when we get into the kitchen, they sit in peace and calm next to each other. Eddie chews in his basket, and Nini’s grooming herself. Eddie, who is usually completely clean and only poops in his tray, had pooped and peed everywhere in his side of the cage. It was the first step in bunny bonding.
Day 3: First exit together
Bonding of rabbits: sore progress. The next morning we cut a carrot in two and gave them a piece each right next to each other which they ate in peace and harmony.
In the afternoon, after we cleaned up a little bit inside, we tried to change places between them for 15 minutes. So Nini came over on Eddie’s side of the fence and Eddie in Nini’s side, still separated. They were both very curious and eagerly went and sniffed at all each other’s stuff.
In the evening we thought it all went so well, so we let them together in the bathroom, with us, so we could separate them if there was trouble. We sat with them for half an hour in there and Eddie would constantly hump Nini and not just from behind. Nini looked like she didn’t think it was so funny and ran away from him. We were a little shocked over it because it seems a bit rough when you haven’t seen it before. They came back in the cages again. Strange for us, but its a natural part of rabbit bonding.
Day 4: Cuddle and progress in bonding rabbits
On day 4, we saw Nini sticking her head in between the bars so Eddie could cuddle her on the head. We also gave them exit in the bedroom again in the evening. It worked out fine. Eddie would only hump Nini twice, and was otherwise most curious about the surroundings. Today it was Nini who was most interested in Eddie, and settled in front of him several times so he could jump up. They were probably out together for an hour. The joining of our rabbits is going really well.
Day 5-7 Exit every day
Gradually we let them out for a few hours each day, with free access to the whole house. Bonding rabbits is going really well.
On day 7 we removed the bars between their enclosure. And it went well and without any problems.
Day 9 Eddie and Nini move in together
Then the bonding of the rabbits is about to be over. On day 9 they then moved together in the large enclosure in the living room, where they were supposed to live together (and still do) The first 3-4 days we had closed the door to the fence. That’s because, after all, Eddie had lived in the kitchen for over a week, and probably felt like it was his place to stay, so he had to get used to the fact that he belongs in the living room with Nini. Actually he broke out the first night, and we found him in the kitchen in the morning.
How has it affected Nini’s behavior to get a friend
It has really helped to get a more balanced and calm rabbit friend. She still prefers to be inside her safe frame on her side to the enclosure, but she always rushes to one when approaching the cage and puts her head down because she wants to be cuddled by us. And she eats treats from the hand now because she’s seen Eddie do it. She’s become more cuddly towards us, and she just loves Eddie very much and cuddles him all the time and lies with him when he’s with her.
Eddie is just a happy rabbit who bounces around the whole house and begs treats. At night he goes in to the fence and sleeps together with Nini.
It was indeed a very successful bonding of rabbits 🙂
Bunny and Cat