By Shannon Morrison
Three bunnies. One cottontail cottage. Who will win?
Bonding three bunnies was a task I set out to accomplish over three years ago (at this point). In October 2011 Mandi and I lost our best friend Hoosier. I had major difficulty with the idea of getting another bunny, but Mandi was devastated and basically became listless and depressed. So, I had to set out and find her a friend.
Needless to say, it took two bunnies to fill our hearts.
First there is Bert. Or Albert Phineas, or Bertie, or small paws, or clown bunny, or ghost bunny…..he has a lot of names. He and Mandi clicked right away. It only took them a couple weeks of serious dating to really get them bonded. Two bunnies, I’ve done it twice now….I have ideas of what I am doing.
The trouble is that I fell in love with another bunny. Thurmmie aka Tan Tan is almost the spitting image of my Hoosier, albeit a little darker in coloring. I guess I have a soft spot for tan mini lops. But, he had a dog bite on his ear and he was clueless about how to engage (with bunnies or people). I guess I also have a soft spot for bunnies that are ‘troubled.’
With Mandi and Bert bonded I was left trying to figure out how to add Tan Tan into the mix.
First note: All bunnies were adopted from a local rescue group-so they were all spayed and neutered.
I picked a neutral zone. Added the litter box (first mistake) and brought all bunnies to the area. Yeah….not so much. A fight broke out almost immediately between Bert and Tan. It got so bad that even after splitting them up, they turned on Mandi, who at 10 years old doesn’t need to deal with a bunch of shenanigans from the boys. What did I do wrong? Well, I forgot that one litter box with three bunnies was not the best decision. I was also out of my element by being outnumbered. Luckily my husband was around to help grab a bunny to break up the fight. Remember, it’s natural to let them sort some things out, but circling, head humping, and chasing aren’t really things you want your bunnies to do.
So, I am trying a different approach this time around. There is a lot of literature out there on bonding two bunnies (OHRR has a great one by Amy Shears), but adding three, four, or more is where it really starts to get interesting. Bunnies are by nature social creatures, and the House Rabbit Society is typically in favor of little warrens, but this is not by any stretch of the imagination easy.
This little series “Game of Buns” will be about my efforts to bond the three bunnies. Along the way, I will share what is working and what is not working and ultimately I hope to have a trio of happy bunnies.