If you have been working on bonding two of your bunnies for a while, or you would like to know more about what it takes to bond two bunnies, one of OHRR’s Bonding Experts, Amy Shears has created a handy list of tips and tricks for bonding bunnies.

  • Both rabbits should be spayed/neutered. The strong hormones in unaltered bunnies can cause aggressive and/or sexual behavior. After they are spayed/neutered you will want to wait a few weeks before starting the bonding process because it can take some time for the hormones to get out of their systems.
  • It is always best to let your rabbit choose who they want to live with. The bonding process will be a lot easier if you let them pick their own bunny buddy!
  • You should let your bunny meet 2-3 rabbits during the dating process. This will allow you to compare how all the dates went. You may think the first date was great, but then see that the second or third date actually was more successful. Although male-female bonding is usually the easiest, female-female and male-male could also work. It’s good to remember that bonding is about personality and not about the size or breed of the potential friend!
  • When you take your new bunny home, set their x-pens next to each other about 3-inches apart. You don’t want them to be able to bite and injure one another because the pens are too close.
  • Place their food on the sides of the pen closest to the other bunny. It is good for them to see each other while they are eating.
  • In the beginning, you should always start in a neutral area to do the dates. I like to start in the bathtub because it is slippery so it is hard for them to get good footing to fight. It is also easy to slide one away if they start nipping. You don’t want to put them into a place where they can start fighting and you can’t get to them. For example, you can use the bathroom as neutral territory, but if they get behind the toilet it can be hard for you to try to break up a fight.
  • When you put the bunnies together, always have something on hand to stop a fight. A broom, a spray bottle filled with water, something that will make a loud noise, or gloves for your hands. Never reach in to stop a fight without protecting your hands. Fights can happen very quickly and a bunny may not mean to bite you, but in the midst of a fight it may happen accidentally.
  • Nipping will most likely happen at some point during the bonding process. It is normal and isn’t always a negative action. Sometimes a rabbit will nip the other because they want him/her to groom them.
  • Petting both bunnies during the bonding process helps to keep them calm. This will also help to prevent them from nipping, and, if they do nip, your hands are right there to pull them away. Keep your hands on the top of their heads and not near their mouths so you don’t get nipped yourself!
  • You don’t want to give the bunnies anything “territorial” during their dates such as a litter box, hidey boxes or food. As you move forward in the process, you can slowly start to add these items. Always add two litter boxes, two hidey boxes, and two food bowls (or spread the food out on the floor). When you add hidey boxes, make sure there are separate entrances and exits so one bunny doesn’t go in and the other follows pushing the first into a corner without a way out if a fight happens in the box.
  • Bonding sessions may only last about 10-15 minutes at first. That is okay. Don’t stress about it; you can slowly increase the time until they can spend hours together.
  • At first, you should always be with the bonding pair. Then you will start to feel comfortable leaving them for a few minutes, and then a little longer. It can sometimes take a while before you feel you can leave them. You always want to stay in earshot and you don’t ever want to leave them if they are still having issues when you are there.
  • Bunnies have bad days too. You may feel like everything is progressing great and then you have a bad date. That is normal.
  • Sometimes when you move them to the next stage, it may seem like you are taking a step backwards. For example they get along great in the bathtub and you move them to an x-pen in the living room and you have to be more hands on to keep them from nipping. Hang in there!
  • The amount of time it takes to bond each pair is different because every bunny is different. It can take months before you have them living together. That doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong; some rabbits figure out who is going to be dominant quickly and others take more time. Some don’t have setbacks moving on to the next stage and some do.
  • Mounting can sometimes be an issue. Mounting is one way bunnies establish dominance. It isn’t always the male that mounts either. When one rabbit mounts the other, I will pet the submissive (bottom) rabbit to try to keep him/her calm. I wait a few seconds and then gently pull the dominant (top) bunny off. If the submissive bunny is not upset when he/she is being mounted, allowing it to happen for a few seconds lets the dominant bunny know he can be dominant. Hopefully he/she will stop feeling the need to mount. If the submissive bunny will not tolerate it for even a few seconds, I pull the dominant bunny off immediately as it could lead to a fight. Mounting may happen a lot in the initial bonding stage, but should subside.
  • It is normal for rabbits to mark during the bonding process. You may notice they will poop along the pen closest to the other bunny. That is their way of saying “This is mine”. Once they are bonded, marking will stop. They are not forgetting their litter box habits, they are marking that area as their own.
  • Trust your instincts. You will know when they’re ready to move to the next bonding stage, be it adding territorial items, moving into a larger area, or leaving them alone for a longer period of time when you can start to trust them not to fight in the current situation.

Help! My bunnies are fighting and I don’t know what to do!
Suggestions for a difficult bonding process:

1. Stress bonding is done when you want to get the rabbits to learn to trust each other and/or to stop them from fighting. When you put two bunnies in a stressful situation, they will lean on each other for comfort. Below are some stress bonding techniques. After a stress bonding, you can also try to put them back into the place where you normally do your dates to see how they do.

  • Take the bunnies for a car ride. Take them out in separate carriers and then when you are in the car, put them together in a place where you can still get to both of them in case they do fight. You can use a laundry basket or a box. If the top comes off your carrier, you can also use that. You will need two people: a driver and someone to watch the bunnies who is comfortable stopping a fight if it happens.
  •  Do laundry. Turn your washing machine to the spin cycle and put the bunnies in a laundry basket or box on top of the washing machine.
  •  Clean the house. Turn the vacuum cleaner on near the bunnies.
  • Carry them around. Put them in a laundry basket or box and carry them around the house.
  • Take them for a walk in a pet stroller. Either outside if it is nice or around your house.

2. Try a different bonding area. If you are using the bathtub, try the kitchen. Try smaller areas and bigger areas.

3. Rub banana on their noses. They will lick it off and the other bunny will think they are grooming them.

4. You can switch the bunnies’ enclosures. This will get them use to each others’ smells and also help them to understand that a certain enclosures is not “theirs”. If you don’t want to switch enclosures, you can switch out litter boxes, toys, food and water bowls, and hidey boxes.

5. Give both bunnies separate time out to run around before doing a date. The goal here is that they are both so tired when you do the date they will relax and will not be interested in fighting.

This Post Has 51 Comments

  1. I need major help. Ive had my famale neatherland dwarf since she was a month or two old she is now fiur yeare old. She is fixed. I recently got a baby nestherland dwarf hoping to bond them but he is still not fixed as ye isnt 6 months yet. The breeder i got them both from are the same. My issue is they just wont bond.the breeder told me to just go at it hut they fight very aggressively. Tofay i let them loose in the laundry room and they faught crazy and puller each others fur out jumping and circling. My female is very sassy while my male is very sweet and lovey. Is this a loss cause? Do i get rid of one? I love them to death but i cant make that choice. They are both in seperate enclosures but can see snell each other. Its a puppy pen with chicken wire in the middle. Im at a loss please help. Do i just not try to bond them ever again?

    1. Thank you for reaching out. One of our bonding coordinators is going to reach out (if she has not already) to assist with some of your questions.

  2. I’m curious to know what whether we can separate bonded bunnies for a period of time. Will they come back to their original bonded stage, or do we need to start all over, or will they reject each other for having been gone? thanks for all your help

    1. There is a possibility you will have to re-bond. We highly recommend you do not separate a bonded pair once they are bonded. Not only can they become unbonded, but they also may become depressed by their missing mate. This could cause them to stop eating, thereby causing them to go into GI stasis, which can be life-threatening. We highly recommended keeping the pair together.

  3. Hi, I’m not living in the states. Google leads me here. I’m living in an apartment with a female for around two years. I wonder if we can bring in a male. The problem is the female seems to consider the entire apartment as hers and she basically has visited every corner of the apartment. What would be your suggestion in this case? Thanks

    1. Many of our adopted bunnies have become free-roam in their Forever Homes and have similar issues locating a neutral space when attempting to bond. Some ideas for trying to create a “neutral territory” would be perhaps taking the bunny to a friend or family member’s house for dating. Another idea would be the bathtub, though we would recommend putting a rug in it to make it easier for them to get their footing. A bathtub can make for tight quarters, so if a basement is available, that’s also a great idea. Finally, if there are no other options, covering the floor with something such as a blanket and putting a pen around the blanket to conduct the date may create the illusion of another “new” area to your female bunny.

    2. Hello Dennis, You have been sent an email. Please communicate with us via that email. Bev

  4. Having trouble bonding my bunnies! They fight! Please help :/

    1. Hello, Please start communicating with us by email at contact@ohiohouserabbitrescue.org and tell us more about your 2 bunnies – ages, sexes, etc. Bev

  5. How do I know when they are bonded? We have a 2 yr old female and adopted a rescue male who is abt the same age. He mounts her but she doesn’t seem to care (we do pull him off immediately). he grooms her but she won’t groom him yet. no biting or fighting, but she will jerk away if he grooms too close to her eyes. I just don’t know when to move on to the next stage. Thanks

    1. Some amount of mounting is perfectly fine and part of the bonding process. It’s typically a dominance behavior. It can be dangerous if the mounting is to the face because the bunny being mounted could bite and seriously injure the bunny in their stomach or genital area. If this is occurring, it should immediately be stopped. Otherwise, you should let it happen as they work out their dominance and differences. If there is no biting or fighting, you might want to let the bonding dates go on a little longer. If you could email us at contact@ohiohouserabbitrescue.org, we can get you in touch with some of our bonding experts to provide you with specific tips.

  6. So I adopted a male rabbit for my female rabbit. I have been doing the bonding process for 3 weeks. I’ve noticed they are doing really well but they both want to be groomed. No rabbit has tried grooming the other, instead they put their heads down at the same time. This cause the rabbit I’ve had the longest for to get frustrated was and nip at the Male rabbit. What do I do? I have tried the banana trick multiple times, and it seems to not be working.

    1. Having two bunnies that both want to be the dominant one in the relationship is not unusual, and there may be some initial frustration until they’ve determined their hierarchy. Eventually, they should figure it out on their own, and there probably isn’t much you can do aside from continuing to provide them with supervised bonding dates until they’ve figured out how their relationship is going to work. If you want to email us at contact@ohiohouserabbitrescue.org, we can put you directly in touch with our bonding experts.

  7. My 8 month French lop lives with 4 mini lops quite happily until recently they all died due to RHD2 virus but my French Lop survived (and is now fully vaccinated) but I feel he is lonely! I bought a single mini female lop who is also lovely but they struggle to get along! They talk all day through their cages but when put together he chases her and bites pulling out fur, she just runs away – help!! I desperately want them to live together and be happy again.

  8. We have a 2-year old neutered bunny and recently took in a bonded pair male/female who are 7-8 weeks old. We plan to have them both neutered/spayed. I know the recommendation to begin the bonding process is when bunnies are “fixed” but does it hurt to try to bond them now? Or should we keep them apart until fixed. Their cages sit next to each other and we haven’t really see any issues so far.

    1. The first step we recommend for any successful bonding process is spaying/neutering the bunnies. At OHRR this is followed by a couple weeks to allow the bunnies to heal from surgery and hormones to adjust prior to any bonding dates. While there may not be any aggression with the bunnies being housed neighboring each other, this will likely change with the bunnies entering each others’ spaces. The added complication of unspayed/unneutered bunnies could mean sudden aggression, injuries, and a very difficult bond. For the safety of the rabbits and a lasting bond, we recommend waiting until after surgery and recovery.

  9. I have a 7 months old sprayed female bunny since earlier, and I am currently trying to bond her with a 1 month younger bunny from the same breed. The “new” bunny is also female but not sprayed yet due to age. They have spend a couple of hours together and neither of them have shown any sign of agression, however my first bunny is very scared and runs away as soon as the new one gets close (the new one also mounted her a few times but only for a few seconds before she escaped). My old bunny is also curious and tried to get close a couple of times but ends up getting scared and running away before the new one has a chance to react. If I feed them both with pellets or greens my old bunny won’t mind her new roomie being close at all, because the focus is all on the food. They both eat, drink, groom and behave normally. Should I be worried about them starting a fight from nowhere or is it safe to let them get to know each other this way? There are multiple litter boxes and hiding spaces in the apartment.

    1. Hi Anna, due to the ages of these bunnies, I will pass this comment along and have someone reach out to you via email.

  10. Hi!

    I have a bonded pair I’m concerned is unbonding. They are a male and female who have both been fixed and living together for over a year.

    All of a sudden things seem different. The male is very slowly chasing the girl and trying to mount her. He moves so slowly that she ends up moving. If he moved faster he certainly could catch her but it’s almost like he doesn’t intend to mount her. She definitely hates it because she sprints away.

    That being said they still eat, lounge, and groom each other fine. I’m not sure if this weird behavior will escalate. And – I’m not sure what caused this!

  11. Hi!
    I have a 10 month old spayed female and I’m just adopted a 8 week old baby bunny ! What should i do first? I have them in separate play pens, but I’m not sure how to start? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Anna, Both rabbits should be spayed/neutered prior to beginning any bonding. The baby bunny is likely not old enough for this yet. A bunny at only 8 weeks only should probably not yet be away from its birth mother. I would first recommend speaking to a bunny-savvy vet about how to deal with the bunny being removed from its mother at such a young age. You will then want to discuss at what age the bunny can safely be safely spayed/neutered. After the surgery, the bunny will need a few weeks to heal and lose its hormones before the bonding process can begin. Please feel free to contact us at contact@ohiohouserabbitrescue.org with additional questions.

  12. Have a male almost 12 weeks old and adopting a female 8 weeks old. These guys are too young to be spayed and neutered but they will be in tight quarters. Should I be concerned?

    1. Thank you for reaching out. While litter-mates can often be housed together until they reach maturity, we do not typically recommend attempting to bond bunnies until the spay / neuter surgeries are complete. You should reach out to a local bunny-savvy vet for a health check and timing for their surgeries. If they are currently housed together and begin to fight, we we would recommend breaking up any fights immediately and separating the bunnies until the surgeries are complete and they have had time to heal. OHRR’s housing requirements are at least a 4 ft x 4 ft pen area with room for expansion during play time.

  13. I have 2 male rabbits— a 2.5 year old flemish giant (Odin), and a 1.5 year old mini rex (Cheesecake). Both have been neutered for about a year. Both rabbits are extremely friendly to people (seriously, I got Cheesecake because the first time we ever met him he licked me endlessly). Cheesecake was a rescue and seems to have experience with other rabbits, and is not aggressive toward Odin. Odin has never had experience with other rabbits, and is very aggressive toward Cheesecake’s advances. For example, Cheesecake went up to Odin with no signs of aggression what so ever, and Odin lunged at him. It seems as though both rabbits want to be dominant, but Cheese is much more civil about it, and Odin doesn’t really know what to do. We have been trying to bond them for about a year now (albeit not very consistently), and I would really appreciate some suggestions!

    I really think Cheesecake wants a buddy, but we can’t get a third rabbit, so Odin is what we have to work with. Odin would obviously benefit from a buddy, too.

    1. Thank you for reaching out. Rabbits of the same sex can often be very hard to bond. We find that unless they were littermates that were never separated, they are much more difficult to bond than a pair of the opposite sex. That being said, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it may just be harder. I would recommend starting slow, by just simply housing the bunnies in pens next to each other. You should put some type of barrier between the pens so that they can’t get close enough to bite and potentially injure one another. The side-by-side housing will allow them to get used to each other’s movements, smells, behavior, etc. It may allow the aggressive bunny to feel less threatened by the other bunny. After some time of this side-by-side housing, you will hopefully start to see less aggressive behavior. You may even see the bunnies laying on the side of their pen close to the other bunny. This would be ideal. The next step would then be allowing the bunnies to “date” in a neutral space. If there is an area of the house where neither bunny has been (especially the aggressive bunny), it would be a good location. Make sure to break up any fights that could potentially injure one of the bunnies. Loud noises, such as turning on a vacuum cleaner or banging a pot, could scare the bunnies when it looks like they are about to fight. Consistency is key, so sticking with these dates in neutral territory over the course of several dates is the best way to keep working toward a bond. Try to end all dates on a positive note, such as the bunnies laying together in the pen, grooming each other, or some type of positive (or at least not negative) interaction. Try not to end the dates on negative interactions, such as a fight.

  14. Hello! I’ve had a male bunny for about 4 years, just him. I recently decided to adopt a female so he would have a bond, as he seemed lonely. She is flopping, leaning down for cleaning, and cuddling up to him. He is sitting still, seemingly in fear. They did some mutual mounting at the beginning, but some bunny tornadoes happened, and I had misunderstood what those were and didn’t break them up immediately. I’m afraid that may have impended the process. He’s a free roam rabbit, so I’ve been swapping their boxes and bowls, and I swapped the sheets in their respective areas of the living room. I’ve taken them on car rides. They’re currently on a date in the bathtub and he just tried to jump out. As I was typing that, she mounted him and he peed. At that point I clapped to end the mounting, unsure if it caused him discomfort due to him peeing. I don’t know what else to do because I feel like I’m second guessing everything, and I feel quite alone in the process. Any advice would be helpful.

    1. Many of the frustrations you’ve been having are quite common and all part of the process. If she is flopping and cuddling next to him, it sounds like she is quite interested and that is a good sign. Leaning down to be groomed means she wants him to groom her, making her the likely dominant one, and he’ll eventually either agree to that or change her mind. You can try smearing a little banana on the top her head and he may lick it off. Even though he would be licking the banana, she may interpret it as grooming and it will make her happy. He may find he likes grooming her in the process. Also, if you are able to get them to sit next to each other, it may be helpful to kind of “force” them to snuggle by trying to keep them in place while you pet them side-by-side. They may find they like laying together and getting pets, and eventually they’ll try to snuggle each other without you petting them. Try to end all dates on a good note – a good interaction rather than a fight. Remember to be patient. Ultimately, they need to work out the hierarchy in their relationship and it can take some time. It is rarely love at first sight, and it’s almost always work, but well worth it in the end. Those are just a few ideas, but you can reach out to us at contact@ohiohouserabbitrescue.org and we can get you in touch with our bonding experts

  15. Hello, we are new bun parents as we recently adopted a pair of bonded brothers. Eventually I would like to add additional bunnies to the warren and am wondering about timeline (how long should we wait after initial adoption of the bun boys to adopting again and attempt to bond) and would it be best to get just one girl bun or another bonded pair of female buns. Thank you in advance for you time and assistance.

    1. Bonding additional bunnies to an already bonded pair, can often be complicated and can change the dynamics of the originally bonded pair. Careful attention should be paid to ensure the safety of all bunnies involved and keeping the bond in place for already bonded pair. Each situation can be different and we would recommend reaching out to your local rescue or house rabbit society for guidance. If you are local to the Columbus area, OHRR, Columbus House Rabbit Society, and Columbus Humane all have bonding experts who can guide you, so please reach out via email or phone. If you are not local to this area, many metropolitan areas have chapters of the House Rabbit Society who should be able to assist in guidance and answering your questions.

  16. Hi! I just adopted a Flemish giant male that is super outgoing and friendly to be with my 2 year old male mini lop that has not been with another rabbit since he was separated from his litter. The Flemish giant got neutered a month ago and he is mounting my mini lop a lot and it seems like he doesn’t know what to do. The Flemish is also putting his head underneath the mini I assume because he wants groomed and the mini doesn’t understand that. After that the Flemish will either mount again or start nipping. The Flemish also pulls out his fur when he mounts, not obsessively but enough to where the mini will get mad. No fighting had ever occurred, the mini has only thumped at him a couple times in the first couple introductions. I’m just wondering what I should do!

    1. It sounds like they’re working through some typical bonding issues. However, if you want to email us at contact@ohiohouserabbitrescue.org and we can get you in touch with our bonding experts to give you some ideas.

  17. I have 4 bunnies. First bunnies I got are 2 sisters that I got from a breeder- born on Sept 2018 (7 months old). I adopted a Senior Male bun (7 yrs old). Then I asked a local rescue to bond the trio for me and we added another male bun (7 months old). When they got home after the “bonding” from a neutral area with the rescue, I get home with furs pulled. I slowly expanded their area. On the 3rd week, at 2am I woke up seeing one of my girls and my senior bun having a head on fight. I took them all in a carrier and placed them on top of a drier, placed them back in. After 30 mins, they fought again. So I decided to separate them. Currently, I have the 2 girls together, and the 2 boys together without issues. Their pens are side by side. I have been swapping their pens or litter boxes. The boys are completely fine with it but the girls seems to be marking (droppings & chinnings) everywhere. The girls are mounting each other while the boys are just grooming each other.
    I am thinking to rebond them myself. If I start from a small pen/area in a neutral area and slowly expand, how do I move them to their permanent area (start from a small pen?) How slowly do I expand their area – since I am using NIC cubes – do I expand 1 cube each week?
    Also, do you have any suggestions how to clean the NIC cubes for the purpose of removing their scent?
    How do I handle the mounting – the girls are just so crazy in doing it.

    1. For removing scent, we typically use a spray bottle filled with a mixture of 50% white vinegar and 50% water. With typical “un-bonds”, we recommend going back to the initial stages of bonding and starting over, which it sounds like you’re doing. We wouldn’t typically jump to stress bonding (such as placing the bunnies on a drier), but rather a slow re-introduction and series of dates. We’d start with just a short period of time for the first date, gradually increasing the time for each date, and ending each date on a positive interaction. Due to the complicated nature of the number of bunnies involved in your bond, I’d recommend you email us at contact@ohiohouserabbitrescue.org so we may get you in touch with one of our bonding experts.

  18. Hello! I’m from Ontario, Canada. I have two male rabbits that I adopted from a meat farm last year at the end of May. One was 12 weeks (Patchouli) and the other 9 weeks (Oscar). They’re both chinchilla/New Zealand. They had been very kind to each other until the end of October when they had a big fight. They had been separated and then both fixed in February. About 6 weeks after the surgery, we began the bonding process. No luck so far. Patchouli is the dominant one and Oscar is very neutral, puts his head down for Patchouli but then proceeds to mount and I’m worried it’s stressing Oscar out. Another note is that Patchouli has an issue with traction and can’t walk on certain surfaces unless a blanket is laid down. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    1. Often young rabbits raised with siblings or housed together at a young age, will begin to separate when they approach adulthood. We would recommend housing your bunnies next to one another, but with enough barrier that they cannot bite each other through the exercise pen bars (perhaps place a board on the ground between the two pens). This will allow the bunnies to get used to each others movements and smells again. After a period of side-by-side housing, you can then begin to re-introduce the bunnies to each other through a series of dates following the typical bonding steps. As to the issue with traction, we always recommend bunnies have a rug or mat in their area. Slippery floors can cause injury and long-term damage. We have details about our recommend living space on the following site: https://www.ohiohouserabbitrescue.org/i-want-to-learn/bunny-living-space/

  19. I’m petrified he’s going to hurt her. I have a harlequin cross male and Netherland dwarf cross female. She is tiny and fits in the palm of my hand whereas he is an average size. I feel like he will hurt her with nipping and chasing during the bonding, shall I just let it happen or not risk it? she looks so fragile compared to him. I’ve done the usual things swapping bowls blankets huts etc and they’ve had one bonding session. Can anyone give advice Thankyou

    1. Some mild nipping may occur during the bonding process, but we always recommend intervening with any fights where the bunnies are causing physical harm to each other. It is better to start with short bonding sessions that end on positive interactions and then slowly increasing the time of each date. This method typically works better than allowing the dates to escalate to a point when a fight breaks out.

  20. Hi! I have two bunnies that I adopted just over 3 months ago. They’re approx 16months old and we’re raised together, both female.
    When I adopted them they weren’t desexed, so I had them desexed around 2 months ago.
    They are both free living house rabbits who share their enrichment space in my room.

    Every day for the past few weeks since their recovery, I’ve noticed that Remy (dominant) has been pulling tufts of fur from Nanachi (submissive). Sometimes she will chase her, other times she will act as if she’s going to groom her and then nip instead.
    Most of the time they are cuddling and eating together,
    I figured this was just them re-establishing their hierarchy after being fixed – occasionally I see Nanachi also attempt to mount Remy – so I thought it would calm down and haven’t attempted to intervene.

    I’ve recently noticed that Nanachi has become more and more frightful and withdrawn however. She won’t flop down next to me for fear that Remy will come and bulky her. She keeps getting chased out of all the hideaways and will now sleep on my bed at night for refuge.
    I checked her for wounds and found little scans on her back where the skin had been broken.
    I’m really worried and have no idea how to get them to play nice again.

    Side note: recently out of desperation, I attempted a bonding session in the laundry with the washing machine running to create a little bit of stress. This was successful and they were super chilled and happy – as soon as I returned them to my room Remy became territorial again and began nipping and chasing. How do I keep them together in their shared room?

    1. Hi Madison, how’s the bonding progress?
      Julie, we have a similar situation with two male bunnies. We’ve been trying everything on the list to bond 2-yr. old Dwarf Lionhead (Marble) with recently adopted 1-yr old Lionhead (Otter). Both are neutered and dominance is established (although there is no mounting). Both bunnies are eating together, ignoring each other, and have no problem relaxing, grooming, and flopping in the bonding sessions. However in bigger area, they never relax close to each other and Otter will always try to avoid Marble.
      Otter is the submissive one and always grooms Marble. Occasionally, Marble will groom Otter back, but most of the time Marble will nip and chase Otter instead–there has been major fur pulling from Marble yet Otter never fights back. The bonding session usually goes well for couple of hours when we are around, but now we notice that Marble will start chasing and pulling Otter’s fur when we are not looking. We use neutral areas, but nevertheless Marble likes to force out Otter from litter boxes (now we even put 2 litter boxes during bonding). Thanks in advance for your help.

  21. They seem to be getting along much better especially when roaming free but housing them together is starting to worry me as my female will run crazy whilst the male chases her. If I do this bit by bit everyday should they eventually be okay? Think it’s because it’s his house and just being territorial?

    1. Territory issues are likely if she’s coming into his space. It is usually best to house them in side-by-side pens so they can become accustomed to each other’s’ movements and smells, but still have the safety of their own area until they are fully bonded. You can continue the bonding dates in a single pen, but return them to their side-by-side living areas until they are fully bonded. Also, if you have a neutral area of the house, where the male has never been, he may not see this as “his area”. It will cause less territory issues if the bonding dates are conducted in this space.

  22. Thankyou for all the advice I can now happily say they are loving each others company and never seen my boy so happy. Very sweet together constantly grooming and cuddling side by side they are inseparable <3

    1. Great news! So happy for your bunnies!

  23. So we have tried everything on this list. We have a Netherland Dwarf mix (male) and a Lionhead (female) (we think, we got them both from shelters). The male has been neutered since August, the female has been spayed for about a month (we got her about 6 weeks ago). He is more aggressive when trying to interact with her and she will let him know if he doesn’t like it, but they do not seem to be viciously fighting like I have heard rabbits do if they are never going to get along. She seems less interested in him. We have put them in the bathtub together for short periods of time for about two weeks. Yesterday we took them for a ride. My husband moved the basket around while I drove. Everyone makes it sound like they’re just automatically bonded after doing the stress bonding but they’re not. Today, I ran around the house with both of them in a laundry basket. Same thing, they are not bonded yet. They had a little tussle before I separated them and put the male in his cage. We don’t really know what to do now. Thanks for your help! Also, if they ever do bond, will they need to live in the same cage?

    1. When going thru the bonding process, it is important to be patient and remember that the relationship has to happen according to the bunnies’ timeline. Stress bonding can work in some situations, but is not typically our go-to method with high success. We typically recommend a slower and more organic approach to bonding, rather than stress bonding. If the female was spayed about a month ago, it’s likely that her hormones are just now fully leaving her. This should help the bonding process going forward. There will likely be some tiffs between the bunnies while they work out their hierarchy, but it’s best to let them determine when they are starting to like each other rather than pushing them too hard. Remember, while some bonding can happen within a few days, other bonds can take a few months. It’s really up to the bunnies. We typically start by housing the bunnies side-by-side in exercise pens, so they can acclimate to each other. Be sure to leave enough of a barrier that they cannot physically reach each other, which could cause injury. Begin a series of “dates” in a neutral territory (ideally an exercise pen in another area of the house). While you should interfere if there is a fight that could cause physical injury, try to end the dates on a good note, rather than a scuffle. If things are going well, but they’ve started to get bored or distracted, OR they’ve recently had a good interaction with each other, end the date. Slowly increase the time for each date, continuing to try to end things on a good note. This will allow the bunnies to remember that when they are together, it’s typically a good experience, not stressful. Once the bunnies are fully bonded, it’s important to house them together. Separating them can actually break the bond. We recommend a 4ft x 4ft exercise pen (with daily exercise outside of that space) for one bunny. For two bunnies, you would want to increase that. You can see more info on our bunny living spaces here – https://www.ohiohouserabbitrescue.org/i-want-to-learn/bunny-living-space/

  24. I am wondering if June is an okay month to try bonding my rabbits. From what I gathered in my research, spring makes bunnies more difficult to bond because of their strong mating behavior. On the other hand, they are both neutered/ spayed already. I have been slowly binding them for 6 months already. They are both a bit difficult, but I am not giving up on them.
    My first two bonded buns took only 3 weeks to bond. LOL!
    Thank you!

  25. Good afternoon…I have been “Googling” any shelters that have information on “bonding” to make me feel better. I am a very experienced bunny owner. A little over a month ago, my Rex (11 years old) passed away and left a very needy lionhead mate, Loki (5 years old). To make a long story shorter, a week after she passed I took him speed dating and both females “attacked” him and I took him home and decided he would be a bachelor. 🙂 But he didn’t look happy. So, a week ago we tried again and he met a 5 year old Harlequin named Angela. She had been used for breeding and I guess her mommy instinct was to groom him and immediately started licking him all over. 🙂 I felt good and sent him on a bunnymoon with her to my local rescue for neutral bonding. While they were there, they did very well. There was a little chasing by her but no aggression. I brought them home last Wednesday and kept them in a confined area over night and then for the next four days I let them wander through my apartment and they did great! I was pleased. Ok, then we go DARK! I got home yesterday and there was fur everywhere in the living room! I immediately panicked and looked for the babies. Loki was in my room and Bun Bun was in the guest room. It was mainly his fur and I saw a nip on his side…no blood. I can imagine how that went. I asked my rescue what to do and she said put them in a confined space for two weeks. So I put them in the carrier and took them on a car ride to get another litter box and a water bottle since they were going back on lockdown. I felt so bad as Loki is not used to being confined. To my astonishment, they didn’t care when I penned them and they just laid beside each other. I was up all night checking on them and they were just fine…I was a mess. I got up early and let them have some “out time” and they were fine. I put them back in the pen while I went to work and my nerves are so bad right now. I am so nervous to see how they are. I worry if they have a scuffle, he has nowhere to run as they are in a pen. I hour until I get off! And advice is appreciated and I apologize for the long email! Thank you!!

  26. Hello! I have 2 bunnies that have been living together in an XPen for about 3 months now. I have had my little girl bun since she was about 6 months old, she is about to be 3 yrs old this November. I adopted my boy bun in April of this year and he is approximately the same age, maybe younger. They are both spayed/neutered and seem to get along fine…at the very least, they tolerate each other. Some days are better than others, but overall I feel like I put them into a situation that neither of them wanted to be in. My girl mounts the boy…’s face. This doesnt happen all the time, but it is a pretty common sight. The boy will let her do it for a few seconds, but she jumps off quick anyways. The boy has a ….food issue? He is very protective of food, and will even eat the food from her mouth while she is eating. He also nips her when she reaches up the XPen to receive treats, causing her to not want treats anymore. She used to love treats. I almost feel like he is controlling of her interactions with me as well, even nipping her for being excited to see me.

    Am I being overdramatic? Or do you think that as time passes, things will get better?


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