Congratulations on adopting your bonded rabbits or on bonding your single rabbits! As you know, rabbits are very social creatures and live happiest with another (neutered) bunny or bunnies. They are also territorial creatures and occasionally bonded bunnies will spat (just like human relationships in which two live very close). The first 6 months or so of a new bond can be especially unstable and you may see your bunnies arguing over small things like new items in their space. Below are some tips to help you understand their behaviors and keep them happy.

  1. Bonded bunnies should live in a spacious exercise pen that is open topped or a room of their own. They need to have enough room and hidey boxes so they can run into them and de-escalate any spats. Bonded pairs should never live in a closed up cage where there is nowhere to go should one get feisty or upset over something.
    Occasional chasing, humping and minor fur pulling is quite normal and redirecting by clapping hands or presenting a treat should be enough to change the mood. Do not separate unless there is biting, circling or boxing. If the latter behaviors happen then you can reduce the size of their living space and remove any items they may be territorial over for a day or two. Spray some Rescue Remedy around their space to help them mellow out.
  2. Exercise in the house is important and they should get at least 4 hours of out-of-pen exercise per day to explore, dance (binky!) and spend time with the family. However with newer bonds, start slow with limited space (maybe one room). TOO MUCH space at one time can overwhelm them and cause them to fight. If this happens with too much space put them in their pen right away where they feel safer and calmer. Let them out at a later time with a more limited area.
  3. Bonded pairs should ALWAYS travel together in the same carrier. If one has a vet appointment, the other should go along for the ride. Most vets understand this and sometimes, depending on the circumstances and nature of the treatment, most vet hospitals will let the bonded partner stay in the hospital with the other. If not, visitation is usually allowed if the stay is extended. Bring the bonded partner with you for the visit.
  4. Bonded rabbit pairs use the same litter box and bowls. Make sure the litter box is big enough for them both to fit and move around. They like to eat together and we recommend scatter feeding in general so their food can just be thrown down for them to forage.
  5. Rabbits grieve very deeply for their bonded partners when they pass away. It’s important to let the surviving rabbit stay with the body for a bit of time for closure. Life after loss will be lonely for the surviving bunny. Provide him/her with a stuffed animal to lean on and groom and work on getting them a new friend as soon as possible.
  6. It’s rare, but sometimes a bond will completely break. If the bond breaks and you cannot get them back together without them fighting consistently, you should consider starting the bonding process from the beginning.

A note about “spring fever” or weather related hormonal behaviour. It is very common to see some extra hormonal or “aggressive” behaviours with bonded rabbits when the weather starts to warm up. Try not to worry too much about it as long as the bunnies are more or less getting along as usual and there are no actual fights happening. It will eventually pass. If things get too turbulent, you can reduce their living space for a few days and spray some pet remedy around the room to help them chill out.