Posted: June 30, 2014, 8:10 p.m. EDT
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Once rabbits bond, they are usually bonded for life and keep each other company.
Q: I have a 2-year-old rabbit. I am her primary caregiver. I have had her since she was a baby and no other rabbits. We've bonded a lot, and she responds to me very well. However, I am moving for six months and where I am headed, I am not able to take her with me, so my family will be looking after her during this time. I worry, however, about her getting lonely while I'm gone because of my family not playing with her like I do. I've considered getting a second rabbit, but I worry about her not getting along with this second rabbit and it being pointless and just giving my parents more to take care of while I'm gone. She gets along with cats, but I haven't watched her with other rabbits since she was a baby at the pet store. Do you have any suggestions?
A: I think it is a good idea to get her another rabbit. When you do look for a friend for your rabbit, keep in mind that your rabbit is the one who should pick which rabbit she wants to live with. Some rabbits get along better than others, so it’s important for them to like each other so they can be bonded and live happily together.
At the Bunny Bunch adoption centers I founded, people come in for bunny dating. We have the person pick out three or four rabbits that they like. They spend time getting to know them. Then we introduce one rabbit at a time to the bunny looking for a friend. We also sit in the pen with the rabbits to make sure there is not a fight.
Some rabbits might instantly want to fight. It does not mean they won't bond; it may just be more difficult to bond them. So we then go on to the next rabbit. We love it when rabbits snuggle right away, and it’s even better when they start grooming each other.
Once we find a good fit, we send the people home with bonding instructions. The instructions are necessary, because it is quite a bit to go through, as the rabbits normally can't live together right away. They need to live next to each other and have dates a couple of times a day, slowly expanding the time they are together until they can live together full time. They will normally bond for life.
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