We all know that every bunny needs a friend - but sometimes I wonder whether they know this given some of the challenges of bunny bonding! I recently made my second attempt ever to bond bunnies at home. The first time I was successful. This time I was not.
As I might have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, our beloved Buddy passed away in August from kidney failure, leaving bossy queen Boo on her own. Not long after, by coincidence, we came into custody of a cute little bunny named Milo (see Little Devil) who at the time we did not know whether we would end up keeping or just fostering for a bit on his way into the rescue. Well we fell for him and thought we’d give bonding a go.
So, I set up the our foster bun accommodation as a bonding area (neutral territory I hoped) with the playhouse split into two with metal panels so they’d be able to see and smell each other but not touch. After 3 days spent next to each other (switching them between the sides now and then to get them used to each other’s smell) I let them out for a bonding session in a large pen area. After an initial couple of minutes of not noticing each other there was chasing and attacking (and a bite to my arm). I gave up for the day. Two days later I tried again with the same reaction.
Deciding a change in tactic was needed I started trying short sessions in an even more alien environment – the bath.
These sessions went somewhat better with not as much outright aggression, and on a couple of occasions Milo attempted to groom Boo. Strangely he seemed intent on grooming her eye-balls quite vigorously which was not always appreciated. After nearly a week of these sessions she would still lunge at him sometimes and I was nowhere close to trusting them together.
We were then due to go on holiday, with the bunnies taking their break at the rescue. So I asked Caroline to see if she could persuade them to be friends, and if not to bond Queen Boo with a boybun who she would accept.
Five days later I had an email from Caroline to say that they were bonded! She clearly has the magic touch. They have been home with us again for a fortnight now and are very happy in each other’s company with lots of following each other around. We haven’t seen all that much grooming each other yet, but there has been no sign of upset on their return to Boo’s domain. And to be honest they are both such busy, active bunnies that there isn’t a lot of time for sitting about washing.