After Bunjit my 7 year old faithful French lop died earlier this year, I decided that his partner, Aoife looked so lonely and she had become very agitated and grumpy without her mate. However, after a routine trip to the vets for her annual booster, the vet discovered a serious lump in her tummy. It was so severe that she had to be operated on to remove the cyst from her intestine and bladder. Poor Aoife, it was such a good job I always keep up the trips to the vets for boosters because the vet said she would probably have just died an awful painful death, had I not taken her to them. After several weeks of recovery and much expensive treatment, I was very reluctant to re-home Aoife, but she was not particularly friendly towards me, never biting but hated to be disturbed. But I decided she had to have a chance of happiness, so I purchased Blue, a 9 week old young buck with a very outgoing nature, who loved to be cuddled and fussed.
I had read all about bonding and decided to introduce them gradually and started off in the kitchen, which was fairly neutral to both of them. That failed, she was not having any of it. So up to the bathroom we went, that was a bit better but he was quite insistent and I had to keep squirting him with a water spray.
I left the get together sessions for some weeks, not wanting to admit failure, keeping them apart in different parts of the garden and different sleeping arrangements. It was quite a task to remember that one rabbit was in and the other was out. I then re-introduced them again in the large outside run and that was a disaster. She immediately bit him and he was squealing so I had to separate them very quickly.
That was it! I was very scared to attempt any more bonding sessions without some expert help. Aoife had been spayed almost a year ago and Blue was due to be neutered as soon as he was old enough.
Caroline Collings, at the Rabbit Residence in Gt Chishill, near Royston came to the rescue. She advised getting Blue neutered as soon as possible, then wait until the hormones settled again before trying to bond them. It was no use attempting bonding until after this as he was only being a naughty little buck and annoying her.
Another few weeks went past and eventually I asked Caroline if she could take the pair of rabbits to her rescue centre and try to get them bonded in neutral territory.
They spent a few days in her 6 x 4 shed, separated by wire so that they could sniff and be near each other without being able to physically get to one another. Gradually they got used to being around each other and the day came when Caroline let them have some time without the wire. It worked, the bunnies fell in love.
Within a few days they could be left unsupervised and became used to each other’s company.
After about 10 days, Aoife and Blue returned home and started their new found friendship back home where they belonged. It is so lovely to see them together, running, playing and getting up to mischief together. Now they are inseparable, and everywhere Aoife goes, Blue swiftly follows. I cannot tell you how relieved I am now that they are such a perfect pair, it makes me so happy to see them together.
Pictures by Lisa.Thank you Caroline for your devoted care and expertise.