Bonded bunnies / Separate spaces

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Eithne Dundas

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So, 2 1/2 years ago I asked the group here about adopting a particular bunny. Lucky for all of us, I did!

I've been reading a lot about bonding / speed dating, etc. I am close to a shelter that offers a lot of support in this area as well. I've heard the "love at first sight" followed by "too territorial to live together" kinds of stories.

With proper assessment and introductions - and time, I'm wondering how often people end up with bonded bunnies that ultimately still need separate pens / living spaces.

We have the space and the supplies, but I don't really want another bunny just to have one - I'd like a friend for Teddy Roo if that's best for him. And I definitely don't want two separate set ups permanently.

He is free range all day/evening until bedtime. Great litter box habits, very neat overall, doesn't chew furniture or rugs. We have a Samoyed that our bunny snuggles against at night, tries to groom, etc. He comes out of his 'rabbit retreat' in the evening, bumps us for attention, runs around, etc. But I also know we can't provide "bunnyness" in the same way (play, affection).

Asking if the odds are good we can match him with a friend to share his home with, or if he even sounds like he would significantly benefit from another bunny. How many people end up with two separated bunnies, even if they get along?

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Blue eyes

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If rabbits can't share a living space or need separate pens, then they are not bonded. Bonded bunnies not only can but must share the same spaces. If they have to live separately then they are not bonded. Just wanted to clarify that since I wasn't sure if I was understanding correctly.

As for getting a 2nd rabbit, I would say it's a bit risky in your situation. You have a good arrangement now. Your rabbit is indoors, getting attention, bonding with your beautiful Samoyed, and is well-behaved (not chewing furniture & rugs). You've got it all right now. (and so does your bun)

All of that could change with a 2nd bun. Even if you ended up with a love-at-first-sight bonding, the other rabbit may not be so well behaved. He may make messes or be a chewer or not like the dog.

If you really want a 2nd rabbit yourself, that's another story. But if you are wondering if your current bun needs a rabbit companion for his benefit, I'm not hearing anything that would indicate he does.

Some sites and people insist a rabbit cannot be content without another rabbit for a bondmate, but my experience doesn't agree. I've had single rabbits and bonded pairs. My single rabbits seemed quite content. I'd say as much as the pairs. I have had an instance where one particular rabbit really did seem to need a bondmate (after losing her partner). She was acting so different until we found her a new companion. But my other singles did just fine -- one even seemed more outgoing after his partner passed.
 

Eithne Dundas

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This is very, very helpful, Blue Eyes. You've addressed all of my concerns, and also given me a little peace of mind that Teddy Roo can be happy as a single bunny. I want the best for him - obviously, the boy lives in a castle! :) But we have a balanced household at the moment, and I don't want to disrupt it for any significant length of time.

And there's where the doubt comes in - I read so many articles/posts on how rabbits have to live to together, they are social animals (which they are), etc., but also many following posts that say if they fight the bonding process has to take a break and start again in a month or so. That they will likely always need their own living space (to the point of whether or not they are truly bonded if they remain territorial), and that bonding can take a long time. These statements give me pause.

You sound like a very experienced rabbit owner, and I trust that if you've had happy singles, we can too! I guess I didn't realize how lucky we got adopting Teddy, whose only vice is an accidental wee if he gets too snuggly on the couch with me!
 

JBun

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All of Blue Eyes suggestions and advice is correct. Though having a happily bonded pair can be a wonderful sight to see, with two bunnies grooming, snuggling, and loving on each other, it's the ideal. And we all know that things don't always work out with the ideal outcome. I've had two rabbits that would absolutely not bond at all, and I've had bonded rabbits where one was perfectly behaved and the bonded partner was a destruct-a-bun, requiring significant bunny proofing.

You have a happy bun and harmony in your home at the moment. Trying to add in a new bun can be an extremely stressful and chaotic experience if the potential match isn't love at first sight. And it's not just the possibility of the bond not going smoothly or even working out. Like Blue Eyes said, you have a well behaved bun, adapted well to being an indoor bun. Not all rabbits are so well behaved. You could end up with a little destruction tornado, which could even rub off on your well behaved angel Teddy 😇 🌪️ 😭

If you didn't spend a lot of one on one time with your bun, if your bun was confined to a room without people constantly in it or lived alone outdoors, and if your bun didn't already have a furry friend of a different species that he got along and snuggled with, then I would say that yes, your rabbit could certainly benefit from being bonded with a bunny companion. It's all about the living situation of the rabbit, and the quality time they get, as well as the temperament of the rabbit being accepting of another rabbit, as to whether a bonded companion needs to be seriously considered.

And you can always change your mind. At some point you may feel he needs a bunny friend, and that you would like another bun in your home. But always go into it eyes wide open to the potential difficulties and challenges that can occur when trying to add in a second bun. Only do it because you feel it's the right moment, the right situation, and/or the right bun.
 

Eithne Dundas

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Great advice, @JBun and @Blue eyes. Sounds like you both have multiple rabbits, but likely the set up / time to accommodate all of them.

Our Teddy is a gem ... on your advice/experience, I think I'll keep the peace and press pause on new paws! :)

Thanks for helping me with this decision. And yes, the bunny castle door is always open to reconsider ...
 
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