Is it risky to try bonding male rabbits?

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Should I adopt Jack?

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Mariam+Theo

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Hello everyone! Some of our friends have a 1-year-old Dutch neutered male rabbit named Jack that they are thinking about rehoming and are wanting me to take. I would love another rabbit, but I need some advice on whether I should adopt him or not because I would have to bond him with Theo and I know it is hard to bond male rabbits. I have SO many questions about pre-bonding, bonding, housing Jack before bonding, etc. but I really don't know what to do. Here are reasons why I should/shouldn't adopt him so you can just decide for me if I should get him 🤣

My friends bought Jack from a breeder when he was a baby as an Easter bunny for their 4-year-old daughter. The poor bunny has been kept in a tiny cage his whole life. The cage is not a home for a rabbit because it is too small, he doesn't have any toys, and it is a wire bottom floor with no place to rest. He also has way too many pellets, a water bottle, and a tiny litter box with nasty hay in it. He only gets a little bit of time to play in their school room during the day, but recently they have not let him out because he keeps running upstairs and hiding under their beds. They have been getting very annoyed with him because if they close the door he will chew it and dig at the floor. They also said he has just gotten very annoying and is bugging them constantly, which is probably because he is lonely and bored, and just wants attention. He has a bad habit of chewing clothes and has accidentally nipped the little girl several times when he started chewing her clothes. He was neutered 2 months ago which should have helped with some of these more annoying behaviors, but it hasn't. I have tried to help them but I don't want to seem rude or like a know-it-all. Honestly, I just don't think they want the bunny anymore. If I don't adopt him, I'm scared that someone who doesn't know what they are doing would take him and he would end up in the same situation he is already in.
As you can see, his living situation isn't ideal. If I adopted him he would have his own room (which is actually my bedroom and is about 500 square feet) to play around and would have Theo to play with! He would have tons of fun toys, fresh veggies every day, and lots of cuddles! He would also be on a healthy diet which could help him live a longer life.

But, there is a huge possibility Theo and Jack would not bond. I have thought about how to bond them a whole lot and I have decided that it would be best to take Theo to Jack's house and let them meet on neutral territory. If they seem to get along, then I will take Jack home and put him and Theo in their own playpens a couple of inches apart. I would let Jack get settled for 3 days, and then begin swapping stuff from their pens for 2 weeks. After that, I would start doing bonding sessions until they are bonded. Before adopting Jack, I will have an agreement with his owners that if he and Theo do not bond they must take him back and I will help them rehome him so I am not stuck with 2 rabbits.

Sorry that was so long, I mostly just have a few questions. Do you think this idea could even work? Would I need to house both rabbits in a neutral territory for pre-bonding? or could I have the playpens in my bedroom? Since Theo has claimed my whole bedroom do I need to move him out for 2 weeks and clean my room with vinegar? Will it freak Jack out if I don't give him time to settle in? Will it freak Jack out if he is housed in an area that Theo has already claimed?
Thank you for your time!
-Mariam
 

Blue eyes

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Taking Theo to Jack's house and seeing how they do is a great start and a good idea. That alone will help you decide how to proceed from there. I don't think it would be fair to expect them to take Jack back if the bond doesn't take. It seems that if the bond doesn't work then it would be on you to re-home Jack. (Rescues will take a rabbit back but I don't think the current owners should have to agree to that.)

You may want to begin by telling Jack's family that you are considering taking Jack but would first like to bring Theo over to see how the two seem to get along. Bring an ex-pen if you like to set up a space to put them both (with you inside). You'll know what to look for (from what you've learned on this forum) so try not to be influenced by the current owners' opinions (if they voice them) on whether the two seem compatible. Use your own judgement. After you've seen how they do, you could tell the family that you will think on it (overnight, perhaps?) and get back to them with your decision. Even if you happen to decide then and there that you are fairly certain that you want to proceed, you can still tell them you need time to get things prepared at your place. (otherwise they may think you will take Jack immediately)

Once home (assuming the meet goes well), the side-by-side pens is also a good idea. If Theo is used to having free roam in your room, then I do not think it would be ideal to confine him to a pen inside your room with Jack in another pen inside your room. That seems like it could be seen by Theo as intrusive. I'm not totally opposed to the idea, however. It depends on how well they seem to do when they are introduced for the first time at Jack's place. If things seem all rosy, then such a pen arrangement may be ok. Otherwise, having the pens set up in another area (not your room) for pre-bonding might be the better option.

How long you wait before beginning the actual bonding could be either more or less than 2 weeks. It'll depend on how they are doing and what your gut tells you.

Males are not impossible to bond. Rescues bond males quite often. It is just a general thought that, of the possible pairings, male/male bonding attempts tend to not go as easily as male/female. There are plenty of bonded males, just depends on their character.
 

John Wick

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There are many times when people with single, free-roam buns have a hard to imagining how to bring in a second because of that lack of neutral territory. How big is your bathroom? It may be a tight squeeze, but there can be some good success doing the bonding session phases in the bathroom.

In my opinion, I wouldn't put too much effort in trying to neutralize your bedroom as rabbit noses are so much better than ours and there's probably not much you can do to relinquish it as your rabbit's territory at this point!
 

Mariam+Theo

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Taking Theo to Jack's house and seeing how they do is a great start and a good idea. That alone will help you decide how to proceed from there. I don't think it would be fair to expect them to take Jack back if the bond doesn't take. It seems that if the bond doesn't work then it would be on you to re-home Jack. (Rescues will take a rabbit back but I don't think the current owners should have to agree to that.)

You may want to begin by telling Jack's family that you are considering taking Jack but would first like to bring Theo over to see how the two seem to get along. Bring an ex-pen if you like to set up a space to put them both (with you inside). You'll know what to look for (from what you've learned on this forum) so try not to be influenced by the current owners' opinions (if they voice them) on whether the two seem compatible. Use your own judgement. After you've seen how they do, you could tell the family that you will think on it (overnight, perhaps?) and get back to them with your decision. Even if you happen to decide then and there that you are fairly certain that you want to proceed, you can still tell them you need time to get things prepared at your place. (otherwise they may think you will take Jack immediately)

Once home (assuming the meet goes well), the side-by-side pens is also a good idea. If Theo is used to having free roam in your room, then I do not think it would be ideal to confine him to a pen inside your room with Jack in another pen inside your room. That seems like it could be seen by Theo as intrusive. I'm not totally opposed to the idea, however. It depends on how well they seem to do when they are introduced for the first time at Jack's place. If things seem all rosy, then such a pen arrangement may be ok. Otherwise, having the pens set up in another area (not your room) for pre-bonding might be the better option.

How long you wait before beginning the actual bonding could be either more or less than 2 weeks. It'll depend on how they are doing and what your gut tells you.

Males are not impossible to bond. Rescues bond males quite often. It is just a general thought that, of the possible pairings, male/male bonding attempts tend to not go as easily as male/female. There are plenty of bonded males, just depends on their character.
Thank you for your answers! I really hope they will bond! I was working from 8-5 every day last week and I think Theo was lonely since I am with him 24/7. He was so happy when I got home and seriously wouldn't leave me alone. It worries me because I will be going to a private school in the fall and he will be alone all day if I don't bond him with Jack.

The main reason I was thinking the owners would need to take Jack back was only because I do not know if they feel comfortable with me finding him a new family. But, since he would be my rabbit I guess they wouldn't really have a say in the matter.

I'll make sure to let Jack's owners know that I am only considering adopting him, and the decision really is just up to Theo. After they meet, I will think for at least a day about what to do and get y'all's opinions! I do not want to rush into anything!

I don't really know where else I could have the pre-bonding pens because my parents don't want rabbits anywhere else in our house except for my room. I could possibly convince my sister to let me use her room or I could use our game room. I'll have to talk to my parents to figure out the details. Would it be best for me to move Theo to a different room before meeting Jack so my room becomes neutral territory? I am planning on redoing my bedroom very soon (new furniture, flooring, etc) so I could redo it during the time Theo is in a different room to make my bedroom more neutral? I totally get what you are saying though and I don't want Theo to feel like I'm taking his space away from him.
 

Mariam+Theo

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There are many times when people with single, free-roam buns have a hard to imagining how to bring in a second because of that lack of neutral territory. How big is your bathroom? It may be a tight squeeze, but there can be some good success doing the bonding session phases in the bathroom.
Thank you for the advice! I could do the bonding sessions in our bathroom, but I couldn't set up the pre-bonding pens in there. It is a pretty small bathroom that I have to share with my 2 sisters.

In my opinion, I wouldn't put too much effort in trying to neutralize your bedroom as rabbit noses are so much better than ours and there's probably not much you can do to relinquish it as your rabbit's territory at this point!
In that case, I won't try too hard to neutralize my room.
 

LizzyMayHarvey

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I think if you decide to bring Jack home and even if the first meeting goes well you should fully expect that it won't work out. I am an optimist (most of the time) and i think/hope that it will work out but when it comes to animals you should probably expect the worst. Make an idea in your mind where to house Jack if it doesn't work out or if you are gonna rehome him then it might not be a biggy. If you don't mind having to house them separately (which it sounds like that wouldn't work) or rehome him, then I reckon you should take him in and give it a shot.
Another thing would be to have a chat with the owners. I hate offending people and I don't think I could do something like that but if you could chat with them or give them a rabbit care sheet or website links then maybe things might turn around and they will want to keep him.
 

Blue eyes

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New furniture and new flooring would definitely make your room neutral. If you're able to have the pens in the game room (or similar) until they are bonded and then, once bonded, move them into your "new" neutral room, that would be great.
 

SirLawrence

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Disclaimer: I didn't read all the replies.

I would definitely adopt him! I adopted a boy bunny (Lucas) from my local rescue as a pal for Lawrence. They showed promise on the bunny date they had at the shelter, but over a year later, they're still not bonded. Lucas LOVES Lawrence, but Lawrence won't have it. So, they live separately (in the same room) and have to take turns free-roaming. It can be difficult and time-consuming, but giving sweet Lucas a HOME is worth it!

I wouldn't trade either of my boys for the world!
 

Mariam+Theo

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Thank you for all the answers! I am going to talk to Jack's owners and see if I can help them out so they won't have to rehome him. I am giving them a bunch of bunny supplies on Friday and I will suggest several websites for them to look at. If they still want to rehome him after trying out all options then I will let him and Theo meet. If they seem to get along I will be adopting him!

New furniture and new flooring would definitely make your room neutral. If you're able to have the pens in the game room (or similar) until they are bonded and then, once bonded, move them into your "new" neutral room, that would be great.
I talked to my parents yesterday to ask them if I could have the bunnies in the game room and they made it very clear that they do not want rabbits in any other room besides mine. Since my room is so big, I could section off part of it for Theo while redoing the other half. Then when I get Jack I could set up bonding pens in the area that has been redone and redo/clean the area Theo was originally in. Do you think this idea would work?
 

peanutdabunny

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Thank you for all the answers! I am going to talk to Jack's owners and see if I can help them out so they won't have to rehome him. I am giving them a bunch of bunny supplies on Friday and I will suggest several websites for them to look at. If they still want to rehome him after trying out all options then I will let him and Theo meet. If they seem to get along I will be adopting him!


I talked to my parents yesterday to ask them if I could have the bunnies in the game room and they made it very clear that they do not want rabbits in any other room besides mine. Since my room is so big, I could section off part of it for Theo while redoing the other half. Then when I get Jack I could set up bonding pens in the area that has been redone and redo/clean the area Theo was originally in. Do you think this idea would work?
It could work, spray it with a ton of white vinagur, deep vaccum it.
 

Mariam+Theo

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Sorry I have not updated this! I worked 24/7 all summer long and I just started school so I have not had any free time.

Just thought I should let y'all know that Jack's parents have not mentioned anything else to me about adopting Jack since I asked on here what y'all thought. I have also not seen Jack's parents so I have not had a chance to talk to them. I should see them and Jack on the 28th so I will probably mention it, but I don't want it to seem like I'm taking their rabbit from them. I am thinking that I should just see if they are still serious about rehoming him and see if they ask me if I want him? I am all for trying to bond Theo and him (no matter how difficult it might be) since Theo has seemed super depressed since I started school and I know he needs a friend.
 

Donnaaa.y

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Sorry I have not updated this! I worked 24/7 all summer long and I just started school so I have not had any free time.

Just thought I should let y'all know that Jack's parents have not mentioned anything else to me about adopting Jack since I asked on here what y'all thought. I have also not seen Jack's parents so I have not had a chance to talk to them. I should see them and Jack on the 28th so I will probably mention it, but I don't want it to seem like I'm taking their rabbit from them. I am thinking that I should just see if they are still serious about rehoming him and see if they ask me if I want him? I am all for trying to bond Theo and him (no matter how difficult it might be) since Theo has seemed super depressed since I started school and I know he needs a friend.
If rehoming is an option, and they end up rehoming. I would say it’s worth getting another bunny. I have a one year old rabbit and he’s a French lob and I recently got a Holland lob and he’s only 7 months. When getting the second bunny, we thought it was a girl but it turned out to be a boy, there was humping involved with my oldest one but now that he’s neutered, there’s no issue. After I got my second bunny, my first bunny didn’t seem so alone, also I’ve heard that bunnies live longer when they have a bunny by there side. However, if u do get another bunny. Just make sure they are neutered. Also bonding process is very important, there’s times when they fight but rebuilding that process may be difficult but it’s a must if u want two bunnies normal in the house. The way I bonded with my bunnies was banana, or pellets. However, u need to give there foods separately, to make sure they don’t feel intrusive towards one another.
 
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