Bunny Bonding: How to Introduce Two Rabbits

Whether you’re a bunny enthusiast, or you’re currently in the research phase of buying or adopting new rabbits, it’s important to remember that bunnies are very sociable animals, and, if you have the facilities and space to do so, keeping two rabbits at the same time is often recommended. Creating a safe space for two rabbits not only allows them to have constant companionship which can contribute to their overall happiness, but they can also help each other stay calm, clean, and even keep warm by huddling together through milder months. 

Despite rabbits’ ability to live happily together, if you’re looking to bring another rabbit into your rabbit’s enclosure, or you’re looking to bond two new rabbits from an early age (or any variety of age!), there are a few pointers owners should keep in mind when it comes to introducing two rabbits who aren’t familiar with each other’s needs. Keep reading as we walk you through the basics of bunny bonding to ensure both of your fluffy friends are ready to share their living space. 

Preparing to introduce your rabbits

Before you make the necessary adjustments to your rabbit’s living space to comfortably fit two bunnies, we would first recommend considering whether your rabbits are the right match for each other. As a general rule of thumb, the best pairing for rabbits tends to be neutered males and females of around the same age. However, it is possible to introduce other combinations, so long as they’re neutered - it may just take a little longer for the bond to form. As well as taking into consideration their compatibility, there are a couple of other things to keep in mind before you take the two bunny pledge: 

  • Check the health of your rabbits - Particularly important if you’re considering purchasing your rabbits, it pays to do your background research and to have the proof you need that bunnies are in good health. If you’re adopting your rabbits from a reputable charity, their general health and temperament will likely be addressed upfront. However, if you are considering a breeder, or even adopting from a previous owner, a health check-up from the vet before introducing your bunnies is the best port of call, as any illnesses or pain can make introductions even more difficult, as bunnies are already likely to be in distress - no sick bunnies are better than two poorly bunnies! 
  • Ensure you have enough space - Arguably one of the most important aspects to consider before you choose to home two bunnies is to evaluate the amount of space you have to work with. Your bunny set-up should have ample space, as they need enough room to jump and exercise freely and, if the space you have is too constricted, this may cause frustration and guarding issues among both fluffy friends.
  • Neuter your rabbits - Or, if you’re adopting, ensure your bunnies were previously neutered, as unneutered rabbits are more likely to fight which can complicate the bonding process. Getting both rabbits neutered also removes the risk of various health issues they could possibly encounter, or removes the risk of accidental pregnancy, particularly important if you’re introducing a male and female bunny. 

How do you bond a rabbit with another rabbit? 

While there are various methods of bunny bonding to consider, the recommended way, as stated by the RSPCA*, is to start slowly with a side-by-side enclosure. Providing a barrier will allow rabbits to get familiar with each other from the comfort of their own space, so there’s no chance of territorial issues forming. Having a side-by-side enclosure, or creating a barrier in a typical rabbit hutch allows rabbits to still smell, see and sense each other, but also gives each rabbit access to their own personal space and favourite hiding spots if introductions get too overwhelming. 

This method of introduction can also be best applied for all types of encounters, for example, if you already have a rabbit and you’re introducing a new one to the family or if both rabbits are completely new additions. 

What to expect with a side-by-side rabbit introduction: 

There’s likely to be some initial signs of distress between both bunnies, particularly if you already own a rabbit that is very familiar in its own environment. However, it’s important to remember this is a healthy rabbit response and signs of distress will die down after a couple of days. If this isn’t the case, there are a number of steps owners can take to help speed up the bonding process: 

  • Swap scents - Swapping scents, either by collecting hay or various toys from each side of the enclosure will help to transfer scents and allow both rabbits to be more accustomed to each other. If you’re split caging, you can also swap bunnies between enclosures every so often, so they can become familiar with each space and each set of unique smells. 
  • Increase visibility - If you’re using a barrier to split between an existing cage, ensure rabbits have good visibility of each other, so that they can get used to each other's presence.
  • Pet calming spray - There are various pet calming sprays owners can also utilise to help ease and alleviate any feelings of discomfort. Simply spray onto your rabbit’s bedding to promote feelings of calm as they acclimatise to sharing their space with another bunny. 

While the above are tried and tested ways on how best to encourage a bond, at Direct4Pet, we would recommend applying the same thought process as you would an owner when it comes to meeting someone new. Just as human friendships take time, rabbits cannot be expected to move in with a complete stranger without making some form of initial connection first, which is why it’s important to trust the process and give your bunnies the time and patience they need to become best friends. 

Setting up neutral meet territory

After your rabbits are living in close quarters without any signs of distress or aggression, it’s time to allow rabbits to meet face to face. A good indicator that your rabbits are ready to be in each other's presence is if they’re lying down next to each other on either side of the barrier within their pen, or close by the barrier you created - this signals a sense of trust and familiarity. 

Once bunnies seem happy enough in close proximity to each other, we would recommend setting up a makeshift ‘neutral ground’ pen to allow both rabbits to make first interactions and roam freely with enough space. It’ll likely take a couple of introductions in this pen before both rabbits are completely comfortable in each other’s company, but there are a few tell-tale signs they are in the process of forming a strong bunny bond to look out for: 

  • Grooming: If both bunnies are making advances to groom each other, that typically shows that both bunnies are comfortable with one another and are forming a secure bond. 
  • Not displaying any signs of behaviour: While this may sound peculiar, if bunnies are just happy existing and mostly not paying attention to each other, this is generally a good indication that they are comfortable in each other’s presence. 

How long does it take for rabbits to bond? 

How long it takes for your rabbits to form a connection with each other can vary and is totally dependent on your rabbits and their own little personalities. Owners may find their rabbits form a bond within a few weeks, but this process can sometimes take as little as a day, or up to several months! As a rough guide, owners can expect a bond to form over a few weeks, but while this bond strengthens, we encourage owners to practise patience and keep a keen eye on both rabbits to pick up on any stress signals. Common indicators of stress in your rabbits include: 

  • Hiding or shying away from the other rabbit.
  • Any attempts of aggression such as huffing, lunging forward or grunting at the other rabbit. 

Our top tips for successfully bonding bunnies

Ready to form a fluffy friendship? While we’ve illustrated the fundamental steps an owner should take to encourage a lasting bunny bond, below, we’ve created a guide on our recommended, necessary products any owner should consider investing in to make the bonding process as calm and fuss-free as possible. 

Split Pen/Cage - As we’ve previously discussed, having a split pen or side-by-side hutch is recommended to help encourage the bond in a safe way. Allowing bunnies access to their own space, but in close proximity to each other will help to strengthen the bond, all while preventing any issues that may arise if owners let their bunnies share their space too early. 

It’s also important, when setting up a neutral ground space, to consider that rabbits can and will jump, so pet owners should either set up a safe room with a door that can be shut easily for their first meet, or a makeshift pen with a safe-top, but one that has easy access for picking up bunnies if meetings become overwhelming. 

Calming Pen Sprays - Calming sprays, such as the Pet Remedy spray, are clinically proven to help alleviate any feelings of stress, all while being completely pet-safe. This pet-safe guarantee also stretches across a variety of pets, which is incredibly useful if you also have other furry friends in your household. Simply spraying a nozzle or two around your bunny’s pen, hutch or cages around areas they can’t lick off (such as bedding, soft furnishings, etc.) will provide them with essential calming oils during the bonding process. 

Tasty Stick Treats - Stocking up on enrichment treats is a great way to reward both of your bunnies for good behaviour, or even offer to your fluffy friends if they’ve had an overwhelming encounter. We recommend the Little One Sticks - as this pack offers a variety of grass sticks topped with tantalising treats bunnies love! From marigolds to carrots or rose petals, these treats help wear down bunnies teeth, all while providing them with essential nutrients and minerals.  

Safe Space - While an investment for both bunnies, offering a safe, snug spot for each of your fluffy friends in their own living quarters will help to keep them calm and cosy, particularly through the winter months ahead. These rabbit bed cushions from Rosewood are an excellent choice, as they’re made from a hard-wearing, wipe-clean base and can be machine-washed to remove any hay or dirt that may be picked up from your bunnies pens. 

Prepare for bunny bonding at Direct4Pet 

While all the above acts as a guideline for necessary steps pet owners should consider before bonding bunnies, at Direct4Pet, we would always recommend consulting with your local vet before making any decisions on homing two animals together. Explore the full Small Animals collection available at Direct4Pet to find bunny food, hay, supplements and other key rabbit necessities to help you along the way.