Making A Match: Rabbit Pairing Tips
We all know the joy of having a rabbit hopping around the house, checking out the dustballs under the sofa and finding that perfect sunny spot to spend a lazy afternoon. If you think that one rabbit is a perfect comapnion, just waint until you try two. We interview people all the time who are looking to pair their lone rabbits and we hear a number of the same questions anc concerns over and over again. there is a lot of confusion and many questions, and we want to try to dispel as much of that confusion and answer as many questions as we can. Here are a few we here all the time.
If I get a baby bunny for my rabbit her maternal instincts will kick in and she’ll accept the new rabbit easier.
Initially there may be no fighting if you try to paire your bunny with an immature rabbity, but once that baby reaches sexual maturity the adult will likely realize that there is another rabbit in the house and fighting may ensue. This same behaviour occurs between siblings when they rach sexual maturity; one day you have a pair of brothers who love to lay around next to one another, and the next you have a fight for dominance. The social heirarchy is thicker than blood in the rabbit world.
I want a cuddly, cute bunny to pair with Thumper.
Unfortunately, it’s going to have to be Thumper’s choice. We always try a number of rabbits in the pairing to see which will make the best match. Sometimes the cutest bunnies can be the most feisty and you may find that a less physically attractive rabbit gets along bets with your bunny. Human beings have an aesthetic sense that is altogether different than that of our rabbits; they know who they like, so let them choose their companion.
Will my bunny still pay attention to me if I get a companion for her?
This is a real concern, of course. Who would want to find that the bunny who used to come sit beside us willingly is suddenly too busy with her new friend? We try to keep people from looking at the pairing as losing a bunny; what you’re really doing is getting a second little friend. If you spend time with both of the rabbits together, there’s little chance that they’ll become aloof. Sit on the floor with both rabbits, pet them both and give them both the usual treats. There is a tendency to assume that once your rabbit has a companion she won’t nees as much attention from you; while this may be true, it may also cause her to become less interested in having contct with you. As much as possible, continue to interact with both of the rabbits after the pairing as if they were an individual rabbit alone.
Should I get a male or a female?
Male/female pairings are the easiest to do, however it is possible for same gender pairings to work out. Female rabbits, even after spaying, seem to be more territorial than males, which can make for some surprising fireworks when trying to paire two females together. Male/male pairings are easier than female/female pair, but unless one of the rabbits is particularly docile, these matches are harder to make. In almost all cases we try to pair with a rabbit of the opposite gender. While female/male pairings are easiest, but the other permutations are not impossible, but they usually take longer and will requier more patience on your part. We have two males who are a bonded pair (we had no idea how hard it was going to be to pair these two boys); making that pair work took over a month of daily letting them out together, letting them come together and squabbly just a bit and then separating them. if you don’t have a choice, same sex pairings can be done, but it takes a patient person to pull it off.
Will the new bunny teach my rabbit bad habits?
Shortly after a pairing it is likely that litter training will break down for awhile as the two new buddies get used to each other and settle into their new territory teogether. This is usually only a temporary condition and training tends to come back on its own; it might be necessary to limit their roaming room for awhile to help this along, though. We haven’t notieced that one rabbit will teach another behaviors like chewing or digging. However, after pairing a docile bunny may become more interested in exploring with the new friend if that new friend happens to be a more adventuresome rabbit.
Can the rabbits share a cage?
Initialy we recommend that the rabbits be housed separately until you are very comfortable with how well they are getting along. Often rabbits will fight when they come home to the resident rabbit’s territory, so plopping them together into a cage is not a good idea. However, after it becomes obvious that the rabbits are getting along without fighting, there is no reason they can’t share a spacious cage. As a matter of fact, a bonded pair somtimes will get cranky when they are separated and will fight when they are put back together — once a bonded pair is living together harmoniously, it’s best to let them stay together as much as possible.
Rabbits have a tremendously complex social structure, even when the entire society is occupied by only two rabbits. They communicate in ways that we can’t perceive, and it’s important that they be compatible. We believe that it’s possible to make a successful match between almost any two rabbits, however the amount of diligence, persistence and patience required varies greatly. At the House Rabbit Society we take care to make sure that the budding new friendship gets off to a good start: we will try many different rabbits with your bunny to find one who gets along as well as possible, we provide neutral territory for the initial encounter and, most of all, we are always willing to help make the pairing work even after you’ve taken the new couple home.
Now that you know a little more about rabbit match making, check out our adoptable rabbits and get your bun a companion!