Rabbits are sociable pets that need company.
It’s no surprise that most rabbit owners wonder whether they can take their bunnies for playdates.
While rabbits require a companion of their own kind, they are territorial, so you need to be careful when bringing two unfamiliar bunnies together.
So, Can Rabbits Have Playdates?
While it can happen, it is not a good idea and not recommended at all. Because it is a playdate, you will need to be right there when you introduce them. If the kicks start to fly and it becomes too aggressive, you can separate them immediately without so much damage.
The playdate is not of any benefit to rabbits involved and holds many risks. Rabbits are territorial by nature and will most probably fight when they meet. Bonding two rabbits to live together is difficult, so it’s not recommendable to bring them together in playdates through all the stress just to be friends and then separate them when you head home.
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How To Bond Rabbits Safely
A second rabbit can offer years of fun, joy, and contentment for you and your rabbit. But the rabbits may not get along well with each other at first.
Bonding rabbits can take patience, persistence, and time.
You will be required to introduce them to each other carefully and slowly.
For instance, imagine moving in with a stranger, and you are expected to bond and become best friends instantly?
While you might occasionally meet someone you click well with, you won’t come to good terms and become free with each other right away.
This is the same case with rabbits. They also need some time to observe and know each other before being friends.
The bonding process can take one day or as long as several months, depending on your bunny.
Normally, your bunnies will take a few weeks before they start living happily, but it will be worth the patience.
Your rabbit will be cheerful living in a bonded pair; you will get more enjoyment and satisfaction from watching them cuddling together.
Preparing To Introduce Your Rabbits
1. Find The Perfect Friend
A pair of neutered female and male rabbits are the perfect pairings to have, although you can introduce other combinations as long as they are neutered.
If possible, it’s better to look for rabbits around the same size and age.
2. Ensure Your Bunnies Are In Perfect Health
The next thing is getting them both a check-up from the veterinarian.
Pain or illnesses can make introductions challenging because they are already feeling uncomfortable.
Like humans, most people won’t feel sociable if they are unwell.
3. Neuter Your Rabbits
Neutered rabbits have a less probability of fighting.
Females and males also mate to produce plenty of young ones.
Even rabbits from the same family will mate as soon as they are not adults.
Neutering the rabbits before introducing them makes bonding a trouble-free process.
4. Room To Relax
Before bringing the rabbits together, you should give each rabbit a room to relax, hop around and exercise.
Bunnies are also playful animals and love having toys to play with, dirt to dig in, and tunnels to explore.
If the bunnies are suddenly having to share toys and space, they might be very protective. This can make bonding more challenging and could result in fights for territorial space.
Introducing Rabbits To Each Other
Before getting up close to each other, you should introduce the idea of a companion to your rabbits. You can do this through;
Bunnies use their sense of smell in communicating with one another.
Before the rabbits meet, try and swap bedding and toys between their hutches to get used to the smell of each other.
This will make their initial meeting easier.
Next, you should allow your bunnies to see each other.
Put them in separate hutches while facing each other to smell, see and hear one another.
You can also place them in separate rooms with a barricade between them. The baby gates will work perfectly well.
After placing the bunnies in separate but close to each other hutches, feed them their favorite pet foods by the barrier so that they become used to eating in the company of each other.
Begin the rabbits off some arm lengths apart and continuously move them closer as they become more comfortable with their new mate.
Take every step slowly and check for signs that your rabbits are well relaxed around each other before going to the next step. If they are both happy being beside each other, they are comfortable being close to each other.
Allow Rabbits to Meet Face-To-Face
When your rabbits are comfortable around each other, the next stage allows your bunnies to meet face to face.
1. Set Up a Neutral Meeting Ground
The first face-to-face meeting should occur in a neutral territory where neither of your rabbits has been before.
This will make the bunnies less likely to be territorial or protective of their own space and more likely to be more sociable.
However, you should offer them plenty of hiding places such as tunnels, tubes, and cardboard boxes so if one of the bunnies feels stressed out, they will have a place to hide.
Ensure these hiding places are open at both ends, so it is tougher for one rabbit to guard the entrance while stopping the others from getting out.
More so, throw out some tasty hay and your rabbit’s favorite treats around the place, so the bunnies’ associates get along with each other with a delightful meal.
2. Let Them Loose
Place both rabbits into the opposite ends of the place you have set up for them.
This way, they will have a choice to meet immediately or size up their new rabbit buddy from a distance.
Sit with them and maintain a close eye on them always.
There is no need for alarm if they start to circle, chase or mount each other, as this is normal behavior for rabbits that have just met.
However, you should end the session if either of the bunnies looks stressed or begins to fight.
Moving Your Rabbits into The Same House
After your rabbits indicate signs that they are best friends, such as grooming, sniffing, and nuzzling each other, you can place them in the same room together.
Put them in an outdoor run enclosure or bunny-proofed room, and maintain a close eye on them for any symptoms that they are not getting on well.
As they work their things out, it is normal to see more chasing or mounting as they work their stuff out.
However, if the rabbits start getting into fights, you should separate them and restart the process of bonding.
If you want the bunnies to be free with each other eventually, it is best to introduce them in a smaller area and slowly expand the area they stay in.
If your rabbits are relaxed and happy with each other, congratulations, you now have a happy pair of bonded bunnies!
Once the rabbits are bonded, you should always keep them together to avoid making them stressed.
Rabbits are significantly territorial, and you should not take them to playdates unless you plan to bond them indefinitely.
Playdates are not a thing for most bunnies, and it is either hostility or a long road that results in a strong friendship.
Therefore, it is better to get them a new companion from a shelter rather than putting them through all the stress with a rabbit they might not see again.