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Rabbit bonding: swapping spaces

rabbit bonding: swapping spaces

We're not quite all snuggled up like the buns above yet, but we're getting there.  We've shared our scents and voices from a distance.  The next crucial step is for your two rabbits to share spaces - but not at the same time.  In other words, we are going to swap them around from pen to pen, so the distinction between "my pen" and "your pen" diminishes, while the two rabbits still remain separated.  

In essence, we are going to put them in each other’s territory, little by little. (If things seem to be going swimmingly, to right to just exchange rabbits from one space to the other, see below.)

Start by exchanging one toy from each pen. So a willow ball from Daisy’s pen goes in to Max’s pen, and a willow ring from Max’s pen goes in to Daisy’s pen. Increase the number of toys exchanged each time…depending upon how things are going, the toy exchange may happen over minutes, hours, or days.

Next step: switch the litter boxes, but keep the rabbits in their own territory.

Next: leave the toys and litter boxes in whatever pen they are in, but switch the rabbits from one pen to the other. Daisy goes in the pen Max was in, Max goes in the one Daisy was in. (Make sure they stay separate during the transfer!)

Everyone still comfortable*?  OK…we are ready for some up-close-and-personal time! Let’s just first wrap our heads around what to expect, and what to watch for.  Do you understand the rabbit language of courtship?

*signs of complete comfort include flopping, stretching out to rest, relaxed ears, etc. See more about body language later in the series or here.

Many thanks to Edie Sayeg of the Georgia House Rabbit Society for contributing to this series!

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