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How to introduce two rabbits
Posted by on 06 July 2011 05:22 PM

Two baby rabbits (under 10 - 12 weeks of age) can live with each other immediately. All other age combinations of rabbits will need to be introduced gradually.  There are many different ways to introduce two rabbits:

o Both rabbits need to be neutered, if they’re old enough, to reduce the risk of fighting.  (Remember, male rabbits can remain fertile for up to four weeks after castration and females must be kept away from males for approximately 14 days after being spayed.)

o Put the rabbits in nearby cages, where they can see and smell each other through the wire.  If your existing rabbit is a house rabbit or is ‘free-range’, put the new rabbit in a cage inside this area.  This will allow the rabbits to become accustomed to each other’s different smells. 

o Once the rabbits are used to the sight and smell of each other, start putting them together for very short periods of time in strictly neutral territory (where neither rabbit has been before).  If a fight occurs on introduction, separate them immediately and try again an hour or so later.  Each day, let them meet on the neutral territory, building up the time you leave them together.  Eventually, hopefully, they will get used to and accept one another leading to eventual friendship. 

o Alternatively, it may be possible to put the two rabbits together in a travelling box and take them for very short quiet rides in the car.  Car journeys are strange events for rabbits and with this unnerving situation that the rabbits find themselves in, the rabbits often will show their natural instinct to ‘stick together’ and show a united front, with any thoughts of fighting disappearing.  However, at the slightest sign of tension, separate the rabbits.

o Each day, gradually increase the time the rabbits spend together, on neutral territory, until the rabbits appear relaxed together.  You can assist this process by feeding the rabbits together, and providing lots of cardboard boxes and escape holes.

o When the rabbits are happy to groom each other and lie together, they can be left together unsupervised.  The whole process can take anything from a couple of hours to a couple of months.  Generally, the better the rabbits get on at their first meeting, the quicker they will bond and if you are able to put the rabbits together for very brief periods, many times a day, they’ll get used to each other far more quickly than if you can only do so once per day.

Some rabbits will establish an instant bond.  You can recognise this by an initial lack of interest in each other when they are first introduced, followed by individual grooming.  This will soon progress to mutual grooming, with the rabbits sitting and lying together.  However, do keep a watchful eye for any possible aggression during the initial phase of the introduction process.

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