Getting a companion for our bunny(7 Posts)
We have a male rabbit (monty) who is about 7 months old and really want to get him a friend. We got him from pets at home (didn't realise what an awful place that is at the time) and later found out that rabbits are happier in pairs). I really want to get a female rabbit now, but am I right in thinking we would have to house them separately initially incase they fight? We don't really have room for another cage at the moment, we live in a flat so have limited space (moving in about 6 months though). He seems really happy on his own for now, he's always binkying and is only ever in his cage when we are out, he sleeps under our bed at night. Do you think it will be ok to wait a few months to get him a friend or should we try and find a way around it and get another rabbit now? Just worried that he's lonely.
The first of my two bunnies was about 2 years and 8 months old when I got my second.
You really do need to house them separately to start off with. I had difficultly getting mine bonded - I was also in a small flat, and my female had already established the whole place as her territory.
I had a bit of luck when they went to stay with my petsitter for a few days while I was out of town at a wedding - because they were in a neutral space, she was able to let them out for a run at the same time (strictly supervised) so they could meet each other properly without getting territorial - I was amazed when I went to collect them and found they were snuggled up together, and they've been best buddies ever since
I'd consider introducing a female companion very soon after you move house, and try to keep Monty restricted to a small area of the new house (ideally put his cage in a different room to the one you eventually want to use as their main room) until the new rabbit arrives. This will hopefully avoid him being funny about a new rabbit being in 'his' space.
Our male bun (Nibby) was just over a year old when we got Flopsy female.
I bonded them myself - Nibby was already a garden bun so I bought an indoor cage and introduced them to each other both indoors and out over the course of a week (the indoor hutch became useful for cold winter nights when I bought them indoors).
It's not impossible by any means but you do have to take a chance that they eventually get on, which ours did.
Unfortunately Nibby had to be put to sleep at age 3 but we did manage to bond Flopsy with a male bun some months later and they are best mates
Is he neutered? He needs to be neutered before a companion is introduced really as it will increase the chances of a successful bond. The companion needs to be neutered too and it's best to wait at least 6 weeks after neutering to try bonding.
If you go via a rescue (really the best option) they may bond the rabbits for you and keep them for a few days/ a week until they are trustworthy to be kept together without constant supervision.
You will probably find thought hat your cage isn't big enough for two bunnies, even if they are only shut in it when you are out. Most indoor cages aren't even big enough or one bunny sadly, nor are hutches. Can you make a room safe for them to stay in when you are out?
I bonded our house bunnies over a couple of weeks. I took them out for a few car trips together in a large travelling box, they were a bit scared so snuggled up together. At other times I would put both of them on my lap and stroke them, alternating my hands so their scent got transferred.
Somehow it worked and they became inseparable.
Thanks for all the advice. Will definitely do what you suggested fringeevent and introduce them soon after we move, monty thinks he owns the whole flat at the moment! We had monty neutered a couple of months ago. Why does the female have to be neutered as well, is it just that it will make her more agreeable? Unfortunately we don't have the space to have a room just for him, but that's the intention when we move. I hate having him in a cage at all but it's unavoidable at the moment as he's developed a taste for leather sofas! The pet shop gave us really bad advice and said that he'd be fine in the cage most of the time, but he clearly doesn't like being in there.
I don't suppose any one has any advice as to how we can stop him peeing on the bed? He's litter trained and really good most of the time, and we don't allow him on the bed but as soon as he gets the chance he'll jump up there and pee. I'm guessing he's trying to mark his territory? I'm having to wash our sheets every couple of days at the moment and its driving me crazy!
Yes, a female should be neutered as it increases the chances of them getting on, but it is also better for her health. Unneutered does can have phantom pregnancies and are prone to uterine cancer.
If you can't keep him loose in a room, can you make him a pen for when you are out? So that he can't chew your sofas (ouch!) but can have more room? Puppy pens/panels are quite cheap to buy and suitable for this and can also be folded away to store when you are home if you prefer to do that.
I'm not sure about the peeing on the bed, but in dogs it's a sign of insecurity, so you may find it stops once he has a bunny friend.
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