Bonding Rabbits

by Mel
(UK)

Hi,
I am new to this forum but hope to get some advice. To cut a long story short we have taken in 2 rescue French lop rabbits from different places and both around 2 yrs old. The male is neutered the female isn't spayed. They are 2 happy healthy bunnies that are house rabbits and are currently living separately having turns to run about the house and exercise but we want to bond them with one another in the dream they can both live together in harmony!! Well this is not going well. I have had rabbits before but never taken steps to attempt a bonding.

So far we have introduced them 3 times in a neutral territory. The first time the male (who we have had a few weeks longer) mounted the female and we thought this a positive start to determine who is the dominant one.

Days 2 and 3 we introduced them once a day and they have done nothing but try and fight. They even fight through the bars of their homemade indoor run. They fly at each other immediately with minimal warning. Fortunately Because the kitchen has a hard shiny floor they can't grip onto it well and fall over a lot making it easier to separate them! Day 3 we attempted a meet in the neutral garden using their harnesses and leads. Again they did nothing but fly at each other. The male growls. I am feeling a bit nervous to introduce without the leads anow as I worry about separating them and am trying to prevent the fights rather than needing to intervene and separate a full on fight. I don't want 2 injured bunnies as a result either.

I have heard mixed opinions about trying a car journey for them to bond but we are not sure about trying this. I've also heard suggestions about food in the neutral area during a meet but our male is very possessive about food, I don't know if this has anything to do with his past but I think he could fight more over food as we can't even hand feed him.

I wondered if anyone else can relate to our experience? If so please let me know, did you have a successful bond in the end with time and perseverance? Or is this a sign of a personality clash that may never be fixed? Are we doing everything right, and do we just continue as we have been doing with the potential for a sudden change in behaviour eventually? Is it ok to continue to introduce them with their harness and leads on to prevent a full on fight? I know it's early days, but I would feel much better hearing about other people's experiences to know whether we are on the right track or not!

Thank you in advance,
Kind regards
Mel

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