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Rabbits/bonding a pair of rabbits


QUESTION: I have had one rabbit, Jazz since she was little. I've been think about getting her spayed but we only had her and no other rabbits so I've been putting it off. Well someone left a rabbit at my boyfriends work that they didn't want, and of course it is a little boy. We've had the little boy  fixed, he wouldn't stop humping everything (I didn't let them meet). Well now he is fixed and she (Jazz) has appointment in a few weeks to be fixed. But my main question is can I start bonding them before I get her fixed? They both realize that there is another bunny in the house and want to go explore each others area. I just moved there cages closer together so they can see and smell each other. Someone told me that it would be dangerous for them to meet this soon without her being fixed? When would be the best time to let them meet?

ANSWER: Dear Faith,

Actually, it may be easier to bond them before she's fixed, since she won't be a menopausal grump, and will probably welcome his humping.  :)

I'd wait until about 5 days after his surgery, just to be sure he's all healed.  But then you can start with supervised "dates" in a neutral territory.  Because she's intact, she will likely be less hostile to him than if she were spayed.

(I'm now doing an experimental thing in which we are removing the uterus of our rescues, but leaving the ovaries.  I love it.  Their personalities don't change, and they don't gain weight!  But there are cons to consider, as well.)

So I'd say go for it, using the techniques in the articles here:

She may go into a false pregnancy, but she'll get over that, too.  They're cute when they're high on hormones. :)

Hope this helps.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So I tried to let them meet for the first time, the male (Oliver) really wasn't that interested, but when he did go up to her she froze, ears straight up in the air and started,making  noises, is that normal? What does it mean when she starts making noises?
I went ahead n separated them.

Dear Faith,

Uh oh.  False pregnancy.  If she was whimpering, she was telling him that she's "already pregnant" and doesn't want his advances.  Until this passes (typically 17-21 days) she may stay grumpy and unapproachable.  She'll then build a nest, have "ghost babies" and be quite blissful.  At that point, she will likely be more receptive to him.

You can still do supervised "dates" with them, but do separate them if she seems unduly stressed by the encounters.  A couple of weeks isn't too long to wait for a bonded lifetime.  :)



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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