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Rabbits/Bonding late in life


Hello and thank you for this opportunity to ask a question.
Pierre is a 9 year old neutered boy who was bonded to his mum, DeeDee for his entire life. We lost DeeDee approximately 2 weeks ago. She died in her sleep.
After I removed DeeDee's body, it appeared as if Pierre was looking for her. He would also lay down in "her spot". That behaviour has stopped although he has not been eating his pellets since she died. He does dive into his salads, hay and treats.
Pierre is free range in a large room which is separated by a NIC wall. On the other side of the NIC is his bro Larry and sis Maybeline; also 9 years old and free range. They have been set up like this since their spaying, neutering and bond selection. When they go nose to nose at the NIC there is usually a little squabble and some urinating.
My question is;should I try to bond Pierre with Maybeline and Larry at this stage in his life?
I don't know if I am imposing my own grief on Pierre but it breaks my heart to see him alone especially when his mum was so attentive #grooming and cuddling with him#.
I would say all 3 bunnies are dominant.
Any guidance would be much appreciated.
Thank you.

Dear Pamela

I wish Pierre had had more time to visit with DeeDee's body so he could understand what happened.  (They do.)  But now that he's accepted her absence, he is still grieving.  He needs extra love and care, as you know.

If he doesn't get along with the other bunnies, it might be more stressful to try bonding them than it's worth.  But you could try with the usual tricks (car rides, neutral territory, etc.)

If that doesn't work, he's really not too old to have a new companion.  You might contact your local rabbit rescuer and see if there are any eligible spayed girls he could meet for a date.  Age doesn't matter; chemistry does.  Let him do the choosing, and he will perk up when he finds the right girl.

I am sorry for your loss.



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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:

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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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