You can’t stick two humans in a room and expect them to be fast friends. And this past week, I’ve learned you can’t do that for bunnies either.
Louis is an outgoing, life-of-the-party bunny who likes to be the center of attention.
Lex is a shy, timid bunny who takes a long time to warm up to people.
So it was not surprising that the first time they met, Louis assumed the dominant role by climbing on top of Lex, and Lex ran away and cowered in the corner.
That routine happened the first few times they met. It was very discouraging. I knew it would be a process, but I expected there to be more sniffing than humping.
But we kept at it, and kept arranging bunny dates.
Now, two weeks later, we’ve had a breakthrough. Here are the signs of a good bunny relationship developing that we’ve finally seen:
1. Ignoring: The two bunnies ignore each other, meaning they are not threatened
2. Sniffing/Grooming: The bunnies calmly sniff and groom each other; a sure sign of budding friendship
3. Resting/Grooming Themselves: The bunnies are each so relaxed they are able to discard their inhibitions and put themselves in a place of lowered awareness
Tricks we’ve used:
1. Put salad in the pen with them so they can munch on treats together
2. Rub each of their foreheads while they sniff each other, making them think they are grooming each other. This has been our most effective strategy
3. Place a screen between them at the first few meetings so they could slowly get used to each others’ scents without being thrown in one pen together right away
Bunny “dating” is a lot like human dating. They have to get to know each other before they live together. But if they keep having regular playdates and keep becoming more and more comfortable with each other, they’ll be friends in no time.