SINCE 2016, THIS PROGRAM HAS BONDED 11 PAIRS OF RABBITS!
All rabbits adopted for companionship for another rabbit must go through our bonding program. This ensures that the proper bonding steps are followed and increases the likelihood of a successful adoption.
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Rabbits rarely fall in love at first sight. Just like with people, every bunny and every pairing are different. For this reason, it is very difficult to break out a step by step program for an adopter. Our experience allows us to follow the rabbits' lead to try different techniques to achieve a successful bond. Most rabbits can bond after a period of two or three weeks, but some rabbits can take much longer (6 months to a year). If we find the the rabbits are not bonding quickly, we are happy to continue working with them or we will recommend another rabbit.
Here is an example of our average bonding program process:
Here is an example of our average bonding program process:
- When you apply to adopt a rabbit, we will take your preferred adoptable rabbit into consideration, or recommend another rabbit that may be more compatible. It is important to choose a rabbit based on their personality than on their physical characteristics. We often find opposite personalities bond the best (a more dominant rabbit will often bond quicker to a more submissive and passive rabbit). Opposite spayed/neutered sexes work best together as well compared to same sex.
- We will set up a home check to ensure that your home is prepared for another rabbit, as well as talk about a future set up to adequately house both rabbits together.
- We will arrange for you to meet with the rabbit you have applied for to ensure they meet your expectations. This can be combined with the start of bonding as well, and allow both rabbits to meet in a neutral area to see how they respond. The adoption fee, adoption agreement, and bonding agreement must be completed before bonding begins. We also require 1-2 weeks of supplies for your rabbit.
Note: Adoption fee is normally non-refundable, but if the bonding is not going well, we will transfer the fee to another one of our rabbits to try with, or refund it to you. Once the rabbits move back home with you, the adoption fee becomes non-refundable.
- To start the bonding process, we allow both rabbits to meet face to face in a controlled, neutral area (often an xpen). 3 things could happen right off the bat, which will determine how we proceed with the bonding process.
A) Love at first site: rare but not impossible! This is the best possible outcome and most likely the rabbits wont have to stay with us longer than a few days to a week to set the bond in stone.
B) They ignore each other: hard to believe, but this is a great start! It means that they don't mind being near each other, and normally it is only a matter of sorting out which rabbit will be the dominant of the two. Bonding is normally successful in 1-2 weeks with some minor stress bonding and mini meeting sessions.
C) Instant fur flying: this is common when two dominant rabbits meet together, or one very dominant/territoral rabbit meets another. We separate them immediately. We leave this up to you if you would like to try again to bond the pair,or if you would like to try with another rabbit. If you would like to proceed and try again, bonding is done very, very slowly and over multiple weeks. We will alert you if we think another rabbit should be considered if bonding sessions are still not improving.
- After the initial face to face meeting, we set the rabbits up in neighboring xpens with about 1/2 a foot gap between them (to prevent any nose grabs). We swap litter boxes daily and do small face to face session in a neutral space each day. We often take the rabbits on short car rides as a form of stress bonding, which uses the rabbit's natural instinct to look to each other for protection to our benefit in bonding. One of our Directors will drive, while the other supervises the rabbits. When we return from the short car ride, both rabbits are placed in a very small, neutral area where they are obligated to be in each others presence. Some rabbits will bond quickly after one car ride, some require a few more during the span of a couple of days.
-> Some other techniques we use for stress bonding are: shaking clothes dryer, sudden sound of vacuum/squeaky toy/banging pot, water squirt bottle, slippery bath tub (we do not use anything that we feel would over stress a rabbit beyond reasonable levels)
- We post bonding updates to our facebook, we will respond to any message you send us regarding how your precious little bun and their future husbun/wife are doing, we are happy to have you come visit (with an appointment) the buns when we are available to meet with you.
- When bonding is successful, you will be required to have set up a neutral space for both rabbits to return to, to ensure your rabbit does not become territorial towards the rabbit they just bonded to. Additional steps may need to be followed to ensure the bond remains successful.
A) Please set up an xpen or small room for the rabbits to be reintroduced to and clean as much as possible to remove the scent of your rabbit. Our rabbits are adjusted to an xpen and make take longer to adjust to large rooms or free range. It is important to introduce large spaces in increments, and to keep both rabbits together at all times in this process.
B) Bonded rabbits should never be removed from each other,(unless in emergency situations).This means both rabbits will need to go to the vet even if only one is not well. Be sure your travel carrier can accommodate both rabbits together.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR BONDING PROGRAM, PLEASE EMAIL HOPPYHEARTS@OUTLOOK.COM