April 20, 2011

…been meaning to post this for a while but just hadn’t gotten around to it. I’ve had people from the mainstream dino-media and the cable network talking heads after me to post on what ever happened to the “bunny speed dating” exercise involving Geronimo and Butterscotch, last time in these parts seen co-existing (but not co-habitating) in a neutral area of the house – namely, my office/prayer room – back in January.

This being Easter week and all, what better time to tell y’all how it went?

When attempting to bond two rabbits there are two absolutes you have to understand and ultimately have faith in: 1) that they absolutely will hate each other at first, and 2) they will learn to tolerate, and even enjoy, each other’s company.

(I have to say that the first rule, while common, is not absolute – for example, my sister-in-law’s two male rabbits Sherman and Cookie (a.k.a. “the Beastie Boys”) fell in love immediately with Peanut, the bitchy part lion-head who calls our bedroom her home, and the feeling was somewhat mutual. They love being around her, and she’ll tolerate them (which is surprising, because she despises all the other rabbits in the house!). Alternatively, I know from my trips to The Bunny Basics that there are rabbits that just don’t hit it off, no matter how you try.)

At any rate, the bonding of Geronimo with Butterscotch did not begin without some significant planning. Following the guidelines of the House Rabbit Society Handbook, we chose a new neutral area that neither had ever been in before – my bathroom – and determined the following schedule of activities:

Day 1 – Bring the rabbits together for a supervised half hour, no more. Let them get used to each other’s company, and if they start fighting, break the session up and start again the next day.

Day 2 – Increase the supervised half hour to an hour.

Day 3 – Increase the time together to two hours, first hour supervised, the second hour supervised from outside the room.

Day 4 – Increase the time together to four hours, with only occasional outside monitoring.

Day 5 – Increase the time together to a whole day, keeping them apart only at night.

Day 6 – Increase the time together for a whole day, including the night hours. By this time they should be fairly well bonded.

Day 7 – Move the rabbits to their new quarters where they live together going forward.

So how did it go?

Day 1: The key to watch for right from the start is both rabbits finding their own space and nervously grooming themselves. If you can get to that point without any fighting, the chances are they’ll soon begin to groom each other as they try and figure out who will play the dominant role in the relationship. For Geronimo and Butterscotch, while there wasn’t any fighting, there was certainly growling on the part of Geronimo. They spent most of their half-hour on opposite ends of the bathroom, but five minutes before we were to call it a session, they actually moved closer together, and shortly after this picture was taken, Geronimo began to groom Butterscotch’s head just a little…. Success!

bunnies1

Day 2: While there was still a little growling, more of the same from Day 1, except Geronimo really wanted – and expected – Butterscotch to start grooming him. Which she obliged, but then he’d growl at her some more, so there were definite conflicting feelings there!

Day 3: A very good day, as Geronimo was growling less, and groomng Butterscotch more often. The positive thing was we introduced food into the mix and they didn’t fight over it. More importantly, they started spending some significant time next to each other. Although it wasn’t exactly bunny cheek-to-cheek, they did seem to be working towards that direction:

bunnies2

Day 4: Progress was being made so well that we kept them in the bathroom most of the day without incident. A couple of growl from Geronimo, but they appear to be tolerating each other well.

bunnies3

Day 5: We called the experiment a success – much easier than expected. The following day, we recreated the old Geronimo/Ginger space with a different comforter for a floor and new water dish, food dish, litter box, and bunny toys. The rabbits were put in, and seemed to be handling the their new digs well:

bunnies4

Since then they’ve been pretty much the best of buds. Geronimo rules the roost, and isn’t afraid to push Butterscotch aside at feeding time, but she doesn’t back down and will stick right by him and insist upon eating next to him. The following picture tells you just how smartly the two are getting along: Geronimo asleep, using Butterscotch as a pillow.

bunnies5

Pretty cute, huh?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:00 | Comments (3)
3 Comments »
  1. What cute bunnies…I love reading about them. If only politicians could learn from “bunny bonding”.

    Comment by Jana — April 20, 2011 @ 5:18 am


  2. How’d that severe weather treat you yesterday, Jana? That was one ugly radar passing through Louisville last night…

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 20, 2011 @ 8:56 am


  3. Nothing to write about…it looked uglier on tv than in real life. There were about 9 tornado touch downs in the area. Funny how the cats all know when to go to the basement…well, except mom’s cat and I have to carry her down as she growls the entire way.

    Comment by Jana — April 21, 2011 @ 5:26 am


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