Consequences of separating bonded rabbits.
April 9, 2020
Wondering whether separating bonded rabbits is the right thing to do, although you don’t have any choice?
You will rethink your decision after learning what may happen if you separate a bonded rabbit pair, even for a short while.
I have answered the most common questions in this article. The most common of all reasons to separate a bonded pair is due to desexing rabbits.
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How long can bonded rabbits be apart?
Rabbits are very territorial animals, keeping bonded rabbits apart even for 24 hours can contribute to rabbits breaking their bond.
It sounds more straightforward that the rabbits will break their bond quickly. However, it is not easy for the rabbit pair to go through this stage.
Once separated, both the rabbits will mourn each other. If a rabbit is far from its partner, then the rabbit will be lonely and may act grumpy from loneliness.
In the worst-case scenario, one rabbit may forget the smell of the other for keeping a rabbit apart for a short while.
Once the rabbit forgets the smell of his/her friend, it is highly likely you have to work on the bonding stages again.
Now the question is why someone would separate bonded rabbits?
What will you face if you have to separate bonded rabbits due to desexing?
There can be many reasons for a rabbit guardian to keep their bonded rabbits apart from each other.
The most common reason to keep bonded rabbits apart is spaying/neutering.
Most rabbit guardians buy pet rabbits without doing proper research online.
They only discover that rabbits are different from cats and dogs once they bring their new pets home.
Why do I say this?
Rabbits are considered exotic pets and require quite a bit of maintenance.
Hence rabbits are not a starter pet.
The first problem a rabbit guardian will face once they buy pet rabbits, that their rabbits require spaying/neutering.
Can you take your rabbits to any veterinary and desex them?
Absolutely no. Because the regular vet in your area may not be specialized in exotic pets. Therefore you cannot desex them immediately after you buy them
Desexing them will be costly.
So what will happen if you cannot desex your pet rabbits immediately?
At this stage, rabbit guardians confuse themselves. They start raising the rabbits for a while without spaying/neutering them.
Meanwhile, when they keep the rabbits together in a hutch. These rabbits start to build a bond with each other.
So you may wonder what I am trying to mean.
What I am trying to say is once you get hold of an exotic pet veterinary and take your bunnies to spay/neuter. The doctor will suggest you keep your rabbits separate at least for two weeks to a month.
This duration of parting is standard after a rabbit is spayed/neutered until the rabbit recovers and is fully healthy.
But the problem in such cases is when you take your rabbits to the vet, the vet may refuse to spay a female rabbit unless she turns six months old.
So if you desex one of the rabbits before the other rabbit in the pair, that will result in a more extended period of separation for these two rabbits.
Nevertheless, if you do not have any choice other than a separation bonded rabbit due to desexing, you will have to go through the bonding stages.
Steps to bond rabbits are not complicated at all. However, in cases like these when a bonded pair remains separated for a while, and the guardian intends to bond them again, the condition becomes challenging.
Once a rabbit’s bond is broken, they will forget the smell.
If you try to re-introduce a neutered male rabbit to an unspayed female rabbit, the situation will be critical.
Although these rabbits were paired before the female rabbit being extremely territorial might act violently towards the male rabbit.
I am not saying this situation is usual; however, expecting such an incident is common.
What happens once a rabbit pair breaks bond?
Separating bonded rabbits can result in loneliness in rabbits. A rabbit will not understand what has happened to his/her partner. Thus the rabbit will mourn and feel alone.
Not having a playmate and being lonely will cause anxiety in rabbits. Stress in rabbits can deteriorate the health of a healthy bunny quickly.
Can rabbits bond again after short separation?
The short answer to this question is yes. I cannot say that for sure, because I have never done that. I never separated my bonded rabbits.
Rabbits can bond again after separation, but the process will be a lot more challenging than the first time.
See, when a rabbit pair is broken or if a rabbit from the air remains away from the other rabbit for a while, then eventually the rabbits begin to forget each other.
They will mourn the loss of their friend, but the bigger problem is they will forget the smell of each other.
If the rabbits forget each other’s smell, they will behave like new friends once they see each other.
So as a rabbit guardian, the steps for bonding these rabbits will be similar to starting from zero again.
Not just starting from the beginning, the circumstances may be even worse.
Because most likely, you have separated the pairs from each other only because you have spayed/neutered them.
And in case you have neutered the male first and the female is unspayed, the female rabbit will act very aggressively towards the male rabbit. The female rabbits are very territorial, and she will think of the neutered male rabbit as a competitor now in her territory. Although they were friends before, they have forgotten each other’s smell and do not recognize each other.
In most cases, it is difficult to bond rabbits after they have been apart from each other for some time, but the task is not impossible.
Do you need to spend more time with them after separation?
Yes, once a rabbit loses the partner, the rabbit will be lonely. At that moment, a friend is essential for rabbits.
A rabbit, being apart from the partner, needs someone who can play and cuddle the rabbit.
A rabbit guardian cannot do everything for the rabbit, similar to another rabbit.
However, the rabbit guardian can spend more time with the bunny and give her a companion.
Rabbits do get bored quickly, and after losing a friend, a bunny will act anxious. Therefore support from the rabbit guardian is necessary.
As well as giving the bunny to play some rabbit chew toys may help with her boredom.
Want your rabbit to be happy and healthy?