BONDING MULTIPLES TOP TIP - SHOULD I SEPARATE MY ORIGINALLY BONDED BUNNIES BETWEEN BONDING SESSIONS?!
BONDING MULTIPLES -
If you are bonding more than a pair, you may wish to consider separating them ALL when you aren't actually bonding. Here's why -
1. Your existing bonded bunnies may fall out as the hierarchy is changing. It can be very confusing for them, working on their new dynamic in the new bond, and then being returned to the old dynamic. This can lead to them falling out and possibly hurting each other, and you may see behaviours you don't normally see with them eg chasing, mounting and lunging. You may have heard that the existing bond is 'broken' during the bonding process of adding more bunnies. I don't believe the bond is usually completely broken, just changed and different, but it is true that they will relate differently to each other, at least for a while. Remember you aren't always there to supervise them, so be careful of this.
2. Your bond will probably progress quicker if they are all completely separate unless they are in the bonding pen - they will be keener to have company again and likely more tolerant.
It may seem cruel to keep them apart, but it is usually safer, and you need to focus on your bigger picture of having ALL your bunnies bonded, and the quickest way to do this will be less stressful in the long run for them. This is also why if you can manage longer sessions for a multiple bunny bond it can be better (as well as the fact it will take you longer to bond than just a pair usually, so the longer sessions you can put in the better, especially at the beginning)
I know this isn't always possible, especially when you are bonding several bunnies, but if you can make it work then it's probably for the best. You can still have them right beside each other (With a gap between the bars so they can't hurt each other), and you can swap their pens every day - after bonding, just return them to a different pen!
Some people worry that separating them will make them less likely to stay friends and if they don't succeed in bonding the multiple group, that they will end up with separate bunnies and have to rebond. Unfortunately that is always a risk with bonding multiples, and once you start the process you have already affected their bond. I believe that if they have loved each other once, they can usually love each other again (and in fact probably about 60% of the approx 150 bonds I have done have actually been rebonds) so worst case scenario, you can try and rebond your original bunnies, or continue separate bonds for the bunnies who HAVE fallen in love during the process.
You know what I always say though.- most bunnies can be successfully bonded with enough time, patience and determination and you just have to be more stubborn than they are!!
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I can help you get your bunnies loved up faster!