Rabbits have their own peculiar characteristics just like any other animal. Pet owners will be familiar with many of these as they have observed them over the years. For instance, they generally need to have a companion as a solitary rabbit gets too lonely and withdrawn. With one companion or more, they come alive and are visibly cheery. They interact a great deal with their family and form close bonds. This can make the introduction of a new rabbit into the close-knit group a little tricky.
Understand that rabbits are quite territorial. Their cage is their domain and they don’t like others suddenly barging in. You cannot bring a new pet into the area without warnings as this might trigger fights. This is true for both young and old.
In order to avoid an altercation, it would be best to introduce the new rabbit in an area which is considered as neutral territory. This could be inside or outside the home. What’s important is that it should be a place where the existing rabbits have not spent much time in. Since they do not consider this their turf, it is safe for the newcomer to wander in. They will not be overly defensive.
Rabbits memorize their territory not only by vision but also by scent. They can notice differences in other creatures as well. If they get an overwhelming sense that the new rabbit smells differently from them, then they can still be wary of it. What you can do is to rub their fur with a bit of almond extract to distract their senses.
After all the preparations have been completed, you can begin the process gradually. Put the old and the new within eyesight but not too close. At first, your rabbit may simply ignore the stranger. Then they may become interested and sniff each other. This should proceed smoothly as they get familiarized. If a fight breaks out, be sure to grab each of them immediately for their own safety.
This process can be repeated as often as necessary for several days or more. Meanwhile, they should have their own spaces to keep them comfortable. You can put their droppings to each other’s space to improve awareness and familiarity with the scents. Observe their behaviors. If no untoward incidents take place, then they can be placed in the same cage for total integration.
Always err on the side of caution. Rabbits may like company but they can be fiercely territorial in the face of strangers. They will defend themselves if they feel threatened so it is necessary to take things slow and make the transition as painless as possible. With a good introduction, the new rabbit can join the group and be treated like family.
As the owner, you will have to dedicate quite a bit of time and effort to ensure a smooth transition. Prepare yourself for any eventuality and be patient as things will not happen overnight. The method described above has been tried and tested with good results. Trust the process and you will be rewarded in the end.
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