How to Successfully Introduce Rabbits in Group Settings: A Step-by-Step Guide

We have a variety of articles on this website dealing with introducing or bonding rabbits to each other. But for those involved in rabbit rescue who may be interested in starting a sanctuary, or for others who simply want to bond more than three or four rabbits together, some may want to know how to have a large group of rabbits live together.  Following are some basic instructions for that process.

As with introducing individual rabbits to each other, the key point to keep in mind is territory. You need to introduce the rabbits in a new, unfamiliar territory. In addition, if you want to introduce a group of rabbits to each other, you will want to introduce all of the rabbits at one time; not one at a time. It will be much easier that way.

So first, create your environment in which all of the rabbits will be introduced to each other, and set aside enough time that you can put aside to devote to the introductions. You’ll need at least a weekend. When I first created my first group, back in 1990, I had two weeks off from graduate school and that’s what I planned to use. I had a new room, a new outdoor play space, a camping chair, lots of magazines, lots of Diet Pepsi, and a hose to break up fights.

You’ll also want to put lots of new things into this new space–cardboard boxes, cardboard tubes, and other things to distract the rabbits and give them places to run away from each other. Some of the rabbits will chase each other and some will run away from each other. Chasing and being chased is fine. What you don’t want are fights. That’s why you will want a spray bottle with you (my hose was probably a little excessive!), and a towel or blanket, and whatever else you will need to help break up fights.

How long will it take? It could take anywhere from a couple of days till a week or so until everyone gets along. This process depends on your active and vigilant participation. If fighting is severe, the bunnies should be separated when unsupervised. Still, I would recommend that you spend as much time as you can with the rabbits, even sleeping with them if possible, so that you don’t have to separate them, and thus don’t have to interrupt the process.

Keep in mind that in a group situation, not all of the rabbits will be friends. Instead, they will create their own friendships, or cliques, within the group. You will find that some rabbits will really enjoy the company of some rabbits, will tolerate others, and may even dislike others. That is fine. As long as the group is large enough and the space is large enough, not everyone has to like everyone else.

  • Margo DeMello

    Margo DeMello PhD is an anthrozoologist, animal activist, and writer. She is an Assistant Professor of Anthrozoology at Carroll College. For the past 15 years, she was the Human-Animal Studies Program Director at the Animals & Society Institute. She loves rabbits, chihuahuas, wombats and sloths. She is a knitter, a gardener, and a true crime fanatic.

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