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Derrick's Den

Bonding Service.


Rabbits are deeply emotional and paradoxical creatures and they crave the companionship of their own kind. Rabbits can form bonds that are so powerful that the loss of a bonded partner can leave them devastated and depressed.

However, bonding rabbits is not always as straightforward as many people think.

It can be a very stressful experience for both rabbits and their owners!


It simply isn't a case of putting them in the same hutch, hoping that they will get on! Unfortunately it is so much more complicated!


 Often when rabbits are first introduced to each other they will show some form of aggression or dominance.

With the right guidance and knowledge 95% of the time this can be turned around and end in a happy relationship.


 Our challenge is to be able to guide them safely to their happy ending and as doting bunny slaves this isn’t always possible.

More often than not owners intervene too quickly or panic and flap and pass their anxiety on to the ‘bonding’ pair, resulting in a failed bonding.


How Derrick’s Den can help.


I can provide a neutral area in which to carry out the bonding process. 


Your rabbits are not emotionally attached to me, or me to them and whilst I have their health and safety in mind at all times, I am able to oversee the bonding process without intervening at the wrong times due to emotional attachment.

I also believe this is much easier on the rabbits as they have no bond with me.


I am neutral to them so I can’t pass on any emotional feelings of distress or anxiety to them, thus resulting in a more positive atmosphere for them to bond.




A question I’m often asked is will my rabbit change once he/she has a bonded partner. The answer to this is yes your rabbit will change, as each rabbit is different I can’t foresee how they will change but they will be a lot happier!

When bonding my own rabbits I found that it didn’t affect their relationship with me in the slightest, I bonded strongly with Derrick and that has never changed even though he is part of a group of four now.


I have never known a friendly rabbit to lose interest in human company, once they like you they always will.


What happens when I take my ‘bonded’ rabbit's home?


If you are having problems bonding your rabbits and you decide to seek assistance from Derrick’s Den, then you will also need to continue the good work already done when you bring your rabbit’s home.


 In some instances, following an introduction of a few days, rabbits can become immediate friends, but this is not always the case and when returning to their home environment it needs to be managed carefully to ensure that the bond continues to develop and not go backwards, or break up totally.


If you are bringing newly bonded rabbits home to a totally new space then the you will find it easier to maintain the growing friendship than if you are returning one of the group to their original territory.


 However even with new accommodation; it is not a good idea not to allow the rabbits to use the whole space immediately, but to build up over a period of a few days to a week.  You should be able to determine from the behaviour shown if you need to take it really slowly or if the rabbits are firm friends right from the outset.


What NOT to do!


 I can’t stress enough that once bonded, the rabbits must never be split unless there is a real need to do so, such as illness where one needs special nursing care that can’t be done with company present, or if there is a risk of injury or disease.  Your bonded rabbits must always travel together, so even a quick trip to the vets where only one rabbit is to be seen, means that you must take all of the group (my bonded group of four all visit the vet together in one carrier…a nightmare to carry and I’m not quite sure what my vet thinks when I turn up with all of them when only one needs to be seen!).


Believe me in the past, before I was rabbit savvy it happened to me and it really does happen that quickly! It caused a lot of heartache both for myself and my poorly bun.


 If one of your bunnies needs an overnight stay at the vets, a bunny savvy vet will understand the need for the bonded bunnies to stay together and if he/she doesn’t, then you need to find another vet.


 A rabbit going to the vets on their own will come back smelling totally different and may behave differently and to introduce them back may be very problematic and is just not worth the risk.  In fact, by your bunnies travelling together, you will find that their stress levels are reduced.




To summarise; it is really important to realise that when you bring newly bonded bunnies home, that this is just the beginning of the new relationship and that as their owner, you will need to put in the effort to help the bond to grow successfully.


 When your bunnies return home it is normal for a few problems to arise, you as a ‘bunny slave’ also have to play a part in the bonding process  They will need reduced space in order to understand that they are now a pair/group and that they don’t need to run away!


Please do not be tempted to rush things and give too much freedom too quickly; ignoring the small space rule because your bunnies seem to be firm friends has been the undoing of many bonded rabbits.


 Allowing the rabbits out in the garden or run, or in their whole area after only a few days is likely to cause problems, so please be aware, only increase the territory after a good number of days (anything between 8-10 days) and do it gradually. If behavior changes or any problems occur then go back a step and decrease their space immediately until things return to positive.



Accommodation for your newly bonded rabbit’s.


 If you are using existing accommodation, whilst your bunnies are away being bonded, you will need to totally clean and de-odorise the space. I recommend spraying the complete area with a solution of 50/50 distilled white vinegar and water (once it dries the vinegar smell disappears!)


 Where possible remove any obvious signs of marking or ownership e.g. chewed toys, marked litter trays, fabric items such as animal beds/toys and any other items which may indicate to the original bunny that they are back in their old territory.

If your rabbit’s accommodation is large, then find a way to reduce the space down in the initial stages of homecoming. If your housing is a hutch or Wendy house with a run attached, then close off the run for at least a few days.  

In a larger shed, it may be useful to break down the space to a smaller area using a puppy pen or NIC cubes, which I can provide you with (£10 deposit refunded on safe return)  


Things to watch out for.


In general your rabbits will continue to be happy and their friendship will grow, but, in some cases by bringing bunnies home to an existing space some unfriendly behaviour can start.


 As we know mounting/chasing is regularly seen in a new bond to show dominance.  If this ceased before homecoming and then begins again, it may be one or other rabbit deciding to try and assert themselves, and in some cases it may be a different rabbit to the one who was boss previously.


 This should be allowed to happen provided it doesn’t escalate into fighting or chasing that may be a precursor to injury.

‘Head mounting’ should be discouraged immediately. Although the rabbit being mounted may seem to be laid back and placid it only takes one bite in the wrong place! Ouch!! Rare but again, it does happen!!


Please be aware of the danger and gently push the offending rabbit off.


Problem solving.


By using the methods above, any unsettled behaviour should calm over a few days.  If it doesn’t, then it may be worth analysing if there is anything you can do to make the space more neutral.


 Putting the rabbits in a carrier and taking them out for a drive can usually help to settle the small hiccups that occur in the bonding process, but if things take a turn for the worse.  Most often any set back will be temporary and you should persevere.


It is important that the rabbits are not split up UNLESS THERE IS A RISK OF INJURY, or you will be back to square one and you will need to begin the process again from scratch.


If you need any help or advice or you’re worried about anything during their period of transition then please feel free to contact me.


Feeding your newly bonded rabbits.


When feeding newly bonded rabbits, it’s helpful to scatter their pellets in their hay or on the floor of their accommodation at first, so that you can monitor how they are at feeding time.


I scatter my bunnies food every meal time as I believe food issues can often be a problem with some rabbits being greedier than others, plus it encourages them to ‘forage’ for their food, a behaviour that is natural to them and I strongly believe in encouraging their natural behaviour as much as I possibly can.


 Rabbits forced to get their noses in a small feeding bowl side by side, when they have only just met, may begin to squabble so this needs to be watched in the initial stages of the relationship.


 Many, many rabbits never have a problem, but it is worth taking care over this process as they can become food aggressive.


Why I care.


 My success rate on bonding is high, and although I will never claim to be an ‘expert’ on rabbits as they are complex, mysterious and sometimes paradoxical creatures, my love and commitment to them runs deep.


It is estimated that there are up to two million rabbits being kept and bred in the backyards and gardens of the UK…three quarters of them, according to a new survey are being mistreated. Not only are they being fed the wrong food but they are kept in small, cramped and dirty cages never having the chance to run free or to feel the love of a companion rabbit, a situation for which the pet industry and breeders bear most of the blame…


 As one person I cannot change the way two million rabbits are kept. I so wish that I could… but that just isn’t possible.

 I am happy to have helped bond the rabbits that I have and to have enriched their lives, and if I can do that I may not be changing the world but I can change the world of the rabbits that I help.


Bonding Prices from April 2020



(8 days, £8 a day there after)



(8 days, £10 a day there after)

Group of Four


(8 days, (*-£10 a day there after)

PLEASE NOTE... In 5 years of bonding possibly over a 500 rabbits I've only had to keep 12 lots of bonding bunnies longer than a week and after two weeks they were ready to go home.


The initial 48 hours is crucial and can be very intense.

Throughout this period your rabbit's will have constant supervision, which requires me sleeping (if i'm lucky) alongside them so I can be on hand if anything 'kicks off'


Within this 48 hour period it usually becomes very apparent if the bonding will be successful or not, and if for any reason I feel that that the bonding won't work out, for example; excessive fighting occurs, even after intervention,

and it becomes clear that they intend to cause each other a major injury, I will separate and try again 12 hours later.


At all times throughout the bonding process I have your rabbit's best interests at heart and at no point do I allow them to fight, I will step straight in to prevent this, and if I think it really won't work I will let you know as soon as possible.

Unfortunately sometimes even with the best intentions and constant supervision, injuries can occur during the bonding process. So far, any injuries that have occurred have been superficial and not needed veterinary attention when bonding groups of 4 or less. 

I will make you aware of any injury, however superficial it might be, so you can keep an eye on things once they come home. Twice in 5 years I have had injuries that have needed to be stitched. These were with larger groups of more than 4, and the reason I no longer bond groups larger than 4.

Ideally I'd like to say I've never had any injuries, but that would be dishonest and misleading and I prefer to be honest and open with you.

What I can say though is that more often than not it's me that gets bitten! If I can't get my hand in my protective glove quick enough if anything kicks off, then I just get straight in there!

I do ask for a £40  non refundable deposit for a pair and £50 for a trio or quad, to secure your booking.


I am more than happy to keep you updated via WhatsApp and send videos/pictures by email on your rabbit's progress throughout the bonding process.


I post regular updates and videos to my Facebook page (with owner's full consent) so if your're interested to see how some of my previous bonding's have gone please feel free to have a look at Derrick's Facebook page or check out our customer reviews page to see how happy we've made a lot of lonely bunnies.








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