I'm new to the forum, and I was hoping to get some advice on bonding. I've had bunnies for years, and recently we lost one half of our bonded pair to kidney disease. We gave our little survivor a stuffed animal to cuddle, which helped a little, but once he stopped constantly searching the house for his friend he just got listless, slept all the time, and there were no happy dances to be seen. I took this to mean that he was lonely and missing his lady (as we all were) and that perhaps we should think about another rabbit before he starts to lose his appetite or otherwise go downhill. I called our vet to ask her what she thought an appropriate grieving period might be since I didn't want to rush anything, and she told me that sooner was better. So, I called the local shelter and asked for their "bunny lady," who gave me a list of available single ladies. I had seen so much information online about bringing your rabbit to the shelter for bunny speed dating, and asked her if that is what she recommends. Her reply was that, since I had already bonded a pair of bunnies, that it would be easier on everyone to just do the bonding at home rather than dating at the shelter, as the way a bunny acts in neutral territory and at home are so different that bunny speed dating isn't much of an indicator. Well, I wish I hadn't listened to that advice, as then I might have known that the bunny we ended up bringing home would like nothing more than to disembowel our current rabbit.
Well, we took our new addition home, and set her up in a pen adjacent to our existing rabbit. They both ignored each other's existence for a week, interspersed with a bit of boxing and attempts at nipping through the bars.I didn't like the look of this, so when we took our new bunny in for her health exam, we took Zo along as well and let the two ride in the car together. This went fine, but didn't seem to do anything for the ensuing bunny date in neutral territory (our bathroom). There was about a 5 minute period of ignoring one another, followed by lunging and grunting on both sides. I've tried more car rides, putting them in the carrier and on top of the washing machine, putting banana on their heads to induce grooming, giving them surrogate stuffed animals with a bit of each other's fur (which the new bunny promptly attacked and tried to kill. Since it showed no aggression back, she has since taken a liking to it, but this did not improve her attitude toward our current rabbit). I also started switching their cages and litter boxes, and decreasing the time spent together in neutral territory in the hopes of ending on a good note. Bunny dating is always accompanied with a spray bottle to avoid aggression and a big ol' mountain of greens to keep each of them occupied and not concentrating TOO hard on each other. This has gone on for a month, and all I have seen is an increase in the hard feelings and fear that come with fighting. They've even, on more than one occasion, started outright fighting with no warning that I can tell. Their introduction started out bad, and their attitude toward each other has only gotten worse. So I ask you, the bunny-savvy, what else can I do? Any suggestions at all would be most welcome, as I really don't want to bring the new rabbit back to the shelter if I can avoid it. She really seems to just want to bond with out cat, which would be just fine if she would be civil with our rabbit.