I have a 9 y.o. Asterex named April Jean Castlebury who has outlived 4 husbuns. She lost her recent mate about 2 months ago and seems lost. She often spins around and gets dizzy. April has always been a very easy bunny to bond and desperately needs a new friend.
I brought home an 8 y.o. male named Henry since he was the least likely to get adopted at our shelter, Red Door. He is a very gentle bunny, loves to be held and pet by humans. I doubt he has ever been around other rabbits.
I decided to do the dates in April's Xpen so she wouldn't get disoriented. She is not the least bit territorial. After a date, Henry returns to his pen, which is right next to hers. I often swap their blankets and litter so they can get accustomed to the other's smell.
So far my bonding dates are going so-so. At first, April would become alarmed at the smell of a new bunny and lunge/nip. Henry seemed to be shocked at this and started nipping back at her hips/butt. As long as I am petting them, both buns will snuggle together. Once I stop, Henry nips at her butt and she gets freaked out, runs away and starts spinning.
On their 5th date, I put a little banana on both of their heads. Henry licked it from April, but once it was gone, he tried to nip her again. April was always been a big groomer in the past, but now she seems to only push her head down to be groomed, which means she cannot smell the banana on Henry's head.
I'm looking for advice on how to advance this process and curb Henry's desire to nip at April. Both buns are near the end of their lives and I'd like to make them happy for the rest of it. If I can get past this hurdle, I think their dates can progress and I won't have to be petting them to keep Henry calm.