I'm a newbie to this forum, and have come here for some advice on bonding my two rabbits, Josephine and Bruce. I've already read as many posts as I can here and everywhere else on the internet, trying to find some help, but I've come up with little that's relevant to my situation. Unfortunately, I live in Melbourne, Australia - rabbits aren't as popular here, and I haven't been able to find a local rabbit bonding expert! The lady at the shelter - Leigh - has been great help, but I'd like to know other people's opinions.
I've had Josephine for just under a year, she is an albino lop, quite small, and a house rabbit who is used to getting her way! She's very affectionate with me. Just more than a week ago I took her to the Australian Animal Protection Society's shelter (the only one in Victoria with rabbits - a two hour drive from my house!), she had several dates with the boys there, and got along best with Bruce - a white and brown Giant who is literally twice her size! When they first met Bruce was very excited, he humped her quite a lot, but she sat there and didn't mind - she trusted him enough to groom and lay down near him within the first 15 minutes. When we took her to the other bunny dates, he waited by the gate for her to return, and did binkies when she came back! It was obvious he really liked her, and she was completely comfortable with him, grooming herself and eating and lying down near him. She also snarled and thumped at the other boys there, so we decided to take Bruce home to see how it would go on her territory.
In a word, the first week was excellent. They have had no agression whatsoever, and Josephine has only let him hump her a few times in her territory - she takes a few hops away whenever he approaches her behind. After a few days and many dates, we trusted them completely to be alone together in her room, which i scrubbed and renovated so she wouldn't get too territorial (it's 5mx3m). They're completely fine, no agression, no fighting, nothing at all. They sometimes lie down near each other, occasionally with their noses almost touching, but at other points in time I will walk into their room and they will be lying or sleeping in different areas of the room - sometimes, their positions mean they cannot see each other at all! They share food well. Yet when I let them into the garden, they both go exploring independently - Bruce will explore one corner, Josephine the other - they come back to each other, or run into each other, occasionally - they touch noses, and Josephine will usually lower her head, but then either she or Bruce will hop away. They seem to 'talk' to each other. Sometimes, if i enter their room to feed them, Bruce will come out for the food, but she will remain lying, and not bother to come out. Is this just because she was sleeping, and isn't hungry? Or does she secretly not like Bruce?
I am worried because it's been a few days now and their relationship hasn't changed. They sniff each other, sometimes one will approach the other, sniff a bottom or a tummy, but there has been no snuggling and no grooming. Is this normal? Will it come in time? Or do they just like each other? I very much want them to be in love. It appears that there is mutual liking, but the time they spend sitting apart makes me worry. Josephine licks me all the time - especially when she wants treats - so I know she is capable of licking, and she hasn't stopped since Bruce came into the picture. Bruce also runs circles around me, grunting, sometimes. Am I being impatient by expecting them to be grooming and snuggling after just more than a week together? They spend 24/7 together now.