Barney (now Tink)
She fell in love with Barney, a young male Dutch rabbit, and now it seems that someone else has too! He now lives with Maple - a much older Dutch girl. He lives in a 12 ft long hutch (lean-to shed design) with lots of tunnels and soil-trays inside, and either has access each day to the whole (walled secure) garden or a chicken-coop design run.
Here's what Debbie has to say:
"Following the sad death of our beloved Rex-type rabbit at the beginning of this year, our black and white 9-year old Dutch female rabbit, Maple, found herself without a partner. She was clearly lonely which caused much concern all-round, so we attempted to find her another suitable rescue companion. After communicating with the RSPCA and several other rescues it became apparent there were many females or pairs in rescue, but few older males. We therefore made a decision to adopt one of the younger males and visited the RSPCA Millbrook centre, before meeting Barney; a cute brown and white Dutch-type boy.
"Barney proved hard to resist and we reserved him in the hope he could be gently introduced to Maple, but knowing that we would house both rabbits either side of a mesh partition if introductions were not entirely successful. Our home-checker approved our set-up (we are rabbit and animal-welfare enthusiasts) and we promptly collected Barney, who subsequently became 'Tink'. Both rabbits were then settled with a mesh divide and introduction methods began. This involved scent-swapping (clean and soiled bedding) whilst offering extra tasty treats, and meetings on neutral territory with open-ended tunnels for security and high-value foods for distraction.
"Over the course of 10 days Maple and Tink were engaging in wonderful bonding behaviours, so progressed to 'garden meetings'. Soon after this the mesh divide was removed and both were supervised for a time. Tink is a cheeky chappie who is very active and spends a large amount of time grooming Maple, whereas Maple is less active now and is also not quite so generous with her grooming. Despite their age and character differences, Maple and Tink compliment each other very well and have proven to be wonderful companions."
This story is fabulous to read, and proof that, with a bit of time and patience, you can successfully introduce two rabbits.
It is also a great example of the type of accommodation rabbits should have, plenty of space and plenty of toys and enrichment ideas to keep them active and happy.