As this is bunny's first separation from his mother, siblings & breeder, he/she will be a little scared and overwhelmed by the sudden changes to his known lifestyle, such as:
- A trip in a car
- Unfamiliar handlers with different smells etc.
- Children and their high pitched voices.
- Being alone in their new hutch.
To assist in the settling in process and to enable bunny to bond to you and your children, I suggest that rather than plonking him/her straight into the new hutch, you keep him/her confined in a carry cage or cardboard box for a few days.
Keep him/her in the house close by you so he will become accustomed to different voices and sounds (TV, radio etc.). Handle your bunny as much as possible during these first few days. Hold him/her close and secure to your chest. Do not examine him at arms length and never, ever lift him by the ears. Allow small children to pet and stroke bunny gently, avoiding the eye area.
The ideal time to bond with bunny is when you are relaxed yourself. Put bunny on a towel on your lap whilst you are watching a film. Stroke him until he falls asleep. When he wakes and discovers that he has not been hurt in any way, his level of trust in you will increase.
Don't let bunny run loose on the floor of your home for those first few bonding days ( no matter how cute it seems to watch him run and play). A baby rabbit given loads of space will begin to respond to centuries old instincts, and will look for hiding spots to run to if predators approach. This teaches your bunny to run from you . What you want is for your bunny to run to you at the sound of your voice or footsteps. This requires the initial period of confinement and bonding.
Don't scold bunny for soiling at this stage. He/she is way too young and excited by the new surroundings to control himself.
Rabbits ears are their centre of balance. Holding your bunny close and gently holding his ears against his body will help him to feel secure in your arms. Remember, to bunny, he/she is being lifted many storeys from to ground quite quickly. This can cause vertigo (dizziness) and fear just like in humans. A frightened bunny will try to claw its way away from whatever is terrorizing it - in this case you!
Keep all your movements slow and gentle and keep your voice low and soothing.
You will know when your bunny has become attached to you by the way he tries to get closer to your chest and face when you sit him on your lap. This is when he is ready to face that big new hutch alone, and will run happily when he hears your approach, rather than run for cover in fright.
I wish you many happy years with your new best friend. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.