Rabbits are sociable animals and without both rabbit and human company they can quickly become depressed. Find out more about how to provide your rabbits with the appropriate company below.
Rabbits are highly social animals and should be kept in at least pairs. Like us, rabbits can become lonely without social interaction, which can have a negative effect on their behaviour and health. Rabbits do enjoy spending time with their owners, however they naturally prefer the company of other rabbits and therefore should be kept with at least one.
We find that the best combination of rabbits is a male and female that have both been neutered. Adopting a brother and sister is ideal as they already know each other so are less likely to fight. Other combinations of rabbits can also live happily together, if they are introduced correctly and neutered.
In the wild rabbits often congregate in warrens with sociable groups, so it’s fine to keep your rabbits in groups. However, owning a group can be harder to accommodate as large groups need a lot more space, food and water.
We recommend that you always neuter your rabbits to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It can be difficult to identify the sex of a rabbit so it’s best to have them both neutered even if you’re buying them in same sex couples. Neutering has other benefits including reducing aggression and behavioural problems. It is highly important that female rabbits are neutered as unneutered females have an 80% chance of developing cancer of the uterus by the age of 5.
Male rabbits can be neutered at around 12 weeks old and are usually fully recovered 2-3 days after treatment. Females rabbits must be a little older at around 16 weeks and they should feel normal again 10 days after neutering.
Rabbits should not be kept with guinea pigs as they have very strong hind legs and can accidentally injure their guinea companion. Rabbits also carry a bacteria which doesn’t cause symptoms for them but can cause respiratory issues for guinea pigs.
Introductions between new rabbits should be done slowly as rabbits can be aggressive to each other if they must share a home right away. To start, keep the rabbits in separate homes and allow them access to a large run with mesh separating them. This allows them to get used to each other’s scent and company, without being able to fight. When both rabbits become relaxed in each other’s company remove the mesh divider and allow them to share a space for short periods of time. After a few weeks of successful interactions you can then allow them to live together.
Rabbits can be aggressive with each other for many reasons. It could be that their initial introduction was rushed before they could get used to each other. In this case we recommend following the gradual introduction process. The size of the living area could also be a factor, as rabbits need enough space to get away from each other if they want to. Finally, having your rabbits neutered can reduce aggressive behaviour.
The loss of a close friend can send rabbits into a state of mourning. During this period, they can suffer intensely with loneliness, so it’s important to find them another bunny friend as soon as possible.
Rabbits express their happiness through what is called a 'binky'.