Rabbits in the wild live in large colonies with a well-structured hierarchy, while domestic rabbits are often kept alone. Rabbits are happiest when they spend time with other rabbits or with humans so it’s no surprise that this is one the most commonly asked questions – one rabbit or two?
If possible we recommend you keep one rabbit. Single rabbits tend to bond with their owners well and develop a special relationship with them. They look forward to that personal one-on-one interaction with you each day.
Single rabbits will be very happy as long as their owners are prepared to spend time with them. If you are away you can keep your rabbit active and interested by providing toys to play with and branches to chew on. If left alone without any attention or activity rabbits can become bored and lonely and this can sometimes lead to aggressive or destructive behaviour.
We realise that keeping a single rabbit isn’t always practical or desirable, for example some of our families have two children and want them each to have their own bunny.
If your choice is to have two rabbits be aware that some rabbits will simply not get along while others will become great friends. Some rabbits just like to be alone and are happy with their human friends.
You can minimise problems in introducing and keeping two rabbits by following the guidelines below.
The most important thing is to have a hutch that is large enough to accommodate more than one rabbit. Rabbits will irritate each other if confined to a small space.
If you can, it is best to have litter mates or rabbits of a very similar age so they can grow up together.
In regards to gender, any combination is possible if you are willing to have your rabbits de-sexed. Every combination has it’s own pros and cons.
De-sexing controls sexual behaviour and aggression, prevents unwanted litters and reduces the possibility of diseases of the reproductive system.
Rabbits can become territorial and aggressive towards one another when their hormones come in at around 5 -7 months old. We recommend de-sexing before this begins whenever possible.
Vets will not de-sex rabbits younger than 4 months old.
Does can start breeding at 4 months old so if you choose a buck and doe we highly recommend having your doe de-sexed as soon as possible.
Bucks can be fertile for up to six weeks after de-sexing, so don’t assume you can just get your buck de-sexed as does can become aggressive when they reach maturity and feel the urge to breed.
The cost of de-sexing is similar to that of a cat, you may want to call around your local vets if you are concerned about the price of the procedure or the experience of your vet.
When introducing two adult rabbits take it slowly, watch them carefully, and make sure to provide each with a safe place of their own to hide.
You may need two hutches to begin with and allow them to just see each other through the wire.