Housing rabbits

Rabbits are social animals and should ideally be kept with a suitable companion such as another neutered rabbit, preferably a male/female neutered pair.

Neuter a rabbit if you are not breeding from it

If you are planning to breed from your rabbit, you should seek advice from your pet care specialist. Unless a rabbit is being kept for breeding it should be neutered.

Rabbits are social animals

Rabbits are social animals and should ideally be kept with a suitable companion such as another neutered rabbit, preferably a male/female neutered pair. If your rabbit is left on its own for long periods of time, it will feel frustrated and its behaviour may change to reflect this stress.

Fear amongst rabbits

Rabbits instinctively fear other kinds of animals. Through careful training and very sensitive handling, pet rabbits can learn to enjoy the companionship of people.

Most rabbits will choose to spend much of their time in the company of another friendly rabbit. A suitable companion is a neutered rabbit of a similar size and opposite sex. Rabbits of the same sex are more likely to fight.

Rabbits may accept a guinea pig as a companion, but this is not advised. A rabbit's hind legs are powerful and can cause injury to a guinea pig that could be fatal. Rabbits and guinea pigs also have different dietary requirements and ways of communicating.

Provide hiding places for smaller rabbits

Where rabbits of different sizes are kept together, you should provide hiding places, so that a small rabbit can escape from a large rabbit.

When kept in pairs or groups, the accommodation needs to be large enough for the number of rabbits you keep. Make sure rabbits have places where they can get away from companions.

A rabbit, whether kept alone or with other rabbits, should have the opportunity to interact with its owner for several hours a day.

Introducing and keeping rabbits together

A successful relationship between two rabbits will depend on:

  • how, where and when they are introduced
  • their gender (male or female)
  • whether they are neutered or not
  • the age that they are introduced
  • their individual personality
  • their previous life experience - particularly when very young
  • their relative size - a smaller or younger one could be injured or bullied by a larger or older companion
  • the accommodation they live in (rabbits in cramped conditions may fight)

If you are introducing rabbits to each other you should seek advice from a pet care specialist on how to minimise the risk of fighting (for example, rabbits kept in cramped conditions will fight) and other welfare problems.

If your rabbits had to be separated for any reason, you should seek advice from a pet care specialist on how to re-introduce them to minimise the risk of fighting and other welfare problems.

Diets, normal behaviour, disease

Find out more about a suitable diet for rabbits, normal behaviour patterns and protecting rabbits from pain, injury and disease:

More useful links

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