Rabbits are social animals that require interactions with other rabbits. This can be as simple as two rabbits playing in the same cage, or it can be a rabbit buddy couple who spend all of their time together.
The right pairings between rabbits is important for both the happiness and health of the rabbit. It’s easy to mix up the age when it comes to adopting new house pets. Many animal shelters will only adopt once in a while so they won’t get overrun by adoptions.
If you aren’t sure how old your prospective new companion is, here are some things you should know when trying to get a rabbit with an older rabbit pet.
Can You Put a Baby Rabbit With An Older Rabbit?
Rabbits are incredibly social and will benefit from an added rabbit company. However, not all rabbits will work together well. They are a bit like humans in that regard. Rabbits need to bond. Bonding is a process in which rabbits learn to live and interact with each other cooperatively. Not all rabbits bond with themselves and with baby rabbits, it’s a bit more difficult.
An important criterion for bonding is neutering or spaying (for males and females respectively). It is the removal of the reproductive organs which not only removes the likelihood of cancer of the organ but also reduces aggressive behaviour.
Babies are too young to be neutered and while the adult rabbits may be picky in their bonding, the baby rabbit does not have the social ability. Nevertheless, it is not unusual for older rabbits to take a liking to baby rabbits. But even so, the two rabbits must be introduced to each other properly. The answer to the question will then be “Yes, under the right circumstances”.
How Do You Introduce a New Rabbit to an Older Rabbit?
To properly introduce a new rabbit to an older rabbit, you must never be impulsive. It may be best to put both rabbits in an open large space but each in their cages. In the absence of open space, put both cages of the older and new rabbits side-by-side. What this does is make them see or even smell each other continuously at least for the first day.
In the space, you may release both rabbits out of the cages. The older rabbit will most likely start smelling the younger rabbit. A little tussle is not unusual. Do not, however, attempt to leave them alone to ensure there is no aggression. It is all right if the older rabbit goes about his business ignoring the baby.
After this process, you may put both rabbits in the cage. Keep an eye out for aggressive behaviour. Do this for a few days to notice if grooming and bonding characteristics occur.
Can Rabbits of Different Ages Live Together?
Yes, Rabbits of different ages can live together but it is better if they are of similar age because of differences in hormone growth and character.
How Many Rabbits Can Live Together?
Rabbits are extremely social animals. The number of rabbits to keep together will most likely be determined by how much space you have. If your space is an outdoor space such as a large hutch, a shed or a pen, the number of rabbits you can keep will be determined by how wide the area is.
For example, if two rabbits share a hutch, it should be about 12 square feet to allow for movement like hubby. You should never attempt to cramp your rabbits together.
Should I get another Bunny for my Bunny?
It definitely will not be a bad idea to get one. Why rabbits do not necessarily need to have a mother rabbit (especially if you are a pet-owner not looking to add another), it is beneficial and recommended. Your rabbit will be at low risk of depression and stress that may result in aggressive behaviour. However, constant human/pet-owner interaction can make up for the social needs of the rabbit.
As much as it is beneficial for your rabbit to have a companion, you must take into account its unique personality. You must as well avoid force-introduction of a new rabbit into its space.
Can Two Female Rabbits Live Together?
There are not any particular concerns as to the sexes to be put together in a single cage. So long as you apply the basic recommendations of spaying as well as starting and encouraging a bonding process, you should not have any issues with two female rabbits living together. Rabbits need to have social interaction. With what sexes are of little concern to them.
What are the Benefits of Having Two Rabbits?
Having one rabbit is a beautiful thing. Having two rabbits who are bonded is even more beautiful. The benefits of two rabbits aren’t just for the rabbits but also for you:
- With how busy our schedules may be, it may not be possible for a pet-owner to provide companionship to the extent that a rabbit needs. Having a companion will help your rabbit have its very needed social interaction without pressure on you.
- Rabbits do not do very well in isolation and will tend to exhibit self-harming behaviours such as pulling their own fur out or being aggressive towards humans.
- Having a companion reduces the risk of depression or loneliness in rabbits. Signs of depression may include excessively grooming itself, becoming withdrawn, over-eating, etc.
- Bonded rabbits are adorable to watch and will show signs of companionship that even humans may not be able to mimic. They will groom each other and together, play with each other, sleep together, eat together and just generally be with each other at almost all times. Still they will not leave their human out of the picture and both can equally bond with you if you spend time with them.
Remember though that for domesticated rabbits, it is best to neuter or spay them in order for bonding to be effective.
Should I let my Rabbits Fight it Out?
While keeping an eye on your rabbit during the bonding process you may observe some form of fighting. But you must be careful to differentiate between fighting and what otherwise may just be the rabbits’ bonding. The latter will often involve a good chase, nipping, mounting on top one another. Like siblings annoying each other playfully, it is essentially harmless.
However, fighting is a lot more aggressive and can involve biting, scratching and pulling fur out. You should never ignore this. Separate them instantly. You must protect yourself with gloves to avoid getting bitten or scratched and identify the reason for the fight especially if they were already bonding.
The consequence here may be that reintroducing the rabbits to each other will involve another process of bonding. If you mistook bonding behaviour for fighting and separated them, you will disrupt their bonding process and may have to start again.
Should I Let my Rabbit Hump Each Other?
You will notice humping or mounting in different circumstances:
- Your rabbits may be bonding. It is not atypical during bonding for this to happen; it may even involve nipping.
- It may be a show of dominance. This may happen in any sex parings, that is, either male-to-female, female-to-female or male-to-male parings. It is a way of ensuring the other rabbits understand who is boss.
- It may be breeding season and hormones are raging.
Either way, humping is not a particularly concerning behaviour. You may stop it if you notice it occurring during the fight.
How do I Make My Rabbits get Along?
Despite the social ability of rabbits, they can be overly protective of their territory. This can put a damper on the bonding process. You will have to be very conscious of how you introduce a rabbit to another. Picking your pairing is the first step. In the wild, the most natural pairing is the male-to-female pairing but this does not matter. Rabbits can bond with either sex. It is best to buy rabbits of the same age. But if you already have rabbits and they keep on fighting, you would have to restart the bonding process.
- When you notice any form of aggression, separate them immediately.
- Keep both rabbits in separate cages or in a hutch with a mesh separating them. Ensure they can smell and see each other.
- After a while, put them together for short times under constant supervision.
- You must ensure that there is enough feed, toys, boxes, etc., for each rabbit to avoid competition caused by territoriality.
- Increase time spent with each other for a few weeks until you notice bonding characteristics.
- If the process fails, you may have to restart the process or better yet, get another rabbit to bond with yours as bonding may just be unlikely.
Why is my Rabbit Biting the Other Rabbit?
The rabbit may just be playing by nipping lightly. If you however notice aggressive biting, it may be for the following reasons:
- You did not encourage or complete the bonding process.
- The rabbit is protecting its territory.
- There may be changes in hormones that may not be occurring in the other rabbits; this is possible when they are not of the same age.
Bonding rabbits may be a whole lot of work but the benefits to you and the rabbits are worth it in the long run.