It occurred to me today after reading through some follower questions that there is not often an easy or direct answer to the question “Can My Rabbits Live Together”. Especially for first time rabbit owners it can be a struggle and often a system of trial and error, to figure out if rabbits can live happily together! Here are some tips, tricks, and other information on housing rabbits. We will answer the the question: Can my rabbits live together!
First Things First: Spay/Neuter
You will have to decide early on if you are going to have your rabbit spayed or neutered. Sometimes there are reasons not to do this, perhaps you don’t have a local rabbit savvy vet or you want to breed the rabbit, etc. This will play a large role in determining who can live together so you will need to make this decision relatively early. There are LOTS of reason why it is a GREAT idea to get rabbits neutered. Because we breed some of our rabbits we don’t always have ours neutered but I can say from experience that there are good points to having it done!
Temperament will be greatly improved in difficult rabbits once they are spayed or neutered. Rabbits who are moody and difficult to handle can become much easier to work with once they are altered (aka spayed or neutered). Altering any animal reduces the amount of hormones flying around in there and it can stop some of those negative behaviors that we see in “teenage” rabbits. They will be less likely to spray to mark territory and they will be much less likely to become aggressive towards you or other rabbits.
Marking behavior is common in male rabbits who are intact. Altering them will help stop this behavior. It can also help stop aggression towards people and other rabbits. Once two rabbits are altered it is likely they can live happily together. Especially in male/female pairs that are altered, great bonds and lifelong friendships can be formed. I highly recommend getting your rabbits neutered and spayed if it is at all possible for your life/plans!
IF That Is Not An Option…
If it is NOT possible for you to get your rabbits neutered it is important to remember that they will FIGHT it is is not a matter of IF they will fight but WHEN. They will do fight eventually to establish dominance. Two females can fight just as viciously (some might say more so) than two males. The other obvious question is Can a male and female live together and the answer is of course “Sure, if you want a bunch of babies…oh and they will still probably fight”. The simple answer here is No. Rabbits who are unaltered can not live together in the same cage or free roaming space. They can live near each other, on opposite sides of a barrier of some sort, but there will need to be a certain level of separation between unaltered rabbits.
Socialization is KEY. If you decide to house rabbits near one another or altered pairs together, you will need to socialize them in order to be successful. Introduce them in a neutral space and some even suggest taking them on a car ride together. They call this method “stress bonding” I believe and it is exactly what the name implies. They will be stressed about the car ride and take solace in one another. Once they establish that there is no point in humping one another they will move on to becoming friends. Take the introductions slowly. Try introducing them next to one another in separate cages or enclosures. This will allow them to get to know one another while still feeling like they are king of their own castle. It is much like teaching children to share in that it doesn’t happen overnight or by accident: it takes a lot of hard work and patience to make it work!
If you have two rabbits and only one of them is neutered you may still have issues. The unaltered rabbit will still have a full set of hormones going and this can mean they want to breed or fight for dominance even if your altered rabbit is not interested in these actions.
The Bottom Line…
It is best to only house rabbits together in the same space if they are both altered. This is not the cheap or easy answer but it is the best one I can give. I would also recommend still providing rabbits who live together with plenty of their own space so they can be together when they want but also have time alone. Much like people, rabbits will occasionally want to spend time alone and without the option they may get cranky or fight!
As always we are here to answer any questions you might have! I hope these info is helpful for you on your rabbit journey!