Appropriate company for rabbits
Ensure your rabbit has appropriate company
- Keeping with at least one other friendly rabbit, unless advised otherwise by a vet/qualified animal behaviourist. A good combination is a neutered male and neutered female.
- Rabbits are naturally sociable preferring other rabbit company and kept together form a 'pecking order'. Some animals become more dominant than others.
- Rabbits can develop abnormal behaviours and may suffer if left alone and with nothing to do for long periods.
- Neutering unless intended for breeding and provisions made to care for parents and offspring. Neutering reduces the likelihood of fighting in both sexes.
- Handling gently daily from an early age.
- Rabbits that are well handled by people from a young age can learn that humans are friends and companions.
- Rabbits receiving little handling early in life, or roughly handled at any age, may find human contact distressing. This can be expressed as fearfulness/escape behaviour/aggression.
- Rabbit’s living indoors can see humans as important companions. If your rabbit has to be kept alone, you must provide them with companionship by interacting with them daily.
- See: Rabbit handling advice (PDF 380KB).
- Places to go to get away from companions if they want to. Provide enough resources (e.g. shelter/food/water/hiding places) for every rabbit at all times.
- Rabbits can be bullied if they cannot get away from other rabbits they don’t like.
- Introducing to new rabbits gradually and under supervision, preferably in a space new to both rabbits.
- Rabbits brought up together will usually get along, but if introduced for the first time as adults may fight.
- Talk to a qualified animal behaviourist if you’re unsure/have problems.
- Caring for by a responsible person when you‘re away to meet all their welfare needs.
- Constant supervision when they are with another animal or person who may deliberately/accidentally harm/frighten them or with a cat or dog, even if you know they are good friends.
- Rabbits will usually be scared of cats and dogs because they are natural predators, but if introduced carefully early in life can develop friendships.