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Appropriate company for rabbits

Company logo © RSPCA publications and brand 2010

 

Ensure your rabbit has appropriate company

 

Rabbits need:

  • 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.

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Rabbit awareness week

Rabbit awareness week logo 2016 © RAW

Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is an important week for rabbits. Over the past ten years it's become the biggest and best campaign about rabbit care and welfare in the UK!


This year RAW is on 18 - 26 June.


During June thousands of vets and practices across the UK offer free health clinics for local rabbits and their owners. So it's the perfect opportunity to get your rabbit health checked by the experts!