Pairing your rabbit.
Like us, rabbits are social animals and companionship is crucial. However 57% of the UK's pet rabbits live alone.
When introducing new rabbits to each other it is best to introduce the rabbits to each other in the environment that they will be sharing. For more information on the ideal rabbit environment click here.
If you are introducing a new rabbit to your existing rabbits environment, you should make sure that the area is ‘neutralised’. Clean the area thoroughly and move objects such as tunnels and log piles: this will make the space look and smell unfamiliar to the resident.
Make sure that the area you are going to introduce the rabbits in is large enough for them to get away from each other and has areas and shelters for each rabbit to hide in.
When introducing rabbits can take anything from thirty minutes to a couple of days for the rabbits to establish a bond. When you are ready to introduce your rabbits place them in separate ends of the enclosure and make sure that you have time to be around and observe their behaviours so that if they really do not like eah other you can remove either rabbit before either become very distressed or injured.
Non-hostile behaviours that may be seen when your rabbits are getting to know each other include:
- Gentle fur pulling
- Grooming each others faces
- Indifference when they walk past each other
By the end of the first day, it’s common to see rabbits sitting calmly at opposite ends of the accommodation, grooming themselves or feeding. This is an encouraging sign that the rabbits are relaxed in each other’s company.
By day two or three, you would hope to see the rabbits sitting close together and grooming each other: this shows that the bond is complete
Not all mixes are successful. Signs of hostility between two rabbits are obvious and dramatic and may include:
- Charging at the other rabbit with ears flat against the body,
- Standing up and boxing each other
- Biting each other’s backs causing fur to fly everywhere
- Kicking each other’s stomachs
- Biting that results in a high-pitched scream
If these behaviours are seen on the first and second day, you should separate the rabbits to prevent further distress and/or injury to either rabbit as the pairing is unlikely to work.
For any help and advice on pairing your rabbit or general rabbit welfare call up and chat to one of our Veterinary Nurses call Oundle on 01832 273521 of Thrapston 01832 732632