View Full Version : Do rabbits need company?

07-07-2005, 12:30 PM
My mom was saying that she thinks Benji is lonely, and could use a friend. He is out of his cage for a couple hours a day, but because of the dogs he can't be out all the time.

I've been reading articles and can't seem to find an answer. Should rabbits have the company of other rabbits, or would they be better alone?

Benjamin seems pretty solitary to me - he doesn't like my friend's rabbit much, and their both neutered. But does that mean he doesn't want any bunny friends, or just not that bunny?

And I read that guinea pigs and rabbits sometimes make better friends than rabbits and rabbits... but I had read before that a rabbit can accidently kill a guinea pig if they are housed together.

Any advice from other rabbit owners? :)

07-07-2005, 12:33 PM
Rabbits seem to like having company once they get used to it, but introducing a second rabbit can be an extremely long and slow process. Here is a link to a long but very good article about adding a second rabbit to your home: http://www.rabbit.org/journal/3-4/two-rabbits.html

Best of luck to you and Benji, whatever you decide to do! :)

07-07-2005, 12:50 PM
Rabbits will normally only live together if they grow up together from being babies. You could try to get him a friend but it depends how long he has been alone. If he has been alone quite a while he probably wont adapt to a new friend. I tried this once with 2 of my own bunnies but they just attacked each other so now they live happily on their own. As long as your bunny gets lots of attention from you i don't think you have anything to worry about as he will be very happy. :)

07-07-2005, 02:50 PM
Okay, thank you both! I'll think about it some more.

Hehe, guinea pigs are a lot easier. Just put them together and they're friends.

07-07-2005, 03:16 PM

I have two bunnies now. I started out with one, and that one died unexpectedly. I got #2 and it (she) lived by herself with me and the three, now four cats for about six months. The rescue conned me into taking another bunny. They hated each other. I kept them apart for nearly 9 months. Then they fell in love. They now are happy, happy and living on the porch for the summer. They spent the winter in their own bedroom and I may just leave them on the porch for the winter, since they have each other now.

The problem that I have with two, is that they poop competively. So there is always poop outside, or beside the litter boxes. They are very jealous of each other so when I feed them, I must be sure to have enough for two. One bunny will run off with her food and the other, the male, will sit in place and gobble down his food.

Anyway, am I having a good time watching them? Yes. Do I think they are happy now? Yes, by all means. But it was touch and go there for a while. As I said, they hated each other at the beginning. One actually did damage to the other, twice. They can be mean when they want to be.

Good luck.

My vote is to try to match your bunny with another.

Toby's my baby
07-07-2005, 03:39 PM
I have had many many rabbits. Once we found out that the first two we had were male and female we put them in seperate cages. They were right next to each other, just not able to breed. I would suggest getting a female, 2males cant usually live together.

07-07-2005, 04:14 PM
thanks guys.

Perhaps the best thing would be to take Benji to the rabbit rescue, and see which of the buns he gets along best with (or at all!)

Or maybe he is content being alone...

07-07-2005, 10:13 PM
If you take him there and introduce him, great! However, him getting along with another bun at the rescue does not mean he will be happy about having an invader in 'his' territory. :) It will still be a slow process getting the two to live together, ever if they get along great in neutral territory. :)

07-07-2005, 10:28 PM
I have had two bunnies, one died after having her for three days (long story) and my RB Digger. They both lived alone, I wanted to get a Chinchilla to go with him, but it never happened!

Taking Benji to the bunny rescue is a good idea, but, monitor him and the other bun to make sure nothing goes wrong;)

Good Luck!

07-08-2005, 08:28 AM
Maybe you could take your bunny to the rescue, have them bond him with another bunny, and then take the two home, putting them in a new cage/fenced in area - an area where bunny #1 doesn't have his scent marked.....then let them move into the original space together, at home. Just a thought and maybe not a solid one at that. I just think the rescue folks know the personalities more than we do. Like I said, it took MONTHS for my two to like each other. They look like mutt and jeff. One is tiny and furry and one is huge and sleek furred. One is a Jamora bunny and the other is a meat rabbit. (ewwwwwwww.....how could anyone eat my Denver bunny?)

07-09-2005, 12:26 PM
Hey. I have the same question and problem too. I can't get my bun out all the time cuz my dogs.. but she does get out a lot and when she gets out, she gets out for a long time.
Should 2 rabbits stay in different hutches? Thanx so much and you can email me if you want [email protected] thanks all.

07-09-2005, 09:29 PM
It is often easier to have them stay in different cages, just bacause the intro process to get them living together can be a long one.

07-10-2005, 03:49 PM
I raise rabbits for all purposes, although no house rabbits (tried once) rabbits are usually fine alone. they are not like other larger animals (horses, steers, sheep, llama) who need company.
Rabbit bonding after the maturity age can be hard. It is a slow process with MUCH supervison. some can fight, some will be fine.
Babies can grow uptoghther & live together forever, some must be seperated right after weaning.
just depends on the two indv. bunnies.

07-12-2005, 11:06 AM
I would say you are getting a lot of bad information here. Do go to www.rabbit.org and check the bonding info. Bonding is not always difficult, it depends mostly on the personality of the rabbits and how you approach getting the rabbits to accept each other. I have 12 years experience with rabbits, have 8 of my own living in the house and am a bunny basic educator so you can be assured I know what I am talking about.

Yes, definitely take your bunny to a rabbit rescue group to find him a friend...by doing this you are giving an unloved/unwanted rabbit a second chance for a happy life.

The trick is that you let the rabbit pick out his new friend, not you. I cannot emphasize this enough, it is extremely important if you want to succeed. Contrary to what someone said here previously, rabbits are extremely social and prefer to live with another rabbit or in groups (just look at wild rabbits living in groups of 6-30). The main secret for bonding rabbits is that it should be done in neutral territory, where neither rabbit has been before. Most rabbits are very territorially aggresive and will fight to protect their space when raised or living alone. By using neutral space, where neither rabbit "owns" the space, this lets the rabbits concentrate on each other. I will be truthful and also tell you it may take many tries before your bunny finds the right bunny for him/her. The easiest bonding is usually male-female, being sure of course that both are neutered/spayed. However I've had bunny try-outs where a rabbit ultimately chooses a partner the same sex. Some bunnies fall in love immediately (within 45 minutes or a few hours), but most take days or weeks. In rare cases is has taken months. What you look for when introducing rabbits to each other is chasing and jumping but not in an aggressive manner. If the fur flies or the behavior becomes alarming, separate them immediately...that is a match that will never work. If you're real lucky they may sit down side by side and/or one will give the other a lick. Again, it completely depends on each buns personality and how stubborn or laid back each rabbit is. Be sure you have someone with you who has experience in bonding rabbits...most rescue groups do.

When your bunny finally chooses a friend and you take them home you can expect them to squabble. Surprise, surprise.....All of a sudden your bunny will realize that THAT rabbit is in HIS house. Watch them, let them scruffle around but don't let them hurt each other. You may be able to put them together immediately, or if your bunny is a little too enthusiastic in protecting his house, you may have to put them side-by-side in cages and let them get used to the sight and smell of each other for a day or two or a week....it depends on how they act towards each other. You may not have this problem at all....hard to say.

This next bit is very important: In any bunny couple one bun will be boss and the other must be submissive...this is where most people mess up bonding rabbits...they put 2 strong-willed buns together. Any new couple will chase each other, wrestle and one will eventually dominate the other by humping the other. Rather than a sexual behavior, this is more a a dominance "I'm the boss, not you" sort of thing. When one rabbit agrees to be submissive you will have a happy couple.

I will admit, by the way, that some rabbits really do prefer to be an "only" child and not want a partner. Usually it is because they have always live alone and aren't used to having another rabbit around. It may be because he/she was abused or neglected. It could be that he was removed from his momma at too early of an age and he doesn't know how to be with other bunnies....(this is what pet stores and breeders often do, so they can sell the babies while they are still small and cute). Regardless, let me reemphasize that most bunnies do prefer having another bunny as their best friend. Your bunny may also like to have a cat as a friend---depending again on the personality of the cat of course.

Bonding usually takes a lot of patience, but in the long run it is worth it when you see 2 (or more) content bunnies lying side by side or giving the other a bath. The info I've given is only the tip of the iceberg on bunny bonding. Let me know if you have any questions and what you decide to do. Good luck.

Maya & Inka's mommy
07-12-2005, 11:27 AM
Difficult question.... !
Our Billie was alone in her cage or run for many years. She always seemed to be a haapy bunnie.
Here she is:

Later we got a guinea pig too. Jasper has his own cage, and it stands next to Billie's one.

Last summer, we put him in the outdoor run too. My hubby made a seperation, so Jasper wouldn't be bothered by Billie.
But..... Billie found a way to get under that seperation fence, and since then..... Billie and Jasper play together and are the greatest friends!!

07-12-2005, 11:57 AM
cute lil crossbred...

I raise Mini Lops & French Lops. I do have a couple Mini Rex & a Holland Lop as pets. I used to raise those breeds but just couldn't anymore. Usually I have about 25-30 rabbits at a time & they all get a lot of human interaction & a lot of house time. Rabbits are pretty fun & I have been raising them for a long time. I haven't been in 4-H as long as I have been raising them, but 4-H is fun as well. I also do sheep & horse 4-H. We have a million other animals (cats, dogs, llama) that I'd like to get started up in 4-H as well.

07-12-2005, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by sasvermont
Maybe you could take your bunny to the rescue, have them bond him with another bunny, and then take the two home, putting them in a new cage/fenced in area

i wouldent suggest that... with any new pet you have to go through a screening processes, to make sure he/she is free of disease or sickness that may hurt the other pet... I wouldent recomend taking her current rabbit to the shelter because there are many diseases and virus's floating around in the air and on the floor that are eassily spread...

07-13-2005, 01:39 PM
While Tikeyas Mom has a good point, any reputable rescue group or animal shelter will isolate incoming animals until their health exam is completed and the animal has a clean bill of health. These organization usually have to meet standards and guidelines in order to remain in business. Besides, the absolute last thing they want is to adopt out a sick animal and have their reputation ruined. They could possibly reported to a humane society, city or state oversight organization and/or have a damaging story printed in the newspaper. They would end up being fined and/or shut down and the animals confiscated. This should not happen in a good organization.

You DO have to be careful where you go and it's pretty easy to tell a reputable place from the bad: Ask around, what rescue organization or group did friends or family get their pet(s) from and what did they think about it? If you don't know anyone who has adopted a rescued animal, you can tell just be looking at the facility if it's a good one: is the kennel area and cages clean? do ALL of the animals/rabbits look well kept, well fed, bright, alert and playful? is their fur clean, soft, esp the back end? are the eyes clear?

BY going to a reputable rescue group or animal shelter/humane society with your bunny and having them meet before you take the 2nd bun home is your best chance at getting a good match. Yes, when you get the new bunny home they might squabble for awhile but that will stop eventually. Rabbit rescue groups can be found on the web and most have ties to professional rescue organizations so they are safe and well-run. Don't let the nay-sayers here talk you out of letting your bunny pick his own friend.

07-24-2005, 08:48 AM
Thanks everyone for the helpful information! Maybe sometime soon I will get Benji a friend. ^_^

08-23-2005, 12:22 AM
I know this is an older thread, but I thought I would just chime in with my $0.02.

YES, it is ideal if your rabbit had a companion. Your rabbit will most likely be happier with a friend. You are not a rabbit, you can not meet all the needs that a rabbit has- you cannot groom the way a rabbit does, you can not play a rabbit does, etc. Bonding rabbits together is not a hard task to do, as long as you do it correctly and do not rush it. Most people do not spend enough time and rush introductions, which is why you hear horror stories of rabbits fighting to death and not getting along. I adopted Peanut in September of 2004, she had been a solitary rabbit all of her life (she is estimated to be 2 years old). I am a firm believer in keeping animals in pairs, so as soon as she settled in nicely and got used to me and her surroundings I set out in search of a friend. I adopted Buster in October 2004. From what I have heard it is easier to bond male/female rather than female/female or male/male- I am not sure if that is 100% true or not!? Peanut is spayed, Buster is neutered. I split the cage in half, since they live in a huge dog exercise pen- Peanut was on one side, Buster was on the other. About 2 weeks later I swapped them, I put Peanut on Buster's side and Buster on Peanut's side- this forced them to be in each others territory (without contact). About 2 weeks after I switched them around, I took them out into the kitchen- a place that they are BOTH unfamiliar with- and let them roam the kitchen together under strict supervision. Then it was time for a car ride (they had a vet appointment), it is a stressful situation and forces the rabbits to be together- the stress of the car ride keeps them distracted from attacking each other and it is also another neuteral area that is not territory to one or the other. I think it was about 2 months after I adopted Buster that I unseperated them. Peanut's additude changed IMMEDIATELY, she was much happier and relaxed- I noticed it right away. They are inseperable now, if they are a room apart they have a fit! Every time I look at them they are either cuddling, washing each other, or playing. A companion is a must...if you have the time, money, and room- go for it! :)

08-23-2005, 12:30 AM
Maya, it is not uncommon for guinea pigs and rabbits to be friends, it is quite common for rabbits for form tight bonds with other species of animals. Very cute pictures! Billie is an adorable rabbit! My bun Buster is extremely close to my cat Sammy, while Peanut absolutely hates him. Sammy and Buster play together all the time, cuddle together, and even groom each other.