I receive a wide variety of questions about rabbits and felt it may be useful to answer some of them below:
Please note that these are general recommendations. If you have serious concerns about your rabbit you should take them to a vet immediately.
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is 'will my rabbit get lonely?' A rabbit needs lots of love and attention. If you know that you will be able to provide this on a regular basis they should not get lonely as they love human interaction too. However many people do prefer to have two rabbits living together as yes ideally rabbits do like to have company. If you decide to have two you will need to buy a large hutch to accommodate both.
Keeping two does together
Does can get on perfectly well together but you will probably find that when they reach maturity they will go through a teenage maturing stage where they will be mounting each other to show dominance. They may also nest build and become fidgety and sometimes aggressive.
To prevent this it is recommended to get them both spayed. (Your vet will be able to advise of a suitable age, which is normally approximately at 5- 6 months old) I strongly recommend that you do this anyway as there are health issues to consider. An extremely high percentage of does from the age of 1yr have a high chance of getting uterine infections and other problems including cancer which can lead to death if not discovered in time.
Keeping a buck and doe together
A buck and doe will live very happily together but you will need to get the buck neutered when he is about 16wks old to prevent him from mating the doe. The doe will be fully mature from about 5-6mths. She will probably start to feel broody and may then pester the buck for a mating. She should definitely be spayed as well to prevent any health issues occurring.
Keeping two bucks together
I would not recommended this pairing as keeping two bucks together almost always leads to fighting. The reason for this is that both will fight for dominance and if one does not submit to the other it could lead to nasty injuries or worse. In the wild if two bucks meet they can make their own decision to back down and run away from the dominant buck. However if two are kept together in a closed environment (e.g a hutch) the less dominant one will not be able to retreat and get away. This can become very stressful for both rabbits.
Can I keep my bunny with a Guinea Pig?
I would definitely not recommend this. Firstly rabbits and guinea pigs have different nutritional requirements. Some people feel it is ok to feed their rabbit on guinea pig food however this is not advisable. Guinea pigs are unable to create their own Vitamin C unlike rabbits meaning guinea pig feed is very high in this mineral. Too much of one mineral can be bad for a rabbit and lead to health problems. Also as there can be a size difference often a rabbit can harm the smaller weaker guinea pig. People think they can offer companionship however as they are different species they are unable to communicate with each other. If you want companionship for your bunny it is best to pair him/her with another rabbit.
Will my rabbit get on with other pets?
This really depends on the personality of your existing pet. Normally dogs and/or cats are fine with this although it is always advisable to make sure you supervise the introduction and gage your pets reactions. On the whole cats normally stay clear of a rabbit, whereas a pet dog will be very curious.
Housing your Rabbit
Can I keep my rabbit outside in the Winter?
Yes. Rabbits moult on average twice a year and grow thicker coats in the winter ready to protect them from the cold. You will need to ensure your bunny is sheltered from the wind and rain, and water is available during the frost and ice.
My rabbit's fur is falling out, what should I do?
As mentioned above, a rabbit will generally moult a couple of times a year due to temperature changes. In the summer they will grow a lighter coat and in the winter a thicker one. At approximately 4-6 months old their baby coat is replaced by an intermediate coat so the adult coat can start to develop. Sometimes this isn’t noticeable however don’t panic if your rabbit is going through a moult. Rabbits are typically able to manage their fur themselves, although sometimes a little help is needed with big tufts of fur. Some rabbits shed their coats over a longer period of time losing small amounts of hair. Others can moult heavily, where large patches of loose fur will fall out. It is important to gently remove any loose tufts of fur with a soft brush.
My rabbit moves his head from side to side, is there something wrong with him?
This is known as "scanning" or "tracking". It is a vision related rabbit behaviour and is absolutely normal but can cause an owner concern if they are unfamiliar with it. On the whole it normally affects Red Eyed White rabbits or those with a ruby glow to their eye. Head motion is thought to be a means of enhancing distance measurement. When the eye is moving, close objects move faster than distant ones. Do not worry, it is completely normal.
Vaccinating your rabbit is highly recommended and helps eliminate the risk of contracting VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease) and Myxomatosis. Should your rabbit be unfortunate enough to become ill, a previous vaccination will increase the chances of them recovering. Vaccinations are performed by a vet from the approximate age of 12 weeks. It is advisable to speak to your vet about the benefits of vaccinating your rabbit.
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