Small Animal Pets

How to Introduce a Rabbit to a Companion Animal

Rabbit to Rabbit

Male with female pairs seem to work the best for compatibility but female to female can also work. Male rabbits seldom get along with other male rabbits unless they started as littermates. Start the bonding process before the rabbits are allowed to interact. Place the rabbits in separate cages in sight of each other. Let them get used to the presence of another rabbit for several days before actually letting them meet. Rabbit introductions should be done in a neutral territory (a place the existing rabbit has never entered). The room should be large enough for the rabbits to move around yet small enough so the rabbits can interact. Newly introduced rabbits may go beyond hand shaking; they may fight. You should have a water spray bottle and towels handy to break up any fighting. Do not break up fighting with your bare hands, as the rabbit may not differentiate whom he is attacking. Discontinue the bonding session before bites result in injury. Rabbits may chase and show dominance behavior (mounting) during the introductions. These are normal activities to determine which will be the leader. It is very rare for the rabbits to start grooming or lying together during the first bonding session.

The bonding should be limited to 20-30 minutes the first few sessions. If all is going well, you can extend the time and increase the space. Some bondings may take a few days and others may take weeks or even months. One or two litter boxes should be available in the bonding space. The rabbits may mark territory with fecal pellets at first but once the leader is determined this should lessen or subside. Once the rabbits are comfortable with each other and no fighting occurs you may want to let them explore one another’s cages. Keep them separated at night until you are sure they will not fight. When both are comfortable with each other they can be kept in the same cage and your bonding is complete.

Rabbit to Cat

Rabbits and cats can become friends. Kittens may be more difficult than adult cats to introduce to your rabbit. If your cat is not a hunter, they should get along. Rabbits and cats tend to play different games than rabbits play together. Some will play chasing games with the leader switching several times. Many cats and rabbits will groom each other and cuddle next to each other. Supervise all interactions until you’re sure the pair will tolerate each other.

Rabbit to Dog

Rabbit to dog introductions need more supervision than with other house pets. It is important to know your dog and determine if the pair will be compatible. If your dog does not do well with cats, he may be difficult to introduce to a rabbit. Rabbits like to run, and some dogs like to chase. Start out with the dog on a leash lying down next to you and let the rabbit explore the area. Keep the dog lying down while the rabbit investigates. Try this for five minutes. Put the rabbit away and praise the dog. Do this for several days. Gradually let the dog have a little more freedom while still on the leash. If the dog lunges or the rabbit gets spooked discontinue for that day. If the interactions are progressing gradually increase the time spent together. If the dog is behaving, you may want to try introductions without the leash. During the first month after you have completed the introductions do not leave the dog and rabbit together without supervision. Some dogs may never reach the point where they can be left unattended with a rabbit.

Rabbit to Guinea Pigs

They have slightly different dietary requirements but can live together peacefully. Guinea pigs need Vitamin C in their diet, but rabbits do not. Both need grass hay and vegetables. Rabbits can carry Bordetella bacteria which is harmful to Guinea pigs. Guinea pigs can be vaccinated for this and then are able to live in the same environment as the rabbit.

Did You Know

Rabbits are not members of the rodent family, they are Lagomorphs, which are mammals. They have live young with a gestation period of thirty-three days. The newborn rabbits drink their mother’s milk, which she gives them once per day for a very short time.

A female rabbit can reproduce when she is three to four months of age. A female rabbit is capable of being pregnant with two litters of babies at the same time.

Rabbits have twenty-eight teeth that will continue to grow throughout his entire life. Therefore, the rabbit constantly chews on hard objects to file down or wear down their teeth. If the teeth grow too long or grow improperly and they could die as a result.

Rabbit meat is a much healthier white meat for human consumption. Rabbit meat has practically no fat and few calories.

A rabbit’s droppings are high in phosphorus and nitrogen making the droppings good to mix with soil for gardening whether for vegetables or flowers. Worm farmers even use the rabbit dropping to feed to the worms. The droppings also serve as insulation to keep the soil warm for the worms to live in.

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