Should I get my Rabbit a Friend?

"It wasn’t until I saw Lewie and Camille together that I realised how lonely he must have been as a single bunny. Getting him a companion is the best present I could ever give him."

Rabbit Rehome is often asked about adding a second bunny to the family. Rabbits really benefit from companionship, its lovely to see two rabbits washing each other, curled up together or playing. Rabbits are social animals and without interaction, (either from humans, bunnies or even better both) they become bored and lonely.

Will my rabbit love me less if I get it a friend?

Alot of people worry that having a second bunny means that the first one will stop loving them but this isn't the case. There are somethings a bunny friend is best at like keeping watch whilst you chew something or playing 'jumping over each others nose' games. Human pals give the best nose rubs though!

Think of it this way - will your love your rabbit any less just because you have a second one?

What sort of rabbit would make the best partner?

There are no definate rules when making a match. Age, sex and size is not necessarily important when pairing rabbits. The most common matches are male to female, but two neutered male or two neutered female rabbits can also live happily together.

Neutering is an important part of having a smooth bonding between two rabbits. Unneutered males will pester females, even if they are spayed, and will fight with other males. Unneutered females may bond with neutered males but it may not go as easily as they may be territorial. Spaying female rabbits also has the benefit of preventing unterine cancer. Unneutered males should never be keep with unneutered females, an over population of babies will be the result.

If your rabbit is older he or she may appreciate a rabbit closer to their age rather than a bouncy youngster as company. Introducting a second rabbit to an older bunny can give it "a new lease of life".

A female rabbit will not act maternally to a baby rabbit.

What about a Guinea Pig?

Keeping guinea pigs with rabbits is not recommended for several reasons:

Different dietary needs - guineapigs require a diet higher in vitamin C than rabbits. Rabbits require a diet higher in vitamin D than guineapigs.

Different language - Guinea pigs and rabbits communicate with each other in very different ways, they're both better off with a friend that talks the same language.

Injuries - Rabbits have very powerful backlegs and can injure a smaller guineapig friend by mistake even if the do get on most of the time.

Will all rabbits be happy with a friend?

In rare cases a rabbit just will not accept a second rabbit. In which case you will provide its social interaction so it will be extra important to spend lots of quality time together.

In unneutered rabbits hormones can cause a problem with introductions and after neutering a second rabbit can usually be successfully introduced.

Sometimes gradual introduction over a period of weeks are necessary before your rabbits become perfect friends.

My rabbits never met another rabbit, will still accept a friend?

Even when a rabbit hasn't seen another rabbit since it left its mother/litter mates it is still possible to introduce it to a friend. The best way to find out how they will react is to visit a rescue centre together - see below.

Finding the Right Match - Rabbit Dating Service

The best way to find out how you rabbit will react to having another bunny for company is to take him/her dating! Together you can visit your local rescue centre and meet the buns available. An experienced 'matchup' person will be able to help you choose the one your rabbit responds to best. Some rescues will also help with the 'bonding' process by allowing you to visit several times or letting your rabbit spend a few days there so they can get used to each other somewhere neutral.

If this isn't possible then don't worry pre-choosen pairing's can work great aswell.

Will it be love at first site?

Sometimes two rabbits will happily live together from the first meeting but more usually a few meetings are needed which take place on neutral territory whilst the rabbit establish their friendship. Sometime the road to a perfect match is rocky and it make take even longer.

For more information on bonding see our article 'Bonding Boys Diary' and the links at the end of this article.

Can Rabbit Live in Groups?

Trio's of rabbits are less common then pair's but not impossible, larger groups of rabbits can also be kept but plenty of room for accomodation will be needed.

More information:

HRS FAQ: Should I Get A Second Rabbit?
Are Two Rabbits Right For You?
Pairing Rabbits
Rabbit References - Bonding

Remember: Having a second rabbits will increase costs like vet bills. Bare this in mind when you consider adopting a second rabbit.

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