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Ok, when it comes to animals, it’s so so important to remember that these are living creatures that REFUSE to follow the rules.
If any of you keep fish, you’ll know what I mean. The cutest, most well behaved little cichlid may very well decide to eat his mates one day, totally out of the blue.
Don’t trust Festive cichlids guys.
What I’m saying is that don’t panic if you don’t get the ‘best’ configuration of rabbits. SOmetimes bonding works, sometimes it doesnt.
If you have two mixed sex pairs, lose both males, don’t write off trying to pair two females. You can always try.
Ideally, you get a male and female
A male and female rabbit are the most likely to complement each other’s personality. When you consider all the factors like dominance, hormones, personality etc etc, a male and a female ON PAPER will yield the best results.
This doesn’t mean bonding will be easy. Bonding is rarely going to be 100% positive – a little bit of scuffling is pretty standard.
Make sure your rabbits are spayed or neutered
Obviously, it prevents them from having babies, and whilst it’s a really, really good reason to have your bunnies fixed, it’s one of three great reasons.
The second reason to spay/neuter your rabbit is that it’s a great way to prevent health issues such as reproductive cancers.
But the third reason is it tones down pretty much all of the undesirable character traits rabbits have:
- The desire to have sex, er, all the time
- The desire to kill all nearby bunnies (after the sex, obvs)
- The desire to have the biggest and best territory
- The desire to pee on everything
- The desire to chew everything
There are probably more, but isn’t that enough?
Now, neutering will AFFECT all of these tendencies, but it won’t necessarily be a magic cure (especially the chewing thing) BUT it will make bonding so, so much easier ESPECIALLY in same-sex pairs.
In general, two males is better than two females
IF THEY’RE NEUTERED.
I feel like a I’m shouting a lot today. Anyway.
Two neutered males are usually a pretty chill combo. Sure, they’ll be exceptions, but in general, they’ll get along well.
Well, whilst female rabbits have a lot of desires re. a nice house with a lot of territory, male rabbits, er, don’t.
Once they’re castrated, and the desire to mate is gone (a few weeks after castration, usually about 8 weeks) they’re usually content to spend the rest of their life eating and sleeping.
Rabbits are definitely one of those animals where the female is the one that everyones terrified of, and the males are off sleeping somewhere under a tree.
The male rabbits I’ve had all had a tendency to bite strangers, but were so so sweet to humans they knew, whereas the girls are generally moodier and but are better with strangers.
I’m talking specifically about the vets here – the girls all pretended to like the vets, and acted nicely (even big blue Isobel, who was a biter), but George fucking HATED the vet, and bit them whenever he could.
Two females CAN get along, but they’re least likely to
I have two females, and as I discuss in this article, they get along…ok. They used to fight over food, and Daisy is always try to establish her dominance.
This will very much depend on the personalities of the rabbits. I had a pair of girls where one of them was extremely timid, and she was more than happy to be submissive.
Daisy…isn’t, but because she’s so much smaller than Holly (and now disabled) it isn’t a problem. Luckily Holly isn’t the type to attack her, though we do keep a close on them.
Is a thing with Netherland dwarves? Are they all
arsey sassy? Kind of like the Shetland ponies of the rabbit world.
It’s worth remembering that both the pairs of females I’ve had were both bonded from birth.
Well, three of them.
Isobel and Lucy were littermates, and Holly and Daisy are mother and daughter.
Introducing two females is something I would hesitate to do.
I’m 100% NOT saying that I would never do it, but say I had a single female and I wanted a mate for her, I’d specifically look for a male.
If I couldn’t find one, I try a female, and if there was a female that i thoguht might be suitable, I’d definitely give it a go.
Never say never, but also…bonding is stressful enough, let’s make it a bit easier.
Why are two females the worst option?
There’s no way to explain without generalising a lot, so be warned.
Female rabbits just tend to be a lot more highly strung than males. They tend to be more extreme in behaviour, moodier, aggressive, and more territorial.
My Holly isn’t aggressive. At all. She’s never bitten or scratched, and she tolerates Daisy humping her with a grace I certainly couldn’t manage.
But I don’t think she’d suit being bonded to another female because she’s so flighty. If I had to bond her, I’d want to find her a very chill boy that would keep her calm.
If anyone watches Schitt’s Creek, she’s very much like David, and she needs a Patrick. Or possibly Moira and Johnny.
She currently has Daisy, who is essentially Alexis – adorable in her own right, but useless when it comes to calming situations down.
Compatibility is more important than sex when it comes to finding a mate for your rabbit
A lot of rescues of bunny speed dating, so you can try before you buy.
Whilst it’s important to remember that it’s highly unlikely that your rabbits will bond then and there (even if they appear to), don’t discount rabbits based on their sex.
Whilst it’s likely that a female is going to fight with another female (at least at first) you may find that your rabbit just…doesn’t.
You may as well try as many rabbits as you can whilst you’re there.
All configurations of rabbits are likely to fight in some way
Like I said before, bonding is rarely a straightforward process. It’s not really a natural thing for rabbits to do, since they naturally live in big family groups.
I have an article here on bonding, but the gist is that you need to take it slow. Let them meet on neutral territory, get them used to each other’s smell etc. It’s probably going to take a few weeks of work, whether you have a mixed pair, or same-sex pair.
I don’t like bonding rabbits. I’m too soft for it, and they’re just so mean sometimes!
If you don’t yet have a rabbit, I highly, highly recommend going to a rescue.
Aside from illness, the two most stressful things about rabbits is bonding them and getting them spayed. By adopting a pair from a rescue, you don’t have to deal with that stuff.
We were aware that adopting two girls might mean that they’d squabble, but we had a lot of experience with rabbits and were prepared to separate them and rebond as necessary. As it turns out, their bond has only strengthened (even though they’re separated most of the time).