One of the most frequent questions I am asked is 'Will my bunny get lonely?'
A rabbit needs lots of love and attention. If you know 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 ideally rabbits do like to have company of their own kind. If you decide to have two you will need to buy a large enough hutch to accommodate them both.
What size hutch ?
The rabbit hutch should be long enough for the rabbit to take at least 3-4 hops and high enough for them to periscope (stand up on their hind legs to look around. Netherland Dwarfs should be kept in a hutch which is a minimum of 4 ft. long but the bigger, the better !
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 (phantom pregnancy) and become fidgety and sometimes aggressive.
To prevent this. We recommend spaying them both. (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 the buck should be neutered when he is about 16wks old to prevent him from mating with 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 problems.
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 the less dominant one will not be able to retreat and get away. This can be very stressful for both rabbits.
‘Can I keep my bunny with a Guinea Pig?’
Definitely not to be recommend. 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 and often a rabbit can harm the smaller weaker guinea pig. Also rabbits carry bacteria which could harm the guinea pig. For companionship for your bunny it is best to pair him/her with another 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.
Will my rabbit get on with other pets?
This really depends on the personality of your pet. Normally (most breeds) 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.
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. Also at approximately 4-6 months old their baby coat is replaced by an intermediate coat so the adult coat can start to develop. A rabbit will be able to manage himself, but 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. If you notice your rabbit doing this it is normal and is nothing to worry about.
Vaccinating your rabbit is highly recommended and helps eliminate the risk of contracting VHD (VIRAL HAEMORRHAGIC DISEASE ) and Myxomatosis. Should your rabbit become ill, PRIOR vaccination will greatly improve the chances of him recovering.. Your vet can advise you about the benefits of vaccinating your rabbit.