A Compilation of our most frequently asked questions
1. Are Bucks or Doe’s Better Pets?
Both bucks and doe’s make great pets as long as they are fixed. We would highly recommend getting all pet bunnies fixed for several reasons. Please read all the reasons below in “Why Get A Rabbit Fixed?” If you choose to not get your rabbit fixed, then you have to pick your poison. Bucks tend to spray to mark their territory and doe’s often get moody and territorial when they come into heat, which is often! So, to answer this question, we would say again, that both bucks and doe’s make great pets as long as they are fixed. Once fixed, there is not a personality difference between bucks and doe’s towards their humans.
2. If I choose to get two bunnies, should I get two bucks, two doe’s or a buck and a doe?
First of all, we would only recommend getting two bunnies if you're ok with the possibility of having to house them separately either temporarily or permanently. There is a slim, but possible chance that two bunnies will just not have good chemistry and not get along well. Two bunnies may go through a time of not liking each other when their hormones kick in, but are not yet old enough to get fixed (6 months old for doe's, 4-6 months old for bucks). So, you may have to house them separately for a time until they are both fixed. There is a chance that even after being fixed, two bunnies may not get along still. This is unlikely, but possible. In the wild, bunnies live in colonies but spend their time interacting by mainly breeding or trying to protect their territory. It is not exactly natural or normal to have a friendly mate in the wild and it is not required to have two bunnies in order for them to thrive and be happy. The only way two bunnies can safely cohabitate is if they are altered i.e. being spayed or neutered.
We would highly suggest getting two bucks for several reasons:
1. You won’t risk having an unexpected litter before they are able to get fixed. Usually bucks and doe’s mature at 6 months which is when vets typically are willing to fix a rabbit, but you’re still risking having babies if you have a buck and doe together before 6 months of age. It’s dangerous to have a surprise litter because you won't be able to provide the mother rabbit with a nesting box at the right time which is vital to having a litter that survives.
2. Even if a buck and doe are both fixed, the buck will likely occasionally still mount the doe. Babies won’t be made, but it’s still an awkward sight in your home…!
3. If NOT fixed, bucks tend to have friendlier personalities towards other rabbits in comparison to an unfixed doe. They are territorial in that they will spray but they don’t usually exhibit as aggressive territorial behavior like an unfixed doe would. I would play it safe and get two bucks because even if not fixed, they exhibit better behavior towards other rabbits.
4. We have personally had two young doe’s sharing a cage and they were aggressive towards one another. But, we've also had 2 other doe's housed together and they did just fine. We have also had young bucks sharing the same cage and they were friendly with each other with no complications. We feel it would be a much wiser decision to get two bucks over two does or a buck and a doe.
3. Can I Introduce a Young Rabbit to an Older Rabbit and Will They Get Along?
We would not recommend introducing a young rabbit to an already sexually mature, established adult rabbit. Ideally, if you have two rabbits, they would have been introduced before 3 months old and both be bucks for the best chance of having a successful bonded pair. It is then vital that as soon as their testicles are visible that they are promptly taken to the vet to be neutered or they will become territorial, spray and likely fight. Two doe's almost never have a good chance of being a bonded pair even if they are introduced at a young age and are spayed.
Some people are able to successfully pair an older mature buck with a young buck, but it's important to only opt to try this if you are ok with the possibility of housing them separately in the future if they end up not getting along well. If you are interested in trying to bond an older buck with a younger buck, it's important to have the older buck fixed for at least 2 months before trying to introduce a younger buck for the best possible chance of bonding success.
4. How Long Do Bunnies Live?
If spayed or neutered and if they live indoors, bunnies can live to be up to 12 years old. Getting your rabbit fixed reduces the chances of reproductive cancers and complications. Being an indoor bunny eliminates the bodily stresses that occur when rabbits experience temperature fluctuations during the heat of the summer and cold of the winter.
5. Do Baby Rabbits Need Baby Rabbit Food?
No! Please don’t spend the extra money on “baby” rabbit foods. Changing a rabbit’s diet is stressful on their simple digestive system, so to do it more than you have to is not necessary or a good idea. My baby rabbits immediately start nibbling and eating their mother’s food, so that is what they are weaned on and used to. The feed we give to our rabbits is regular “adult” rabbit food. So, when you go shopping for your new rabbit just get the food you plan on feeding him or her permanently and stray away from “baby” rabbit foods.
6. Do you have to get two bunnies for them to be happy?
No. There is a lot of contradictory online information about this topic - but bunnies do not have to be in pairs to live a happy and fulfilling life. In fact, rabbits have to be altered (spayed or neutered) to even have a chance of happily cohabitation with another rabbit. In the wild, rabbits do live in colonies, but they do not spend their time kindly socializing with one another. Most of the social life in a rabbit colony is spent mating and fighting over territory. But, if you are willing to get two bucks at a young age and get them neutered, they often do make a wonderful bonded pair and truly love each other's company.
7. Why get a bunny fixed?
1. Bunnies who are fixed tend to live longer because they are not at risk for any reproductive disorders like cancer and disease.
2. Bucks that are fixed wont spray to mark their territory.
3. Bucks that are fixed wont mount other rabbits or you!
4. Fixed doe’s will not be territorial around their cages and won’t be moody every time they come into heat, which is often!
5. LITTER TRAINING is SO much easier and a much faster process when a rabbit is fixed.
6. Bucks can safely cohabitate when fixed.
8. When to fix a rabbit and how much does it cost?
Most vets won’t fix a doe until they are 6 months old. Bucks can be fixed as early as 4 or 5 months old or when their testicles appear. Some vets consider rabbits to be an “exotic” animal and charge a pretty penny to fix a rabbit. But others think nothing of it and are happy to fix your rabbit for a reasonable price. My advice would be to call around and do price comparisons. It should only cost the amount it would cost to spay or neuter a cat. My vet will fix a buck for $90 and a doe for $200. Doe's are more expensive because it is a more invasive surgery.
9. Do bunnies need shots?
No! Bunnies do not have any kind of yearly vaccines or shots like dogs and cats.
10. How do you litter train a rabbit?
We are not a litter training expert. Please refer to: http://rabbit.org/faq-litter-training-2/. The house rabbit society is a great resource for anything to do with an indoor rabbit! We regularly refer to it ourselves. Please see this website for any litter training questions.
11. Do rabbits need to eat leafy greens?
Greens are a pretty controversial topic online and even with vets. Lot's of greens like cabbage, lettuce and spinach can actually be harmful to bunnies and should not be ingested. These foods are very rich and often times can cause bloat which can be very dangerous to rabbits. The best way for me to explain my position on this debate is, it is similar to people that are allergic to peanuts. Some people can eat tons of peanuts and others can eat one peanut and die. Some bunnies can tolerate leafy greens, and some have a very bad reaction to them. Some bunnies can eat greens for 3 years and then die from greens due to bloat after eating them for years. We prefer to play it safe and not see how my rabbits are going to react in case they have a bad reaction! Rabbits love the taste of greens and will gobble them right up. If you're lucky, they will just become tired or lethargic acting which is usually a belly ache because greens produce gas and rabbits cannot pass gas like we do. When you feed your rabbits their hay, they are eating greens! They are just eating the less rich, safer version. Some might think it odd that wild rabbits eat leafy greens as a main food source and wonder why domestic rabbits are so different. Domestic rabbits are literally thousands of generations separated from a wild rabbit. Their gut processes have evolved over time to accommodate the diets that people have fed them, which has been a less rich, pelleted diet.
12. Rabbit Urine Colors
Rabbits urine can range from a pale yellow to a dark rusty orange. All are normal! Sometimes people become concerned that a rabbit has blood in it's urine because of the dark rusty color, but don't panic. Blood in urine is a rare occurrence and cryptically only happens to much older rabbits.