How to stop pet rabbits fighting?
Every rabbit is different – just like humans, every bundle of fur has its very own nature with corresponding character traits. In the rabbit world, too, there are morning grouches, scratchers, loners, scaredy-cats, cuddly animals and, of course, a boss. If opposites clash or the hierarchy is realigned, the sparks can fly. Rabbits also quarrel, and they fight it out with claws and teeth. So it really gets down to business when rabbits argue.
As a rule, humans should stay out of these arguments and let the rabbits settle their disputes on their own. Only if it comes to nasty wounds, the human being is in demand as a dispute mediator. If the two opponents have become a tangle and can no longer get away from each other, then the human must intervene and separate the squabblers.
Quarreling rabbits are separated best with a towel or protective gloves, otherwise also the owner threatens not insignificant bite and scratch wounds.
The rabbit owner should not forget the natural behavior of his fur noses, because quarreling among rabbits is completely normal and also ensures survival. However, it is also up to the rabbit owner to protect this natural quarreling behavior from unnecessary escalation and to differentiate between playful quarrels and serious fights!
The right combination helps prevent disputes
In captivity, it is rarely possible to recreate the natural constellations of a rabbit pack. Here it fails already at the place, who can (and wants) already hold a 50-headed rabbit pack on the surface of several soccer fields? As a rule, the keeping of rabbits is thus limited to only a few specimens.
Keeping rabbits in a small group
Pairs in the form of a neutered buck and a doe get along especially well. Small groups with two couples or a neutered buck and two females also get along well if there is enough space.
Friendly animals or siblings also have little potential for conflict. With the latter, however, the castration of the male rabbit should be thought of early to avoid unplanned offspring!
Again and again one hears about cross-species friendships, this can, but does not have to go well. For a long time it was thought that guinea pigs and rabbits could be socialized without problems. Meanwhile one knows it better, because the two animals belong to two completely different kinds and have themselves in the wahrsten sense of the word cordial little to say. This knowledge should not tempt now to separate already existing cross-species friendships. Again and again the nature does not run after given knitting pattern and there it can be quite that unusual friendships have existence despite the species strangeness.
Every pack needs a boss
And is the group still so small, a boss must be! The rabbit is a pack animal and according to this social community certain structures and rules of behavior secure the survival in nature. And it certainly does not always deal with rabbits timidly! What counts is the survival and thus the protection of the species. Survival do thereby only the strongest, a clever move of nature to introduce ranking fights!
Chief of the rabbit group
Whoever sits at the head of a pack is not only the strongest, but may also reproduce to his heart’s content. Weak animals are therefore eliminated in a natural way!
Since the ranking battles are fought with the onset of sexual maturity, it is necessary to castrate young males in captivity before sexual maturity to prevent bloody fights. But there are also fights among female rabbits, especially during the heat they are competitors and like to quarrel! In a purely female attitude is thus already by nature quarrel pre-programmed. But even here, it always depends on the respective character, whether two animals understand each other. Also a female-rabbit-community can go well.
The territory is defended vehemently against any kind of intruder. This is especially problematic in rabbit keeping under human care, when a new housemate is to move into an existing pack. If one takes a look at the natural behavior of rabbits, it is not surprising that every new member, even if it is of the same species or still a young animal, is sometimes fought to the death.
In the wild, the underground construction system serves as a protective wall into which the clan can quickly retreat in case of danger. And only the own clan, foreign rabbits are not accepted, they have to build their own “bunker” and are scared away in the strongest way. Nevertheless, not every day is sunny in the own clan. Often they fight about the best places, the food, the sleeping house, etc.. Sometimes the hierarchy is questioned and they try to saw the leg of the current boss. These are all conflicts that rabbits can solve themselves without human help.
Preventing quarrels in the rabbit hutch – this is how it works
Besides the matching gender issue, the magic word in rabbit keeping is: SPACE. If rabbits are kept in a confined space, the lower-ranking animal has no chance to avoid the rabbit boss or to get out of the way in case of quarrels. It is chased mercilessly through the run or rabbit hutch, which not only puts the owner in fear and terror. The remedy for this is, on the one hand, a sufficiently large amount of space, so that the dispute among rabbits can be fought out according to their nature.
Plenty of space in the rabbit hutch
On the other hand, sufficient shelter and hiding places bring peace into the rabbit hutch. If there is a scuffle between the rabbits, the animal with the lowest rank can withdraw accordingly. So that there are no bottlenecks and distresses also with the retreat possibilities, cottage and Co. should be equipped with several exits. If the higher-ranking rabbit besieges the entrance of the hiding place into which the pursued rabbit has taken refuge, this can be very unpleasant for the “trapped” rabbit if there is only this one exit/entrance.
The owner of domestic rabbits should always keep in mind that most rabbit hutches are too small for two or more rabbits anyway. The cramped conditions often lead to quarrels – about the best place to lie down, the tastiest treat, etc. If these quarrels escalate and there is no peace and quiet, the rabbit will be in the hutch. If these disputes escalate and there is no peace and quiet, the rabbits should be kept in separate cages and only share a sufficiently large free run. This ensures that even the lower-ranking animal can lead a “quiet and dignified” life and does not have to live in constant stress.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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