Mating younger and older rabbits can be possible if it is done slowly and you consider a few factors.
However, even then it is not always advisable.
In this article you will learn what you should pay attention to and how to proceed correctly.
Can young animals and older animals live together?
Yes, this is possible.
However, a clear distinction must be made here: If the young animals are your own offspring, living together is usually much easier.
You still have to keep a close eye on your animals in case of conflicts. However, experience has shown that the potential problems are fewer.
In addition, certain conditions apply, such as enough space for all rabbits and enough food.
In fact, there are definite advantages to having a group of animals of different ages.
However, this is not necessarily true for pairs of a young animal and an older rabbit. While your older animal prefers its rest and has a lower play instinct, the young rabbit is still inexperienced, very active and tests its limits.
There is also the problem that if your older rabbit dies due to old age, you will have to find a new companion for the younger rabbit.
It is therefore better to socialize animals of approximately the same age.
Socializing young rabbits: What should you be aware of?
Very young rabbits are usually easy to get along with and settle in quickly.
They tend to be submissive, which means there is very little risk of conflict with older animals.
In addition, they are physically inferior.
On the one hand, this means that they will not cause injuries to other animals. On the other hand, however, this puts them at the mercy of the older rabbit.
However, this dynamic can change quickly as the smaller rabbit grows and hormonal changes begin.
Around the fourth to seventh month of life, puberty sets in.
Rabbits then begin to become more dominant. They also test out boundaries. This can lead to increased conflict, which can result in serious fights.
This often results not only partially in considerable injuries, which have to be stitched, for example, and lead to infections. The ongoing stress is also detrimental to health.
The immune system is weakened, the susceptibility to diseases increases and the heart is stressed.
Prolonged or severe acute stress can also cause rabbits to go into shock, which is life-threatening. If this is the case, your animal is not only in fear of death, but may actually die from it.
Our tip: Therefore, always proceed gradually and slowly. Be patient and remember that animals of the same age usually get along better. Taking in an older rabbit from a shelter can therefore make more sense and be easier.
Breeders are also a good place to start, as they may have older returns or will place animals that have gone out of breeding.
Neutered rabbits together?
For many, the biggest hurdle to reuniting is the change in hormones.
When rabbits become capable of reproducing, the potential for conflict increases both among peers and among conspecifics in general. So your pet may then try to dominate others.
Fights over resources, such as food and water or the “best” place to lie are not uncommon.
It is therefore a relief to have the animals neutered.
This reduces the hormones and the behavior becomes calmer. In addition, unwanted offspring in the group or in opposite-sex pairs is also prevented.
Same sex or pair?
Neutered opposite-sex pairs often get along better than two males or two females.
However, there are exceptions to this.
The most important thing is that the individual animals match each other and are socialized properly.
The advantage of an intact same-sex pair is of course that no offspring can develop. However, you have to expect stronger conflicts with both males and females.
Therefore, neutering is often the better choice for these animals.
Practical instructions for reuniting young rabbits
If you want to reunite a younger animal with an older rabbit, you should proceed step by step.
We’ll show you how it can work.
Step 1: Separate in sight
The first step is to allow the rabbits to get to know each other.
This works best secured and thus separated from each other, in two separate cages.
However, these should be close enough to each other so that the rabbits can smell, hear and see each other. This way they can slowly get used to each other, but are protected and each animal has its own area.
Maintain this condition for at least a few days.
If both rabbits seem relaxed and feel safe, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Meeting on neutral ground
The first direct meeting should take place on neutral ground with plenty of space.
Ideally, you should give them both free rein in a previously unfamiliar room or in the garden, so that they can meet without bias.
Be sure to choose an area that your older rabbit does not consider his own territory.
Release both animals at the same time and watch them closely.
This way you can quickly intervene if aggression occurs and prevent injury.
Meanwhile, offer both rabbits water and food in different sections.
Repeat the reunion daily. This will allow them to get to know each other better without overwhelming them.
Step 3: A new cage
If the animals get along well in the free run, you can venture the transition to a shared cage after a few days.
Ideally, you should buy a new and larger cage or hutch.
If there is enough space, you can also thoroughly clean and refurnish the accommodation.
Important factors for cohabitation
Littermates or a familiar pair can groom, play together, and sleep next to each other.
However, this is more difficult with rabbits of different ages.
Therefore, on the one hand, offer a lot of space and occupation. Most commercially available cages are already insufficient for one animal.
Running, jumping and playing are not possible in it. However, this is exactly what is needed so that the rabbits are relaxed and get along with each other.
Daily free running or a large enclosure are ideal.
Also, offer everything twice: Hay, water, dry food and fresh food should be available in sufficient quantities and in different places.
In this way, none of the animals feels disadvantaged and there is no defense of resources.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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