Do rabbits get lonely?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by hoggie, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. hoggie

    hoggie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Those of you that keep your buns in single cages - do you think it bothers them. I always thought of rabbits as not really social animals - I suppose because people tend to keep one in a hutch so that is how I think of them.

    But I have a group in one cage - Rosemary, her daughter from her first littler Ruby, and four buns from her second litter who I have just advertised for sale as pets. It is getting just a little crowded now as the little ones are growing LOL but....... it has really struck me how much of the day that family spend cuddled up together, grooming each other, loving each other. Somehow it surprised me just how much care they show each other.

    So now I am worrying about selling individual rabbits as pets - should I insist that people take two that can be kept together? And what about poor old bucky-boy - does he get lonely do you think?

    Have people with colonies noticed this social stuff?

    hoggie
     
  2. Otter

    Otter Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There is a lot of variability there. Many rabbits will fight, but there are some lines, breeds, individuals that are more social. My first doe ever would NOT breed unless she was allowed to live with the buck for about a week. So first I had to find a buck who would tolerate that. Most of her daughters were scrappy little things that needed their own cages, but her linebred great-grandsons very much wanted each other's company, never fought and would even share does. I culled really heavily for temperament. Maybe you could breed for it. :shrug:

    I've seen some pretty nasty results from keeping rabbits together too, so I'd be careful with experimenting.
     

  3. Skip

    Skip Well-Known Member

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    As a child I had a female rabbit for a pet, she use to love me grooming her. Rabbits also become social with other pets in the house. I do believe it may be safer for people who want pets to have a sole rabbit because then they will become social with their "people" family.
     
  4. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    I just bought 2 litter sisters. I had them in my quarantine room. One was bred when I got her, so I moved her into the rabbitry to a larger cage.
    The one left behind in the quarantine room got down right mean. Attacking me when I tryed to put any thing in her cage. I moved her inside to a cage next to her sister and she calmed down. Just as nice as can be now. i really think she missed her sister. i hope I never have to cull one of them, cause the one that is left will get mean and I'll have to cull her too.
     
  5. katduck

    katduck Well-Known Member

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    I've had a similar question I've been meaning to ask. I got two rabbits at 4 weeks old. Yes, the breeder sold me 4 wo rabbits! I really didn't know any better and that point. She said they would be ready on a certain date, but could never remember their birthdates. "It's on the pedigree". So on the way home I looked at the pedigree and thought 4 weeks is awfully young! and decided to put them together in a cage to help with the stress of being snatched away from mom & sibs. One is a Champagne and the other is a Rex. They are now so bonded I don't know if I'll ever be able to seperate them! I even have a little problem with one over-grooming the other. I'm going to move them to a bigger cage soon and keep them together, but when they are old enough to breed I'll need to seperate them and I'm worried how it will affect them.

    Katrina
     
  6. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Don't forget-- our 'domestic' rabbits are colony animals-from Europe,- they are not the loners that the 'common' rabbits native to the US are. every type of animal that typically lives in a group situation will have its' loners and clique groups. that is where the expression 'lone wolf' comes from-- a wolf that is essentially, without a pack to be a part of-- either due to age, status, or temperament... horses actually have herds of 'bachelor' stallions-- young males with no mares to call their own...

    there, another piece of 'useless information' as my daughters would call it.....
     
  7. ladysown

    ladysown Well-Known Member

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    I kept Ebony and Ivory together for a long time...Ivory's blind, Ebony isn't. But when Ivory's babies got two weeks old she nixed the idea of Ebony being with her. Ivory is happy with her littles and I'll probably keep one of them to keep her happy. Separated them, Ebony was sad so I put her in with a young male rex rabbit I have. He's got ZERO interest in her and was also lonely. I don't care if she gets pregnant, and they get along like champs. If I keep Ebony I will probably keep one of her female babies and just keep them together.
     
  8. Marshloft

    Marshloft Well-Known Member

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    I have a pair that have never been seperated because I was told that they wouldn't eat if they were seperated.. They are still together raising me 2 different litters of kits..
    But,, that being said,,, You need to be carefull with comparing "your feelings" with that of animals..
    I keep mine together because it seems to be working,,, not because I worry about their feelings...
    Gary H.
     
  9. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    aww..., c'mon Gary-- we ALL know that you are just an ol' softie at heart..... anthropomorphism runs rampant on this list-- despite our protestations to the opposite.....
     
  10. Marshloft

    Marshloft Well-Known Member

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    shshsshshhhh,,,, I have a reputation to uphold ya know...
     
  11. Pops2

    Pops2 Well-Known Member

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    yes that is why they should always be cooked in pairs
     
  12. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If it becomes necessary to separate a very bonded pair, placing their cages side by side will ease things a lot. The can still socialize through the wire and lie side by side. Stress is hard on rabbits and suddenly being separated from a long-time companion is about as stressful as it gets, in my opinion.

    Rabbits are individuals and have different degrees of need for socialization. Some thrive in a group situation where others may be too fearful or too territorial and do better in individual cages. Rabbits communicate well through body language and I don't think it is too hard to tell if a rabbit is content and happy. Here's a link to an excellent site for those interested in learning more: http://language.rabbitspeak.com/rabbittalk.html

    It makes good sense to take care of the emotional well-being of our animals, whether we admit we care about their feelings or just want to do our best for them because it is efficient. I don't think anyone needs to feel apologetic or embarassed about this. Gary? Are you listening?
     
  13. Marshloft

    Marshloft Well-Known Member

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    Yes mamm,,, ;)
    You know me,,,,
    I think what I meant tho,, was ,, we have to be careful how far we take it..
    Its easy I believe to lean so far in one direction as to forget why we are raising them..
    Otherwise,, we all might as well give up and join all the other AR folks..
    Thats all...
     
  14. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    two does that are raised togather in the same cage that get along great, can be bred successfully togather, IF and only IF the cage is large enough to handle TWO nesting hormonal females, with two separate nest boxes, but chances are they will still fight when when nesting and delivery arive so best to put them in adjoining cages,

    in a colony setting once a doe has her burrow and her territory she will not except strainge rabbits into her space, only kits that grow up in her space can have any chance of shareing her space, i have seen my own does run new rabbits off, even to the point that if one of the rabbits spent any length of time outside the colony away from them, when it came back they drove it off again, but any rabbit that stayed in the colony was allowed to stay as long as it knew its place in the social ladder.
     
  15. gerald77

    gerald77 Well-Known Member

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    i have a couple pairs of females that seem to need each other. in the colony some of them pair up. i know when it's bedtime a bunch of them sleep cuddled together while a couple sleep alone. ophelia had a friend that looked great till ophelia got hurt. juliet lost a bunch of weight so i finally brought her in to watch her and make sure she was eating. when ophelia saw her they immediately started grooming each other. juliet has gained almost all of her weight back and they are outside in a cage together. i don't know if the weight loss was due to the seperation of them or not. i think some of them might get lonely whereas some like to be alone. i do agree though that is important to not loose focus of what the rabbits are for. if i let my emotions and concerns with lonely, cute, fuzzy bunnies take over then the rabbits will take over. i do however take them into consideration where their living is concerned. i want them to be happy and thrive so i do make arrangements for them so that they can have that. so while i do have a colony i also have cages so that ophelia can live with juliet in peace and so any others that need a different arrangement have a place to go too. i really like rabbits, always have and i get alot of enjoyment going out to see them hopping around the pen or nibbling their treats. so they are to a degree a source of entertainment too. okay i'm done now and i think i may have strayed from my point. sorry.
     
  16. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Kristin, I don't think you have strayed from the point at all. A happy bunny is much more likely to be a productive bunny. Rabbits are very emotional critters. Any animal that can hold a grudge for over two years and then forgive must be considered to have a high EQ. (I'm sure everyone has heard Tao's story, but if there's anyone out there who doesn't remember, I'll be glad to tell it again. :D )
     
  17. Mrs. Jo

    Mrs. Jo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think rabbits like the companionship of their own kind. We saw some very cute and affectionate behavior from the two when we put them together in the colony this last few months. bucky boy also acted a little down when I stuck him back in his cage. He was alone but he perked up when I put the dwarfs next to him.

    I don't really consider animals feelings very much but it's plain that they do like some social interaction. I have to get the colony fixed up again and get them back in it so they can be happy.