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Rabbits/Attitude problems!


Hi, my name is Nicole and I have two male rabbits who are both neutered. Rocko is a brown and tan Holland Lop. Spunky is a black and white Mini Rex. They are both living in their own seperate cages, indoors only. It's a wire cage, with hard wood floors under their feet. I bought them both on December 29, 2012 and the store owner told me they were about 4 weeks old. I had picked both of them from the same cage thinking that because they already lived together in the store, maybe it would greater the chances of them getting along. I kept them both in one very large cage and they were getting along very well. I knew it was a matter of time before hormones would kick in. After one small fight, I had them both neutered and have kept them separated ever since. Both their cages are side by side so that they could become fimiliar and comfortable with each other's presence. To bond them again, I would let them out in different small rooms and areas for a few minutes at a time. I figured if they don't fight, I would eventurnaly give them full range of my apartment. Unfortunately they have gotten into several huge fights. I know if I do not break them up, they would fight until death. I want to blame Spunky. He always seems to demand licks from Rocko and Rocko does lick the top of Spunky's head sometimes but Spunky will never return the favor. Spunky has a serious nipping problem. He nips Rocko, which always turns into a huge brawl and he always nips me too! He'll nudge my hand or leg a few times and then nip me while I'm trying to spend time with him. I assume this means "get out of my way" but I do not want to tolerate a biting rabbit. I also get the feeling Spunky is nervous around me and my boyfriend. Both rabbits do not tolerate being picked up though I pick them up anyway to bring them into which ever room I plan on watching them in. Rocko is more of the tough guy, he's not scared of us. My problem with Rocko is that he stomps his back feet often. I know this is a sign of anger, but I don't understand what he is angry about?! When I put them both back into their cage, they both stomp very hard. I understand that, but Rocko does it while I'm trying to hang out with him. I took him onto the couch with me and he randomly stomped about 4 times. I wasn't even pestering him! I just figured we could hang out in a blanket together! Rocko also is aggressive with his cage bars. He's always biting them and pushing them around. I'm just wondering what I can do for my rabbits to make them happier. They just seem angry a lot and neither one of them are very playful. I still consider them babies so I would assume they'd be the most playful. I had 1 rabbit before these two. A white lop named Bun-Bun and she was a complete doll. She LOVED me and my boyfriend and it seriously showed. I really miss that type of affection and I wish my two boys loved me the way Bun-Bun did. I added a photo of their cages, maybe my set up is no good? Also, I have never let them on the grass. I guess I'm nervous about letting them outside. I feel like Spunky would literally have a heart attack, haha. Thank you for your time!

Hi Nicole:

Sounds like attitude alright! ☺  What you are experiencing is completely normal for a household with two male rabbits.  In the wild, there will be only one buck (male) per acre of land.  There might be as many as 100 females on that acre, but only one buck.  Males are incredibly territorial and as you understand, they will fight to the death.

Neutering them was the right thing to do and I'm sure it helped minimize the fighting, but it wont stop it.  Even two males that were littermates born in the same litter and raised together will reach the point where one will become dominant and if not separated would seriously hurt or kill the other.

It sounds like Spunky is the dominant male in your house.  When Rocko licks Spunky's head, its a sign of weakness and submission.  Typically, the dominant male will not lick the submissive male, except for an occasional groom - in between fights that is!

The first thing you need to do is put them in separate cages far apart from one another.  Far enough that they cant see one another.  It's almost certain that Rocko is in a constant state of nervousness/fear being caged close to Spunky.  Always on high alert and feeling the need to protect himself.  He may not display it in a way that you can see it - but its natural and it is happening.  Rocko is stomping his feet in an attempt to display power out of fear of Spunky's dominance and intimidation.  

Unfortunately, you are dealing with the natural behavior of male rabbits; they are very solitary creatures and very territorial and there's nothing you can do that will ever make them like each other enough to be left alone together or have free reign of the home.

The only way to keep the peace - is to house them separately so that they cannot see one another and take each rabbit out separately for play time/romping time.  Treat each rabbit as if its the only rabbit.  It will be twice the work, but it's the only way for peace.  It's also the only way Rocko can stop being fearful all the time.

I hope this clarifies your situation and that you are able to keep them separate and let each one have its happy time with you.  Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.


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Lisa L.


I was introduced to meat rabbits at the age of 3. Began working with them on my own at the age of 8 and started my own large commercial rabbitry at the age of 20. I'm 46 now and for the past 26 years I have owned a large herd of meat rabbits and have become well known as the turn-to person whenever a problem arrises.

Member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Member of the Rabbit Industry Council. Member of the Yahoo - Meat Rabbits Group. Member of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. Administrators of the FaceBook "Rabbit's as meat" group. Owner of Yahoo - Raising Meat Rabbit's for maximum yield group

Yahoo Meat Rabbits Group. American Council of Animal Naturopathy FaceBook "Rabbit's as meat" group. Owner of Yahoo - Raising Meat Rabbit's for maximum yield group

There is no formal training for raising rabbits; its all hands on. I have had a steady rabbit breeding operation for 24 years and have read every book there is on raising rabbits for meat. Additionally, I am a member of several rabbit groups and associations as listed below.

Awards and Honors
None - there are none in this field.

Past/Present Clients
I have helped countless people over the past several decades. These have been people I knew personally or those referred to me by one of the many rabbit organizations I belong to.

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