Can two female rabbits live in the same cage?
This is one of the most common questions for someone wanting to buy a second rabbit, but not a second cage. It seems like an attractive option to save money, and get a friend for your lonely bunny. But many rabbit owners learn the hard way that it isn’t so simple.
Two female rabbits will fight.
Although may expect two males to fight, you may not realize females can be just as bad. When going to a pet store or breeder’s rabbitry, you may notice several animals in the same cage. What you may not realize is these friends consist of either a mom and her babies, or two rabbits who haven’t yet reached sexual maturity. The hormones of a female rabbit, once mature, will cause her to be more aggressive. She may lash out at the handler, and the other rabbit. She could even kill her if she’s trying to protect “her” territory. You might be able to solve this with a couple of spay surgeries – but that would run about $150. That’s a lot more than the cost of the second cage.
Rabbits will compete.
So, let’s say you had them spayed. Although not a complete suppressant of the hormones, it will calm them down some. They may not fight, but you still might have one die of starvation or obesity. You may think “Well, I gave them more than enough for both of them!” The problem is now that one ate more than her “fair share,” she is overweight, and the other is starving. Obesity can be just as bad as starvation because it can cause breathing issues that can develop into pneumonia, and dermatitis on the skin.
Hint: Check out the “Supreme Rabbit Home” line of cages that come standard with all the trimmings: drop trays, door protectors, urine guards, and high caliber construction.
Two rabbits in the same cage can share diseases
When two rabbits share a cage, if one gets sick, it’s likely the other will also. Two rabbits in one cage means that the cage gets dirtier faster. And a dirty cage is a breeding place for disease. For example, the coccidian parasite is only infectious once it’s lived in feces that have been exposed to air for a day or two – and if you have two rabbits making a mess in the cage, there’s more exposure.
You might think, “Well, I just won’t let my rabbits get sick.” But sometimes, despite your best precautions, things happen. For example, parasites such as pin worms or fungal infections such as ringworm can be brought in on your skin, clothes, and pets, and rabbits can easily catch it. Then once one has it, they both do. Now instead of one vet bill, you have two.
But how do I solve my rabbit’s loneliness?
The good news is you don’t have to solve your rabbit’s loneness, because rabbits don’t get lonely. In the wild rabbits are more solitary creatures than pack animals. If you spend time with your rabbit daily, that will provide enough interaction to keep it happy and occupied.
So will my female rabbit benefit from a companion?
Possibly. Although rabbits do not need another bunny around, they do seem to enjoy having another rabbit in the area. “In the area” means in the same room – but NOT in the same cage. Rabbits strongly prefer having their own personal space, but do like to have another bunny near enough to communicate with through scent and sound.
So what’s the solution?
Go ahead and get two rabbits, if you’d like. But make sure to also get two cages. There have been cases in which female rabbits lived in one cage together successfully, but those are rar – and many people find this out the hard way. Thankfully, if you don’t want the expense of buying two separate cages, you can buy a “double-hole” cage for two rabbits. This cage allows both does to have their own personal space, while still being close enough to make friends. A double-hole cage not only costs less than two single cages, but it also takes up less space. Plus there is only one drop tray to empty, which is something nobody can complain about.
Raising Rabbits 101 3rd Edition: http://www.premiumrabbits.com/raising-rabbits-101-3rd-edition/
The “Hoppy” Pet Rabbit Care Guide: http://www.premiumrabbits.com/hoppy-pet-rabbit-guide/