Housing a Buck and Doe Rabbit Together

5

December 23, 2012 by Mark Oliver Howes

I know that what I’m about to write will draw opinions of differing range, so I want to preface it by saying that this is what works here on the half-acre.  It may not work for you.

I’ve read post after post on discussion boards about rabbit breeding.  I generally read the same answers over and over again.  Bring the doe to the buck’s cage.  Don’t leave the doe in with the buck too long.  Never bring the buck to the doe’s cage, as she will get territorial and neuter him, attack him, etc..

I’m here to tell you that (most of) those answers are myths.  Housing a buck and doe together can have many beneficial results.

Rosie Bell

Rosie Bell (doe) was born in December, 2011 to Easter, otherwise known as “Superpsychocrackheadbunny”.  Easter was insane.  No other way of explaining it.  The buck that she mated with had no personality.  Meat on feet, really. The results, it seemed, were doomed from the beginning.

Out came Rosie Bell.  Within a short time, she was one of the most delightful bunnies I’d ever met.  I let her run with the chickens a lot.  When I walked into the run, she would approach me and put her front paws on my leg like a dog.  I’d reach down and pet her.  She was an absolute joy.

Then came sexual maturity.

She turned from the sweetest bunny ever to a replica of her crack head mom.  She would thump, growl and run away when I opened the cage to pet or feed her.  I attempted to sell her at a swap, but nobody would buy her because of her poor personality.

Rice, my New Zealand buck, is great.  Very well tempered.  Likes attention.

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As he was coming into maturity, I had a difficult time getting him to, *ahem*, “close the deal” with a doe, if you will.  The action was there, just not the final fall-off and squeal.  Against much advice, I left him in with Rosie Bell for a month.  She did, in fact, have a litter.

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What I noticed was that her old behavior was disappearing  She began approaching the cage door with Rice.  When I was scratching his head, she’d nudge me and ask for me to scratch her’s as well.  I’m not sure if it was jealousy or roll modeling.

I might add that after the initial contact, both rabbits settled into cohabitation quite well. They groom each other and cuddle a lot.  Does he bother her for the things he wants?  Occasionally.  But, she more readily submits.  They are absolutely happier together.

My angoras are the same way.  Sunny and Issy are inseparable.  Sunny is an absolute grumpy mess when he isn’t with his girl, but he’s happy when he is with her.  Issy, although grumpy all the time, can often be seen grooming Sunny and cuddling up next to him.

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No fighting.  No territorial behavior.  Just happy rabbits.

Of course, when you house rabbits together, there’s almost always a result.

Breed your bunnies responsibly.  Let your bunnies live happy lives.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike Oscar Hotel

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5 thoughts on “Housing a Buck and Doe Rabbit Together

  1. This is a little old but I am poking through achives. :P

    When I had Evo and Nutro accidentally in the same cage (because of broken barriers in temporary cages) they got into a huge fight and Evo still has the scar to show it. It must have been bad because her cut was huge and there was fur everywhere.

    Also ladyrabbits can get double-preggers (they have two places in the uterus to store babies) which is FINE if both fill at once. That’s how 12-baby litters are made! But if she doesn’t she could abort both litters, or try to birth both litters at once resulting in both of them being stillborn blobs that never developed correctly. It could even kill the doe.

    And if you want the rabbit to take a break from breeding to raise her kits, that doesn’t always happen. A boy rabbit can easilly breed a rabbit within days after birth so she can be weaning and pregnant at the same time putting a serious strain on the doe.

    That being said, rabbits are social creatures and do best mentally when housed together. In the wild they live in social groups. So it’s deffinately good for the rabbits mental health if not their physical health.

    • My meat rabbits do try to dominate each other for a bit, but they settle in quickly. Especially if I put the doe in with the buck instead of vice versa. The angoras, however, are pretty chill from day one. I currently have two bucks residing with a doe – no problems.

  2. [...]  After trimming, she still ran the bucks in circles.  So I sent in the professional – my ginormous New Zealand, Rice.  Rice is the Don Juan DeMarco of bunnies.  He’s large and willing to romance a girl before [...]

  3. Ivory says:

    Congratulations for not succumbing to the pressure of other rabbit breeders practices.

    I too often house does and bucks together. It works well for me because I am always so short of cage space. I just need to make sure I have a clean empty cage for the doe when I think she’s due, and that’s not always 30 days after I put her in with the buck.

    I also like to house my does in pairs, something else that flies in the face of conventional breeders. In fact right now I have three does living together, and they each have a litter, when the kits are old enough to wean I will just rehouse the does and leave the weanlings to grow where they are, saves a lot of stress on the kits.

    • Thanks – I’ve actually taken a lot of heat for that suggestion. It sounds like you and I have similar ideas when it comes to raising rabbits! I find that while rabbits are territorial, they are also very social animals and that being in pairs helps their personalities.

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