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So I'm going to be getting two new male rabbits (from young ages) and was wondering if it is best to neuter? I don't want them fighting and then having to separate them. Although I had an un-neutered male and he was never aggressive to me or anyone.

However, he did live alone. I don't really want two females because they're harder to neuter and if you don't, they get phantom pregnancies and pyometras, also never had a female before as well, and they're often less responsive than a male. Really would like to neuter them to avoid issues. It's just not me who'll be paying for it, my dad would, so he's got to understand why it's important.

Any personal experiences and advice?

  • Any help would be appreciated – Emma evans Jan 1 '18 at 11:39
  • Making rabbits be friends is not easy, We have some posts about bonding rabbits these are not a complete description of the issues. If the rabbits are young, read What causes rabbits to spontaneously change gender? I don't have time for a full answer at the moment, but wanted to get something to you before you make a decision – James Jenkins Jan 2 '18 at 12:12
  • I was planning on observing the rabbit behaviour before purchase, to establish the more friendly but noes and which seem to get along. Just want advice on neutering – Emma evans Jan 2 '18 at 21:13
  • I am struggling to write an answer to this question. Depending on where you live there may be a shelter or rescue in your area that has rabbits. They would likely already be spayed/neutered and bonded together. Is rescuing/adopting an option in your area? – James Jenkins Jan 4 '18 at 19:17
  • Not really, since I'm after babies not adults. Also the nearest rescue never has my bunnies – Emma evans Jan 4 '18 at 23:00
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In 90% of cases the male baby bunnies will start fighting if they came to puberty. They can be very aggressive and use their sharp teeth to hurt skin, ears and ballbag of each other. In the last case the injured rabbit can bleed to death.

Baby bunnies can be neutered before this point, so you avoid hurts and the need to separate them. If you wait until puberty/ until fighting, they can become aggressive in a way that they can not be socialized again after neutering, because of bad memories with each other.

If male rabbits were neutered before puberty, they don't have to be separated from females (only for rehabilitation after operation, not for "avoid breeding"). Also their "smell" is not changing, because they did not lost their "adult" hormones - they had none before, they have none after neutering. Because of that, they will be accepted by each other as before the neutering.

The best way I can imagine is to select two male (?) baby bunnies with an option to bring them back if they are females, take them to the vet for sex determination and make also a date for neutering.

This early neutering has to take place around the 12th week of life. For a rabbit experienced vet this is a small routine operation and he/she does not even need to open the abdominal wall.

You can find more about the early neutering of male rabbits on this site called kaninchenwiese ("rabbit meadow") in German.

Some parts of this website translated via google:

("Rammler" means male rabbit)

The early castration at the Rammler

If a rabbit-rammler is castrated before sexual maturity, then one speaks of an early castration. Depending on the size of the rabbits, this must be done with about 11-12 weeks, but no later than 16 weeks (larger breeds). In the rabbit usually the Rammler is castrated to avoid offspring, since it is a smaller intervention in him than in the females. The early intervention prevents sex hormones from being produced, thus the rabbit never fully "grows up", but experience shows that early neutered bullies do not have disadvantages in the group and in rankings and are better socialized as they are not separated need to be in order to prevent offspring. This is the great advantage of early castration. If a Rammler is castrated before he is sexually mature, he can directly back into the old group and grow up there. Later castrated ramblers are capable of reproduction for up to four weeks after castration and must be separated this time to avoid offspring.

The Rammler castration after sexual maturity

Castration after sexual maturity can be carried out into old age as long as the affected rabbit is vital and healthy. However, since the sex behavior has an influence on the position in the group and the whole character of the rabbit, especially in older, dominant rabbits, which live in a group, after castration, there may be a loss of ranking, which often makes them emotionally strong, especially in group housing added. Rabbits are very much designed to reproduce, so the sudden loss of affected hormones often results in a character change. Since in captivity, however, no natural selection (by predators and disease) takes place, we have no choice but to castrate them, because a single husbandry or permanent offspring would not be animal-friendly.

Rabbits are fertile for a while after castration! The separation of the Rammlers of sexually mature females after castration must be strictly adhered to, as there is still a residue of sperm in the vas deferens, which can still be delivered. Only when these residual sperm have died, the rabbit is no longer able to produce. How long the remaining sperm are still viable, is not scientifically researched, the guinea pig, there is a study that has found out 7-70 days, the same is probably true for rabbits. That would mean that (to exclude any risk of danger) you would have to wait 10 weeks for quarantine. In practice, however, it has been found that a shorter period is sufficient. After 4 weeks, only extremely rare cases have become known in which there was still a pregnancy, after 5 weeks separation, there has been no single pregnancy. The first four weeks are dangerous. The only exception: if the ram was castrated before it became sexually mature (early castration), there are still no sperm present in the vas deferens, i. the castrate can be left to females directly after the castration.

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TL:DR Baby rabbits are hard to tell the gender of. If you get two, there is a 50% chance you will have baby bunnies as your first clue that you did not get two the of the same gender. If you keep them separated that defeats the idea of them keeping each other company. The path of two baby rabbits is full of potential for unpleasantness.

The simple answer is yes, spaying and neutering can have positive impacts on rabbits' health and behavior, the same as it does with dogs and cats.

But it is not that simple. You are looking to acquire two new young/baby rabbits. That leads to a number of difficulties.

  • Rabbits tend to become sexually mature (able to make babies) very early, and often before they are old enough to be spayed or neutered. This makes keeping them together while young challenging.

  • Baby rabbits are very difficult to tell the gender of, see related What causes rabbits to spontaneously change gender? and How to tell sex and spay/neutered of rabbit?

  • Two rabbits that live happily together are "bonded"; this bond is very close. If you separate them they can die. See Can bonded rabbits die of loneliness?

  • Spaying or neutering changes the behavior so significantly it can alter the bond. It is not unusual for bonded rabbits to start fighting and have to be separated after one or both is spayed or neutered. It is generally recommended to not bond rabbits until they have been spayed or neutered for at least 30 days.

  • Intact rabbits that are sharing a space and that do not have a bond, can and will chew body parts off of each other: ears, toes, eyebrows. Some rabbits are even killed by the fighting. See Do rabbits fight each other to the death?

Scenario: You get two baby rabbits, they are young and from the same litter, they are happy together, everything is wonderful. Then time passes.

  • A. Turns out they are not both the same gender: This is a really, REALLY strong possibility. Your first clue is going to be "mom" making a nest, followed shortly by a bunch of baby bunnies. See How fast do rabbits really breed? and At what age can/should a baby rabbit (kit) be separated from its mother?.

  • B. They are both the same gender: As they grow older the sibling tolerance decreases and they either live happily together or not.

    • BA: If they live happily together, fine. It is too late to spay or neuter without putting the bond at risk.

    • BB: If they don't like each other, they will start fighting. The simple solution is to separate them. As they are not bonded, the separation should not harm them. = You have two rabbits that require separate living quarters.

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  • I know about sexing, I'm a training vet nurse – Emma evans Mar 13 '18 at 16:33
  • The behavior of rabbits only change through neutering, if the neutered rabbit is an adult. If it is neutered before the 12th week of life, there is no change, because the rabbit's "smell" do not change from adult to "asexual". Baby rabbits " smell asexual" until puperty. – Allerleirauh Jul 28 '19 at 18:45
  • @Allerleirauh your comment is confusing, a 12 week old rabbit is to young to spay or neuter. Most vets will not do it until they are between 4 and 6 months of age. – James Jenkins Jul 29 '19 at 10:16
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    @JamesJenkins Okay, maybe this is region specific. Here in Germany it is a normal method to neuter male rabbits before the 12th week, because one have less trouble than later. I add a link to the german website I have my information from to my answer and translate the basic part via google translator – Allerleirauh Jul 29 '19 at 10:39
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I can't comment or I would put this as a comment

Copied from http://www.rabbitsonline.net/showthread.php?t=58444 where someone asked about keeping breeding bucks together.

"Two things you can count on in rabbits is that they must have a social order, which includes boundaries, and that they can be fierce about establishing and defending it.

Your rabbit's interactions with your are no indicator of how they'll react to other rabbits - intact or not. My son's sweetest doe was absolutely in love with him. She also accepted any buck. But, if she had been given the chance, she'd eat alive any doe she could sink her teeth into.

Cage space is not worth risking injury or death...If you don't have them already, buy more cages, or otherwise change your plans."

Prior to the above both the question poster and answerer both state they have talked to people who have kept entire bucks happily together in the absence of females.

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  • At the minute I have two hutches, but one is probably going to be scrapped, but it's probably a good idea to keep it in case. I do not plan on breeding – Emma evans Jan 3 '18 at 10:13

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