Believe it or not, but rabbits suddenly fighting is something that I am asked about all the time. Your rabbits may get along for a very long time, and then they suddenly begin fighting without any warning. This is startling for loving rabbit owners, and many are desperate to figure out why the fighting began and how to get it to stop.
So, why do your rabbits start fighting all of a sudden? Rabbits who have not been neutered or spayed can start becoming territorial due to hormones. This may lead to sudden fighting between your bunnies. However, fighting can also happen due to sudden illnesses or health problems. Other changes in the home including the addition of other rabbits can also provoke fighting.
Now, we’re going to discuss some of the common reasons that two bonded rabbits may start fighting all of a sudden. Finding out why your rabbits are fighting will help you figure out how to stop it.
Does Spaying and Neutering Prevent Rabbits From Fighting?
Spaying or neutering a rabbit will reduce its’ level of hormones. And hormones frequently are a reason that rabbits fight each other. This is because hormones will cause rabbits to become territorial, and therefore fight one another. Hormonal rabbits can become even more hormonal if they detect the smell of a new rabbit in the home.
Hormonal fights are more common between male rabbits rather than female rabbits. However, two females still can fight if they are not spayed. Consult your vet to talk about whether spaying or neutering may help with sudden fighting between your rabbits. It should take a few weeks after the spaying or neutering for the overall level of hormones in your rabbit’s body to be reduced. Remember, if you keep opposite sex rabbits together, they should always be neutered.
Will Rabbits Start Fighting if Another Rabbit Comes in the Home?
If you already have two bonded rabbits, introducing a third or fourth could make your rabbits begin to fight. After all, few things upset the balance of rabbit harmony like adding another one to the group. This is why you should always do slow introductions when bringing another rabbit into the cage and home. This always applies whether the number of existing rabbits is one, two, or more.
And if the new bunny or bunnies are kept in a separate part of the house, your existing rabbits may even start fighting. This is because a rabbit’s sense of smell is much more refined than that of a human being. Therefore, they may smell the scent of the new rabbit and begin to fight.
Will Illnesses and Health Conditions Make Rabbits Fight?
If one or both of your rabbits develops a health condition, it may make them start to suddenly fight. This is true if one or both of the rabbits becomes ill, too. If only one rabbit is ill or has a health condition, the fighting may start because of behavioral changes due to uncomfortable symptoms. A sick rabbit won’t want to be bothered, and it may start feeling animosity toward a cage-mate that it was once bonded to.
And the healthy rabbit may also begin to fight your sick rabbit because it senses a weakness and wants to assert dominance. If one of your rabbits has fallen ill or develops a serious health condition, you may have to separate it until the illness is treated.
Will Moving Cause my Rabbits to Fight?
Moving from one home to another can be incredibly stressful for rabbits. No matter how well you manage the stress of moving, your rabbits may still start to fight all of a sudden. If you know that a move is in your future, you should consult your vet about strategies to use in order to minimize the stress involved for your rabbit. However, the stress may be unavoidable if your rabbits are moving because they have been re-homed to a new owner. This is something to be mindful of if you are adopting bonded rabbits together.
Moving rabbits into a new cage can also cause them to fight. Make sure to place items like blankets and beds that already have their scent on it into the new cage in advance.
Could my Rabbits be Fighting Because Their Cage is too Small?
If you are keeping multiple rabbits in a cage space that is too small for all of them to be comfortable, they may begin to fight. Certain cages are only big enough for one rabbit to live in. And depending on the size of your rabbits, this requirement may change. If your rabbits do not have enough space, they may quickly develop hostility toward one another. Consider getting a bigger cage so that your rabbits don’t feel crammed together.
And if you cannot afford to get another cage, give your rabbits more time out of their cage to exercise. This will also help keep the two bunnies from getting bored, and boredom can also easily lead to fighting.
Could Rabbits be Fighting Because of Never Being Bonded Properly?
Many owners make the mistake of thinking their rabbits are fully bonded to each other when they are not. And mistaking your rabbits for being bonded when they are not may mean that some fighting will occur. Research and check for signs of rabbit bonding, and be certain that your rabbits are bonded before you assume incorrectly.
Once Rabbits Have Started Fighting, Will They Stop on Their Own?
If your rabbits have begun fighting, you should intervene in order to get them to stop. This is so that the fighting doesn’t get worse, and so that your bunnies do not injure each other. The bond between both rabbits may have been broken. This means that you may need to invest time in your rabbits to help them rekindle their bond.
Once you have noticed your rabbits fighting, try separating them for a few days at first. Then, slowly reintroduce them together. This may be a quick fix in many cases to prevent your rabbits from fighting any more. Remember, slowly re-introduce your rabbits if you have separated them for any length of time. If you re-introduce them too fast, they may begin fighting again.
Should I Ignore When my Rabbits Fight?
Whatever the reason is that your rabbits have began fighting, you should never ignore the behavior! Allowing your rabbits to fight will only lead to their bond further being damaged. Your rabbits could also hurt each other in the process of fighting. If you believe that one of your rabbits has been injured due to a fight, seek veterinary help immediately. And if the fighting becomes severe, you should separate your rabbits from each other.
Ignoring your rabbits when they fight will also cause ongoing stress, which could lead to one or all of them becoming ill. After all, stress weakens a rabbit’s immune system. Do whatever you can to quickly identify the reason why your rabbits are fighting all of a sudden so that you can fix whatever problems are going on.
Should I Take my Rabbits to the Vet if They Start to Fight?
One thing you could try if your rabbits start fighting all of a sudden is to take them to the veterinarian. If your rabbits are fighting because of an illness or health condition, the vet should be able to diagnose and treat this health problem. Then, your rabbits may be on the road to rekindling their bond with one another. Your vet may also have tips to help in your specific situation, including things to do to help your rabbits bond again.
Now, hopefully you will have an easier time figuring out why your rabbits are fighting all of a sudden. If you have any tips to share with other rabbit owners, please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section.
Why would I want to neuter my rabbit? If you keep two or more rabbits together that are not of the same sex, you should always have your rabbits neutered. This is to prevent them from creating unwanted babies. Spaying and neutering also help control hormone-related behavioral issues, such as fighting and inappropriate urination.
Should I have more than one rabbit instead of one? Rabbits are very social, and they like to have a friend of the same species. If you are able to afford to take care of multiple rabbits, you should consider having more than one. But if you don’t have the time and money for two or more rabbits, then you should consider only having one.
How many rabbits are too many to have? Before accumulating a lot of rabbits, check your local laws and variances. Some cities and towns have limits on how many animals you are allowed to have without a license. You should never have more rabbits than what you can afford to care for. If you feel like you have more rabbits than what you should care for, considering re-homing a few.