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Can you keep brother and sister rabbits together?

Accidentally bonded and bred sibling rabbits. what do I do? Will the doe ever accept a different buck?

I purchased two young does (sisters) and a buck (unrelated) from an experienced Standard Rex shower/breeder back in March. I was just starting in rabbits and didn’t know a whole lot, but was told you could keep does together and they seemed happy to have each other’s company. Almost a week ago we noticed one of them chasing and incessantly humping the other. I took the culprit out of the hutch and, low and behold, there was a mound of fur in the corner of the hutch in the morning and 7 kits. So I checked the «sister» doe to find that their parts didn’t match and she was a he. We lost one of the kits, I believe she was sitting on it while feeding the rest, but the rest are doing great and the doe is a very attentive mother. It got cold, so I brought her and the kits inside. Here’s the issue. The poor mister who used to be the sister hasn’t been eating or drinking much and is so expectant whenever we are around. Just comes up to the front and sits on his hind legs like he’s asking where his beloved is. Of course, I don’t want to breed these two together. My concern is that I now have a pair of breeding bonded siblings. Will the doe accept a different, unrelated buck? I don’t need this unexpected buck for breeding and will have to sell him. Will the doe fall into a depression and/or refuse to ever breed again? She is such a great new mother, made a beautiful nest, carefully jumps over it instead of walking on the babes, checks on them and covers/uncovers it according to temp and they have round little bellies. I’d love to breed her to the buck I first intended to. I never knew that rabbits mate for life! Does anyone have any words of wisdom for a novice?

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asked Jun 3, 2020 at 5:10
Jenny Jenny
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Do you intend to breed the doe(s) from the beginning?
Jun 3, 2020 at 6:59

1 Answer 1

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If in nature a male rabbit dies, then the doe will be sad and grieve some time. But it would be a waste of resources if a young doe will never again accept a new partner.

At this line: if you sell the surprise male rabbit, he will be «dead» for your doe and after some time (time in which you have to support her!) she could mate with another male.

(Please have in mind, that breeding is nothing for rabbit beginners. There are A LOT of points to keep in mind, not only about the care for the litter but also about family trees, handing down illnesses and non matching genes. And at last: there are so many rabbits in shelters that need a new home before there should be «made new ones» in my opinion. Because of that: please rethink this idea in depth. Neutered rabbits are very happy too.)

If you would let the male stay with you and only separate them, the doe may hear/smell/see/notice him but could not get to him and vice versa. Then both of them will become sad.

I have 2 rabbits since some years. First an old granny with a young male, then she died and we found a new wife for him. Last year he died and we found a new husband for her. Both times the new rabbits were accepted by the old ones, because we respected the rules for «making new rabbit friends». I will search for them and then add the link to them here. Additional you could use the tag «bonding» to search for tagged questions about that theme. (I added the tag to your question.)

Can brother and sister rabbits live together?

Brothers and sisters often have very close bonds as babies. However, keeping brother and sister rabbits together doesn’t always work out in the long-term. Once the rabbits reach sexual maturity, their personalities change. They will smell different from each other.

Why can’t brother and sister rabbits breed?

What is this? Any time you breed related animals together it intensifies genetic strengths and weaknesses. Siblings are the most genetically alike of any relatives, so any weakness in your rabbits would become more pronounced.

Can female rabbit siblings live together?

Yes, two female rabbits can live together if they’re bonded properly and watched closely in the beginning. No rabbit should have to live alone, as they are very social creatures. Whether it’s a male and female or two females, rabbits need socialization to be happy.

Can a male and female rabbit stay together?

Rabbits can live happily in male/female, female/female, male/male pairings and larger mixed groups. However, the most natural and therefore easiest pairing is male/female. In the wild, rabbits tend to live in male/female pairs and will sometimes remain partnered for life.

Can two bonded pairs of rabbits live together?

Rabbits are social animals that truly benefit from being bonded in pairs. It is important to them as they are naturally prey animals in the wild; there, they rely on each other for the creation and maintenance of underground burrows, where they spend a lot of their time hiding or socialising.

Why Inbreeding Is OK and Dealing With Rabbit Molt

Do bonded rabbits fight?

A rabbit may fight to show dominance. Biting and nipping are also mating behaviour. Paradoxically, rabbits may even fight as part of their bonding process. Bonded rabbits can fight, too.

Should I let my rabbits fight it out?

If your rabbits are mounting each other a lot, instigating fights, stop them, place them side by side. Pet them together and talk to them quietly. Do not let much chasing ensue. If they are persistently aggressive, separate them to prevent injuries.

Can 2 female rabbits have babies together?

Two females living together and both having litters

It can work, and I have witnessed a situation where a group of several female rabbits were all living together freely in a large room, when two gave birth within hours of each other, with nests only a foot apart.

Should male and female rabbits be separated?

Male rabbit (buck)

Traditionally people keep all their rabbits together. However it is advisable to keep the buck separate from the does and do not keep bucks together as they will fight. The doe must be taken to the buck for mating and then returned to her place. A buck can be used until he is 7 years old.

Can you mate brother and sister Bunny?

So in the most strictest sense of this, you would never mate a rabbit with another rabbit that has a known relative. However, most standards say with rabbits (and other animal terms) that it’s ok as long as the relatives at least 4 generations out. Inbreeding is where you breed within a family.

Is rabbit inbreeding OK?

Inbreeding: Rabbits that are litter mates should not be bred. Inbreeding can produce kits with undesirable health and conformational defects. To prevent this genetic dilemma, owners need to be educated on the bloodlines of their rabbits before breeding.

Are sibling bunnies bonded?

​The FALSE bond: Baby rabbits don’t truly bond to each other or to an older rabbit— at least not in the long term. Often owners will start out with two sibling babies and assume that because they are so cuddly together, they will surely remain best buddies forever.

What happens if brother and sister have babies?

The risk for passing down a genetic disease is much higher for siblings than first cousins. To be more specific, two siblings who have kids together have a higher chance of passing on a recessive disease to their kids.

Can the dad rabbit be with the babies?

SEPARATING THE FATHER Most male rabbits are gentle with their offspring. The main reason to separate off the male is that the female can become pregnant again WITHIN HOURS of kindling!

What happens when siblings mate?

Inbreeding occurs when two closely related organisms mate with each other and produce offspring. The two main negative consequences of inbreeding are an increased risk of undesirable genes and a reduction in genetic diversity. The House of Habsburg may be the best example of the effects of inbreeding in humans.

Should I separate my rabbits after giving birth?

Baby rabbits need to stay with their mother until they are about 8 weeks old. Baby rabbits start nibbling on hay and pellets at about 2 weeks old. However, just because they start eating on their own does not mean they can be taken away from their mother.

How do I know if my rabbits are bonded?

As a general rule, rabbits are bonded once they can spend 48 hours together without any chasing or aggressive behaviors. You also want to see positive signs such as grooming, sharing food, and sleeping next to each other to confirm that your rabbits feel safe around each other.

How many bunnies can you keep together?

Rabbits just LOVE company!

Most owners house a pair of rabbits, but keeping three or four are also popular options. Be sure that you have enough space to comfortably house all your rabbits, or else you’ll have to purchase multiple runs to create enough space.

How do you punish a rabbit for biting?

Squeal. If your rabbit nips or bites you (sometimes rabbits nip when they want something or want your attention — it’s not always aggressive): give a high-pitched squeal as soon as she nips or bites you. This will let her know that she hurt you and she should not nip or bite you.

What should you not do to rabbits?

Insider spoke to veterinarians about some things you should never do to your pet rabbit. Don’t keep your rabbit’s cage directly in the sun or pick them up by their underarms or chest. Always make sure your rabbit has somewhere to hide.

How do you bond two rabbits?

Do – House the rabbits separately but close together. They will get used to seeing each other and to each other’s scent if they are close to one another. Make sure the cages are not close enough for them to be able to bite each other. Do – Be prepared for this to take several months.

Will rabbits fight to the death?

Rabbits fighting to the death is most likely to happen between two unneutered male rabbits. Deadly fights between two female rabbits are far less common. Factors that increase the risk of fights include, one rabbit being a larger breed, one rabbit being younger, or one rabbit being older.

Do bonded rabbits spend all their time together?

Bonded rabbits spend the majority of their days and nights together. They tend to visit the litter tray at the same time, eat together and groom together. A lot of time is spent simply snuggled up together sleeping. They can become competitive with each other over food and attention from us.

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