Why do they need company?
Most people accept that guinea pigs need a companion of their own kind, yet many people are still under the impression that rabbits can live happily by themselves. Imagine living by yourself for your entire life and never having anyone to interact with - how would that make you feel? Rabbits that are kept on their own are more likely to become bored or even depressed. They are very sociable animals, and thrive with company of their own kind! Even if you spend hours each day caring for your rabbit, this does not substitute for another rabbit.
Some reasons why a companion is essential for well-being:
For security, to feel safe
Interaction & stimulation
Cuddling & grooming one another
Overall improved health & quality of life
What are good rabbit combinations?
2. Pair of males
Another possibility is to have a pair of males. During maturity, the males may become aggressive and fighting could get serious, which is why neutering early is advisable to reduce dominance. This combination is likely to be more successful if they have been brought up together from a young age, and have plenty of space.
The introduction of a female is likely to make for a more harmonious fit.
1. Neutered male & female
The most harmonious combination is thought to be a neutered male with a female. This is ideal because it is similar to how they live in nature, and has a higher chance of being successful long term. Preferably they should be the same age, or the male being the older of the two.
4. Pair of females
The next option is to house two females together. This is generally not the most harmonious fit, especially during maturity. The success rate is likely to be higher if they have been brought up together (for example, from the same litter) and have a large accommodation. The introduction of a neutered male is likely to make for a better combination.
3. Trio of mixed rabbits
It is also possible to have a trio of rabbits together, ideally with mixed gender. If you have an existing mixed sex pair, it is not advisable adding another lone rabbit. If on the other hand, you already have a pair of same sex rabbits, it is possible to add another rabbit of the opposite gender, providing the male(s) will have been neutered.
5. Group of mixed rabbits
Finally, you can have a group of 4+ mixed rabbits, providing the males are neutered. Groups tend to be best for experienced owners, as socialising can be complex. Equal numbers of males and females are thought to be optimal for group housing, but personalities may play a bigger role. A group provides great variety and stimulation, whilst allowing the rabbits to live closer to nature.