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Nutrition Team Blog

Rabbits attacking dogs!

Published: Friday, July 13, 2012

Rabbits should be kept in pairs or groups. This is a basic requirement for these wonderful creatures. However, it simply isn’t a case of putting any old two rabbits together – this can result in serious fighting, injury and even death. This is because rabbits are highly territorial. When pairing rabbits both sexes should be neutered (it is not enough to neuter only the male – females especially when they’ve not been spayed can be very aggressive) and the introduction should be done on neutral territory (somewhere where neither rabbit has been before). My book ‘Bonding Rabbits’ explains more about this.

Skip forward a few years and I have two bonded pairs of rabbits (a neutered male & neutered female in each pair). However, I cannot allow the two pairs to come into contact with each other or even see each other as even this can cause ructions.

Unfortunately, this morning whilst I was cleaning out George managed to ‘see’ Molly a rabbit from my other pair. They sniffed noses through the wire fence. As George was unable to display aggression towards Molly he redirected it to the nearest animal…which happened to be my dog Yogi. I’ve never seen anything like it…this small brown rabbit flew across the garden towards poor Yogi (an 18kg collie cross) who luckily darted out of the way – and then started darting around the garden allowing himself to be chased! He is only 14 months so I think he thought it was all a big game however, before Yogi decided it was his turn to be the chaser I sent him indoors.

Redirected aggression (or referred aggression) is aggression towards another animal or person even though the original focus of the aggression was elsewhere. In rabbits it usually just involves a bit of chasing and a few nips rather than a full blown fight.

For more information on rabbit behaviour check out the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund website www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk

And for advice on feeding your rabbits please contact our nutritional team free on 0800 083 66 96 or e-mail info@burnspet.co.uk

Fiona Campbell
Head Nutritionist

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