What do I do when my rabbits are fighting?
It isn’t uncommon for rabbits to engage in aggressive behavior and this usually results in fighting between that rabbit and his fellow rabbits. The good news is that this aggression is usually rooted in fear and insecurity, which you can help them overcome.
Rabbits are territorial by nature and they want to establish dominance over an area or space. When they feel threatened by other rabbits, they may try to start a fight so that they can reclaim what they feel belongs to them. If you know one of your rabbits is more aggressive than others, and you let your rabbits roam together in an enclosed space or bring them together to mate, you need to make sure that you watch out for these aggressive tendencies. Stress can also be a trigger for fighting between rabbits. When you witness your rabbits fighting, you should be able to determine the cause so as to remove the effect, which is obviously them getting into fights with one another.
A sociable rabbit, one who has been raised in a friendly environment and in close contact with humans, may not cause too many problems. But rabbits that have been abused or neglected in the past will have issues and will certainly require intensive socialization. In other cases, rabbits that aren’t fully socialized while young also have the tendency to exhibit aggressive behavior. Also, those who have experienced abrupt changes in habitat or other factors can display aggression as well. Do not lose hope though as there are solutions that can help you with an aggressive rabbit.
When your rabbits are fighting, here’s what you can do:
- If you have an aggressive rabbit, do not try to force the situation but putting him in with other rabbits. House him in his own cage or enclosure and make sure that he does not have free access to other pets. You may let him join the others from time to time but interactions must be closely supervised.
- When you see your rabbit become violent or engage in a fight, immediately separate him from each other rabbit to prevent anyone from being injured. As much as possible, do not allow your rabbits to fight. If you see signs of aggression, take the aggressive rabbit out of the situation. Most rabbits will not just “work it out” but rather cause serious damage to one another.
- When wounds are involved as a result of fighting, clean it up and bandage as necessary. Treat with topic antibiotics and consult a vet in the instance of very bad bites. A bite left untreated can become a huge abscess which causes rabbits a lot of pain. When a fight results in a gushing wound, cover it and apply pressure then immediately bring the rabbit to the vet.
- Once all becomes well, start a plan to socialize your aggressive rabbit. Rabbits are known as prey animals. This is why they put a premium on security and feeling safe in their environment. First off, give your rabbit a space that she or he can nest undisturbed. Make sure that it has two exits. Remember, you should never pull a rabbit out of her/his nest. Respect the space.
- It is not advisable for you to pick up a rabbit; you have to be patient and let them come to you. When she does, you may pet her, but when she start to move away, let it happen. Do not hold her down. Speak to her in a soft voice and, as much as possible, put her in an environmental where she is less susceptible to stress. Places where there is less chaos and more calm would be best.
- If you are dealing with a pet rabbit, spaying or neutering rabbits usually make them less aggressive.
- Now, give socialization with other rabbits another go. Take the time to re-introduce rabbits to one another and do it in a neutral space that no other rabbits feel like the king or queen of. Letting them socialize slowly, giving them time each day to just bond until such time when they are comfortable with each other.