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September 6, 2007

Rabbits and chickens together

Posted by Dervaes

Q. Can rabbits and chickens live together in a fenced area, or will they fight? I would have separate hutch for bunnies at night.

Thanks,
Sue Brookings, OR

A. My rabbit lives in the same enclosure as the ducks, chickens and goats.

I cannot really know for certain whether your rabbits and chickens will fight because it really does depend on the characters of the animals. Some are more aggressive or passive than others.

Rabbits won't really fight with chickens, it's the chickens that may have a problem with the rabbit. Chickens don't like rodents and for the first few weeks or so, they will peck the rabbit if it gets too close. My experience is that it's not a real "killing" peck, but a sort of "back-off" peck. Usually they will peck once and when the rabbit moves away, the chickens forget about it.

If you don't have rabbits and chickens already, I would suggest that you get the rabbits first and then baby chickens after. If the chickens grow up with the rabbit, everyone will get along better.

I also suggest that you allow the rabbit to be able to go into its hutch any time it wants to to get away from everything. They really love their quiet, alone time. I made an enclosed ramp up to my rabbit's hutch and she likes to come and go as she pleases.

Also, make sure there is a lot of places in the enclosure for the bunny to get away and hide just in case she needs to get away from danger or from a crazy broody chicken.

And I'm sure you know about being careful to dig wire down around the enclosure so the bunny doesn't dig out.

Otherwise, I think you should be fine. It all depends on the animals. I do suggest that when you put them together, sit and watch them the whole day if you can and monitor things. There will be a commotion and everyone will be agitated and the bunny may be pecked a few times, but just sit back and observe and let them all work it out for themselves. As long as a chicken hasn't cornered the bunny and is really hurting it, a peck or two isn't going to hurt the bunny. They are just learning about each other and the bunny will soon learn to keep out of that chicken's way.


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