Rabbits are social animals and definitely enjoy rabbit company. It's wonderful to watch them interact together, they have a constant companion and young rabbits settle in very easily after adoption. You do, however, need to choose a pair or a partner with care.
Two males together can fight while a male and female together will have unplanned litters (potentially inbreeding) and 2 females can have more false pregnancies than solitary females.
We much prefer our bunnies to be adopted in pairs where possible, the ideal pairing being a brother and sister but the male MUST be castrated at puberty, which is usually between 12-16 weeks of age.
The second choice of a pairing would be 2 sisters (we recommend both are spayed at 6 months of age) but, if you are choosing just one bunny for now with the intention of adopting another later, then we'd strongly recommend buying a boy first. He could then settle in and be castrated at 3-4 months and then meet his girlfriend shortly afterwards. If he is castrated as a mature adult, then he will need to wait 4-5 weeks before meeting his new girl-friend.
We feel that keeping bunnies in pairs is essential for hutched bunnies living outdoors in the garden to ensure they always have some company rather than lead a life of isolation with less human interaction. A single bunny is always at risk of suffering from boredom and we share the view of the RSPCA that enforcing a single pet rabbit to live in caged solitary confinement can be cruel. Indoor house-bunnies tend to receive attention and stimulation throughout the day so a partner, whilst still desirable, is not essential..
Pairing Rabbits with Guinea-Pigs:
There is no natural reason why humans should consider housing rabbits and guinea pigs together any more so than housing rats with frogs 'because they are small' or elephants with polar bears 'because they are big'!
We would never recommend pairing rabbits with guinea pigs as these are very different species with:-
- very different personalities, hence they are incompatible
- different communication methods, hence they do not provide the companionship they each require
- very different dietary requirements, hence it is virtually impossible to provide each with their own individual nutritional requirement unless they are separated
They each thrive in very different environments:
- Rabbits tolerate cold temperatures well, guinea pigs don't
- Guinea pigs can cope with warmer temperatures, rabbits don't and are very prone to heat stroke
There are behavioural reasons for not housing the two different species together:
- Rabbits tend to be territorial and may not appreciate a guinea pig shuffling around 'their' space. This can lead to bullying, and mounting is almost inevitable for the poor guinea pig who will almost certainly become stressed and possibly suffer injury.
- A rabbit can trample on a guinea pig causing internal injuries and many bunnies will bully a guinea-pig leading to a life of fear for a naturally timid animal.
- A guinea pig can retaliate and give a rabbit a (deserved) nasty nip which could lead to abscesses requiring surgery.
Therefore, we feel it is much better to house like with like, ie a bonded pair of neutered rabbits or a small group of guinea-pigs and never mixing the two together.