Integration of Young Rabbits
(before sexual maturity or under approximately 16 weeks)
Young rabbits under 16 weeks of age do not yet defend themselves. Therefore, when integrating them with sexually mature rabbits, they can be severely injured. Additionally, their skin is quite thin, so bite injuries can cause more significant damage than in adult rabbits. That’s why rabbits under 16 weeks are integrated with specific considerations. The following approach is recommended:
Bonding Young Rabbit with Young Rabbit
Baby rabbits under 16 weeks of age can usually be easily introduced since they do not need to establish a hierarchy yet. Nevertheless, pay attention to the rabbits and observe them closely! Note that males become sexually mature at 12 weeks, so they should be early neutered shortly before that age. If this is not considered, they must be separated at 12 weeks, forcing them to live alone during the socialization phase, which could be detrimental.
Also, be aware that a pure young rabbit housing is not ideal; socialization during this crucial phase only occurs with adult rabbits! Learn more about the socialization phase: Socialization – why are there so many poorly compatible rabbits?
Bonding Young Rabbits with Adult or Adolescent Rabbits:
- Attempt: Introduction Outside the Territory Young rabbits should be introduced to sexually mature rabbits only if they are accepted without fights. This should happen outside the established territory, on neutral ground where the adult rabbit has never been. In nature, young rabbits are born outside the territory, and only when they are larger does the mother bring them to the group. Well-socialized rabbits will accept them without fighting.
- Attempt: If the First Attempt Fails However, in domestic rabbit keeping, many rabbits are poorly socialized (see Socialization – why are there so many poorly compatible rabbits?), and such rabbits may try to establish dominance with young rabbits. In such cases, the integration must be stopped, and the rabbits separated. They can be reintroduced at around 16 weeks when they begin to defend themselves.