Rabbits like to live in pairs and will quickly bond with their partner, in most cases. However, if you are keeping a male and female together, there is a very high risk that the pair will mate and you will be left with baby buns. Furthermore, keeping two males together can result in fights breaking out. For these reasons, most rabbit owners choose to have their pets neutered or spayed. But there is a concern that this will alter the rabbit; so, does a rabbit’s personality change after neutering or spaying?
When you have your rabbit neutered or spayed, there is a very high possibility that a change in its personality will occur. Typically changes are that the rabbit becomes calmer or less aggressive.
For a lot of bunny owners, having their pets fixed is considered to be the best practice. But even knowing that it can bring positive changes, you may still have questions about what to expect after the procedure.
What Happens To A Rabbit After Neutering Or Spaying?
Before we get started, it is important to point out that there is a difference between spaying and neutering. While both processes involve the removal of reproductive organs, the terms neutering and spaying are used to describe the procedures given to male and female rabbits respectively.
When you have your rabbit fixed, there will be many behaviors that you notice come to an end. When unneutered, it is not uncommon for males to pursue any other bunnies in the enclosure; this includes other males. Typically, boys will attempt to mate with females and will mount males as a way of showing dominance. While this is part of bunny bonding, it can sometimes become problematic.
For males who show a lot of built up frustration, having them fixed will eliminate any courtship behaviors such as the ones we have described above. This is down to a reduction in hormones and will result in more positive relationships with both his owners and other rabbits.
Furthermore, bucks can become very aggressive when they reach sexual maturity and do not have the option to mate. This can be a problem for owners since it is not uncommon for the rabbit to bite or show negative behaviors to his caregivers. If he lives in a cage with another male, it is likely that fights will occur, even if the pair are bonded.
After having your rabbit neutered, you will notice that he becomes much more placid and less territorial. While there will always be a dominant rabbit in a pair, this will normally be a mutual agreement between the buns who won’t fight anywhere near as much, if at all.
Some owners notice that, even after having their rabbit fixed, the aggressive traits remain and this can be concerning. It is important to keep in mind that the effects of this procedure can take a while to set in as the residual hormones need to dissipate. For this reason, you should wait at least six weeks before becoming concerned about ongoing aggression, especially since the rabbit may be in pain after the surgery.
However, if these behaviors continue, there might be other reasons that are causing your rabbit to react in this manner. This may take a little detective work but could be related to factors such as ill health, the size of the enclosure or boredom.
Do Female Rabbits Change After Spaying?
Where the behaviors and personality of a male rabbit may drastically alter after he is neutered, in females, the changes may be less obvious. When you have your bunny spayed, she will come out of the procedure very much the same, loving rabbit you have always known.
However, since female rabbits have a tendency to be a little more bossy than their male counterparts, there may still be some issues with being territorial. But for the most part, this won’t be problematic behavior.
Litter Training After Being Fixed
One of the downsides of being a rabbit owner is that these animals will leave a mess wherever they go. If you allow your rabbit to hop around the house, there is usually a very significant trail of droppings not far behind. While this is easy to clean, it can be much better for everyone involved if the rabbit is litter trained.
This may not be as easy a process as training a cat to use a litter tray but it is certainly possible. That being said, rabbits are much more likely to be receptive to litter training if it is done after they have been spayed or neutered.
Typically, an unneutered male will want to mark his territory which he will do by spraying it with urine. After he has been fixed, this is not something he will feel the need to do and so he may be a little fussier about where he does his business, making it much simpler to train him.
Furthermore, if you have your rabbit neutered when he is a little older, this can result in even more successful litter training. This is because, as rabbits get older, they are typically easier to train. Many rabbits will also enjoy simply sitting in their litter trays and you can use this to your advantage when training them.
By placing hay in the litter box, you may encourage your rabbit to use it more. In addition to this, a lot of owners will put the rabbit’s food near the litter tray as well as a selection of toys and treats so that the rabbit has something to do while he is using the tray.
Your choice of litter is important. While cat owners will use clumping litter, this can be bad for a rabbit. Instead, you should try to find softer litters such as paper pellets or even old newspapers. When purchasing litter from the pet store, the packaging will tell you which animals it is suitable for.
Do Rabbits Calm Down After Being Fixed?
Once you have had your rabbit fixed, there is an almost certain chance that he or she will be much calmer than before. However, as we have already discussed, this won’t happen immediately. For the first few weeks after the surgery, male rabbits in particular, may become even more aggressive.
This is related to their hormones still being present since they will have already been released into the bloodstream before the procedure. However, over time, these hormones will settle and no more will be created meaning that the rabbit will ultimately calm down.
That being said, there are many reasons that, during this time, the rabbit may begin fighting with his cage mate or display upsetting behaviors. For this reason, it is recommended that you keep rabbits in separate enclosures while they recover from surgery. In bonded pairs, the cages should be side by side so that the bunnies can still sense one another as this will bring them comfort.