Rabbits and chickens are both solitary creatures who don’t do well when housed with other animals.
However, they’re also prey for many predators (including hawks) so keeping them outdoors isn’t always an option.
Choosing to keep rabbits and chickens together in the same home can be a challenging endeavor, but it’s always possible if you follow the right procedures.
Can I Keep Chickens With Rabbits?
Whether or not you can keep rabbits together with chickens depends on several factors, including:
- The size of your property
- The breed and number of animals you want to keep
- Their personalities
Whether you’re pushed by circumstances to keep chickens and rabbits together or are just eager to try something new, this project may not be the best idea.
You may keep rabbits and chickens in the same area, but they should have separate housing structures.
This separate space will give them the personal space they need for procreation, laying eggs, and sleeping.
Besides the separate housing structures, you’ll need to consider other factors like predators in your area, the size difference between the two types of animals, and species differences.
Factors to Consider When Keeping Chickens With Rabbits
Once you’re ready to have your rabbits and chicken together, you should consider the following factors to help you successfully rear these two animals together.
The first and most important factor to consider is what kind of predator is present in your area.
Even though chickens are not as vulnerable as rabbits, they will still be at risk from the same predators that would go for a rabbit if given the opportunity.
Knowing what kinds of predators you’re dealing with in your area will help you understand the type of structures you should build to protect your animals.
Depending on their breeds, some rabbits can be smaller than chickens and vice versa.
These size differences matter a lot when it comes to designing their structures and protecting them against predators.
If your area has a predator that’s only comfortable attacking small animals such as chickens, then keeping your chicken and rabbits together can be disastrous.
However, on the other side of the coin, having both types of livestock may work to your advantage.
If you have a chicken coop that is very well built and protects against predators, there’s a high chance that your rabbits will stay safe as well.
Their Excrement Habits
Rabbit droppings are a bit smaller and drier than chicken droppings. They also don’t contain much nitrogen.
If you have any issues with flies on your property, rabbit manure will most likely help reduce them since they lay fewer eggs in their dung patties.
Both rabbits and chickens poop everywhere, and it might be a challenge cleaning their hatches and coops. At the same time, the manure helps make compost for your kitchen garden.
You must be careful with how you dispose of the manure of each animal. Rabbit manure can cause diseases in chickens.
Keeping chickens together with rabbits doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be sharing the same meals.
Chickens feed on seeds and plants, while rabbits feed on veggies.
Make sure to choose the right foods for both species. Here’s a short guide.
Feed your chickens:
- Green vegetables like carrots or lettuce
- Grains like barley, oats, or wheat
- Fruit scraps from apples and grapes
- Sunflower seeds
- Sprouted seeds
- Kitchen scraps like bread, corn, or beans
You should feed your rabbits:
- Fresh grasses and leaves of cabbage, lettuce, spinach, or clover
- Root vegetables such as carrots and beets
- Fruit pieces from apples to strawberries
Make sure the rabbits also have access to hay which will keep their teeth ground down.
Finally, ensure the two animals don’t get access to each other’s meals to avoid potential health problems.
The Vulnerability Factor
Mother hens tend to be more aggressive when protecting their chicks, and putting them together with bunnies can be a significant risk for the baby chickens and bunnies.
More often, chickens might try to peck the rabbits in the first days of staying together.
While these pecks might not harm adult rabbits, they can cause serious harm to bunnies that are just stabilizing.
You should, therefore, try as much as possible not to leave bunnies alone with adult hens.
Equally, you shouldn’t leave newly hatched chicks in the company of rabbits as they can stamp over them while running around.
Grown adult rabbits and chickens can fairly mingle without any problems. They will only need ample space to run around without stepping on each other’s toes.
If you notice that your chickens are trying to hurt or bother bunnies, it would be best to separate them again for some time.
The Amount of Care Needed
Rabbits need a lot of care, especially when they’re young. It will take some time before they start eating independently, so make sure to provide them with food and water.
Also, make sure their living area is clean, so the smell doesn’t irritate your chickens too much.
Rabbits’ personalities can be very different from one another. You should be extra careful when choosing a place for both of these pets to stay together.
Chickens also need closer care and attention, especially after your hens have hatched.
Keeping the two together can be overwhelming, considering the amount of upkeep required by each animal.
How to Keep Rabbits With Chicken in the Same Place Peacefully
Keeping rabbits with chickens in the same place already seems a daunting task.
However, there are ways you can achieve it without interfering with either pet’s comfort.
Introduce Them Slowly While Young
If you have a bunny and a chick, introducing them slowly is key to achieving peaceful coexistence between them when they grow up.
It’s recommendable to put the young rabbit in an area where they can be next to your chickens without physically or socially reaching them.
Doing this should help prepare the two for a healthy mingle in the future.
Build Rabbit Enclosure Separately
The best way of keeping rabbits and chickens together is by building two separate enclosures. These enclosures should be next to each other but not too close.
Rabbits can be very territorial, so you need separate areas for them to claim their turf and still allow the chickens some space as well.
Additionally, rabbits are social creatures that love nothing more than hopping around with their own families.
Denying them the chance to mingle with their families fully can affect their lives.
A healthy and happy rabbit should be allowed to live with its family without any threat of predators or danger from other rabbits.
Keep Both Living Spaces Clean
The living spaces for both rabbits and chickens should be kept clean at all times.
You’ll need to keep up on this to ensure that they are free of parasites, ticks, fleas, or bugs that can spread harmful diseases between the two species.
Neuter Your Rabbits
It is highly recommended that you keep all your rabbit breeds spayed or neutered.
It will keep them healthy and keep the population down so that they are less likely to fight with the chickens and one another.
Avail Fresh Water and Food Every Day
Both species need to have plenty of fresh water and food available at all times.
Chickens love nothing more than digging in the dirt — make sure a large area of soil is available at all times to keep them happy.
Rabbits, on the other hand, are herbivores. You can keep some fresh vegetables like carrots or greens in their cages to supplement their diets and make sure they get enough nutrients every day.
Prepare Separate Sleeping Quarters
If you plan to house the animals in a small shared space, make sure they sleep in separate quarters.
This way, if there is any fighting or trouble between them at night, it will be contained within that area.
It also ensures your chickens can get some rest without having rabbits chewing on their feathers all night long!
Rabbits can continue chewing all night long, and chickens can be a nuisance when slightly disturbed.
Start With at Least Two of Each Animal
In the initial days when the animals are still getting to know each other, it can be challenging if they don’t see a familiar face from their species.
Having at least two animals of each species can help beat loneliness and speed the process of socializing and bonding.
Only Proceed With the Whole Process if They’re All Happy
Forcing your animals to stay together against their wishes can make them aggressive, and they may end up destroying property and fighting each other.
If they’re fighting a lot or one animal is persistently trying to escape from their cage, it’s best to stop what you are doing and rethink your strategies.
Only continue when every animal seems content living together.
Monitor Their Progress Closely
Animals who are forced into living together may need more than a few days to adjust.
If you’re not sure how they feel, check on them often and try to spend time with each animal separately before reintroducing them back together again.
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