There are many social and health benefits to be gained from getting your bunny neutered/spayed; a few of which we will discuss in the following few paragraphs.
What is Neutering?
Neutering an animal is a surgical procedure to remove the animals’ reproductive organs which prevents any reproduction, and helps level hormones. Neutering is when the bucks’ testicles are removed; the testicles are the bucks main source of testosterone production so removing them significantly reduces the levels of the hormone in the buck’s body thus impacting positively on hormonal/territorial behaviours. These behaviours include spraying, territorial pooping, aggression etc; whilst neutering isn’t guaranteed to stop these behaviours- it has proven to reduce them. For does, their neutering procedure, known as spaying, and is the removal of the ovaries and uterus – meaning that she can no longer reproduce.
When should my rabbit be neutered?
On average, bunnies can get neutered at around 4-6 months old. Bucks can be neutered as soon as their testicles descend at around 10-12 weeks old, however, vets will likely encourage you to wait a little longer if possible. Most vets support the widespread standard of a 1kg weight minimum for a neutering procedure; this isn’t always practical in every case though due to breeds/runts etc, but below this weight can increase the risks of anaesthesia. Males can remain fertile for up to 6 weeks post-op as some sperm can be retained in the genital tract. We recommend bucks that leave us to be neutered at around 4 months old and does 5-6 months as a spay procedure is more invasive.
Should I let my bunny have babies?
If your reason to breed is: “to simply have cute babies”, “it would be nice for the doe to be a mom”, “to improve the does health”, or even “to get a bit of money”- then we strongly recommend you do NOT breed! The only breeding that we support is knowledgable hobby breeders of purebred bunnies like ourselves who put the bunnies welfare above everything and only breed from healthy, friendly buns to improve the breed.
What are the health benefits?
- Less Cancer Risks! it is a known fact that does are at a very high risk of uterine (womb) cancer if left unspayed so spaying is always advised. Statistics show that up to 85% of females develop reproductive cancer (ovarian, breast, uterine) by the age of around 5 years if they are not spayed.
- More Friendly! Generally once neutered bunnies are less temperamental which generally makes them easier to handle, more loving and friendly.
- No Babies! Neutering removes the risk of unwanted pregnancies. This is very important as bunny breeding isn’t straight forward. Unlike humans, they do not experience the same emotional benefit having babies; when spayed they do not pine for babies. Rabbits can produce multiple litters per year, each pregnancy lasting a month. Both pregnancy and birth carry certain risks to the mother and kits.
- Less Territorial! This means one thing: Litter training! Neutered rabbits are much less likely to exhibit these territorial behaviours such as pooping everywhere, spraying etc.
- Companionship! Bunnies need companionship, a human is not enough, imagine not having any friends to talk to. Please also note that Guinea pigs (or dogs) are not suitable companions due to may reasons such as bordertella. It is so important to neuter both/all bunnies before bonding if you can.
- Bonding! I would recommend a male-female pairings if you have an existing bunny and looking of a friend. However, both female/female and male/male work just as well, but as soon as their hormones kick in it is highly advisable to get them neutered ASAP as they can start to fight, and in some cases be fatal. Male/female pairs will need separating as early as 12 weeks old until they are old enough to be neutered. Once healed they would need to go through the bonding process again, as with any other type of pair.
- No false pregnancies! It is common for unneutered female rabbits to develop false pregnancies, this can cause very hormonal behaviour such as aggression towards their owners or other rabbits, nest building, digging, fur pulling etc. which can be distressing for the bunny.