Chickens can coexist peacefully with turkeys, duck, and guinea fowl, but you may want to know if they can share a habitat with other animals – such as rabbits. If you own chickens and rabbits and are looking to introduce them to one another – you are going to want to be sure in advance that this is a good idea. I’d like to help answer the main questions you may have regarding this arrangement with all the information you need.
So, can rabbits live with chickens? Yes, rabbits can live with chickens. They generally get along well together, especially if they are introduced to one another at a young age. For the most part, rabbits and chickens can peacefully coexist as long as some thought is put into the logistics of raising them together. However, it is a possibility that they may not get on despite your best efforts. It is also recommended that you do not place a young rabbit in with adult chickens, as your flock will likely peck at your bunny.
Believe it or not, chickens and rabbits share some similar attributes, which makes cohabitation not only easier, but more natural too.
Poultry birds like chickens are very social, this is evident in the communal way they live. These birds love to roost among themselves, huddling and remaining close to one another.
Huddling comes with many advantages – it helps them to stay warm, it’s good for their mental well-being, all in all, it is good for their health.
But how do they respond to the introduction of a new visitor in the form of a rabbit or group of rabbits. Let take a closer look, covering those questions that you will likely have on the subject.
Do Rabbits And Chickens Get Along Together?
Chickens and rabbits, while they do not appear to be the type to get along, can actually do so in relative harmony.
If you introduce rabbits and chickens to one another from an early age, you have a considerably higher chance of a successful and peaceful introduction.
It is important to consider that both chickens and rabbits need sufficient room and space; so you will need to take this into consideration when constructing or purchasing you chicken coop and run area.
Equally, they will require their own space, separate from one another where they can go separately. If you can enable this, friction between the two should be non-existent.
However, there is of the course the possibility that they may not get along, despite your best efforts.
Perhaps the biggest sign of hostility is if your hens start pecking at your rabbit.
Either can become stressed, and if anxious will likely resort to lashing out as a form of desl defense.
If you observe stress in either your chickens or your rabbits, or any signs of unsettled behavior, you must separate them.
It’s best that both animals are content and comfortable in their environment – if they’re not, don’t force them to live together.
Can Rabbits And Chickens Be Housed Together?
As mentioned above, while you can raise rabbits and chickens together, it will take some work to make this arrangement succeed. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as simply putting your rabbit and hens together and leaving them to be!
You cannot expect rabbits and chickens to be friends right away; it takes time for them to get used to one another and their own unique behaviors, traits and characteristics.
Ideally, you will want introduce your rabbits and chickens together when they are young. Preferably, when both are young (rabbits and chickens).
For the most part, you are advised not to introduce a baby rabbit to adult chickens. In this situation, chickens are very likely peck at your bunny as they do not respond well to fast movements. In time, they will soon learn to tolerate such movement patterns.
Let’s look at some of the most effective, practical ways to introduce your rabbits to your chickens and house them together. This will ensure the safety and well-being of both rabbit and chicken alike.
#1- Keep The Rabbit Separate
Begin by keeping your rabbit in a separate area of the run, while your chickens move around outside.
Then, look to replicate the same setup the other way around; with your rabbit(s) being able to roam while your chickens are sectioned away.
This will allow your rabbits and chickens to become familiar with each other while being safely distanced and separated apart.
#2 – Make Sure Everyone Has Enough Room
Both rabbits and chickens need enough space in their habitat to move freely without getting in each other’s way.
If there isn’t enough room, both animals will become stressed, and it will eventually affect their physical health, not to mention it will cause friction between the two.
#3 – Clean Their Habitat Regularly
Rabbits are clean animals, so you must keep their living area spick and span for them to be happy.
Keeping the hutch sanitary is more for the sake of the rabbits than chickens, as chickens don’t mind filth; ultimately, a clean living area is good for both animals.
Bear in mind that rabbits can pick up salmonella from chicken poop, and pasteurellosis can be picked up by chickens from rabbit poop, yes, they eat each other’s poop, so, cleanliness is critical.
#3 – Give Each Their Own Space
While it’s nice for both rabbits and chickens to share a run area, both animals are sensitive and require a place of their own to retreat to, eat, sleep, and refresh themselves, separate from one another.
#4 – Neuter Your Rabbit
The importance of neutering animals cannot be overstated; male rabbits tend to mount anything they see and may try to mount your innocent chickens if not neutered.
Getting your rabbit fixed, ensures the safety of both animals.
#5 Monitor And Never Force It
If you notice that, even after some time, your rabbit(s) and chickens are not getting along, you should look to house them seperately.
You should never force them to live with one another, especially if you are seeing signs that they are not peacefully coexisting.
Things to watch out for are chickens pecking at your rabbit, visible signs of stress in your rabbit/chickens or any acts of aggression.
Do Rabbits Kill Chickens?
According to some backyard pet owners, rabbits can kill chickens.
It’s not unheard of among this crowd to hear about aggressive rabbits charging at chickens, going for their fragile necks, causing injury and even death.
Rabbits can kill chickens if they’re big enough and territorial.
Sometimes rabbits can feel that the chickens are invading their territory; it is worth mentioning that rabbits have strong hind legs and can give hard kicks.
However with all of this being said, these instances are not commonplace and are the exception rather than the norm.
For the majority, there is the belief that it is highly improbable for a rabbit to kill chickens.
Rabbits are generally fairly docile and the majority of them are not out to do harm; reaming calm at most times.
However, it can, and it does happen, that rabbits kill chickens and other small animals. Much depends on the size, breed, and personality of the rabbit in question.
With this in mind, it’s worth planning how you would house rabbits and chickens together before going ahead.
Consider the temperament of your birds and your rabbit; are they territorial, aggressive or large? Consider their size in relation to whom you are looking to introduce them to.
From there, your chickens and rabbits should get used to each other gradually, especially in the beginning.
Rabbits and chickens should ideally be young before introducing them together.
On a more positive note, most backyard pet keepers have great success raising the two animals together, without incident.
However, it’s worth taking the necessary precautions to keep both animals safe and well.
Rabbits can live comfortably with chickens.
Much of this depends on the planning and work their owner is willing to put in before housing them together.
It may seem that they are too different to be able to get along, but that is mostly not the case.
Rabbits don’t lay eggs, and chickens don’t hop, but they share some very similar traits.
Raising rabbits and chickens together can be fun and rewarding, but you need to be patient, observant and considerate of their well-being.
To recap, you can’t expect these two animals to get along right away, allowing both animals to get familiar with each other while keeping one of them in a sectioned area first, is the safest way to approach this dilemma.
If you are contemplating raising rabbits and chickens together, hopefully, you can put in place the considerations outlined above and experience the success many backyard pet owners experience by housing them together.
Chicken poop will only be toxic to rabbits if it carries harmful bacteria/disease and your rabbits ingest it. Rabbits will attempt to eat chicken poop – so you need to be careful and prevent this from happening. You should ensure your coop/run is regularly cleaned out to prevent and minimize the chances of this occurring.
A pet rabbit may attempt to eat chickens’ eggs if presented with the chance to do so. Even though this goes against their natural feeding behaviors and requirements, domestic rabbits do not have the instincts of their wild counterparts. Either way, rabbits are strict herbivores and should not be eating chicken eggs. They can get sick from consuming eggs, either raw or cooked, as their digestive system is not equipped to cope and digest them.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.