Neutering Rabbits: Surgical Birth Control

The phrase “multiply like rabbits” came about for a reason: Rabbits are incredibly fertile. The animals are sexually mature very early, are not tied to any season, and can produce several litters a year with up to ten babies. To prevent rabbit suffering, there is only one thing to do: the bumblebee has to be neutered.

Rabbits cubs are very precocious, they mate soon – and so on. In purely mathematical terms, a single pair of rabbits can produce over a hundred offspring in a year, not counting the generations of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In nature, this extreme fertility makes a lot of sense, as many rabbits fall prey to predators or perish as a result of other adverse circumstances. The high reproduction rate compensates for these failures. In the protected environment of pet ownership, reproductive behavior inevitably becomes a problem. Far too often, owners are overwhelmed with unexpected offspring and animal shelters groan under the burden of the donated animals. Therefore, castration makes sense.

When Should I Start Neutering My Rabbit?

Ideally, you should have pummelers neutered before they reach sexual maturity; one speaks of the so-called “early castration”. Dwarf rabbits reach sexual maturity at around twelve weeks, while larger breeds and giant rabbits take a little longer. The intervention, therefore, takes place between the eighth and twelfth week, regardless of race. Early castration causes the male rabbit to develop less gender-specific behavior due to the lack of sex hormone control. In addition, the quarantine period after the operation can be shortened considerably, as there is no risk of “surviving” sperm in a young animal. The disadvantage for the little neutered: He cannot do anything with the rutting signals of female animals, which, depending on the character, can lead to frustration in the rabbits. The castration of female rabbits, i.e. the removal of the ovaries and possibly the uterus, serves not only to prevent various diseases. However, female castration without any further medical indication – such as an increased risk of cancer – is relatively risky.

How Does Neutering Affect Behavior in Rabbits?

Male rabbits defend their territory with teeth and claws. Even with separate sexes, it is not possible to keep uncastrated bulls or a mixed group of neutered and potent males together. Even if the animals harmonize for a while, small triggers can suddenly lead to fights with injured or killed rabbits. The castration makes the males more balanced and tolerable. Even if you were to accept offspring, keeping a potent male and female together would not be recommended over the long term: The male’s sexual instinct leads to the female being excessively harassed, which either causes the rabbit to be stressed or she is aggressive on her part reacts to the male. The female does not necessarily lose out.

Quite apart from the birth control, the castration of the males ensures a much more relaxed coexistence in the rabbit group, regardless of whether you hold a “men’s club” or a mixed group. In practice, the socialization of females with neuters has proven to be particularly relaxed. The neutered male also has a much lower urge to mark his territory with scent markings, which is more pleasant especially in the home.

What Does Neutering the Rabbit Cost?

Having a dwarf rabbit neutered is not expensive. Castrating a male rabbit is routine for a veterinarian. Find out beforehand in the veterinary practice how exactly the procedure will be carried out and what the individual costs will be. Early castration is a little more complex, as an abdominal incision is required to access the testicles that have not yet been descended, but as mentioned has many advantages with low risk.

What do I have to consider before and after the operation?

  • Health status: Before the operation, it must be ensured that the rabbit is organically healthy and has a stable immune system. As a preventive measure, the vet should listen to the heart and lungs.
  • Diet: Unlike other animals, rabbits are not allowed to be sober before castration: if their food supply is interrupted, there is a risk of their metabolism collapsing. After the operation, you should offer the animal its favorite food and make sure that it is drinking enough fluids. If the rabbit does not eat again on its own about eight hours after the operation, you will have to feed it with pulp, in consultation with the veterinarian.
  • Anesthesia: The castration takes place under anesthesia. Waking up from anesthesia should also happen in the veterinary practice: in the rare event that complications such as circulatory collapse occur, fast, professionally competent help can be provided. To relieve the pain of the operation, the vet gives a long-lasting pain reliever.
  • Quarantine: In order for the wound to heal well, the rabbit is not allowed to go back to the other animals immediately after the castration. Important for adult animals: castration counteracts the formation of new sperm in sexually mature animals, but the piler is still able to reproduce for a while after the operation. When socializing with a female, the neuter should be quarantined for six weeks before coming back to the partner animal. If the new castrato lives with other pummelers who are incapable of childbearing, a fourteen-day quarantine is sufficient for the hormone level to level off.
  • Follow-up care: The surgical wound must remain clean for the next few days. It is advisable to refrain from litter in the quarantine enclosure for a few days and instead pad it with towels.
  • You can temporarily line the rodent toilet with kitchen paper. Make sure the animal is warm:
  • Outdoor rabbits should be taken into the house temporarily. So that the animal does not nibble on the wound, you can make temporary protective clothing out of an elastic material or put on a ruff.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *