Neutering your rabbit
Neutered rabbits are less aggressive and make better pets. It also makes litter training much easier.
Male rabbits (bucks) make wonderful pets. But some can start to spray urine marking their territory. Aggression can also be a problem in some bucks. If un-neutered a buck rabbit will have to live it's life alone and in an ideal world all rabbits prefer company!! Neutered males are much happier and more relaxed. They can enjoy their life instead of constantly searching for a mate. Castration is a relatively minor operation which can be performed as soon as the testicles descend (around 10-12 weeks old) although most vets will advise waiting until 5-6 months old. This makes the operation easier and slightly reduces the anaesthetic risk.
Female rabbits also make excellent pets. Some females can become aggressive when they reach sexual maturity at around 4-6 months old. In which case Spaying is advised. If two does are kept together one will become the more dominant and "hump" the other, they may also pull fur. Female rabbits kept alone can exhibit these unwelcome behaviours in my experience to more of a degree than 2 rabbits kept together. This I believe is caused by boredom and loneliness. In my experience doe rabbits really don't like being kept alone. They can have repeated false pregnancies, and may growl, scratch and even bite!! Spaying reduces and often alleviatesthese common problems! Spayed females are likely to live longer than un-spayed females. Spaying is a more complicated operation than castration. It is usually undertaken when the rabbit is 5-6 months old.
Spaying and castrating rabbits is relatively safe compared with recent years. The risks of anaesthesia has fallen significantly. Surgery on a healthy rabbit is usually deemed almost as safe as in cats. However low risk does not mean NO RISK. There is always a small risk with any anaesthesia. After all any surgery can have complications!! These are all points to discuss with your vet!!
It is very important to chose the right veterinary surgeon to neuter your rabbit. Don't be afraid to ask questions!! Find out if your vet has neutered rabbits in the past, both boys and girls. Find out if they are confident doing so. If they are not choose another vet! Rabbits can need special care on the day of the operation, such as heated pads, fluid therapy, pain killers etc. Neutering costs between £30 - £60 for males and £50 - £80 for females. Most vets will ask you to bring in a supply of your rabbits usual food when you drop them off on the morning of the operation. Rabbits are one of the few animals that are not required to starve for any surgical procedure. This is because the rabbit cannot vomit, and has a complicated digestive system (similar to a horse). It requires the rabbit to eat for long periods to keep it functioning perfectly!! After the operation a few repeat visits to the vet are needed to check everything is OK. Cage rest and Pain Killers are also recommended. Your vet may also give your rabbit something to stimulate the rabbits gut to get them eating. It is very important that rabbits eat. Having their favourite hay or greens usually works for me. Grass and weeds are also very good for appetite stimulation.
If you have 2 rabbits, I advise neutering at the same time. It just makes life easier. If you are keeping brothers together I advise castration as soon as the vet will do it. This stops hormones becoming a problem. If un-castated brothers can start to fight. Same sex pairs must never be separated. If they are they may forget each other in which case they will not share the same hutch again.