Both rabbits and chickens are fun backyard pets. But, can rabbits live with chickens and vice versa when sharing the same space?
There are some obvious risks to be aware of, namely fighting and diseases.
But when properly introduced and taking the time to ensure they have clean and spacious living arrangements, they can be the perfect roommates.
Here are some steps to follow if you’re introducing these two popular outdoor pets to ensure they live in harmony together:
5 Steps to Help Rabbits and Chickens Live in Harmony
Take the Time to Manage Their Introduction
It can be two cats, a dog…. or rabbits and chickens. If you want animals to get along, especially two different species of animal, you need to introduce them carefully.
The younger you can introduce animals, the better. Young animals are much more adaptable and less likely to be aggressive.
Either way, it’s always a good idea to introduce them with a fence/mesh in between. Let them both get used to the smells, how each other moves, and the fact that there is no danger present at first.
Over time allow them to share the same space and get to know each other for longer periods while you’re there.
They will almost certainly have a peck at each other here and there, it’s normal to test the boundaries. As long as it’s not able to escalate, which is why you’re there, it’ll be fine.
Provide Plenty of Space
The rule of thumb here is that the more space both your chickens and rabbits have, the better.
Cramped conditions will cause stress and someone is almost certainly going to lash out. They need both plenty of space to roam around, they also need some of their own space to retreat to when they want to be alone.
It is possible for rabbits and chickens to share a coop, but ideally, you should give them their own separate living areas.
This is because you can’t watch them at all times when they’re locked in under the same roof. Plus, they’re less likely to eat each other’s poop which reduces the risk of diseases transferring if they’re living separately.
Stay on Top of Cleanliness
It’s very, very important that you stay on top of keeping the areas both animals will share very clean.
There are some diseases that can be transferred to and from each animal, but the risks are very low when you keep their shared areas clean.
Salmonella is the main concern. Rabbits can pick this up from chicken poop, likewise, pasteurellosis can be transferred fro rabbits to chickens.
Both of which can be transferred through feces. As much as we love our chicks and rabbits and see them as domesticated pets, we have to be real here – they will eat each other’s poop. Ewww!
Related content – How often do chickens poop? (Probaly more often than you think!)
Neuter Male Rabbits
A lot of animals and this applies to rabbits, in particular, find it hard to control thier urges unless they are neutered.
Having a male rabbit full of hormones in amongst a flock of hens is a recipe for disaster. Getting him neutered will curb these urges and make for a more harmonious environment.
That’s the most polite way I can phrase that I think!
Any Sign of Issues – Separate Them
As much as having your chickens and rabbits sharing the same space amicably would make your life easier, if it doesn’t look like it’s working out you’ll have to abandon the plan.
It’s not a huge issue. You just need a separate hutch and run for your rabbits and a coop with a run for your chickens.
I’ve spoken with a bunch of backyard pet owners that have had both of these animals living together. They told me about the odd issue, but it worked out for all of them.
So, it’s fair to be hopeful that you can create a happy environment for both your chooks and bunnies.
In Summary – Can Rabbits Live With Chickens?
If you put in the time, have space, patience, and want it to work – it’s very likely you’ll have your rabbits and chickens living together happily.
Both species are very different in their own ways, but they do both share a lot of the same needs.
Plus, there are few cuter sights than seeing a rabbit and a chicken hanging out together!
Can Rabbits Get Coccidiosis From Chickens?
Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease that affects the intestinal tract of chickens, rabbits, and some other animals.
According to the MSD Manual, coccidiosis is species-specific. Meaning it cannot be transferred across different species of animals.
So, there is little to no risk of a rabbit contracting coccidiosis from chickens and vice versa.
Do Rabbits and Chickens Get Along?
Rabbits and chickens can get along, absolutely.
Integrating them is a process that often needs to be managed at first, as described in the steps above.
But lots of owners keep both chickens and rabbits together in their yard, or even in the same coop and living arrangement without any issues.
Can Rabbits Kill Chickens?
Rabbits are capable of killing a chicken, yes.
Rabbits have very sharp claws and also kick when they are fighting with other animals. They won’t prey on a chicken but may lash out to defend their territory or if they feel threatened for some reason.
The risk is very low if you’ve integrated them properly, however.
Can You Keep a Rabbit in a Chicken Coop?
You can keep rabbits and chickens together in the same coop, yes.
You can only do this once you know they are getting along and if they have enough space though.
Both your rabbit and your chickens need their own space within the coop. Particularly an area that is clean and provides the type of bedding and nesting materials they prefer.
Can Rabbits and Chickens Share a Run?
Yes, rabbits and chickens can share a run. As long as you know they’re fine in each other’s company, it’s a great way to ensure they’re all safe from other predators or escaping.