DiVincenti, L. Jr., Rehrig, A. 2017. Social behavior of adult male New Zealand White rabbits housed in groups or pairs in the laboratory. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 20(1), 86-94.
Rabbits are usually singly housed in laboratories, but a new emphasis on providing social housing for social species has prompted exploration of alternative housing for this species. However, a paucity of literature on the social behavior of rabbits in captivity has prevented scientific-based recommendations for appropriate housing. This study involved a descriptive analysis of the social behavior of rabbit bucks in the laboratory in 3 different housing situations: in groups in pens, in pairs in cages, and singly in cages. Based on study observations and the natural history of wild rabbits, bucks engage in affiliative social behaviors, but current caging may not allow for the expression of species-typical behaviors, thereby resulting in continued aggression.