Can chickens and rabbits peacefully coexist in a shared living space? Or will mayhem ensue? Find out the truth in this tell-all guide! We’ll cover all the nitty gritty details – the pros and cons, the best breed combos, techniques to avoid chaos. Will rabbits and chickens become new best friends under your care? Or will it end in a flurry of fur and feathers? Get the real scoop from experienced backyard farmers who’ve tried this perilous pairing. You’ll learn expert tips to increase harmony, watch for signs of trouble, and enhance health. Whether you’re curious or determined to build the perfect chicken-bunny oasis, discover the definitive answers here! This hotly contested issue may not be as clear cut as you think. Let’s delve in and uncover the reality of the great chicken and rabbit cohabitation controversy.

Is Keeping Chickens and Rabbits Together a Good Idea?

Many backyard chicken and rabbit keepers wonder if they can house their rabbits and chickens together. While it is possible to keep chickens and rabbits together, there are some important considerations to weigh before deciding to create a joint chicken and rabbit hutch.

Some key factors to think about are disease transmission between the species, aggression and injurious behaviors, differences in habitat needs, and competition for resources like food, water and space. Chickens and rabbits have different natures and requirements, so housing them together takes careful management and vigilance.

Overall, the risks tend to outweigh the benefits of a shared housing situation for chickens and rabbits. It's generally better to house chickens and rabbits separately for their health and wellbeing. But with proper precautions in place, some rabbit and chicken keepers have success in allowing limited interaction and shared outdoor time between the species while housed in neighboring enclosures.

What Are The Advantages of Chickens and Rabbits Living Together?

There are a few potential advantages to housing chickens and rabbits together:

  • Saves space and construction materials compared to building two separate enclosures.

  • Allows interaction between the species which some owners enjoy observing.

  • May allow chickens access to rabbit food/hay and rabbits access to chicken feed which provides some dietary variety.

  • Shared body heat during cold weather.

  • Rabbits and chickens can provide entertainment and companionship for each other.

  • Chickens eating fly larvae in rabbit hutches helps control flies.

  • Chicken manure adds nitrogen to rabbit droppings which can be composted.

However, most of these benefits can also be achieved through neighboring but separate enclosures and supervised interaction sessions. Ultimately, the risks involved usually outweigh the advantages of a fully shared housing space.

What Are The Disadvantages of Chickens and Rabbits Living Together?

There are some distinct disadvantages and risks to housing rabbits and chickens together:

  • Chickens often peck at, bully, and injure more docile rabbits sharing space.

  • Chickens steal rabbit food which leaves the rabbit malnourished.

  • Rabbits steal chicken feed upsetting nutritional balance.

  • Different habitat needs – chickens roost up high, rabbits need non-slip flooring.

  • Chickens scratch through and ruin rabbit burrows.

  • High risk of parasitic disease transmission like coccidiosis.

  • Increased risk of illness like pasteurellosis spreading between the species.

  • Chickens carry and shed salmonella more readily than rabbits.

  • Chicken manure emits higher levels of ammonia than rabbit urine.

  • Eggs and nests may be soiled, damaged or eaten by rabbits sharing the coop.

Overall, due to aggression, injury potential, and increased risk of disease, it is unsuitable to house adult chickens and rabbits full-time in a shared coop or hutch. Backyard chicken and rabbit keepers are better off providing each species their own housing needs.

Size of a Rabbit and Chicken Coop Combo

If you plan to house rabbits and chickens part-time together, the coop should be significantly larger than minimum size requirements for just one species. This allows each animal adequate space to avoid confrontation.

For 2-3 rabbits and 2-3 chickens, the combo coop should have a minimum floor area of at least 8-10 square feet per animal. The coop should also have multiple floors, ramps, perches, hiding spaces, and feed/water stations to avoid competition.

Make sure to place rabbit hutches up high so chickens cannot access them easily. The chickens need minimum perch space of 8-10 inches per bird. Nest boxes for chickens should also be elevated or placed in an area rabbits cannot access.

Even with a spacious custom combo coop, issues like disease transmission, bullying, and stress may still occur. Completely separate housing is ideal for both animal's health.

What is a Rabbit and Chicken Coop Combo Made from?

A combination rabbit and chicken coop needs to provide for both species' needs:

  • Wood frame construction is typical sometimes with chicken wire or hardware cloth. Avoid flimsy all-wire hutches.

  • Roof should be sloped tin, tar paper or shingles to prevent leakage.

  • Use wood, straw or wire flooring for chickens. Rabbits need wood or wire flooring. No slick surfaces.

  • Fencing or solid walls so chickens and rabbits have privacy from each other when needed.

  • Windows protected by wire mesh for ventilation.

  • Insulation, heat lamps, or cool tiles for temperature regulation.

  • Litter boxes, dust baths, perches, hideaways to meet needs of both animals.

  • Automatic watering system or water crocks to avoid competition.

Even with all these accommodations, a joint hutch often compromises optimal housing conditions for both species. Separate enclosures side-by-side work better.

Ideal Ratio of Rabbits And Chickens Living Together

If you plan to try housing a small number of rabbits and chickens together, here are some ideal ratios to aim for:

  • No more than 5 chickens and 2 rabbits in the shared space.

  • 3-4 chickens and 1 rabbit maximum for the best chance of compatibility.

  • Never house a single chicken with a single rabbit. Single birds tend to be aggressive to perceived competition.

  • Do not mix full sized bucks with chickens as they have aggressive tendencies.

  • Stick to docile breeds of chickens like Silkies. Avoid hyperactive breeds.

  • No roosters in a shared flock – focus on hens only.

  • Dwarf rabbit breeds generally tolerate chickens better than large rabbit breeds.

Even with an appropriate rabbit to chicken ratio, supervision is needed and altercations may arise requiring separation at times. Completely separate housing with shared outdoor time is often easier and safer.

How to Introduce Rabbits and Chickens

If you plan to attempt housing rabbits and chickens together, here are some tips on introductions:

  • Start with younger animals under 4 months old. Babies acquainted young adapt better.

  • Let them meet in a neutral area first like a fenced yard versus the coop.

  • Watch their interactions closely the first few weeks.

  • Allow only supervised interaction until they establish a pecking order.

  • Make sure each animal has a hiding spot or perch to escape confrontation.

  • Provide extra feeders and waters so they don't have to compete for resources.

  • Feed them on opposite ends of the enclosure to avoid food jealousy.

  • Try adding a few docile guinea fowl which may buffer aggression from chickens toward rabbits.

  • Be prepared to separate bullying animals if needed to prevent injury.

With proper precautions, some backyard farmers report success keeping a small mixed flock of chickens and rabbits. But difficulties can arise down the road, so persistent supervision is required.

Are My Rabbits and Chickens Getting Along?

If housing rabbits and chickens together, here are signs your combination flock is incompatible and needs separation:

  • Chickens relentlessly chasing or pecking rabbits.

  • Rabbits seem afraid and hiding excessively.

  • Areas of lost fur, wounds or scabs on the rabbits.

  • Rabbits lunging or nipping at chickens.

  • Chickens not giving rabbits space to move around enclosure.

  • Animals fighting over food, water or nest box access.

  • Decrease in rabbit appetites, weight loss or poor growth.

  • Eggs trampled or eaten by rabbits.

  • Chickens disturbing rabbit nests.

  • Roosters attempting to mate with rabbits.

If any aggressive behaviors, injuries or signs of stress occur, house the rabbits and chickens separately for their well-being. Some animals will never get along sharing an enclosure.

Do Rabbits and Chickens Share Diseases?

Yes, certain contagious diseases can spread between rabbits and chickens living in close contact:

  • Coccidiosis – An intestinal parasite infection transmitted via feces.

  • Pasteurella – A bacterial respiratory infection chickens often carry.

  • Salmonella – A common foodborne infection chickens harbor more readily.

  • Fleas, mites and lice – Ectoparasites that can infest both hosts.

  • Myxomatosis – Rabbits can transmit this fatal viral disease to chickens.

  • Cold and flu viruses may also spread between the species to some degree.

To prevent transmission, isolate any new birds or rabbits for a quarantine period before introducing them to a shared flock. Always separate animals displaying signs of sickness right away. Proper sanitation is also key. Ultimately, separate housing is the best disease prevention.

Can Rabbits Give Chickens Diseases?

Rabbits can transmit certain diseases to chickens in shared living spaces:

  • Rabbit hemorrhagic disease – A quick acting and often fatal viral infection in chickens.

  • Tularemia – Also called rabbit fever, this bacterial disease spreads via ticks.

  • Ringworm fungus – Causes skin lesions and feather loss.

  • Intestinal worms like pinworms, roundworms and tapeworms.

  • Snuffles – A rabbit upper respiratory infection that is contagious.

  • Rabbit syphilis – Caused by the bacterium Treponema which affects chickens.

To avoid transmission, buy disease-free birds and rabbits from reputable sources only. Quarantine new arrivals. If a chicken or rabbit appears ill, isolate immediately. Ultimately separate enclosures are the best prevention method.


While it's possible for some backyard chicken and rabbit keepers to house their flocks together, there are significant challenges and risks involved. Different habitat needs, aggressive behaviors, and contagious diseases make a shared housing situation extremely difficult to manage. For their health and wellbeing, it's generally best to provide chickens and rabbits with their own separate, specialized housing environments. Some brief supervised interaction sessions are an easier way to allow chickens and rabbits contact without jeopardizing their care needs. However, any co-housing situation requires persistent vigilance.


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