Can You Keep Rabbits And Birds Together?

Can rabbits and birds safely share living space? It’s a controversial question hotly debated among pet owners. On one hand, the idea of multiple species coexisting sounds idyllic. But significant issues can arise when housing prey animal rabbits with territorial, flapping birds. Read on as we dive into this complex issue, exploring if a peaceful cohabitation is possible or just an accident waiting to happen. You’ll learn key health risks, which aggressive bird types often attack rabbits, surprising ways rabbits may injure birds, and smart tips for potentially introducing specific calm birds and rabbits. Get the fascinating facts to make the right housing decision for your pets’ wellbeing. This in-depth article settles the debate once and for all.

Can Birds And Rabbits Live Together?

It is not recommended to house birds and rabbits together for several reasons. Rabbits and birds have very different needs in terms of housing, diet, and care. Rabbits are prey animals and can easily become stressed or frightened by the presence of birds. Birds may also bully, peck at, or potentially injure a rabbit if housed together.

While some claim rabbits and birds can coexist peacefully, this is often not the case long term. Even if they seem to get along at first, issues can still arise leading to stress or injury for the rabbit. It's best to house rabbits and birds separately for their own health and wellbeing.

Some key differences that make rabbits and birds incompatible include:

Housing Needs – Rabbits require large enclosures with space to move around. Birds need tall cages. Trying to create a hybrid enclosure suitable for both will not meet either species needs. Rabbits can chew through bird cages.

Diet – Rabbits are herbivores, eating hay, greens, vegetables and pellets. Birds have specialized seed/pellet diets and need supplements like cuttlebone. Housing them together makes regulating diet difficult.

Droppings – Rabbits produce a lot of droppings. Birds will fling seed hulls and feces. These can spread germs between the species.

Behavior – Rabbits are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk. Birds are diurnal. Different wake/sleep cycles causes stress.

Body Language – Birds use wings and beaks to communicate. Rabbits rely on subtle body language cues. They may misunderstand each other's signals.

Stress – Rabbits are easily frightened by loud noises, flapping, diving or chasing birds. The stress and fear can cause health issues.

Some have success housing bonded rabbits with docile bird species like finches. But any co-housing situation can change suddenly. It's better for the animals to house rabbits and birds separately where their needs are fully met. If desired, supervised playtime together a few times per week is a safer option.

Overall, housing rabbits and birds together has significant risks and problems. While it may seem appealing, the different needs and natures of the two species makes long term cohabitation challenging at best. For the health and wellbeing of both animals, it's recommended to house rabbits and birds in separate enclosures suited to their individual needs.

Can Birds And Rabbits Live In The Same Enclosure?

Housing birds and rabbits in the same enclosure is generally not recommended. There are several reasons why it creates challenges:

Different Housing Needs

Rabbits need plenty of floor space to run and play. Birds need vertical space and perches. A hybrid enclosure typically won't meet the needs of either species properly.

Rabbit Droppings

Rabbit droppings can become embedded in birds' feathers. Ingesting rabbits droppings also poses risks of contagious diseases.

Chewing Risk

Rabbits may chew on bird cages or perches, causing damage and risks of injury or escape.

Stress Factors

Flapping wings, loud vocalizations, and diving birds easily stress ground-dwelling rabbits.


Some birds may chase, peck or attack rabbits they see as invaders of their territory.

Different Diets

Accommodating the varied diet needs of herbivore rabbits and omnivorous birds can be challenging.


Bird seed hulls and feces mixed with rabbit droppings create a greater mess.

Supervision Difficulties

Keeping a close eye on both species to monitor interactions is harder in a combined enclosure.

That said, there are some cases where birds and rabbits have coexisted together, especially smaller, quieter bird species. Caution and close supervision is required if trying a shared enclosure. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Choose calm bird species, like finches, canaries or doves. Avoid loud, aggressive or highly active birds.

  • Ensure the enclosure is large enough for birds to have vertical space, and rabbits to have horizontal space to run.

  • Use easy to clean, non-porous surfaces to minimize disease risks.

  • Give birds elevated perches so they have safe spots away from the rabbits.

  • Include visual barriers so rabbits have hiding spots if frightened by birds.

  • House only spayed/neutered rabbits to minimize territorial behaviors.

  • Clean the enclosure daily to prevent built up droppings or food mess.

  • Monitor closely several times a day for stress signals or aggression.

  • Have separate backup housing available in case birds or rabbits need to be separated.

With diligent supervision and preparations, some households report success safely housing certain birds and rabbits together. But difficulties can arise down the road, so be prepared to separate them if health or behavior issues emerge. Ultimately birds and rabbits have such different needs it's best not to attempt to house them in one enclosure long term.

Can Rabbits Get Sick from Birds?

Yes, there are some health risks to rabbits if housed near birds or exposed to areas where birds have been. The main health concerns include:


Also known as parrot fever, this bacterial disease can spread from birds to rabbits. Symptoms are respiratory issues, lethargy, fever and potentially sudden death. Parrots, cockatiels, and chickens are common carriers, but all birds can transmit it in droppings or respiratory secretions.


Birds can be infected with external parasites like mites or lice, or internal ones like roundworms, tapeworms and coccidia. These parasites can jump to rabbits and infect them if housed together.

Bacterial diseases

E. coli, salmonella and chlamydia psittaci are several potentially fatal bacteria that birds can transmit to rabbits through droppings.


This fungal infection of birds can cause respiratory issues if rabbits inhale spores from contaminated waste or feathers.


Birds may peck or attack rabbits, causing wounds vulnerable to infection. Wounds from clipped claws are also a concern.

To prevent sickness, never house untested new birds immediately with existing rabbits. Quarantine new birds for 30-45 days and have a vet perform testing for bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral diseases transmissible to rabbits. Annual exams for established bird-rabbit households help detect issues early.

Practice good hygiene like washing hands before/after handling each species, and no sharing of food bowls or living space. Disinfect any shared equipment with diluted bleach. Keep bonded rabbits paired if one gets sick to avoid depression. With proper precautions, the health risks birds pose to rabbits can be minimized. But housing them separately remains the safest option.

Are Rabbits Scared of Birds?

Many rabbits are innately wary and frightened by the presence and behaviors of birds due to their prey animal instincts. There are several reasons rabbits may perceive birds as scary or alarming:

  • Noisy vocalizations – Chirping, squawking and mimicking birds can startle sensitive-eared rabbits.

  • Fast, flapping movements – Most rabbits fear things swooping overhead, an instinct to avoid aerial predators.

  • Chasing/diving behaviors – Some birds harass or chase intruders in their territory, terrifying to a fleeing rabbit.

  • Nipping – Finches may nip fur or ears out of curiosity. Parrots can bite hard enough to cause injury.

  • Differing sleep cycles – Diurnal birds active in daytime disrupt the crepuscular rabbit's rest.

  • Unfamiliar appearance – Rabbits have not evolved to understand birds well. The beak, wings and hovering can seem alien and scary.

  • Smell – Birds have a strong scent unfamiliar to most rabbits. Some rabbits may be frightened by an unknown smell.

  • Sudden movements – When birds flap wings, pounce or fly unexpectedly, it can alarm rabbits.

  • Association with predators – Some rabbits may relate above-enclosure birds with aerial predators like hawks and falcon who hunt rabbits.

However, some birds like finches, canaries or doves tend to be less intimidating. With slow introductions and over time, certain gentle birds may not invoke quite as much fear. But ultimately rabbits have an inborn tendency to perceive most birds as potential dangers, big and small. Patience and proper precautions are required if attempting to integrate calm birds with trusted rabbits.

What Birds Will Attack Rabbits?

Not all birds are safe to house with rabbits, even supervised. Larger, more aggressive bird species are more likely to intentionally attack or cause injury to rabbits. Birds with a prey drive, territorial nature or surfacing hormonal/mating behaviors often pose the greatest risks.

Some types of birds prone to attack or seriously injure rabbits include:

  • Raptors – Birds of prey such as hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons view rabbits as food and should never be housed together.

  • Game fowl – Pheasants, peafowl and guinea fowl often have an ingrained prey drive and may attack rabbits sharing their space.

  • Geese/Swans – Large waterfowl are extremely territorial of their space and may bite or bludgeon rabbits with their wings.

  • Parrots – Large parrots tend to be noisy and high-strung, and may bites rabbits out of perceived aggression or curiosity.

  • Cockatoos – These parrots are very loud, energetic, chomp to explore, and can do significant damage if they bite a rabbit.

  • Chickens – Some dominant hens may become aggressive towards rabbits, especially in shared nesting areas. Roosters pose even greater risks.

  • Pigeons – Males may defend territory aggressively. All pigeons are capable of hard pecking that can injure rabbit eyes, faces, and ears.

  • Turkeys – Large, noisy, curious turkeys tend to frighten rabbits but toms may also attack rabbits if they perceive them as threats during mating season.

  • Ducks – Some male ducks become very aggressive in springtime breeding behaviors and will bite or pounce on rabbits.

Proper precautions like supervision, separate enclosures, and controlled interactions can allow certain gentle bird species to coexist with rabbits. But all birds pose some level of risk, especially around mating season when hormones run high. Larger, territorial, predatory birds should never be left loose with rabbits.

Can Rabbits Kill Birds?

While less likely than a bird causing serious injury to a rabbit, it is possible for a rabbit to injure or potentially kill a bird under certain circumstances:

  • Biting – If a bird lands within reach, a rabbit may bite them out of fright or territorial response. Their bites can damage flesh and break thin bones.

  • Kicking – Rabbits use powerful back legs to kick in defense. Kicks can strike and injure birds landing or approaching near them.

  • Crushing – A large, heavy rabbit settling down could potentially crush a small bird beneath them, though this is rare.

  • Stress – Constant fear from birds can cause some rabbits to die of shock or heart attacks.

  • Transmitted diseases – Rabbits can carry viruses like myxomatosis transmittable to birds through close contact.

  • Egg destruction – A curious or territorial rabbit may break and eat eggs of ground-nesting birds like chickens, quail or pheasant.

  • Predation – Wild rabbits may hunt young birds fallen from the nest or vulnerable adults. But domestic rabbits are vegetarian.

  • Accidents – Rabbits startled by landing birds could injure themselves by hitting walls or objects in panic.

However, such cases of rabbits inflicting harm are rare, especially with proper supervision. If birds are given safe, elevated perches and landing spots, it helps prevent deadly interactions. Housing birds and rabbits together is unwise, but during any potential contact, birds should be able to escape high up away from the reach of rabbits. This protects both species.

Can Rabbits And Budgies Live Together?

Budgies (parakeets) are popular household birds some think may do well housed with rabbits. However, there are considerations needed before attempting this pairing:

  • Budgie noise – Chirping, singing and mimicry can irritate sensitive rabbit ears.

  • Budgie nipping – They often nip at new things in their environment which could harm a rabbit.

  • Rabbit fright – Budgies' small fast movements and swooping can scare rabbits.

  • Disease risks – Budgies can carry and transmit contagious diseases harmful to rabbits.

  • Mess – Budgie seed hulls and feces will get in the rabbit's fur and environment.

  • Territory issues – Both species are highly territorial and may fight for dominance.

  • Different habitat needs – Each have specialized housing requirements unlikely to be met in a shared enclosure.

  • Supervision difficulties – It can be hard to constantly monitor both species' interactions when co-housed.

For their wellbeing, it is best to house budgies and rabbits separately. But some budgie-rabbit pairings can potentially work by following these guidelines:

  • Choose the most easygoing, docile individuals of each species.

  • House budgies in an elevated cage rabbits cannot access or destroy.

  • Allow plenty of floor and flight space for both species' needs.

  • Provide hiding places and visual barriers so rabbits can retreat if frightened.

  • Monitor interactions extremely closely when both are loose in the same area.

  • Immediately separate them at the first signs of stress, injury or aggression in either animal.

  • Introduce bonded rabbits in pairs, as they will feel more secure together.

  • Begin introductions very slowly, gradually building up time together.

  • Never leave the two species unsupervised or loose together unattended.

With constant vigilance and preparations for housing them separately if issues emerge, some households find success keeping certain budgies and rabbits together safely. But great caution is required and difficulties are likely at some point.

Can Rabbits And Parrots Live Together?

Parrots are intelligent, active birds that generally do not mix well with rabbits, but some exceptions exist with proper precautions:

  • Noise – Many parrots are very loud and have shrill calls that frighten rabbits.

  • Territory – Both rabbits and parrots are possessive of their space and may fight for dominance.

  • Mess – Parrots fling food, feathers and feces which can transfer diseases to rabbits.

  • Chewing risk – Rabbits may chew baseboards, wires, and cage bars where parrots are housed leading to injuries.

  • Aggression – Parrots often lunge, chase, and bite out of territorialness or boredom, posing dangers to rabbits.

  • Differing needs – Each species needs different diets, housing spaces, temperatures, sanitation, and care.

  • Supervision challenges – Parrots require significant daily attention and interaction that diverts focus from properly monitoring rabbits.

However, some specific parrot types like budgies, cockatiels, and small conures may potentially do well with rabbits by following these guidelines:

  • Select the most easygoing individual birds and rabbits with quiet, gentle temperaments.

  • Ensure parrot cage bars are rabbit-proof or place entirely out of reach.

  • Provide parrot perches high up for escapes and landing spots.

  • Introduce bonded rabbits in pairs for confidence and have hiding spots for them to retreat to.

  • Allow both plenty of their preferred environment – flying room for parrots, running room for rabbits.

  • Constantly supervise all interactions, especially initially, watching for any signs of stress or aggression.

  • Be prepared to separate them instantly if issues emerge, with backup housing ready.

  • Limit unsupervised loose time together – brief, controlled interactions are safest.

With preparation for housing them separately if needed, some specific parrots and rabbits can potentially coexist with careful supervision. But great caution is required, and difficulties frequently arise, making their long term cohabitation inadvisable.


While the idea of rabbits and birds living together may seem appealing, the two species have very different needs and natural behaviors making compatibility challenging in reality. Housing them together often results in stress for the rabbit and potential harm inflicted by the bird. For their health and wellbeing, it's best to house rabbits separately from birds in enclosures tailored specifically to their individual care requirements. With diligent supervision and preparations, some gentle bird species like finches, canaries or doves can potentially integrate with certain calm, bonded rabbits. But great caution is required and difficulties are likely to eventually arise. Overall, a peaceful coexistence between birds and rabbits living in


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