People have their preferred methods and their own experiences to raising rabbits and all these things affect how one raises their rabbits.
Rabbits need a rabbit partner or they will be lonely. These are the folks who say when getting a rabbit you have to get two.
The other camp says "keep rabbits by themselves or they will fight".
These are predominately breeders.
There are others who raise rabbits in colonies as well but we won't be talking about those folks today. Colony raisins has it's own particular issues and I don't want to get into those issues in this post. :)
YES.. Two rabbits that get along together are FUN to watch together. They are. I've seen it, I like what I see. BUT I've also seen the flip side when rabbits DO NOT get along well together.
When people buy two bunnies together I always warn them that the bunnies MAY need to be separated when they mature and what signs to watch for. The key to keeping more than one rabbit together is SPACE. Keeping two rabbits in a cage that is large for them as babies is a whole lot different than keeping two adult rabbits in the same space.
I've rescued way too many rabbit couple and found one that is thin, or has multiple scratch marks on it's back and nip marks on the lower half to wonder about the safety of keeping two rabbits confined in your standard "large plastic" bottom cage. Keep them in that cage if you must, but then put a divider in the cage to protect the submissive rabbit from the dominant one.
The real key to keeping two rabbits happy together is give them LOTS of space and with the space give lots of hidey holes and jumping up onto areas. Give bunnies places to go and areas of their own to hang out in. That's the real key to keeping more than one rabbit living happily in a household.
Are those of us who house animals individually cruel and heartless not allowing rabbits to freely interact as they would in the wild?
The biggest reason to keep rabbits in individual cages comes down to this: Safety. People want to keep their rabbits safe and since "couples" are known to break down which does raise the strong potential that one of the rabbits could be seriously injured, most folks who cage their rabbit individually do so to prevent those types of injuries.
Like seriously.. if you know that something or someone you valued was going to live in a potentially dangerous situation, that was ENTIRELY preventable...wouldn't you want to see them living as safely as possible? (for sure you would!).
So it is for most breeders and pet owners who have seen rabbits injured because they just want to be on their own (the rabbit that is).
Rabbits do live in colonies in the wild (Europe that is) and in places in North America where folks have let enough of them go so the rabbits populate an area. But one thing you will notice about rabbit colonies... they happen naturally in the WILD. In the wild where they can move to safer pastures if a rabbit dislikes them enough to drive them out. WE cannot safely replicate that in indoor housing. We can't du to the nature of buildings have walls.
So those who house rabbits individually "put up walls" between rabbits to keep them safe.
But also to
1. monitor health
2. maintain good litter records
3. maintain pedigree records
4. figure out which rabbits have the strongest immune systems
I hope I've given some food for thought.
If you have questions, fire away. :)