There are many social and health benefits to be gained from getting your bunny neutered/spayed; a few of which I will discuss in the following few paragraphs!
What is Neutering? Neutering an animal is a surgical procedure to remove the animals reproductive organs which prevents any reproduction, & helps level hormones. Neutering is when the bucks' testicles are removed; the testicles are the bucks main source of testosterone production so removing them significantly reduces the levels of the hormone in the bucks body thus impacting positively on hormonal/territorial behaviours. These behaviours include spraying, territorial pooping, aggression etc; whilst neutering isn't guaranteed to stop these behaviours- it has proven to reduce them. For does, their neutering procedure, known as Spaying, and is the removal of the ovaries and uterus - meaning that she can no longer reproduce.
When should my rabbit be neutered? On average, bunnies can get neutered at around 4-6 months old. Bucks can be neutered as soon as their balls decend at around 10-12 weeks old, however vets will likely encourage you to wait a little longer if possible, especially if the bunny is a dwarf breed. Most vets support the widespread standard of a 1kg weight minimum for a neutering procedure; this isn't always practical in every case though due to breeds/runts etc, but below this weight can increase the risks of anaesthesia. Males can remain fertile for up to 6 weeks post op as some sperm can be retained in the genital tract. I recommend bucks that leave me to be neutered at around 4 months old and does 5-6 months as a spay procedure is more invasive!
Should I let my bunny have babies? If your reason to breed is: to simply have cute babies, it would be nice for the doe to be a mom, to improve the does health, or even to get a bit of money- then I strongly recommend you do NOT breed! The only breeding that I support is knowledgable hobby breeders of purebred bunnies like myself who put the bunnies welfare above everything and only breed from healthy, friendly buns to improve the breed. I strongly disagree with intentional crossbreeding- there is no purpose bringing more mixed breed bunnies into the world as it will not improve a breed standard and mixed breed bunnies make up the majority of rabbits in rescues etc.
There's a common misconception that breeding is lucrative, it isn't! Personally, my bunnies are my pets and keeping them happy, healthy and enriching their lives is my priority so I don't even 'break even'! 'Breeding like rabbits' insinuates that having litters is easy, but having a litter is VERY time consuming and anything but easy. My girls have a maximum of 2 litters a year. Birth to 8 weeks is a crucial stage in a bunnies development so its very important that they're properly socialised. It should also be noted that there is a lot that can go wrong and with that: emergency vet visits, emergency spays, eclampsia, prolapse, stuck kits, death, peanuts, DOA's, hand rearing orphans and much more.
Bunnies don't really get the emotional benefit as we may get from having a baby- meaning if spayed, they won't pine for babies. This means that there is no real reason to let your rabbit have a litter if you do to have a reason to breed. In all honesty, delaying neutering of pet bunnies can increase negative consequences such as urine marking, cancers, unwanted pregnancy and development of unwanted behaviours. Please note: I do NOT sell bunnies as pets to be bred; and only sell to a very select few breeders.
What are the health benefits?
Less Cancer Risks! it is a known fact that does are at a very high risk of uterine (womb) cancer if left unspayed so spaying is always advised. Statistics show that up to 85% of females develop reproductive cancer (ovarian, breast, uterine) by the age of around 5 years if they are not spayed. There are also
More Friendly! Generally once neutered bunnies are less temperamental which generally makes them easier to handle, more loving and friendly. I will not sell a bunny to a home where they will not spay/neuter them, especially if they have children as unneutered bunnies can be a little more unpredictable.
No Babies! Neutering removes the risk of unwanted pregnancies. This is very important as bunny breeding isn't straight forward! Unlike humans, they do not experience the same emotional benefit having babies; when spayed they do not pine for babies. Rabbits can produce multiple litters per year, each pregnancy lasting a month. Both pregnancy and birth carry certain risks to the mother and kits.
Less Territorial! This means one thing: Litter training!. Neutered rabbits are much less likely to exhibit these territorial behaviours such as pooping everywhere, spraying etc
Companionship! Bunnies need companionship, a human is not enough, imagine not having any friends to talk to! Please also note that Guinea pigs are also not suitable companions due to may reasons such as bordertella. It is so important to neuter both/all bunnies before bonding. I would male-female pairings if you have a existing bunny and looking of a friend. I have sold Both Male/Female, Female/Female & Male/Male however opposite genders will need separating until feed etc. Male/Female on average generally work best socially.
No false pregnancies! It is common for unneutered female rabbits develop false pregnancies, this can cause very hormonal behaviour such as aggression towards their owners or other rabbits, nest building, digging, fur pulling etc which can be distressing for the bunny.