One of the reasons we disapprove of baby rabbits being sold in pet shops is that they are sold too young to be vaccinated, neutered or even sexed properly. One of the UK's largest pet chains did try to address this issue recently but, still wanting to sell them while they are still tiny and irresistable, their proposed solution only raised more criticism from the rabbit community. But that's another story.
Recently we had someone bring their single female to us, adopted from an animal shelter, looking for a new friend. On attempting to bond her with the owner's first choice of buck, the pair were aggressive towards each other from the off and it clearly wasn't going to work. The next buck we tried was Pye, a friendly blue lop who has been with us only a few months. It seemed to go well, they accepted each other, snuggling grooming etc., so after almost a week together they were taken for their pre-homing health check with our vets. This is mostly for our rabbit, to ensure they are in good health before being delivered to their new home, but the owners rabbit also gets a quick check too.
Everything checked out OK except for one thing - Pye's new partner was a boy.
A little bit embarrassing for us that we didn't spot it, but on this occasion it simply hadn't occurred to us that the owner wouldn't know - after all, the rabbit had come via a shelter, not as a tiny baby from a pet shop.
Now we've had boy pairs come through the Rescue before, mostly neutered litter mates, but we would not usually attempt to pair two strange bucks together because the risk of arguments turning to violence is much higher. Male-female bonded pairs are the norm. However, since they did appear to be getting on very well, we decided to take a chance - but alas within two days Pye was back at the Rescue and his short-term partner was back on our bonding waiting list for a new girlfriend.
To me, the shocking part of this story happened when Caroline went to pick Pye up. On checking the notes from the shelter, it appears that the "doe" had even been in for a spay operation at their vets. When they opened "her" up and found none of the bits they were expecting to find, they simply assumed "she" had been done already and sewed "her" back up, presumably without checking! Yikes!