Baby rabbits


  #1  
Old 01-07-14, 09:59 PM
W
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: GEORGIA USA
Posts: 213
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Baby rabbits

At what age can baby rabbits regulate their body temperature. Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 01-08-14, 02:26 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,195
Received 52 Votes on 48 Posts
I raised New Zealand White rabbits for a short while and the kits could be weened between four and six weeks depending on the season and how cold it was........sooner in sumer later in winter.

Are these pet or meat rabbits, indoors or outdoors, heated or unheated cages??
 
  #3  
Old 01-12-14, 01:30 PM
W
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: GEORGIA USA
Posts: 213
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Baby rabbits

I have 10 baby rabbit's that will be 1 week old tomorrow & i check on them every day but some looks as though they are not getting enough milk.also anywhere from 2 to 3 will always be seperated from the others & i always put them back together.The question i would like to know is could i seperate these into 2 groups with nesting boxes for say 5 & 5 in each box so maybe she would give more to all instead of some i think not getting enough acording to their little tummies.These are New Zewland cross breed.Thanks for your help.
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-14, 09:07 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,195
Received 52 Votes on 48 Posts
I merged your two latest threads on your rabbits as it's easier to follow what's happening with them.
Ask any further questions in this thread.

Why are they separated?.........Is it that the nest box is too small?
I honestly don't remember the recommended size but there is a lot of info out there on how big it should be.
Are the doe and kits in their own cage or are they housed with other rabbits?

As long as you are providing a reasonable nest box, proper food and plenty of water for the mother there is not much you should/need to do.
My losses were if I bred three does and produced 30 kits I would loose a few.
Any ones I tried to save that were outcasts were destined to die anyway.
You really don't want to intervene too much as the doe may not be capable of nurturing as many kits as she has delivered.....might be too stressful and risk the rest of the family.

Mine were pure healthy New Zealand White stock that I bought from a producer who was breeding as many as fifty at a time.
What is yours crossed with.........pet stock?
And, you are raising these for meat.......correct?
 
  #5  
Old 01-12-14, 10:09 PM
W
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: GEORGIA USA
Posts: 213
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My wife corrected me the Daddy & Mama are both new zeland just different colors & the mama & kits are in a cage seperate by themselves.I think the nest box is big enough & yes i am only breeding for meat & i will take your advice and let nature take its course.I really do appreciate your advice as all this is something new to me so hopefully i will learn as i go.Thanks
 
  #6  
Old 01-12-14, 10:20 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,195
Received 52 Votes on 48 Posts
We had three wire cages, side by side and had bred three does at the same time.
The does were a bit more relaxed when I put a piece of wood between the cages.
 
  #7  
Old 01-13-14, 08:00 AM
RhainyC's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Blaine, Washington
Posts: 553
Received 9 Votes on 5 Posts
Sorry to be late jumping in to reply, but GregH is right on target. If the doe is not letting the kits nurse, which is what appears to be happening with the separation issues, then she probably knows they are not going to thrive/survive.

Rabbits are one of the few animals that are really, really nervous about intervention, and as GregH said, I would simply make sure her nest box is properly filled with materials, (we always used straw) and that she has plenty of food and fresh water.
 
  #8  
Old 01-16-14, 12:59 PM
I
Member
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm curious about the separation issues... the nest box shouldn't be large enough for them to get spread out and needs to be high enough to prevent them from being able to wriggle out. Kits shouldn't be leaving the nest box on their own until 2-3 weeks (it's possible for the doe to occasionally leave while a kit is still latched onto a nipple and take it out of the nest box with her; having a raised front on the box normally prevents this, though).

The doe needs enough room to go all the way into the nest box, turn around easily and exit but you don't want the nest box to be much bigger than that - if your kits are getting separated inside the nest box, the box is probably too big. If you're finding kits outside the nest box at one week old, then you probably need to reevaluate the nest box design.

This site has designs and instructions for building nest boxes, and better yet, it includes the appropriate nest box dimensions for raising meat rabbits (ie large breeds) - obviously a NZ needs a bigger nest box than a dwarf! I haven't had a chance to read through the rest of the site, but based on skimming the menus, it appears to have a LOT of beginner-friendly information about raising meat rabbits - you may find it very helpful to poke around a bit .

~~~~~

If she allows it, you could hold the mom and hold the kits that seem to need more milk to her to nurse.

If the doe won't let you do that, you could try supplementing the weaker kits. Hand-raising is almost never successful, but if they're getting at least some milk from her (which they must be if they're still alive at this point), then supplementing them a little while also leaving them with mom might help.

This site is about raising orphaned kits, but near the bottom of the page is a list of viable formula options (the simplest being goat's milk or KMR). You'd want to feed them significantly less than the amounts provided in the feeding guidelines, since they're also getting to nurse.

In the end, though, it's a simple fact of breeding rabbits that you can't save every kit. Whether to supplement feed or let nature take its course is a matter of personal choice, and supplement feeding won't necessarily succeed as sometimes the doe is neglecting certain kits because she can sense something wrong with them that you're not aware of.

~~~~~

Do you just have one pair that you're breeding? If not, then it may be a good idea in the future to breed two does around the same time so that you'll have two litters at a time. Hand-raising kits is very rarely successful even when done by an expert; however, rabbits tend to be extremely accepting of "foreign" kits - because of this, the ideal solution to rejected kits or a mom who can't seem to keep up with a very large litter is to have another doe serve as a surrogate.

The surrogate doe's litter doesn't have to be exactly the same age - there could be an age difference of a week or perhaps a bit more between the two litters.

You'd want to remove the surrogate doe from her cage/hutch and then add the "new" kits to her own kits in the nest box. Keep the doe away for an hour or two so the kits can roll around together (getting the new kits' smell on her kits and vice versa), then put the doe back. A surrogate doe darn near never rejects the extra kits.

~~~~~

Also, what sort of diet are you feeding your doe? They need a lot of extra nutrition when pregnant. Since you're raising meat rabbits, I'm guessing you feed a pellet-heavy or all pellet diet (as opposed to the primarily hay/very limited pellet diet that's ideal for pet rabbits)? [I do most of my rabbit chat on a forum that doesn't allow discussion of raising rabbits for meat (though I'm personally accepting of the practice); however, those who breed show rabbits typically feed a pellet-heavy diet that's very different from a pet rabbit's diet, so I'm guessing the same is true of meat rabbits.] If you do feed a limited amount of pellets, however, she should definitely be getting a lot of extra pellets.

As for hay, if you feed it (most breeders I know do feed some, though again, that's for show rabbit breeding) and feed primarily grass hay, you could supplement her hay intake with alfalfa hay - it's higher in protein and calcium, providing extra nutrition for a breeding doe and her kits. Most feed stores that sell grass hay by the bale also offer alfalfa. If you feed leafy green veggies, she should also get extra portions of those. Making sure mom gets lots of calories and nutrients can really help with such a large litter!

~~~~~

Weaning: kits are usually left with mom until 6-8 weeks old (at least when bread for non-meat purposes). With big litters like yours, it's common practice to remove the largest/healthiest kits 1-2 weeks early (keeping them together, but separate from mom) - this gives the smaller kits a chance to catch up. I'd be really wary of removing kits at four weeks old but by five weeks, you could certainly pull the largest of them to a different cage/hutch.
 
  #9  
Old 01-20-14, 04:37 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,195
Received 52 Votes on 48 Posts
One thing I might add.
Fostering is not usually a good idea with rabbits because of the risk of passing on a possible illness to an otherwise healthy doe and kits.

Nature is pretty clever and there is normally a reason for a kit being orphaned.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: