As we all do, there is a time to leave the nest and start your own life. Baby rabbits, otherwise known as a “kit,” of course, leave sooner than humans.
Kits usually leave their mothers a few weeks after being born, but they need to be weaned before leaving. If a kit has issues weaning off its mother, it will have difficulty out in the wild alone.
So what age can you separate kits from their mother?
At 8 weeks, a baby rabbit can be separated from its mother. Kits should not be separated any earlier than 8 weeks, or they will have issues fending for themselves. They also will not receive the necessary gut flora and antibodies from their mother’s milk.
It is also important to separate all kits from their mother at 8 weeks, especially if your baby rabbits are males. If kept with their mother for over 8 weeks, it could result in further breeding.
Depending on how you acquire these animals, you want to be sure to give them proper care. Wild rabbits are very different from domesticated rabbits.
There is a natural weaning process that needs to be done before separating your kits. If they do not go through this process, it can interrupt your baby rabbit’s growing cycle.
Here are some of the proper steps to take and how to abide by the natural weaning process.
This is a fundamental process that all animals go through when having to separate from their mother. All animals go through some kind of weaning or growing up process.
This is important because the animals need to become socially independent and fend for themselves in the wild. The weaning process usually takes 4 to 6 weeks.
While the weaning process is going on, the rabbit’s owner should be supervising the process to ensure that each stage is complete. This is very important because different things could go awry throughout the process.
You need to be vigilant and aware of how each of your kits is doing. Here are the stage points of weaning a baby rabbit off its mother’s care:
- Right after birth
- After around 2 weeks
- The final weaning period
Right after birth
After birth is the most crucial time for the kits, they are tiny and need the most care. Anything could cause trouble, such as infections, diseases, or an issue with their digestive tract.
Your kits will be no bigger than your pinky finger. Baby rabbits are hairless when they are born; they will start to grow their hair within 5 to 7 days, but they require heat to protect them from the cold.
A small cold that wouldn’t affect you or another animal will affect baby rabbits. Further, the more kits in a litter, the better it is for them to stay warm. They will hug and nap all the time.
If your litter is a little thin, there is a chance they could die. You need to ensure warmth and comfort, so the kits don’t become ill.
The nest also needs to be cleaned frequently.
After around two weeks
Around this time, your kits should be opening their eyes, ears, and growing fur. As they start to grow, they are still in need of care, especially with their eyes and diet.
Anything could cause issues in their eyes. If they get an eye infection; it could to death. You want to prevent this, which means that the nest needs to be cleaned.
Lastly, you want to be vigilant for the weak baby rabbits who may be lacking the proper amount of nutrition.
Sometimes, the mother will limit the amount of milk they produce, due to a healthy and robust kit consuming all the milk, leaving the weak kit with none. The ideal way of handling this is to ensure that there are pellets available to the vulnerable kit; this is also around when the kits should be transitioning to solid food.
Final weaning period
This would be the time to separate the kits from their mother. As they have been through this process for weeks, they become more assertive and resilient to diseases they could catch.
They will be able to leave the nest to play and consume solid food without receiving digestive issues. Since they have grown hair, it is unlikely for them to catch any colds.
Lastly, make sure to supervise these young kits when they eat vegetables. They’re young digestive systems may result in diarrhea issues.
After separation from the mother
The separation period should only be when your kits are completely weaned off their mother, but there is still a little more to consider after the initial separation.
Be sure to separate the male and female kits from each other. Once they become sexually mature at around 4 to 6 months, they may try to multiply, which can get out of hand.
Neutered and spayed
Rabbits become less aggressive creatures when they are de-sexed. They become friendly and playful.
If they remain intact, they can start to fight with each other. If you are looking for a more calming, active, and less stressful environment for your rabbits, they should be spayed and neutered.
Baby rabbits require proper check-ups on their teeth, and they need to be checked regularly for wolf teeth. Wolf teeth could affect rabbits’ gums and could cause possible swelling.
If any of your kits have any kind of infection, be sure not to breed them. They could pass on this trait to the upcoming generation.
If you are caring for rabbits found in the wild, then there comes a time when they need to go back into the wild. If you come across a nest of baby rabbits, the best thing you can do for them and their mother is to leave them where they are.
You do not want to attempt a rescue.
Wild mother rabbits tend to feed their babies once or twice a day. Then, they stay far from the nest to avoid attracting predators.
If the mother rabbit is calling for her babies, if you are to remove them, mothers only come back to their young at night, when you are not looking.
Of course, if you feel that any of the babies, or even a mother, or an abandoned baby is injured, it is best to contact your local humane society or animal control. You do not want to feed the babies; you could cause issues to their digestive tract.
They are incredibly complex and sensitive. This can result in death.
Your baby rabbits should be separated from their mother at 8 weeks after birth. They need specific antibodies and nutrients from their mother’s milk. They also need to learn to fend for themselves.
Be sure to supervise your kits, especially the weak ones, so you don’t lose any bunnies. Kits are the most vulnerable during these 8 weeks.
They could get infections, colds, or develop digestive issues; be vigilant during this process.
When breeding rabbits on your farm or backyard, you want to take extra care of these animals. Many things need to be done during their weaning process:
- Feedings need to be on time.
- The nest has to be constantly clean
- Their diet needs to be fair.
- The nest needs to be warm to keep the kits from receiving colds.
If you want healthy rabbits, all of these things need to be a priority. Kits require special care during this process.