Baby rabbits don’t live with their mothers forever. A newborn baby rabbit grows quickly. I suggest you research a baby rabbit is ready to be independent from his mother. Regularly, I’m asked at what age baby rabbits can be taken from their mother. So, when can you separate baby rabbits from mother? A baby rabbit can be weaned from his mother at 8 weeks. Weaning earlier than this age prevents your baby rabbit from getting the gut healthy flora and antioxidants from his mother’s milk. After 8 weeks, a baby rabbit can eat adult rabbit foods and live independently from his mother.
What Does It Mean To Wean A Baby Rabbit?
Weaning a baby rabbit means you stop the rabbit’s intake of its mother’s milk even if the rabbit is only drinking it part of the time. A weaned rabbit can manage entirely independently from its mother, eating only adult food.
What Are The First Two Months Like For Newborn Baby Rabbit?
Baby rabbits go through a huge amount of growth and development in their first two months of life. Here’s what happens to baby rabbits in those first two months:
- Mother rabbit nurses-The mother rabbit nurses the babies twice a day. Usually in the early morning or early evening hours.
- Babies move around a bit-The baby rabbits begin moving around the nest a bit, exploring their surroundings. Check them to be sure they don’t stray out of the nest.
- Check baby rabbits-Over the first two weeks check the babies to be sure they’re getting enough milk. Their tummies should be full, not sunken in or wrinkled. If the mother isn’t nursing the baby rabbits, they could die. If you think the babies aren’t getting enough milk, perhaps the mother isn’t lactating properly. Take the mother rabbit to the vet. He can give her a shot of oxytocin which stimulates the milk glands. Have the vet check her over for any other issues that could cause her not to nurse.
- Nibbling bunnies-At around two weeks, the baby rabbits will start to nibble on hay and their mother’s food. They can eat leafy vegetables and fruits or pellets.
- Weaning-You can wean the baby rabbits from their mother at 8 weeks. They should not be weaned earlier, because they benefit from the gut flora and antibodies they get from their mother up until then.
- Separate males and females- You must separate the male and female baby rabbits at 8 weeks because they reach sexual maturity around 10 weeks. If you don’t, you might end up with more baby bunnies in one month!
What Age Should I Separate My Baby Rabbit From Mother?
Separating baby rabbits from their mother means weaning them from their mother. At this age, they don’t need mother’s milk any longer to survive. Most rabbit owners suggest that you never wean a baby rabbit before 8 weeks. Prior to that age, a baby rabbit gets all his necessary nutrition and antioxidants from their mother’s milk. By the time a rabbit reaches 8 weeks old, he’s eating adult food and doesn’t need his mother’s milk to survive.
What Is Enteritis ?
Recently weaned rabbits are prone to gastrointestinal problems. Enteritis is an inflammation of the intestines that becomes an infection. Keep checking your baby rabbit’s poop once he’s weaned. If he gets diarrhea, check his diet. Make sure he’s getting a large amount of hay and fresh water. Too many carbohydrates and too little fiber can cause gut problems. If the diarrhea continues he could have enteritis. Take your pet rabbit to the vet immediately. He/she will give your rabbit antibiotics to help get rid of the infection. Left untreated enteritidis is deadly.
Symptoms of enteritis:
- Crouching like he needs to poop
- Teeth crunching
- Protruding eyes
- Mucus filled stools
- Craving and suddenly eating inedible things
How Do I Wean My Pet Bunny From Its Mother?
Weaning can be stressful for a baby rabbit. Rabbits don’t handle stress well, so it’s important to try to reduce the weaning/separation from mother experience as much as possible. Here are some ways to reduce the stress during the weaning process.
- Wean the baby bunny at the appropriate age- Baby rabbits should be at least 8 weeks old. Weaning earlier takes away the important gut flora and antioxidants the mother’s milk provides.
- Keep the baby rabbit in the cage during the weaning process. It’s better to remove the mother.
- Don’t move the cage or the rabbit to a new location. Being weaned and then sent to a pet store can be very stressful for a baby rabbit.
- Stress can often cause an imbalance in the baby rabbit’s gut. They can get stress induced diarrhea.
- Enterotoxemia is a gastrointestinal problem that is often set off by a big change in a rabbit’s life such as weaning, change of food, illness or antibiotics. It causes watery diarrhea in the rabbit.
- Don’t feed the baby rabbit sugary treats. Hay is the best thing for him. Also, give him lots of water and healthy leafy green vegetables and a little fruit.
- Give your bunny rabbit lots and lots of hay. Hay is good for his teeth and good for his gut. Chewing is a pleasurable experience for rabbits. It will help ease some of the stress.
Weaning isn’t a stressful experience, but rabbits are easily stressed by any kind of change. Try to make your pet baby rabbit comfortable during the process.
What Should I Feed My Newly Weaned Baby Rabbit?
Once a baby rabbit has been weaned, he can eat adult food. The only exception is that he needs extra protein, about 18% of his diet. When he’s a full adult, he’ll need only 16% protein in his diet. Here’s a list of what you can feed your baby rabbit:
Hay-Timothy hay mixed with alfalfa is good
for your newly weaned baby rabbit. Don’t give him too much alfalfa since he
will only want to eat it. Alfalfa is high in protein so it’s okay to give your
baby rabbit until about 4 months(12 weeks). After that you should reduce the
protein to 16% level in his diet. Alfalfa should only be given in limited
amounts after this age. Hay is an essential part of your rabbit’s diet. He
needs it to keep his teeth well trimmed and for digestive health. Chewing hay
is actually a pleasurable and physical experience for your rabbit. Chewing hay
keeps your rabbit preoccupied so he won’t get bored.
Vegetables- Give your rabbit a variety of daily vegetables.Your rabbit can safely eat these vegetables:
Carrot tops only
Romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, arugula, Boston bibb
Kale(not too much)
Water-Give your baby rabbit fresh, clean water daily. Rabbit owners suggest that rabbits drink more water out of a ceramic type bowl instead of a water bottle. Be sure the water bowl is heavy so your rabbit can’t throw it around since they love to do that.
Treats-You can give your rabbit treats once in awhile. It’s best to give them natural treats like fruits. Here’s a list of possible treats for your baby rabbit to eat.
- Apples but not the seeds
Keep your newly weaned baby rabbit healthy and happy with a diet rich in hay, vegetables and fresh water to maintain his good gut health. Feeding him these healthy foods will help his body fight off infection and other gastro issues that rabbits are prone to get.