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Baby Bunnies Ch. 2 - First Week

Posted by Sophia on June 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

          As you know from the last chapter, a baby bunny, called a kit, is born completely hairless with their eyes and ears sealed tightly shut. In the first week of their lives, their first coat of fur will grow, you will be able to tell their colors, they will double in size, and they will begin to move around.

          By the second day of their lives, you will begin to see a bit of peach fuzz on the baby bunnies. Don't rely on this because the color can still change. In Sadie's litter I had a baby that grew all white peach fuzz and ended up looking like an orange dutch. The kits will still rely on their siblings for warmth because this fur will not be helpful in keeping them warm.

          If you check on the kits daily, you may not see much difference from day two to day three but their fur is longer and they should be slightly bigger. Each kit should have a round belly with a white band on it. This white band is called a Milk Band and it confirms that the doe is feeding her babies.

         Day four is when you should be able to tell colors more clearly. They have a lot of fur by now compared to when they were born. Their ears and eyes remain closed.

          Again, you may not notice any difference from day four to day five. If you have pictures of the kits from day two and compare them to the kits now, you will see a significant difference. They will be much bigger and their first coat of fur is almost completel in. Day 6 is the same as the others. The kits fur continues to grow and they will be getting bigger daily.

          By their seventh day, they will have their first coat of fur completely in and their ears may be opening up just a little bit. For the most part, their ears and eyes will still be shut. They continue to rely on their brothers and sisters for warmth and their mother for food. You will be able to tell their colors 100% of the time now. You may even be able to tell if the baby is show qaulity or not.

          The first week is very exciting for the babies, maybe not so much for you. The babies will become a bit more curious, even with their eyes and ears closed. They will move around more and may even venture out of the nest box. It is still very important you place the babies right back in the nest with their brothers and sisters.

          That is all that happens to the babies during the first week. Since this was a short chapter, I am also going to add some myths about baby bunnies to clear some things up.


MYTHS:

  • Touching a baby bunny will make the mother abandon it. If the doe rabbit is comfortable around you and knows your scent, it is important to socilize the babies as soon as possible. If you don't they will not grow up to be as friendly as you may want them to be. The mother rabbits will not mind you touching her babies and will continue to care for them.
  • Rabbits will not take care of other baby bunnies. If for some reason a doe refuses a kit, you can put the kit in with another litter of the same age. Just put a dab of vanilla on the foster mother's nose and place the baby with her litter. She won't be able to smell the difference and by the time the vanilla wears off, the baby will have her scent on him.
  • Keeping two babies of the same gender together to grow up together means they will bond. This isn't always true. When the babies grow up and hit puberty, they will sometimes fight and bicker causing them to grow apart.

PLEASE SEE THE 'PHOTOS' PAGE FOR PICTURES OF BABY BUNNIES GROWING UP.

Baby Bunnies Ch. 1 - Pregnancy & Birth

Posted by Sophia on June 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

THIS IS NOT AN ARTICLE TO TEACH YOU HOW TO BREED AND RAISE RABBITS. THIS IS JUST TO SHARE SOME KNOWLEDGE ABOUT RAISING RABBITS. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BREED USING THIS ARTICLE. 

Breeding:

Ever heard the saying 'breed like rabbits'? It doesn't just come from anywhere. A female wild rabbit can have 6-7 litters every year, averaging 8 babies per litter which adds up to 56 babies every year. That's only one rabbit - imagine all the wild rabbits there are. Now, imagine how many domestic rabbits there are. If you put them together, that's a lot of babies. Theres a harsh reality though - only about half the babies from each litter survive past 2 weeks, and even more will die during weaning. 

Because of this reality, rabbits are one of the only species that is willing to breed right after giving birth - making her pregnant yet again. A rabbit's gestation period is only 30 days long, so by the time her kits (a kit is a baby rabbit) are about 4 weeks old, she will be shooing them off to raise her next litter. This is why if you have a male and female rabbits living together, seperate them right away. Chances are she's pregnant and once she has them, she will be pregnant again, right away. 

That leads me to another point - will a male rabbit eat their own young? The answer is no. This might surprise you, but it is just a myth that they will eat the kits. A male animal will only eat his babies to get them out of the way to breed again with the mother. If a mother animal has no babies, she can breed again. In the rabbit world, the doe is willing to breed again so he doesn't need to harm the babies. A male rabbit will mostly ignore the kits as if they aren't there and do his business with the doe right after breeding - if he's even around when the babies are born. 

In captivity, all you need to do is put the doe in the bucks cage and they will most likely breed. Please do not breed your rabbits at home unless you know exactly what you are doing and are prepared with homes for each of the babies. Always spay and neuter your pet rabbits. 

Preperations:

Domestic and wild rabbits prepare for their young is the same ways. For most of their pregnancy they will act the same. Rabbits rarely show signs of pregnancy until they are close to giving birth. This isn't the same with all rabbits though and if some rabbits will show the following signs:

 

  • A rabbit that was once your best friend could be antisocial or aggressive. Don't worry, she will return to normal right after the babies are born. 
  • Your rabbit may be gaining a very small amount of weight each day (ex 1 ounce per day.)
  • You may feel babies inside her belly using a techniqe called palpation.
  • She may drink more. 
In my expirience, Sadie showed every sign she could. She was aggressive, gaining weight, and drinking more. I was unsucessful palpating her until the day before she gave birth as this is a very hard thing to do. 

A wild rabbit will often build her nest hiding in plain view - for example, the middle of your back yard. Predators would be too timid to go in these areas and rabbits don't count the family dog or cat as a predator - which often times turns tragic. A wild rabbits nest is similar to a domestic rabbit's nest. A wild rabbit will burrow a hole into the yard, brining in soft items like grass, leaves, and weeds. Then she will pull the fur off of her belly to line her nest with. A domestic rabbit will build her nest using what we, as humans, provide for her which is commonly hay, straw, or safe wood shavings. She will also line her nest with fur. A rabbit most commonly makes her nest on day 28 but will occasionaly wait right before birth or right after. Sadie began to make her nest pretty soon after getting pregnant (although she didn't have her nest box yet) and pulled fur an entire week before hand. She also pulled more fur right before birth and right after. A domestic rabbit will have their babies in a hole which they dig in the nest and the babies will build themselves a "tunnel" to the back of the nest box to immitate a wild rabbit's nest. 

Domestic rabbits will drink more water to help produce more milk, but may stop eating completely before birth. Feeding them dandelion can also help with milk production. 

Birth & Nursing

A rabbit will give birth during late night hours or very early morning. Birth only takes 10-15 minutes. Just like a cat or dog, rabbits do eat the placentas for extra nutrients. Once the kits are born, they will clean them off and jump out of the nest. Sometimes a doe won't nurse her young for a full 24 hours after birth. Many first time mothers will not know what to do during birth and will have her babies on the wire or wood flooring of her cage. This is fatal for baby bunnies as they will freeze. If you see this, move all of her young into the nest. Rabbits cannot and will not move their young so it is up to you to save them. If a mother rabbit feels threatened or stressed she will eat her young to protect them. To prevent this, keep all pets away from her cage and do not try to watch her kindle (give birth). She may also eat her babies if she feels she is not healthy enough to care for them. 

A baby bunny is born completely hairless with both their eyes and ears sealed shut. They have no way to fend for themselves and are very fragile at this age. They stay close to their siblings for heat and protection. 

A mother rabbit stays away from her nest during the day to avoid predators. A baby bunny does not have a scent but an adult does and predators will smell them, alerting them to the nest. She only nurses her young 1-2 times a day. You may never see your domestic rabbit nursing because they only do it late at night and early morning. She will nurse her babies for 5-10 minutes and then leave the nest box. Some young will hold on to her teat and get dragged out of the nest, causing a tragic end from the cold. This doesn't happen as often with wild rabbits because of the shape of their burrow. If a kit gets dragged out, it will often times roll back in to the nest.

        During the short time the mother rabbit is in the nest, the babies need to act fast to get their milk. The mother will stand over the babies while they quickly find a teat and then flip over on their backs. Being on their backs helps with digestion.

FOR PHOTOS PLEASE VISIT THE 'PHOTOS' PAGE! THANK YOU!

 



Pre-Training Training

Posted by Sophia on May 31, 2014 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

BIB offers training for rabbits starting at the age of 6 weeks. I, Skye, am only 3 weeks right now so I can't begin training for 3 more weeks (pooh). Human mom (HR)  has decidied to train me for things that BIB can't.


Mama bunnies only feed their young once or twice a day so it's okay for babies to be away from the mom all day if need be. Some breeders 'shelf raise' their babies which means their nest box stays out of the cage and only goes in with mom twice a day.


Yesterday, HR brought me to her friend, Marie's house. Marie is a very talented artist (visit her website at www.spilledpaint.com). She is having an open house this weekend to showcase her art so HR went to help her. She brought me with and I ran around the shop all day long! I ran, binkied, took naps, and ate some fresh hay. Marie loves bunnies and I was able to meet a lot more people than just HR.


I didn't to the first day of the open house but I will be going tomorow since it won't be so busy and I've had a break. Man, yesterday pooped me out. I came homes and crashed in HR's hands, after my feeding of course.


Tomorrow, HR and Marie will be working on sewing me a harness with my name and 'Therapy Rabbit' on it. They will also sew me a small one to fit me now so that I can begin to get used to it.


Soon, HR will be buying me a basket and training me to stay in it.


A lot of these things can't be trained until later because I have a teeny tiny belly and I can't handle most treats because of my baby bunny digestive system - they are VERY sensitive.


Have a good weekend, I know I am!


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