Domestic / wild rabbit cross
Does anyone have any experience of domestic / wild rabbit crosses? One of our two female Blue Rexs has produced 4 babies. The father is obviously a wild rabbit, and the mating must have occurred when she escaped from her run for half an hour or so, a few weeks back. (Needless to say, both females will be speyed once the babies are weaned).
My query is whether the babies will be domesticated enough to be homed as pets, or wild enough to be released into the wild (I live on a farm, so that wouldn't be a problem - and they're normal wild rabbit colour). I've received conflicting advice so far. A friend who had a similar experience said her babies never became tame and she released them on her farm where they were seen hopping around for years. One rabbit rescue has advised me not to try to domesticate them, and has given me good advice on preparing them for release into the wild. But now my vet has advised me not to, and said there's no reason why they shouldn't be domesticated if handled properly. Another rabbit rescue has told me that wild rabbit crosses rarely make good pets, but not to release them, and recommended that they be homed with someone with a big outdoor enclosure and receive minimal contact. They suggested I get in touch with this forum.
They're almost 4 weeks old now, and I've tried not to handle them until now, but now one of the babies has been unwell I'm having to give it antibiotics everyday, and it's starting to get fairly used to being handled. I'm at the crucial stage of having to decide whether to handle them or not.
I would appreciate comments from anyone with experience of this. Thanks!
I don't know about wild rabbits since there are none in Norway but you can easily handle them at 4 weeks.
I've began handling when they are newborns, but even if you're too worried about the mom rejecting them its no problem once they've started leaving the nest (at 2-3 weeks)
Wise Old Thumper
Personally I'd domesticate them and rehome as pets.
Please remember if you are to do this they'd need to go to an extremely large enclosure to let off steam.
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As long as they are well handled they can make good pets. I've a 100% wild rabbit and he's extremely friendly.
I would suggest you start handling them straight away. Pick them up, let them exercise in the house so they get used to the smell of humans/human interaction etc. I would suggest hand feeding them as well (solids not milk) as associating food with humans is good. If you can get different people to interact with them that will help as well.
They may be more active than 100% domestic rabbits so large accommodation is a good idea but there is no reason why they couldn't be house pets even.
Don't know if this will help, but a few years ago I ended up looking after 2 baby hares as their mother had been killed by a dog, I was advised by the vet that as they were wild they would always behave as wild hares. But they lived in the house and became very tame.They also got on with other rabbits and the dog, so I think its more to do with they way they are treated.
It would be cruel to release them as they won't have the razor sharp instincts that proper wild rabbits do.
I have 4 rabbits who are most likely 50% wild, I don't think they will ever be as friendly as some domestic rabbits can be, but they can still live a very happy life. As long as they are paired with another rabbit then they don't necessarily need to be friendly to humans. Mine do get very scared going to the vets etc but they seem comfortable around me now. I think they would be even more friendly if they were kept indoors.
Yes they will be ok to keep
I have had rabbits since I was 9 years old I am now 45 and two and half years ago I saved a baby wild rabbit from being killed. He was too small to be of milk and no one had kittens to put him with so looked after him myself. He is too tame to be released into nature so he is now my pet. He is a little on the small side and they eat diffrent diet than domestic rabbits but he is doing well and is the love of my life So there you have it yes they will be ok