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Thread: newborn kits and mother rabbit

  1. #11
    Mama Doe
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    4 months is quite young for a doe to be pregnant - hopefully it is a false alarm and the nest is just because it's getting colder. Hopefully someone with more experience of this will give some more definitive advice.

    The boy is old enough to be neutered - so I would get an appointment at the vet ASAP to get this sorted. Then it will be about 6 weeks until he is infertile. While he is there, you could get them to assess the doe and get some advice. If she is pregnant and dad is left in with her when she has the kits, she will most likely become pregnant again straight away - so he should be removed before any kits are born. They can be re-bonded when the kits are weaned and both parents neutered.

  2. #12
    Wise Old Thumper Santa's Avatar
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    Welcome to bunny ownership Alison! I bet you'll soon be addicted like the rest of us! You definitely do need to separate dad if they've been mating, as if he is still in with mum when she has any babies, they will mate again straight away and then she will have another litter 4 weeks later. So you immediately end up not with 'just one' litter, but with two!! By the time you discover the first litter, it will be too late to take dad out as they will probably have already mated again so you can't really wait and see I'm afraid. Because in the wild so many baby rabbits don't make it to maturity, they breed pretty much back to back and the parents have a very short lifespan too! They usually only nest build when a litter is nearly due, so if she doesn't produce very soon, then it's probably just a phantom - but she is now at that age where she could get pregnant that's no guarantee that she didn't get pregnant yesterday, or tomorrow.

    Having two (or actually even one) litter in this way gives many problems I'm afraid - you could potentially have up to 7 or 8 babies in one litter, so potentially 10-15 out of two, which is many babies all needing somewhere suitable to live if they are staying with you, or good homes elsewhere - and there are already 67,000 taken into rescues every year so there are already too many bunnies It will be harder than you might think trying to find people who will give them the sorts of homes you'd like them to, and you could potentially end up with the next set of babies at sexual maturity and at risk of breeding again and/or fighting before you're able to find homes for them.

    If dad stays in with mum, if she gets pregnant again, she will be exhausted after having 2 litters back to back; feeding so many little ones takes an enormous toll on their bodies. It also means that you'd have to remove dad for about 3 months while those litters grow up. In that time, you could get him neutered and then you would be able to try and reintroduce him to mum again once all the babies have grown up - but at that stage they will have been apart for a long time and there's no guarantee that they would become friends at that point - which presumably defeats the object of you wanting to have a lovely pair of bunnies. The same is true even if you remove him now and she only has one litter, but obviously the time they need to be apart will be less.

    I know it sounds like a wonderful idea to have some baby bunnies, but honestly, the best outcome for your bunnies right now would be that she is having a phantom pregnancy; rabbits in the wild don't have babies at this time of year because it's too cold - and they have nests underground which are relatively stable temperature wise. I think you are sensible to try and make it as cosy as possible for her. Personally I would advise that you book the boy in for neutering ASAP and hope for the best that she isn't pregnant, and that way it should be far smoother and easier to reintroduce them and have a lovely happy pair of bunnies as pets. It may also be worth taking the female in for the vet to see if they can palpate a pregnancy. If they can't, you could get her spayed at the same time and then the pair of them could go straight back together after their ops and live happily ever after
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  3. #13
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Hello there. You have already been given excellent advice but just wanted to say that if she has babies they should be warm enough as Mum will pull lots of fur out to line the nest. No, she doesn't necessarily need a nestbox. As well as the fur she pulls out you can also add hay, very soft straw, shreddied paper (clean), maybe small pieces of fabric. Check the hutch regularly as sometimes babies can be found out of the nest and will soon die if it is cold. Are you thinking you will keep the babies?

  4. #14

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    Hi Tonibun,
    Thanks very much for the advice. Good to know mum does a good job keeping them warm. The only thing we can add from your suggestions is fabric, will do that if the pregnancy actually happens. My daughter would love to keep 1, maybe 2 of the babies, but we can only have the one 2-tier hutch in our garden so haven't really decided for sure yet. If you keep 1, could that cause a problem with mum and dad's relationship? My daughter was quite upset yesterday at the thought of this pair having to be apart and risking their great relationship that we may rehome them all, we'll see.

    With any luck, won't have that decision to make. Taking them both to vet this morning to see if the boy can be neutered straight away and to see if mum is actually pregnant. If she is not, as Santa suggested, we will get them both done straight away.

    Watch this space, I'll let you know later!

    Thanks so much for all your kind help.

    Kind regards.

  5. #15

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    Well... where do I start. Straight after posting the message yesterday I went out to open the rabbits up and there they were ..... 4 babies! 😃😃 OMG! My daughter was dancing round like a crazy kid. Wasn't able to separate dad the night before as the downstairs part of the hutch wasn't sufficiently fox proof for our liking, apart from the rain cover foxes could've seen him inside. My husband couldn't make the front door that night. All done last night though, he is now safely enclosed at night downstairs. Needless to say he is now separate all the time, we've just got to hope they didn't mate again. Still kept the vet appt for him (obviously didn't need to confirm she was pregnant) and he is booked in to be neutered next Tuesday. That means then that these bunnies conceived when they were three and a half months old! Wow!

    Had a quick look to count them, the babies all looked nice and chunky. Mum has done a good job putting fur in the nest, I added extra hay and some small pieces of material. The vet said to leave it to mum and not disturb them as she may reject them with my scent on them. I'll still glance in each day to check they are all huddled together keeping each other warm. The vet also said that mum doesn't sit on top of them to keep them warm, and that's what we observed during the day, she was just chilling, sitting by the door of the hutch when she wasn't out. I was surprised. I'm a bit concerned as the temperature is supposed to be zero degrees tonight.

    Anyway, we'll just take it day by day, try to keep mum and dad both happy, although they seem to miss being with each other ☹️☹️. Thank you all for your advice so far, I'm sure I'll be picking your brains more very soon.

    Kind regards,

  6. #16
    Wise Old Thumper
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    It will be a wonderful experience for you as a family and hope everything goes well. Mummy rabbits like grass and dandelion leaves if you can find any which look fresh and from an area where there are no wild rabbits. I f not she will appreciate spring greens and a tiny piece of carrot or very green cabbage, or herbs. The babies will start to roam about from 2.5 weeks old and they can nibble at whatever Mum is eating. If you were hoping to keep1 of the babies then a Daughter would be your best bet as a Son might vie for dominance over Dad when he gets older. Are Mum and Dad siblings? Hope everything goes well and don't hesitate to ask for any advice you may need.

  7. #17

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    Thanks very much Tonibun. Yes, we have plenty of grass and some dandelions in our garden that she can eat. They both love cabbage. Once the babies are old enough, have fur and are looking more like rabbits, would it be safe for dad to be introduced to them (after he has been neutered obviously). How old do the babies need to be for this to happen.

    I was thinking that, if we did keep one, I think it would be a girl. Yes, our buns are brother and sister.

    Many thanks for your help.

  8. #18
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Once Dad has been neutered it is usually best to wait about 6 weeks before putting him back with Mum, just to be safe. It is not possible to predict how he will behave with the babies, some Bucks are good, some aren't, so you would have to be very careful and monitor the situation yourself. A female rabbit who has had babies can be very broody for more soon after, so that is something to bear in mind. It is possible for her to feed her babies up to 12 weeks although by this time they are feeding themselves and a lot of babies are taken away from Mum at 8 weeks old. Baby rabbits love their Mother and I always feel 8 weeks is just a little too young but it is what normally happens. Because of the situation with thousands of unwanted rabbits in rescues etc I don't feel I can breed any more or I would! Baby rabbits are so adorable.

  9. #19

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    Thanks again Tonibun, good advice. Much appreciated.

  10. #20

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    Hi again,
    Babies are 3 days old today. When we glanced in yesterday they all looked fine, could even see what looked like a hint of fur on one of them, unless we're imagining it. All we are doing is topping up the hay in their nest over the top of them if they don't look nicely covered. Last night we moved the hutch into a bike shed we have as it was so cold and windy.

    Do we still just leave it to mum? Do we need to check they're not lying on wet bedding that they've wee'd on?

    Thank you.

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