|Better Farming Series 37 - Raising Rabbits 2: Feeding Rabbits; Raising Baby Rabbits; Further Improvement (FAO, 1988, 49 p.)|
|Raising your own baby rabbits|
178. After the baby rabbits are born, look at them carefully to see that they are all well.
Look at the babies as soon as they are born
179. Here are some things that you should look for. You should see
· if they are lying close
together or far apart
· if they are warm and well protected in the nest
· if they are alive and well
· how many baby rabbits there are.
180. One very important thing that you should always remember is never touch baby rabbits unless you must, and if you must, make sure your hands are clean.
Wash your hands
181. All of the baby rabbits should be lying close together. If they are lying far apart carefully move them together.
Carefully move them together
182. A female rabbit gives milk to her babies only once a day. If the babies are not close together, she may not feed them all.
183. All of the baby rabbits should be warm and well covered in their nest. If they are not, put the fur and hay in the nest all around them.
Put fur and hay around them
184. If any of the baby rabbits are dead or deformed, take them away and destroy them.
Take away dead or deformed babies
185. If there are too many babies for the female to feed, take some of them away. A female rabbit with eight teats can feed only eight babies.
186. You can move baby rabbits from one female to another one that also has babies. If you have another female rabbit with too few babies, you can give some to her to feed.
If one rabbit female has to many babies, give some to another
187. However, the baby rabbits that you give to another female should be no more than two days younger or two days older than her own babies.
188. Gently rub the baby rabbits you are going to move with some of the grass or hay of the new nest.
Gently rub the babies with grass or hay from the new nest
189. This will give them the same smell as the new nest so that the new female rabbit will be more likely to accept the new babies as her own.
190. Sometimes female rabbits will kill their babies and sometimes they will not feed them. This can happen if a female rabbit does not have enough milk.
Sometimes female rabbit kills their babies
191. It can also happen the first time that a female rabbit has babies because she does not know how to take care of them.
192. If she kills her babies or will not feed them the next time she is mated, do not use her for mating again. Replace her with a new female.
193. Look at your baby rabbits every day to make sure that they are all well. Take away any babies that die.
194. You have already been told that female rabbits with babies need a lot of food. They also need a lot of water to make milk for the babies.
195. So, be very careful with female rabbits when they are having babies. Be sure that they can get as much food and water as they want.
Make sure that they can get as much food and water as they want
196. At first, your new little rabbits will sleep most of the time and move very little. They will take milk once a day.
Baby rabbit sleeping
197. When they are about two weeks old their fur will begin to grow they will begin to see and they will start to move about.
At two weeks they will start to move
198. At about three weeks, the little rabbits will come out of their nest box and they will begin to eat food in addition to the milk they drink.
At three weeks they will begin to eat
199. From this point on, the little rabbits will eat more and more food. So, be very sure that there is enough food for all the rabbits to eat.
200. By the time they are six weeks old, the little rabbits will no longer take milk and they will eat all of the foods that full- grown rabbits eat.
At six weeks they will all their parents eat
201. However, you must be very careful with little rabbits. This is a very dangerous time for them. They often get sick at this age.
202. Make sure that their pen is always very clean. Make sure that the food and water is always very clean and fresh.
203. Never move little rabbits of this age. Leave them with the female rabbit in the same pen. If you move them to a different pen they may get sick or lose weight.
Leave babies with the female until they are eight weeks old
204. When the rabbits are eight weeks old it is safe to move them. Then, you can take them away from the female rabbit and put them in their own pen.