When you are new to keeping a pet rabbit, you would want to know the essential things, which include when baby rabbits can leave their nest.
Birthing is one of Mother Nature’s blessings to us. Every living creature births and everyone dies. Birthing is the foundation of life.
Just like we humans, animals reproduce by laying eggs or giving birth. Rabbits reproduce by giving birth to their younger ones in holes called nests. Their pregnancy period lasts from 31 to 34 days.
When do baby rabbits leave the nest?
Baby rabbits after they reach the age of 8 weeks can leave their nest. An eight weeks old bunny can move around freely and is ready to jump out of the nest. Female rabbits make their own nest and give birth inside them. They take care of their babies until they are strong enough to run around on their own.
So a lot of people ask questions like how long can baby rabbits stay in the nest, what’s their birth process, and what’s their growth rate?
This article will answer all these questions about your pet rabbit.
Rabbits Nesting Process
Wild rabbits dig holes in the grounds, and they like the open leafy grounds. The female rabbit makes a shallow hole for the nest and buries some leaves, grass, or stick. She then keeps her little ones warm by putting her furs atop.
You won’t see a wild rabbit near its nest before nightfall because she doesn’t want to draw the attention of wild animals to the nest.
Just like their wild counterparts, pet rabbits do the same process to make their nest.
Your pet rabbit will dig a hole in your yard or ground and cover it with grass and her fur.
You should consider providing another handmade nest for your rabbit. Doing this will protect your rabbit’s babies and your ground.
The nesting process usually starts on the 28th day of your rabbit’s pregnancy. The delivery usually happens on the 31st day of the pregnancy.
In some cases, your rabbit can be pregnant for 33 to 35 days. You should contact your vet if your rabbit’s pregnancy exceeds 35 days.
Expect the delivery to take place at midnight 5 am. Your rabbit will probably deliver 4 to 5 babies.
Baby Rabbit Growth Process
After your rabbit gives birth to her babies, she goes away from them, so if you notice she is not feeding them, do not worry. Rabbits feed their babies in the night.
Your pet rabbit’s milk is full of protein and energy fills her babies’ stomach for up to 24 hours.
Below is the weekly growth progress of your baby rabbits till they can leave their nest and start going around on their own.
You will see some pink kits without fur in the first week. You will see these kits moving a bit and sleeping most of the time.
On the third day of the first week, the kits would have grown a bit, and you will notice an increase in their movement.
On the fifth day, the kits would have started growing some fur. You will also notice that they will make noises and move more quickly.
In the second week, some good fur would have started growing on the baby rabbits, and they would have also become bigger.
On day nine, the baby rabbits will open their eyes. You will notice they have started playing.
On the thirteenth day, the baby rabbits will open their eyes wide, and you will notice them trying to come out of the next.
If the weather is friendly, you can let them out. Put them back if the weather becomes too cold or too hot.
On the fifteenth day, you will notice the baby rabbits have grown bigger, and they now have thick fur. You can let the bunnies play outside on the grass for a while.
On the nineteenth day, your baby rabbits will be nibbling on the hay in the nest box, but they will continue feeding on their mother’s milk.
On day twenty-three, the baby rabbits will be seen nibbling on pellets of alfalfa and hay. You will notice your rabbits are stronger and bigger now.
The Alfalfa pellets they are nibbling on are higher in proteins and tastier. If you like, you can add them up with some water or milk.
On day twenty-seven, the rabbit babies have grown so much that can eat more pellets and milk.
On day thirty, you can now start your baby rabbits with some meadow hay or timothy added up with some pellets.
On day thirty-five, your baby rabbits are now so grown, and they will spend more time playing with their siblings.
Week 6 to 8:
The time from the 6th week to the 8th week is the time for your pet rabbit to wean.
The 6 to 8 week period is the transition period for babies. The rabbit babies will transition from their mother’s milk to some solid food. It is advisable to let the baby rabbits stay with their mother till the 8th week.
If you put your baby rabbits away before week 8, they will be most likely have a low immune system because they didn’t feed on their mother’s milk.
Your baby rabbits will say their goodbyes to their nest. From this time, your baby rabbits can live on their own.
Precautions To Follow To Take Care Of Your Baby Rabbits During This Eight Week Period
There are precautions to take when dealing with newborn baby rabbits.
Right from when they are born till the 8th week, you need to be very careful when handling the baby rabbits.
This part will guide you through.
- Right after the birth of the baby rabbits, check very well to see if there is any placenta left in the nest. If you find any, remove it before it infects the babies’ nest
- Ensure that the nest box of your baby rabbits is dry and properly cleaned. When a box is dirty, it can spread smell and bacterial disease to the newborn babies.
- Make sure the mother rabbit is fed properly; she must be on a good diet. The mother rabbit should have a decent two time eat. This does not mean she should be overfed.
- Sometimes, baby rabbits are not well fed. Make sure you check their tummies every morning. If their stomachs are round and filled, that means they are well fed. If the rabbits look weak and dehydrated and their stomachs are attached to their bodies, then they are not properly fed. As mentioned earlier, their mother feeds them on at nightfall, and it will be once in every 24 hours. The mother’s milk is enriched with protein so the babies will be full for 24 hours.
- Make sure your pet rabbits are put in a normal temperature room. Your baby rabbits’ nest must be safe from insects and other intruders.
- Make sure you clean the nest every day. Don’t worry about carrying the babies as their mother wouldn’t mind if you do. Clean away the babies’ waste properly
- You can change the savings of the nest box if you think there is the need to.
- After 12 days, you can let the babies out to play. However, if the weather is too cold, let them stay in their nest.
- If you see some of your rabbit babies hopping out of the box, replace the next with a cardboard compartment. Surround the compartment with straw and hay to keep them from falling out.
- Try to keep the nest box neat so that your baby rabbits won’t catch an infection.
- Make sure you take care of the rabbit mother’s nails and get them clipped. If you don’t do this, they can harm their babies.
- If a rabbit mother has a stillborn, she eats it. This shouldn’t cause you to panic as she does this to save the other babies from any harm and to prevent wild animals from smelling the dead meat.
- If the rabbit mother is not mature (most likely 6 months old or less), she will probably not feed her kids sometimes. In this case, you should contact a vet as soon as you can so that your baby rabbits will not die of hunger.
- If you want to keep your rabbit babies with their parents, it is advisable to de-sex both of them. Spaying or neutering the female and male rabbits and female rabbits will lead to having more babies because the rabbit mother can get pregnant immediately after having her new babies if not separated from the male.
The above points should be kept in mind if you are keeping rabbits as pets and you are welcoming new baby rabbits to your home.
Keeping rabbits as pets and taking care of baby rabbits are not difficult. All that is needed is time, love, and care.