Your rabbit is expecting babies. A touching moment awaits you: attend the birth of baby rabbits. Before giving birth, you will have to take care of the future mother and then of her offspring when she comes into the world in order to give the adorable rabbit family a long and beautiful life. Explanations.
The gestation of the rabbit
Rabbits are animals early who can procreate from an early age: 4 to 5 months on average for males and 5 to 6 months for females. However, it is advisable to wait 8 to 9 months to have them reproduce so that their body is completely developed and avoid complications in gestation and parturition. The signs of pregnancy of a rabbit start to be detected from the 10e day in the form of a certain irascibility coupled with the increase in the size of his abdomen. Around 11/13e day, the doe will tend to lie on the flank and you will be able to feel the fetuses, the size of a small grape, by very carefully feeling the belly of your rabbit. From the 14e day, it will be necessary to stop handling and wearing it at the risk of causing miscarriage.
Preparing the nest for baby rabbits
During gestation, it is wise to install the female in a place isolated, without frequent passage, to reduce all stress which can lead to fetal loss. The place should be both hot and dry and away from Air Currents. Likewise, keep the male away from the female so that he does not rush her. About three days before giving birth, the doe begins to build a small nest in a corner of the cage. She tears off the fur of his abdomen with his teeth to create a comfortable space permeated with his odour and also uses straw to make the cozy cocoon. It is important to let her prepare the den in her own way before the babies arrive. During her pregnancy, the female has a good appetite and drinks a lot more. As such, food must be more abundant, rich and varied and the water renewed daily.
The birth of the rabbit
At the end of a gestation which lasts on average 30 days (+ or – 1 or 2 days), the birth generally occurs at night or at dawn, when calm and darkness reign. Childbirth proceeds relatively quickly – at most thirty minutes – and without complications (however, in case of difficulties, contact a veterinarian immediately for advice). Once the young have been expelled, the rabbit cuts the cord, eats the placenta, gently licks her babies to clean them well and then begins to feed them. Always keep the parent away because the mother will be tired and may become agressive when the male resumes his assaults. Recommendation: Do not touch babies because you risk passing them your body odor and encourage the mother to abandon them (or even kill them). For the same reason, do not reach into the nest except to quickly remove a dead or sick baby rabbit.
The growth of rabbits
The baby rabbit is experiencing a meteoric evolution: at 5e day, the fur are starting to grow on her pinkish newborn skin. At 10e day, the eyes part, then the ears, a day or two later. Now equipped with view and thehearing, the baby rabbit will start to emerge from its nest. Until 15e day, it feeds exclusively on breast milk which helps it to develop and strengthen its immune system. Don’t worry if your doe keeps her distance from her cubs: she usually goes about her business and only spends 4 to 5 minutes nursing. But as soon as she approaches them, they will swallow the milk in one go, or about 20% of their body weight. Two weeks are enough for newborns to come out of their immaturity state.
Weaning the little rabbit
The period of transition between the milk diet and vegetarian food is delicate because important changes occur in the intestine, allowing the development of the bacterial flora essential for the survival rabbits. In this context, it is necessary to act very gradually to introduce a solid diet because a misstep can cause serious intestinal problems, even the death of the little one. The steps :
- From 15e to 20e day you can supplement breast milk with a little hay;
- From the 3e week, alfalfa and the first junior pellets (quality) can be added;
- From the 7e week, small amounts of vegetables can be served while combining with breast milk for up to 8 weeks;
- From 2 to 3 months, the rabbit leaves its mother and eats a little of all the foods mentioned above, in particular hay;
- From 3 to 5 months, the rations of vegetables can be increased while noting which ones seem to digest the best. Gradually reduce the share of alfalfa in its diet;
- From 6 months to 8 months, decrease his consumption of growth pellets and start offering him pellets for adults. Replace the alfalfa with another hay suitable for its adulthood;
- After 8 months, the young rabbit can eat anything, like an adult!