Weaning a rabbit litter
It's been a while since we've
written a rabbit post. In that time, we've separated the
litter from the mother. She had started thumping her foot at
the kits in early January, and since the mother showed signs of
becoming irritable with the kits, we decided it was probably best to go
ahead and wean them. Since then, they've been eating quite
voraciously and growing fast.
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We bought what is advertised as a 5 lb
capacity feeder from tractor supply and we are having to fill it at
least once a day, sometimes twice. We purchased a feeder rather
another simply due to the lack of time that we've had available as
of late. The purchased feeder holds a volume of two quarts of
rabbit feed which seems a bit less than 5 lbs to me. In addition
to rabbit feed, we have been supplementing with clover, hay, lettuce,
carrots, and other items from the garden & scraps. The
stereotype of rabbits and carrots seems accurate. Dawn reports a
4 inch piece of carrot had three young bunnies devouring it at once,
and would have been more if they could have fit in the circle.
The kits have taken to their
new accomodations quite well, though some seem a bit skittish.
Perhaps our busy life lately hasn't allowed enough interaction with
them. Individual personalities show through though as some of
them will approach the front of the hutch when we open it for feeding,
while others crowd to the rear. Dawn says the runt is the
friendliest of the bunch.
Some information sources
recommend that kits should be sexed and separated at the time of
weaning. At present, we have all the kits together. This is
partly due to practical reasons - we haven't had time to build another
hutch - and partly due to the age at which we weaned them. At 4-6
weeks, they are difficult to sex. There are a couple of reasons
given for separation of the sexes at an early age. One being a
claim that they mature more quickly when separated by sex. The
other reason is that there should be less fighting as they mature and
no chance of breeding when they are past three months of age.
With the way life has been
lately, I am quite thankful that our rabbits have required little
attention of late. We still try to interact with them as much as
we can so that they remain docile, but also so that hopefully their
life is a bit more pleasant with some interaction.
Shannon and Dawn
will be sharing their experiences with raising meat rabbits on Tuesday
afternoons. They homestead on three acres in Louisiana when time off
from life and working as a sys admin permits.