Weaning is the time when baby rabbits learn to be on their own, and not be with their mother anymore. This can also be a time when the kits (baby rabbits) can develop “weaning syndrome”. This is when the rabbit switches over to pellets, and is no longer relying on the mother’s milk for all it’s nutrition. Some kits can develop diarrhea and fail to thrive at this stage, since their digestive systems are still developing, and they do not absorb the nutrients in the food the way they need to in order to stay healthy.
When to Wean
When the babies are about 4 weeks old, the doe’s milk begins to dry up. At this point, you begin to remove one baby at a time from the mom. Start by taking the largest kit away first, then in 2 days, take another, then another until they are all weaned.
By 5 weeks, the babies are usually weaned off the mother, and should be eating and drinking on their own. If there is a rabbit that doesn’t seem to be thriving the way the rest are, leave it with the mom longer than the others.
We keep a close eye on the babies at this point, making sure that they are eating and drinking, have lots of energy and are playful, and have no signs of diarrhea or other health problems. If all is well, the babies are ready to go at 6 weeks of age.
Some breeds take longer, especially the larger breeds. Of the breeds we’ve had, we found that the Mini, English and French Lops, the English and German Angoras, and the Mini Rex sometimes need an extra week to ensure their health.