Weaning rabbits

Wean rabbit

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.

10 thoughts on “Weaning rabbits

  1. my god what load of bull so so dangerous can tell this isnt uk based the rspca would have a field day as a breeder of 30 yrs plus with a lot of vet experience too no rabbit should be taken off its mum untill 7 weeks its system is not able to cope on its own leading to all manner of problems including bloat which can kill babies in hours this rubbish shouldnt be allowed on the net

  2. i hope the first response is accurate because our rabbit had one litter, and 31 days later, another. She’s no longer feeding the older babies. They’re on their own with pellets, hay and water and seem to be doing well so far.

  3. We have to wean them at five weeks, the mom had back to back litters. I’ve been just keeping two of four with her, but today I took them all out and when I put one back in with her she was covering it with her body as if to smother it so I removed it. I think it’s time.

  4. i think like all animals it varies from one to the other, without encouragment all my baby bunnys were eating solids and drinking water off thier own backs by 4 weeks old, they barely even looked in mums direction, this was thier own personal choice, although as a precaution they were left with mum till 7wks, I think its down to trial and error. Just keep a good close eye on them all, simple.

  5. My doe broke her back, I took her and the babies to the vet, the vet said four weeks will be good, however, have KMR milk replacement ready, and well, I do have it ready, and I also have a couple of friends with foster does. Hope it all works, the vet raises rabbits so she is optimistic so I will be too.

  6. I generally wean mine around 3 weeks….. i begin at two weeks to add hay and pellets to see if they are eating. but ive had litters that stayed in till 8 weeks. every litter is going to be different…. follow me on youtube..jelder1276

    thanks
    justin

  7. I have been weaning all my kits at 4 weeks for years and they are all healthy. Never had a problem at all! Momma rabbits teach the babies everything they need to know to survive. Rabbits are very smart and grow fast. The babies will be fine to wean at 4 weeks and already know what they need to. I give them carrots, parsley, all kinds of hay, grasses, pellets and lots of water. They eat a lot!

  8. I agree with Dee. This is a load of rubbish. The cruel and ignorant practice of removing kits from the litter at 4-5 weeks originates with meat breeders, not those who care about rabbits‘ health and wellbeing. It has no place on a pets forum. Weaning and being separated from the litter are two different things entirely, just as with kittens and puppies. Rabbits need a full 8 weeks with the litter to be properly socialized, or may suffer behavioral and stress related health problems their entire lives.

    As for the people who don’t get why their female is having “back to back” litters—grow up and read a sex education text. The shelters are overpopulated with suffering, depressed bunnies because of idiots who don’t separate the sexes or neuter.

  9. my doe gave birth 3weeks ago to 5 kits they are all fed well and have even started drinking water from the water bottle .. And they also help themselves to mums food in the wild rabbits would wean at there our pace each one is different ..i personally feel let them lead the way if they are all happy and healthy then surely that ain’t bad..us humans can interfere to much at times …

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