Rabbits/Baby bunnies

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Question
QUESTION: Hi
In May I bought two male dwarf lop rabbits, George And Nibbles, four weeks ago George had two babies! Georgina is now her name! I separated the adult male rabbit, he has his own hutch, while Georgina and babies have the other hutch. Georgina goes out during the day for a while and returns to babies! When can the babies live without mum?  and also will Nibbles the dad be ok with the babies when they are put together?I'm frightened he may hurt them, although he has never shown any signs of aggression.

ANSWER: Hi Nichola!

Sorry to hear of your accidental litter! This is sadly all too common.

I recommend using this time to get Nibbles neutered. I would not recommend introducing him to the babies at all. While he may seem calm now, you have no idea how he will react if his hormones kick in. Once the kits are weaned (from 8 weeks) you can get Georgina spayed and the two can be bonded back together again without worrying about a population explosion!

And its normal for her to not spend all the time with the kits, they will only feed their babies a couple of times a day. As they are now 4 weeks old they will be getting bolder and roaming around anyway, even sampling mum's food. Do not wean until they are 7-8 weeks and do not consider rehoming them until they are over 12 weeks old.

Also, if he was still with Georgina when she gave birth and that was 4 weeks ago, watch her closely over the next few days. Does can get pregnant again just minutes after giving birth and gestation is 4 weeks! This is how a poor gorgeous doe at the rescue I volunteer at had two litters, her owner didn't think does could breed before 1 year old, at 6 months old she's had two litters 4 weeks a part :( we had to wean her first litter early. She came in to us with 6 day old babies. She went from being 1 rabbit needing a more responsible home to 15 rabbits needing responsible homes!

So yes, I would use the time of the adults being separate to get Nibbles neutered. He will need a month to heal anyway. Once the kits are weaned, separate from mum and book mum in to be spayed too. Read up on bonding rabbits in the mean time. They will need a big enclosure too, a hutch alone is too small. They need a minimum of 60-70 square foot, the average hutch is 5-10 square foot.

Good luck with the bubs!
Cat

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks, if Georgina does have more babies soon, will she look after them like she did the others, or will she abandon them or the older ones?

Nikki

Answer
Hopefully she won't, but if she does it may be kindest to wean the older litter early, they should already be nibbling mum's pellets. You will have to watch them like a hawk though for any signs of upset or sickness. Otherwise the older litter is likely to bully the younger siblings and beat them to the milk.

I recommend the Rabbits United forum (on Rabbit Rehome) if you need more double-litter-rearing advice.

Good luck!
Cat

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Expertise

I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.

Experience

I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

Organizations
I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

Education/Credentials
I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

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