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Our rescue rabbit had babies yesterday!

(18 Posts)
tolittletoolate Thu 27-Feb-14 19:48:49

We got 2 rescue rabbits that we were assured were both girls. One of them is a boy we just discovered yesterday and he is booked in to be castrated tomorrow.
The female rabbit gave birth to 2 babies yesterday too.
However she doesn't seem to be feeding them and I think she has rejected them sad
if she has how long are they likely to live for?

LEMmingaround Thu 27-Feb-14 19:55:27

The best thing you can do is to leave her to it, if you disturb her she is likely to kill them sad Does she have lots of bedding? I think you really have to leave her to it and let nature take its course - hopefully she will start to feel relaxed and be able to look after them but really needs to be left alone, just put food and water in for the next week.

tolittletoolate Thu 27-Feb-14 19:59:03

Thank you that's what we are doing so that's good smile
we only got them last week so she was obviously pregnant then. I've only ever had boy animals so have no idea what to expect.
I really hope they survive my 2 dds have been thinking of names for them all day!

AHardDaysWrite Thu 27-Feb-14 20:01:30

Don't worry -rabbits often ignore their babies. It's deliberate as if they fussed over them all the time, it would draw predators' attention to them. Rabbit milk is extremely fatty and nutritious - in the wild, mothers only feed their babies a couple of times a day, leaving them hidden in a nest for long periods whilst they go and graze.

What's vital is warmth - they are unlikely to starve but they can quickly die of cold. She should have plucked her fur to make a nest - if she didn't, you need to do this ( it's the hair under her chin, which pulls out easily). Be vigilant and watch out for any falling out of the nest.

It's also a myth that you shouldn't handle them - you can, and should. It won't make her eat them (if she's going to do this, she'll do it anyway) and they will be better pets if socialised from birth.

AHardDaysWrite Thu 27-Feb-14 20:03:15

Also, have you separated the male? Females are fertile as soon as they've given birth! And once he's been castrated he can store sperm for a month, so they need to be apart for a while ( you don't want him in with the babies anyway).

tolittletoolate Thu 27-Feb-14 20:12:07

yes we have separated them, we have a hutch with 2 levels so the mum and babies are shut upstairs and the male is downstairs and can still go out in the garden.
She has made a lovely nest for them with lots of fur and they are really warm.
We have brought the hutch inside as it's supposed to snow and get cold tonight.

AHardDaysWrite Thu 27-Feb-14 20:13:29

Sounds like she's doing fine. They grow really quickly - by two weeks old they are adorable!

tolittletoolate Thu 27-Feb-14 20:14:03

Unfortunately he was bonking her all day yesterday because we had no idea he was a boy and that she had already had her babies.

AHardDaysWrite Thu 27-Feb-14 20:19:18

Ah. Well, she may well be pregnant again. Not ideal, and if she is the next litter will possibly be small and might not survive. In the long-term she'll be ok if you get her spayed though.

tolittletoolate Fri 28-Feb-14 10:55:44

Well he has gone to have his op this morning and the Mummy rabbit is definitely feeding her babies, she was in there last night and they are very warm and look like they have full, fat tummies!
Thank you for all the advice smile

AHardDaysWrite Fri 28-Feb-14 19:45:01

Sounds like she's doing well! Handle them daily whilst she's ignoring them and they'll turn into super-tame pets. Did this with mine and they were the friendliest rabbits ever. You won't want to give them away! When they're really tame they make great house rabbits....

lljkk Fri 28-Feb-14 19:48:34

apparently kits only need to drink a few minutes a day among wild rabbits, I don't know if domestic are the same but probably are similar.

tolittletoolate Fri 28-Feb-14 20:12:50

They are just so cute, one looks like mum and one looks like dad. Have decided to keep them so we have 4 babbits now!

AHardDaysWrite Fri 28-Feb-14 20:19:28

Excellent :-) the babies will be naturally bonded so will always be happy together. If you have any males, get them castrated as soon as their testicles descend (12-16 weeks usually) and they won't have reached fertility so can be reunited with the others straight away rather than waiting a month. Get girls spayed at about 6 months of age even if all the boys are done - it prevents uterine cancer which rabbits are very prone to, and also prevents bunny PMS and generally makes them nicer pets. If the babies are all girls, all your buns can live together and dad will have a little harem - if there are boy babies though he probably won't get on. If that's the case, I'd keep the parents together and the babies together as two sets of bonded pairs.

Midori1999 Sat 01-Mar-14 09:10:24

I'm glad mum and babies are ok. Hopefully she's not pregnant again, but sadly it's very likely. I'm not sure what sort of 'rescue' they came from, but it's definitely worth complaining, they're not doing much actual rescuing and bunnies should all be neutered before homing too if the rescue is decent. It's lucky they've ended up with such a responsible owner.

Babies from the same litter do not always get on as they mature. One of my bunnies ended in rescue as he was fighting very seriously with his litter brother. Also, it's not true that male bunnies aren't likely to get on or won't live in a group with other bunnies. I have a male/male/female trio that used to be two pairs until we sadly lost one of my girls. During the bonding it was the girl who caused all the trouble, the boys just wanted to be friends from the start. They are rescue buns and the rescue lady (who is on the committee of the Rabbit Welfare Association, so presumably knows her stuff) reckons its always re girls that cause trouble and two boys are usually easier to pair than two girls.

Good luck with your buns.

AHardDaysWrite Sat 01-Mar-14 10:37:45

Everything I know about rabbits comes from my friend who is a leading rabbit authority - as well as breeding them she has written several books on welfare and behaviour and advises the RSPCA on policy. I'm not going to name her for fear of being outed but anyone who moves in rabbit circles will know who she is. I can only say what she does - she prefers her babies to go to new homes as litter mates as they are automatically bonded, and as far as I know there are never problems. Perhaps it depends how much they've been handled and if they're neutered. Certainly all my buns have been litter mates from her and they've always been devoted to each other.

tolittletoolate Sat 01-Mar-14 11:00:07

The rescue/adoption was in pets at home and they gave us 2 vouchers for free neutering. unfortunately it's a bit late! The boy was done yesterday x

Midori1999 Sat 01-Mar-14 16:45:55

Ah, the PAH adoption centre, 'rescue' in the loosest sense of the word... Not your fault though OP. good on you for taking them.

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