When do Baby Bunnies Leave the Nest?
The birthing process is one of the best blessings of Mother Nature. It is the very foundation of life. Every living organism on this earth is born and everyone dies.
Like humans, animals also reproduce by giving birth or through eggs. They are either born in some nests, holes or underwater.
Rabbits give birth to their younger ones in holes called nests. The whole pregnancy period lasts from 31 to 34 days.
A female rabbit makes its own nest and give birth inside them and takes care of them until they are strong enough to live on their own.
Baby bunnies after the age of 8 weeks can leave the nest. An 8 weeks old rabbit can move around freely and wants to jump out of the nest.
So one of the most frequently asked questions by our readers is how long do the baby bunnies stay inside their nest and what is their growth rate?
In this article, we will tell you about a week to week procedure and growth of baby rabbits. But let’s take a look at how the nests are made and birthing happens.
When do Baby Bunnies Leave the Nest?
Wild rabbits tend to make holes in the grounds, they prefer the open leafy ground. The mother rabbit digs a shallow hole for the nest.
She then buries the hole with some leaves, sticks or grass. She then puts her furs atop to keep the little ones warm.
You will not see a wild doe near the nest before nightfall. She does not want wild animals to draw attention to that nest.
Just like the wild rabbits, your pet rabbit will do the same procedure to make the nest. She will dig a hole in your ground or yard; cover it with the grass and her fur.
You can provide an alternate handmade nest to your doe. This will protect both the animals and your beautiful ground.
The nesting process most often starts on the 28th day of pregnancy. The delivery of the kits is mostly done on the 31st day of the pregnancy.
In some cases, the pregnancy can go long for 33-35 days. You may contact your local vet for assistance if the pregnancy exceeds 35 days.
The delivery of the kits is most probably expected in the midnight to 5 in the morning. The litter is probably 4 to 5 rabbit babies.
Delivery of a baby rabbit
After the birth of kits, the mother rabbit goes away from them, so if you see her not feeding them do not worry as rabbit mothers feed their babies once at the nightfall.
The doe’s milk is full of energy and proteins that can fill the baby’s tummy up to 24 hours.
So let us tell the week to week progress of the babies’ growth.
On the first week, you will see some pinkish fur-less kits. They will be seen moving a bit and sleeping most of the time.
Till day 3, the kits will be a bit grown and their movement will increase.
On day 5, you will see the kits growing some fur. They will make noises and move more swiftly.
On the second week, you will see some good fur on the baby bunnies and more growth.
On day 9, the babies are about to open their eyes. They can be seen playing with each other.
On day 13, the kits will open their eyes. They will try to come out of the nest box. If the weather is suitable let them out if it’s too cold or hot, put them back.
On day 15, you will see baby rabbits grown bigger with thick fur. Let them play outside in the grass for a bit.
On day 19, the baby rabbits will be nibbling on the hay present around their nest box. They will still continue their mother’s milk.
On day 23, the baby bunnies will be nibbling on pellets of alfalfa and hay. They are more strong and bigger in size now.
Alfalfa pellets are higher in proteins and much tasty. You can add them up with some milk or water if you like.
On day 27, the babies have grown to eat more pellets and milk.
On day 30, start feeding the rabbits with some timothy or meadow hay added up with some pellets.
On day 35, the grown rabbits will spend more time playing with their siblings.
Week 6 to 8:
The time from week 6 to 8 is the time for rabbits to wean.
This period is the transition of babies from mother’s milk to some solid food. It is recommended to let the kits stay with their mother till the 8th week.
If you put the babies away before the 8th week it is most likely for a baby to be less immune to diseases without their mother’s feed. For today’s question, When do Baby Bunnies Leave the Nest?
The 8th week is the time the rabbits will finally say goodbye to their nest. They are ready to be live on their own.
So what precautions do we have to follow to take care of the kits during this 8 week time?
Precautions when dealing with a newborn baby rabbit
Right after birth, do check if there is any placenta left in the nest. Remove it before it infects the babies.
Make sure that the nest box of your kits is dry and well cleaned. A dirty box can spread smell and bacterial disease to the babies.
Properly feed the mother rabbit, her diet must be good and she should have a decent 2 time eat. But it doesn’t mean that you make her over eat.
Sometimes, babies are not fed properly. Do check their tummies first time in the morning.
If the tummy is round and filled, it means they are fed. If they look weak and dehydrated and tummy attached to the body, then it isn’t fed properly.
As mentioned earlier, the mother only feeds the young ones at nightfall and it will be a one-time thing in 24 hours.
Thanks to her protein-enriched milk, the babies will not require any feeding till 24 hours.
In the case of pet rabbits, make sure they are put in a normal temperature room. Their nest must be safe from insects and other house animals.
Make sure to clean the nest box on a daily basis; don’t panic to carry the babies as their mother would not mind you carry them. Clean away their waste properly.
You can also replace the shavings of the nest box if need be.
After 12 days, let the kits out for play. You have to take extra care of things especially the climate.
If it is too cold outside, don’t let them go out as they might die of cold.
You will see some of these babies hopping out of the box; you can replace the nest with a cardboard compartment and surround them with hay and straw so that they won’t fall out.
There can be some infections due to the nest box, try to keep it hygiene or the infection will kill them one by one.
You should take care of the mother’s nails and get them clipped otherwise they can harm the little ones.
The mother rabbit eats a stillborn baby of her; you do not need to panic about that. It is just to save the other ones from any harm or the wild animals to prevent smelling the dead meat.
If the mother is immature (most likely 6 months old or less) it is most likely that sometimes she will not feed her kids.
For this case, you should contact your vet as soon as possible before the kits die out of hunger.
If you want to keep the babies with their parents, it is best if you de-sex both of them.
Spaying or neutering the male and female rabbits will result in no more babies as usually, the mother can get pregnant right after giving birth if not separated by the male.
Neutered rabbits are more friendly and adaptive then un-neutered ones.
So these are the points you must keep in mind while welcoming the new baby bunnies to your home. It is not difficult just takes some care, time and love.
We hope that you spend the best of time with your baby bunnies.
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