i made a horrible mistake now I need some help.

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monkeypooh

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My husband and I had been talking about getting a rabbit for quite some time. A co-worker highly recommended a local breeder. We were thrilled to buy a rabbit from a breeder, we felt that this was the best way to ensure we were getting a healthy pet. I posted a picture of our new bunny, Violet ( who we have had for four days now) on a rabbit commumity with some details like her birthdate and such. I also asked question about what the best type of hay for Violet's age would be. A lady responded that Violet was to young to have been sold and that I am a horrible person for purchasing her and I had sentenced the poor bunny to die.
I am beyond upset, I mean sobbing upset. I thought the breeder would know best so I took her word that the bunny was good to go. I am a kind person and I would never ever hurt a rabbit intentionally. Please don't lecture me anymore as I am beating myself up way more than you can imagine right now. Please just tell me what I need to do to keep this beautiful little girl healthy. Her Birthday is Dec 28, I have had her four days. Is she really going to die because she is too young? She seems okay. I just so hurt and upset.
 

squidpop

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I just read her birthday and is she really less than 3 weeks old?
 
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JBun

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When getting 'advise' on the internet, just remember that you are going to get all sorts of opinions from people, and not everyone will be giving the most accurate information.

So your bun was almost 6 weeks old when you got her, correct? That is a bit young, but no, it does not mean your bunny is going to die. It is better that they stay with their mom until 8 weeks old, and the older they are can also help with dealing with the stress of being in a new home. The reason for this is that baby rabbits are very vulnerable to developing digestive illnesses when they are weaned from their mom. The younger they are, the more vulnerable as they haven't fully developed their digestive flora, so the longer they can be with mom and nursing the better. Problem is that some momma buns don't cooperate and want those babies gone before 8 weeks, but even then it is usually best for the breeder to keep the babies til 8 weeks to minimize them getting stressed at a this time when they are so vulnerable. It is also illegal in some cities or states, to sell baby rabbits before 8 weeks old. This doesn't necessarily mean the breeder is bad at all, just may not be very knowledgeable or informed.

There are some things you can do to try to ensure that your bunny stays healthy. First off is initially keeping her on the exact food she was being fed at the breeders, and minimizing stress for her. So a few questions. Did the breeder give you some of her pelleted food to take home or where you able to buy the same food for her? What is her exact diet right now and have you changed anything or given her anything new? How is she adjusting to her new home? Does she seem friendly and relaxed or is she nervous and skittish? Was she kept indoors/outdoors before and where are you keeping her now? What is her poop like? Are they normal round fecal droppings, any mushy soft ones or very tiny hard ones?
 

whiskylollipop

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Don't take it personally and beat yourself up, but bunnies really shouldn't be taken from their mothers till they are at least 8 weeks old. You didn't know but this "breeder" should have. Doesn't sound like Violet is even old enough to have been weaned, what has she been eating with you and how have her poops been?

Also, post pics here if you can for the experienced breeders on here to have a look. There is a slim chance you or the breeder got her birthdate wrong and she actually is 7 or 8 weeks old.
 

squidpop

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I read the dates wrong, she is almost 6 weeks old. The person on the other forum that told you it would die is exaggerating. There are breeders ( not nice ones ) who routinely wean at 4 weeks and they live. Wild rabbit wean their young at 4 weeks, and give birth the next day to a new litter. Most people agree that babies should stay with parents for 8 weeks but most rabbits wean earlier then that. So don'st worry she is probably going to be just fine.

Good quality timothy hay would be good for her and usually the breeder gives you a bag of what pellets they where feeding, if the breeder didn't do that then I would go with Oxbow pellets. At around 5-6 weeks their tummies are still building the flora to digest fresh greens so you only fresh greens in small amounts, so they can adjust to eating it or you can get mushy poos, if you get mushy poos switch back to just hay. Don't ever give Iceburg lettuce its bad for them, but you can give other kinds of lettuce like curly green leaf lettuce. Fresh grass is easy for young ones to digest if you can find some that hasn't been sprayed with chemicals.
 

wishingstar

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I'm sorry, I can't provide you with any instructions on what to do. But, you shouldn't beat yourself up about it. We all make mistakes. Three weeks old is too young for her to have been taken away from her mother, and the breeder shouldn't have given her to you. Maybe, the best thing you can do is take Violet back to the breeder, to be with her mother? Personally, I wouldn't feel confident at all caring for a rabbit so young. I hope that someone is able to help you and Violet!
 

majorv

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So, she is about 6 weeks old. Ideally, they should be 8 weeks before being sold. Hopefully, the breeder gave you some of the pellets she was eating so you could slowly transition her to whatever you'll feed her. Personally, I wouldn't start with the greens just yet. Get her used to the new surroundings and whatever pellets you'll be feeding her first.
 

Troller

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Ideally is 8 weeks, but some States by law require only 6 weeks until sale. Your should always do your research, but its understandable that you put your trust in individuals. Now as for weaning, some Breeders I know don't begin weaning their kits until 5 weeks or more, while others let the kits eat everything the momma eats from when they hop out of the nest (3 weeks or so). Of course all of that is also dependent on the doe. Either way don't panic, stay vigilant and do the research and things should be ok. End enjoy this time, its really cute when they are so little.
 

monkeypooh

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Thankyou for your responses. Yes, she is 6 weeks old. I feel a little better, I realise now 6 weeks isnt ideal but its not quite as bad as that mean poster made it sound. I will email tomorrow morning and find out exactly what the food is she was eating. She seems to be thriving, she is bright, alert and responsive. She comes to the sound of my voice and really seems to enjoy being handled. I will weigh her daily to ensure she is not loosing weight. She drinks water and i have seen her munching Timothy hay, so thats good news.
Thanks for not judging too harshly.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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There are breeders ( not nice ones ) who routinely wean at 4 weeks and they live.
It's not accurate to say that those who wean at 4 weeks old are "not nice." Weaning and selling are two different things, although the terms are often used interchangeably. By four weeks old, kits are eating and drinking well on their own. Weaning them from their mother simply means moving them to a different cage. This could be done at 4 weeks for a number of reasons. Sometimes it's to keep a particular production schedule. Sometimes it's because the mother becomes aggressive with the kits (this happens more often than you'd think!) Sometimes a large litter will be moved as soon as possible for the mother's health. Those are just a few examples, but in some cases, weaning young is, in fact, done by a very attentive and nice breeder.

Regardless of when the kits are weaned, it's ideal to wait to sell them until 8 weeks old. And in many U.S. states, it's illegal to sell them before that age. Many reputable breeders wait even longer. I typically wait until 10-12+ weeks before selling.

I know this is a little bit beyond the point of this thread, but I felt it necessary to explain. Broad generalizations can give good people a bad name.
 

majorv

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Julie, I was going to make a comment about that statement, too. Many times it's the doe who decides to wean the kits. Most of ours routinely will wean them at about 4 weeks regardless of what I do. We had to pull the doe out of a cage of 6 week old kits because she obviously wanted away from them, and they were fully weaned. We just left the 3 kits together in that cage to minimize any stress on them.

Anyway, since you're giving timothy hay you may want to give a pellet that is alfalfa based while it's young.
 
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monkeypooh

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I have gotten Violet some high quality young rabbit food and some alfalfa hay. ( I saw the vet because I wanted to be sure she was okay) i was given some special paste to give her is she looses too much weight. I have been weighing her daily. I cant thank everyone enough for their help. It means a lot also, if you messaged me and i didnt get back to you its just cause i am new and learning how to navigate the forum. I will read up on how to post a pic...
 

squidpop

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I just reread what I wrote, and yeah, sorry I wrote (not nice ones) referring to the breeders who wean at 4 weeks. But was thinking of the breeders who have like 30 meat rabbits in a farm situation who wean at 4 weeks vs the people who just breed a few litters a year and let the babies stay with the mom 8 weeks or longer. Its true, the meat rabbit people might be really nice people who do what they need to do to keep their farm productive and I shouldn't judge.
 

stevesmum

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Yeah, I don't like to judge others and I am no vegetarian, but the idea of eating rabbits is horrifying to me. I was gonna check out a local rabbit show out of curiosity and reading all the interesting posts on here about breeding, but when I looked at the website I saw they have meat rabbit categories like "stewers, fryers" etc. so I don't know if I can handle that. I'm not trying to start any debates here, just putting my 2 cents in :)
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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All rabbits judged at shows are LIVE rabbits. :) And those entered in the production categories aren't necessarily going to be used for that purpose. They're judged on qualities ideal for commercial breeding programs, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're used that way.

I agree, I personally consider my rabbits to be my pets. However, I respect their multiple purposes.

Weaning early is often done for the benefit of the rabbits and not necessarily just for breeding-mill-type reasons. That's all I meant to say. :)
 

lovelops

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Thankyou for your responses. Yes, she is 6 weeks old. I feel a little better, I realise now 6 weeks isnt ideal but its not quite as bad as that mean poster made it sound. I will email tomorrow morning and find out exactly what the food is she was eating. She seems to be thriving, she is bright, alert and responsive. She comes to the sound of my voice and really seems to enjoy being handled. I will weigh her daily to ensure she is not loosing weight. She drinks water and i have seen her munching Timothy hay, so thats good news.
Thanks for not judging too harshly.
Don't worry about anything like that .. but I would take her to the vet to get checked out. I got a rabbit last year that was less than 6 weeks and fed her. Once they start eating hay and veggies and the like she should be ok. There are weight gain items for sale at the local tractor supply or Dr. French's etc online also to help with weight gain as a supplement. I had to hand raise my two netherland dwarf mixes from 4 days old and fed them and they are going on 3 years old this year.

Call your vet and speak to them if you have any concerns about her condition medically and get him to check her out. A vet would have most of the times the best information on her physical condition if you are truly worried.

Good luck and post some pictures

Vanessa
 

Nancy McClelland

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Everyone on this forum knows to remain civil and most of us can read between the lines. None of us was born knowing everything, but, I have run into quite a few that think they do! A friend of mine summed it up nicely 5 decades ago--" why are there so many more horse's posteriors than there are horses". We have rescued a few I know were at the most six weeks and we didn't lose a one. Buck up and ignore the idiots. Some are just so narrow minded that their ears rub together.
 

monkeypooh

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Update.
I took Violet to the vet 3 nights ago. Vet gave her some special mix that i stirr into a paste to fatten her up. She has been gaining weight ( i weigh her morning and night) I have a good quality baby bunny food and have switched to Alfalfa from Timothy hay. She is doing great. Thanks for all your help!!
 

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