Pellet Question for Mama and Babies

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by hokankai, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Oct 11, 2011 #1

    hokankai

    hokankai

    hokankai

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    My housemates and I are fostering a mama rabbit and her 3 three-week-old babies and I was wondering if I should provide them with pellets free choice or whether I need to take them out for part of the day. They seem to be munching at the pellets (Mazuri Timothy based) and emptied their bowl sometime in the evening. Should I just keep filling it and let them keep munching? They seem to not be nursing anymore that I can tell.

    Thanks!

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  2. Oct 11, 2011 #2

    Korr_and_Sophie

    Korr_and_Sophie

    Korr_and_Sophie

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    At 3 weeks they would still be nursing. Rabbits tend to nurse once or twice a day and that is usually around dawn and dusk. You probably won't see it happen anyway unless you pay very close attention, it only lasts for a few minutes each time. If the doe does not know you really well, she may wait until you are out of the room to feed the kits.

    Are you giving them lots of hay and are they eating it? They should not need as many pellets if they are eating lots of hay. At their age, alfalfa hay is better especially as you are feeding a timothy based pellet.

    It is better to let them have all the pellets they want within reason. Young rabbits grow quickly and need the nutrients to grow well and develop the way they should. Since the doe would still be nursing, she also needs the extra calories to produce enough milk and avoid taking the nutrients from her body to do it.
     
  3. Oct 11, 2011 #3

    hokankai

    hokankai

    hokankai

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    Okay, thanks! Yes, I have two different hay containers, one on each side of their pen. I believe they're eating it as I see them nibbling at it, but it looks like they prefer the pellets. I have Timothy in there now but I can grab some alfalfa and do a mixture of both. I have a feeling they're going to go through it fast! Haha

    Another question, none of us have ever had rabbits before, but I know mama should be getting fresh greens daily. If I were to hand feed her greens is that the safest way to get her what she needs without overloading the babies' systems with fresh veggies?
     
  4. Oct 11, 2011 #4

    Korr_and_Sophie

    Korr_and_Sophie

    Korr_and_Sophie

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    There are mixed opinions about veggies with young rabbits. Some people say no veggies at all until they are 6 months and others say around 3-4 months. There are people who will give veggies younger only if they know the mother has had them and the babies have had them from a very young age.

    I think it would be better to not give them to the babies right away. Start by giving the mom some and see how she does, especially if you don't know if she has had them before. If she does well, you can try small amounts with the babies, like a small piece of lettuce or a couple pieces of parsley for them to share. As they get older, you can give a bit more. I would not give too much as young rabbits are more sensitive and small changes can upset them.
    Getting them to eat more hay can probably help too.
     
  5. Oct 11, 2011 #5

    hokankai

    hokankai

    hokankai

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    Sounds good to me. We gave mama a leaf of romaine last night and she seemed to really enjoy it. We hand fed her strips so the babies wouldn't get any, but they tried to steal bits from mama's mouth >_> haha.

    So it definitely looks like they are eating more of the pellets than the hay. Would removing the food for a couple of hours a day or overnight be a bad idea? I just want to make sure they are getting enough hay.

    Oh, and one more question, how often should we be cleaning the litter box? We got one of those kitten-sized ones and they basically filled it in less 24 hours, hahaha. I came home from class and found a very full litter pan and piles on the floor, so I'm assuming mom decided it was too dirty and wanted to go somewhere else. I emptied it and put the piles back in there, so we'll see how fast they fill it up again I guess :p.
     
  6. Oct 12, 2011 #6

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

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    Might want to give the babies alfalfa--good for their first six months as it's higher in protein and calcium for their growth and they tend to like it more as it's sweeter to the taste. I'd leave the food in. We clean ours everyday, but we have some large pans and bunnies. Probably as needed would be best. And, they are darling!
     

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