Why is it bad for kits to move away early from the mom?

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Hermelin, Mar 10, 2018.

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  1. Mar 10, 2018 #1

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

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    I know when kits move too early from the mom they haven’t been properly weened yet and not eating soiled food fully.

    But what other consequences are there with kits that move away early?

    Just wondering because my rabbit was hand fed instead of growing up with a bunny mom.
     
  2. Mar 10, 2018 #2

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    This is from http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/poop.html

    True diarrhea is more prevalent in baby rabbits than in adults, especially if the babies have been taken from their mother before they are ready for weaning. Sadly, many baby rabbits are weaned too young to be away from their mothers. Instead of being allowed to nurse for a full, normal eight weeks, they are taken away while they are still "cute" and marketable--often as young as four weeks. This can spell death for many of them.

    Without mother's antibodies, complex organic compounds and proper pH environment her milk provides to help protect the baby's intestines, these babies are highly susceptible to over-proliferation of foreign bacteria. One of the most common culprits of runny stool in baby rabbits is accidental infection by the common human intestinal bacterium, Escherichia coli. This is transmitted from humans to baby rabbits during handling, since these bacteria are all over us, not just in our intestines. Handling an unweaned infant rabbit without properly washing and disinfecting one's hands is a good way to transmit these opportunistic pathogens. Even a loving kiss on a too-young baby rabbit's lips can kill. Until a young rabbit is at least eight weeks old, she should not be taken from her mother, as mama's milk affords protection against E. coli and other bacteria until the baby's own immune system can handle them.

    This may be antecdotal, but of all the rabbits I've had, only one pair came from a rescue that had to hand-rear the kits from very early. Both were my shortest lived. The one only lived 2 years, the other lived 5 years but had snuffles early on (the only one that had to be treated for that) and then got head tilt.
     
  3. Mar 10, 2018 #3

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

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    Aha, I hope my bunny will live long. Even thought he was hand fed from birth.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2018 #4

    majorv

    majorv

    majorv

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    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘too early’...it’s a relative term. Definitely four weeks is too young. In our experience, our does didn’t often continue nursing to 8 weeks. They typically weaned them around 6 weeks or so. We saw no issues with their growth.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2018 #5

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

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    Just thinking kits that moved before being weaned and kits never growing up with a mother. Too early it’s before they are properly weaned, from the mother. Have read so many times about kits being sold at 4 weeks old because they are tiny and cute.

    For example my rabbit grew up without a rabbit mom and wonder what the negatives could be but I got him when he was 8 weeks old could had been 9 weeks if he hadn’t learned to eat hay and pellets.
     
  6. Mar 15, 2018 #6

    majorv

    majorv

    majorv

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    Just because they’re weaned doesn’t mean they have to be separated from the mother. Even though our does typically weaned about 6 weeks, we kept them together for 2-3 more weeks...as long as they were all getting along. If the doe got tired of them we put the kits together in a cage close by. It’s important to keep the stress level down on youngsters or it causes health issues.
     

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