Own a pair our couple of rabbits with mixed gender can lead to the pregnancy of one or few of your rabbit. Though if you don’t know if your female rabbit has mated with her male counterpart and get pregnant, this article might able to help you to see 5 signs of your female rabbit pregnancy.
Should your female rabbit pregnant and have given birth, you need to give extra care so the mother and her newborn babies to ensure they grow healthy. Also, you should have to take care your rabbit is not sick before during the pregnancy. (read: 12 Symptoms That Your Rabbit is Sick) Here are 9 important tips that you should now to take care of mother rabbit and her newborn babies after giving birth.
1. Separate The Mother from The Male Rabbit.
Even after giving birth, the mother rabbit has to be separated from any male rabbit until their babies have grown enough and full stop drink milk from its mother (usually 8 weeks old). But even being placed in a separate cage, please keep their cage closer too keep the mother be less stressed. The cage separation is to ensure the mother will not get pregnant again while still nursing their babies which can be detrimental for her health should the rabbit mother get pregnant shortly after giving birth.
2. Check her babies
Usually, the mother will give birth to more than one babies rabbit. There is nothing wrong should the mother only give birth to one baby, except if the treatment for her mother during the pregnancy period is poor.
The pregnancy period for rabbit usually last a month, or to be exact is thirty-one to thirty-three days. When the time is due, the mother will give birth during the night or very early morning. The mother doesn’t need any help during its delivery process.
The day you found the mother already give birth, immediately check their babies if there any baby that did not survive the delivery process. You can lure away the mother by giving treats or food so you can have easier access to their nest. After having access to the mother nest, you should remove the placenta remains or afterbirth from the nest. You should handle the rabbit babies as the mother already accustomed to your scent, it’s not recommended to send some stranger that never handle the mother rabbit to handle their babies.
3. Help The Mother Warm Her Babies if Necessary
Should the mother rabbit delivery occur outside the nest, you should place them to designated nest and prepare something to warm the newborn babies. You can warm the babies by fill a jelly pouch (or water bottle) with warm water (please watch the temperature) and place it underneath the towel and bedding in the nest. The babies should not have direct contact toward the warmed jelly pouch (or water bottle, should you use it) as it’s temperature is likely too warm for them. This method also should be used when the nest is still too cool that the babies still felt cold when handled.
4. Provide Constant Extra food and Water Access
During this period, the mother rabbit will need to have constant access to fresh food and water, please provide them and an extra portion for them to keep it nourished and hydrated. A well-fed mother will feed her babies with adequate and good quality milk. Please ensure the proper nutrition for the mother to lower the chance of the mother rabbit cannibalize her babies due to lack of much-needed nutrition.
For extra detail information, here is the detail of much-needed nutrition for the diet for the mother rabbit.
- 3 percent or less in fat
- 18 to 22 percent fiber
- 16 to 18 percent protein
- a constant access to clean water, which you should replace it two to three times per day to ensure the water freshness.
To fulfill the need of the mother, you might need stockpile some vegetable for the rabbit needs, you may need some patch of garden solely for their food in this article, besides, gardening can be fun if you know the purposes of your garden.
5. Observe The Mother Sign of Nursing
First, don’t be alarm when you see the rabbit mother constantly away from her nest and not stay for a long time with her babies. Don’t worry, it is her natural instinct to keep away from most of the time and back when its the time to feed them. Instead look for the sign of nursing. The well-fed babies will feel warm and have rounded bellies also being quiet instead mewling like a kitten.
6. Reach Your Vet Should The Mother Isn’t Nursing Her Babies
Should you find that the babies seem underfed, mewling, wrinkled skin (due hydration) and barely respond when handled, then the mother rabbit might not properly nursing her babies, you should reach your vet as soon as possible.
The mother shed her fur in the nest for her babies bedding is a sign that the mother rabbit still has her mothering instinct to nurse her babies, you might only need to bring the mother to vet to be given a small dose of oxytocin to help mother milk production.
But you have to contact your vet should the mother give birth around eight or more babies. It possibly that the mother rabbit unable to support all her babies. Should the mother completely ignore and not nursing her babies, you might get instructed to bottle feeding the babies with formula milk, which often unsuccesful since there still none formula that fully adapted for the newborn rabbit baby.
In the emergency situation, you might need to forcibly restrain the mother, hold to her to recline position, make her breast visible then feed the baby by placing them on her belly and let her babies milk from their mother breast while keeping her mother stay still and calm during the nursing. Try to rotate between all her rabbit babies should can’t support all her babies at once. This method is not recommended because it will make the mother rabbit get stressed.
7. Keep The Nest Clean
Because these newborn babies can only litter in their nest (or box), you should clean their nest daily by clean their bedding and provide them with a newly dry bottom towel. Keep clean it until they are strong enough to leave their nest.
8. Adapt to The Mother Rabbit’s Babies Diet
Around two weeks after their birth rabbit babies may begin to nibble pellet. As the time passes, the amount duration of their breastfed by their mother will be decreased and started to raise their pellet consumption. It is important to keep them being nursed by their mother because their mother’s milk will provide them with the antibody to protect them against many harmful and deadly pathogen. Should they get weaned too soon, the babies immune system might become not yet strong enough with this needed antibody. The babies should completely stop get nursed by their mother when they are eight weeks after birth.
Please refrain to feed the babies with greenery (vegetables) due to the chance of digestion complication. The babies can be fed with tiny dicy vegetables after two months of their birth. Immediately stop the fed should the babies should it cause an intestinal problem (like diarrhea). A good vegetable to start with is carrot, kale, romaine, lettuce.
If you want to grow these vegetables yourself, you can try growing it for yourself by learning it from this gardening guide for your rabbit.
9. Handle The Rabbit Babies for The Beginning Eight Weeks
Until the babies are weaned, it will highly susceptible to illness and harmful bacteria, especially E. coli, which is very deadly for the babies as it can kill them in a matter of hours after being infected. Always thoroughly wash your hands everytime you need to handle the babies until they’re weaned.
Try to handle them often because it will make them accustomed to you and lead it to be tamer adult rabbits in the future.
I hope these 9 important tips to take care of a mother rabbit after giving birth. I hope this article will provide you much-needed insight on how to taking care of the rabbit newborn babies and its mother.