The baby rabbits are nest stools, meaning that they are born blind, naked and defenseless and spend the early days in the warm nest huddled together. Rabbit owners often do not even get the birth themselves because the mother usually gets her baby at night or in the early morning.
Even the pregnancy is quite unremarkable in rabbits, as they do not - like guinea pigs - round globally, but remain relatively slim. The behavior of the expectant mother, however, you can see some evidence of the impending birth of baby rabbits.
Nest building: rabbit mother prepares for childbirth
As a general rule, if you have an uncastrated ram and an uncastrated rabbit, you should always expect the female to expect baby rabbits. Overall, the female is pregnant for between 28 and 33 days. You may notice at this time that your rabbit lady is more rejecting and "bitchier" than usual. Around ten days before the birth, the long-eared birds start nesting, meaning they find a quiet corner in the barn and build one out of straw and hay cozy hollow and plucked out fur to bolster the nest warm and soft.
Important! Your expectant rabbit mother now needs your help, so she can prepare in peace for the arrival of the baby rabbits. Disconnect the sexually mature, uncastrated ram from the female - otherwise she may immediately return to childbirth immediately after giving birth, which would be a huge burden to which she could even die. Ten days before the expected date of birth, it is best to thoroughly clean the barn again and give the hare fresh straw and hay so that she has enough nesting material. The best is a stable that you can open from the top to check as stress-free as possible, if everything is alright. Alternatively, you can set up a cozy whelping box for your rabbit to build his nest in.
Baby rabbits are born blind and without fur
A litter usually consists of four to ten pups, but it can sometimes be less. Rabbit babies have their eyes still closed tight and not a single hair sprouts on their skin when they are born. It is vital that they stay in the warm nest and that the siblings can warm each other. Accidentally roll them out of the nest, cool them down quickly. Count the baby rabbits once when they are born so they know when one is missing. Rumped rabbit babies are very carefully put back into the nest. Healthy boys recognize that they lie close together in their warm nursery and have well-filled tummies.
Do not be surprised if you never or seldom see your mother with her offspring. She usually licks her baby rabbits only once or twice a day, usually at night. This is because wild rabbits try everything to make the construction with their young animals unnoticed by predators. For example, the wild rabbit mother closes the entrance of the building so that no one finds it, and returns in as unobserved moments as possible to nurse her little ones. In addition, she ignores the place where the nest is so as not to pay attention to it. Immediately after birth, the rabbit nibbles off her babies, consumes the egg skin and the afterbirth and licks the little ones dry. Through this process, it also stimulates the circulation of rabbit babies and the mother-child bond arises.
This is how rabbit babies develop during the first weeks
After about three days, the coat of the baby rabbits gradually grows and their drawing can be recognized. About a week later, with ten to twelve days, the baby fur has grown dense and the little ones open their eyes. As soon as the rabbit babies can see something, they slowly start to curiously explore their surroundings. However, they do not dare take longer trips until they are three or four weeks old. At that age, they are also real whirlwinds, playing with their siblings and cheering happily about. In order for the mother to fulfill her need for rest in between, you should offer her an elevated space or a separate house. In addition, at this age, the miniature people are already beginning to taste solid food. Sometimes the fur coats are then already weaned, but it may also be that they are nursed until the eighth or tenth week.
Rabbit children are generally self-employed with six to eight weeks, but should stay with their mother and their usual rabbit group for four to six weeks longer to learn the social behavior of the Mummelnasen. For small rammers, early castration between the eighth and twelfth week of life is recommended to avoid unwanted offspring and inbreeding.