New Bunny Questions


Dec 9, 2015

I picked up two breeding age rabbits from a local guy about 3 weeks ago, and my female just had an unplanned litter of pups 6 days ago.

I was told the rabbits are New Zealand Long Ears crossed with Belgians. My black and white doe's litter was 8 pups and they are ALL a different color and pattern.. white, black, black/white, blonde, gray, and one is white-ish pink.

My questions are - Is NZ "long ear" a real breed? What do the color of the pups mean? Are some of the colors more "desirable" than others? Why is the one (the blonde) noticeably larger already?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Welcome to BYC!

I have never heard of a "New Zealand Long Ear;" it sounds like something someone made up to me. The idea of them being part Belgian sounds odd to me, too - there is a breed called the Belgian Hare, but it's relatively rare these days. Belgian Hares are very tall, slender rabbits, built rather along the lines of a Greyhound - quite unique and unmistakable. It's not impossible, of course, just unlikely.

The color of the kits doesn't mean anything, other than the fact that the parents have genes that allow them to be different colors. The white markings on the one kit that you have pictured may indicate that they are part Dutch . . . or maybe something else, like part Beveren.

Congrats on your surprise litter!
Thanks for the tip about the Dutch Rabbits!!

Funny... Both the male and the female I have are black with partial white collars. Two of these kits have white collars too...

Momma has a rusty undercoat and all the babies are all the different colors listed here ->

I do beleive they are NZ cross though. One of the babies came out pure white.

Do you know if there is anything I can do to help the runt along? We have one kits that seems to be struggling...
Dutch are relatively small rabbits (3 1/2 to 5 1/2 lbs). The markings you are describing would be really, really poor for purebred Dutch, and it would be unheard of to get babies with no white on them at all (or one that is all white) so I tend to think that a New Zealand cross is pretty likely, too.

On the runt - I'm afraid I've gotten rather ruthless over the years. If a baby just doesn't seem to be able to compete at feeding time, I may pull the other babies out of the nest box and let him get a turn at nursing with no competition, but besides that, I don't try much with the ones that aren't doing very well. Too many times, I have found that the ones that aren't doing well are poorly for a reason, and they either die young or wind up as unthrifty adults. If they are tough enough to make it without my help, they generally turn out OK.

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