Weaning & Feeding Meat Rabbit Kits

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by balloonflower, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    281
    27
    86
    Jul 25, 2016
    So my little bun-buns are four weeks old today. Roly-poly little furballs who seem to be growing well. Avg weight 1.25 pounds. They seem to be eating hay and pellets well, though still bugging Mama for milk when they want.

    When should I go ahead and wean them? I won't be breeding Mama for probably another 5-8 weeks, so she will have a break even if I keep her with them another couple weeks. Will they grow better with milk a bit longer? They get free choice 17% protein pellets, timothy hay, and a couple times a day I put about a tbsp of rolled oats and/or alfalfa pellets in the feeders too. Do I just keep going with that feeding regimen (maybe minus the oats)?
     
  2. kidsbme3

    kidsbme3 Out Of The Brooder

    67
    1
    31
    Apr 17, 2009
    Forsyth County, NC
    Unless your an aggressive breeder, 5 weeks is the suggested age. Some pull at 4 weeks in order to immediately rebreed the doe. We give feed pellets 2x daily (suggested feeding amounts is on the bag) grass grown in our field, and calf mana. It's available at tractor supply. It's like candy to them and very high in protein. Only 1 tsp for growing kits and adults. 1tbls for lactating does. At 8 weeks they weigh in about 3.5 lbs dressed.
     
  3. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Given how rich rabbit milk is (for obvious reasons, right?), I think additional time nursing - if the doe permits - is beneficial. My kits are usually weaned by their mothers at between 6 and 8 weeks old. They're pastured once weaned, so they get grass and greens, gradually, to supplement the milk and rabbit pellets.
     
  4. DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

    312
    23
    81
    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern NY
    The recommended age differs depending on what you want to do with your rabbits, and how much time you have. If you have enough time, leave the kits in for about 6-7 weeks. 4 weeks is way too early. 5 weeks is ok, but not optimal.
     
  5. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    281
    27
    86
    Jul 25, 2016
    So, the main reason for weaning earlier has more to do with mama having a break before breeding again, and longer is better for the kits. That's what I had thought. They all seem happy enough--the 48" cage is so far enough space for mama and four kits and I haven't seen any issues that would make me think they need to separate.
     
  6. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    The cage is very spacious - they should all be happy as clams in there for at least 6 weeks.[​IMG]
     
  7. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    281
    27
    86
    Jul 25, 2016
    It is fun to watch them bounce all around in there. I have an empty oatmeal carton in there--they move it all over from one side of the nestbox to the other.
     
  8. supersymmetry

    supersymmetry Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    55
    91
    Jul 11, 2015
    Northern Illinois
    They will absolutely benefit from milk! This is one of the primary things that will not only promote their growth, but also their general vitality as it full of protein, fat and essential antibodies that are tailor-made for you environment. For meat rabbits especially, milk production is one of the top 3 things I breed for, for this very reason! Your feed regimen sounds fine... I feed local grass hay and pellets free choice as well. Congrats again on a successful litter!

    Very much this, ideally, I ween at 7 weeks... and have them on nipple waterers. After six weeks, one must have a large cage and make sure there is plenty of water during the day and night! If you aren't pasturing, continue your feed regiment and use more hay then pellet if possible... A complete pellet generally recommends 1 ounce of feed per pound of rabbit... it can add up fast!
     
  9. supersymmetry

    supersymmetry Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    55
    91
    Jul 11, 2015
    Northern Illinois
    That is awesome! If you are keeping any breeders out of this litter, make sure you start handling them more around this time period. It will go a long way with handling into the future.
     
  10. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    281
    27
    86
    Jul 25, 2016
    Thanks! They have been handled daily since birth--even made a trip to my girl's school and two kindergarten classrooms. I figure that besides the fact that I really enjoy the bunny snuggling, even for meat rabbits it would make the entire process easier and less stressful for both humans and buns if they were easy to handle.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by