Rabbits can move in: Where do I buy them?

Most people who decide to get rabbits as their pets, think about cute baby bunnies at the local pet store. But don’t be deceived by cuteness and low prices.

Ask precisely where the animals come from, otherwise it will be a big disappointment for you, later.

Minimum wean age for baby rabbits

Rabbits should never be weaned and given away before the tenth week of life.

The ideal time for this is between the 12th and 14th  week.

  • observations clearly demonstrated that rabbits drink their mother’s milk way longer than 6 or 8 weeks. Due to the fact that this mainly happens at night, most breeders don’t even realize this. Baby rabbits need mother milk to build a healthy immune system. If they are weaned too early, this procedure is disrupted.
  • The first four months are the most important socialization phase for rabbits.
    In this time they learn social behavior in a group with older ones and siblings. Therefore a harmonious, stable group with old rabbits and diffrent sexes is necessary. Rabbits that are kept alone or only with one other rabbit in this phase will later have a worse social behavior and are not so well tolerated.
  • In the first couple of weeks the rabbits play and cuddle a lot with their siblings.

The contact with an older rabbit cannot replace these games among young rabbits.

This is comparable to human childs when they grow up without children at the same age.

  • In this age the immune system and the intestinal flora are being built. Moving to a new owner (or into a pet shop), bonding and feed adjustment causes stress. The rabbits have to deal with new germs, as well. For some rabbits this leads to a life-long immune deficiency.
  • The baby rabbits eat their mother’s cecum feces to build an optimal instestinal flora.

This is only possible if the baby rabbits stay with their mother until the 16th week.

  • With the beginning of the 12th week of life, the first rabbits become sexually mature, so they must now be separated by sex. Ideally, they are neutered early in the 11th week of life, so that they can stay in the group (with a neuter from the 12th week of life or from sexual maturity, they are capable of breeding up to six weeks after castration)

Translation: Samira Oberreither