Sexing Rabbits And Separating Baby Rabbits From Their Mother

At what age can baby rabbits leave their mother and how are rabbits sexed?

Baby rabbits need to stay with their mother until they are about 8 weeks old. Via grafvision/iStock/Thinkstock

Author: Caroline Charland

Q:

My neighbor’s rabbit recently had five babies. I would like to adopt two of them. I was caring for them while she was away for the weekend, and I noticed the rabbits are now fully weaned. Can they be separated from the doe at this time? Also, I would like two females. How do I sex them?

A:

Baby rabbits need to stay with their mother until they are about 8 weeks old. Baby rabbits start nibbling on hay and pellets at about 2 weeks old. However, just because they start eating on their own does not mean they can be taken away from their mother. They need to continue to feed from their mother until they are about 8 weeks old. Baby rabbits separated from their mother before this time often end up dying.

Sexing Rabbits

It is best to have a rabbit-knowledgeable vet or someone at a rabbit rescue group show you how to sex rabbits. An unneutered male rabbit has two pale pink testicles between his back legs. Don’t just look for testicles though, because a neutered male won’t have any. If you gently push above the genital area, a penis will come out on a male rabbit. Female rabbits have a protrusion too, so sometimes people mistake a female for a male because of this. The female rabbit has a slit in the end of the protrusion, where a male has a round hole at the end.

You don’t want to make a mistake sexing rabbits though, so have someone that knows how to sex rabbits help you.

Even if you get two female or two male rabbits, they still need to be spayed or neutered. A male-female pair needs to be spayed or neutered too. Spaying and neutering helps control the overpopulation of rabbits, and also prevents uterine cancer in females. In both male and female rabbits, spaying and neutering helps with litter box training and curbs bad habits. Finally, rabbits need to be spayed or neutered so they will not fight, even if they are the same sex.

Article Categories:
Critters · Rabbits

Comments

  • You don’t spay female rabbits because they usually die. You only neuter the males. Less stress. Next. You wean at 4 weeks to 6 weeks. Rabbits in the wild leave their babies at 3 and half weeks go build a new nest and give birth to a new litter. Most breeders wean at 6 weeks and watch for 2 weeks before selling at 8 weeks, but it is also common for breeders to wean at 4 weeks.

    Christy Trevillian December 11, 2016 8:03 am Reply
    • Thanks for your information. My bunnies are just 6 weeks. And have wanted to take them out to give mummy a break. She has done so well it’s her 1st litter and all 5 are going great. After reading your comment I’ll be taking the bubs out today to give mumma space and a few months off before breeding again 🙂

      Tracy December 16, 2016 6:19 pm Reply
  • Christy that’s completely wrong. Wild rabbits are not the same species as domesticated rabbits so what they do in the wild isn’t the same as what a domesticated breed would do. You should always keep the babies with their mother until 8 weeks if possible. Female rabbits need to be spayed because if they’re not they will almost certainly form uterine cancer. I work for a large rescue and we’ve never lost a female rabbit to spay. Breeders are not a good resource for proper rabbit care and spreading false information like this could put many rabbits in danger.

    J May 1, 2017 7:08 pm Reply
  • This is a good article about weaning age for baby rabbits. Many pet rabbit owners don’t know that baby rabbits have to stay with their mother to be fed and to learn skills until they are 8 weeks old. http://www.rabbitsanctuary.com.au

    Rabbit Sanctuary August 31, 2017 2:53 pm Reply

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