Click on the picture below
to see a video of syringe feeding on YouTube:
On rare occasions you may need to foster kits. Some experienced breeders have developed an art for fostering that maximizes their rabbit’s output potential. To learn more about fostering young kits and raising orphaned kits, complete the activity on Rabbit Production- Fostering Kits.
How to Wean Kits from the Doe
The exact age at which to wean young rabbits will depend on the breed, the intended use of the rabbit, how well the rabbits have been developing, and the owner's desires and past experience. In the past, young rabbits were never weaned before reaching eight to ten weeks of age. Now, with increased information concerning the lactation of the doe and experimentations with various weaning times, the age that the majority of kits are weaned has been reduced to somewhere between four and six weeks of age.
Weaning consideratopms: The proper procedure used in weaning the kits has been extensively discussed and researched. Most successful rabbit breeders now agree on the following parameters when weaning kits:
- The doe and litter should be separated at one time. The doe should either be removed from the kits and placed in another cage or the kits should be removed from the doe and the entire litter should be held together.
- Weaned rabbits should be kept together for two to three weeks after weaning from the doe because the stress on the weaned rabbits is reduced if the siblings are kept together for sometime after weaning.
- Removing the kits all at one time reduces the incidents of mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland) in the doe.
- By removing all the kits at one time, the doe tends to dry up what little milk she does produce much faster, since allowing some kits to stay with her would stimulate milk production though the suckling process.
Due to the stress of weaning and the fact that young rabbits (4-8 weeks of age) consume a great deal of solid feed, there is an increased incident of diarrhea and enteritis. Taking this into consideration, some breeders have a “secret technique” they use to avoid this problem in weaned rabbits. They give weaned rabbits mild astringents such as comfrey leaves (to aid in preventing diarrhea), or an electrolyte added to the water supply (to helps with rehydration).