Jua Nnafie - Rabbits in Uganda
Recently we were given 3 rabbits. Last Monday (4 March) we saw two of them do the deed. I am guessing the female is pregnant now.
They'd been digging a LARGE hole for a long time, but it's as if she is now underground almost all the time. She used to come out with the other two to feed, but now she doesn't come or come very late.
They live in an enclosure with grass. The soil offers free digging opportunities.
Considering the digging, it looks like the wild to me. It's just that, the garden not being a forest, I am not sure if she has enough nesting material.
Do I need to provide her any? If so, what's best and when do I give it to her.
I have not looked in the hole yet, after she has started her underground life. We don't go in the enclosure very often.
Should we go in more often, so that she gets used to it, should we need to check the babies?
Do we need to check the babies in a situation like this?
The buck is in the enclosure with the doe (and the 3rd rabbit, not sure of its sex).
Do we need to remove him (and the other one). If so, when?
So many questions....
I hope you can help. I have never had a rabbit give birth in my home. I am very excited and hope all will go well!
With a smile,
Jua***** Karen Sez *****
With your rabbits living in a large enclosure, this is mimicking nature quite a bit. So you can probably let the rabbits work everything out on their own. Unless, of course, you notice behaviour that is concerning, like rabbits fighting. In this case be prepared to separate rabbits as needed. Do you have an extra cage or enclosed space that is separate, if needed?
Also, if you don't remove the buck soon, he will re-breed the doe just as soon as she has her litter of babies. I don't know if this is okay with you, and I don't know if you have good quality forages so the doe can support many litters.
If you are concerned that the rabbit may not have enough nesting materials, you can cut some dried grasses and offer them to the doe by placing them near the opening to her burrow. She'll use them if she needs to, and some of it may get eaten. You can give it to her now, and see what happens.
Yes, if you are able, visiting the enclosure more frequently may help to get the rabbits more used to you. We think it is good to check the rabbit nest from the day the kits are born. However, this may be next to impossible with kits that are out of reach deep inside a burrow. You can only do what you can do. The kits will start wandering outside the burrow after they are 2 weeks old. They'll be as cute as can be. :-)
One extra thing - can you get some oil seeds for your doe, like whole oats or black oil sunflower seeds? If so, it will help your doe make enough milk to feed all the babies.
It is good that you are thinking ahead. All will go well, God willing!