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Rabbit Rhythm #51 – How early can rabbits get pregnant, cottontail falls from the sky and more
August 19, 2014

Rabbit Rhythms of September

As summer begins to wind down, and young rabbits begin turning into not-so-young rabbits, you might be surprised at how fast that transition can occur!

One Raising-Rabbits visitor found out the hard way:

“My female rabbit is 17-and-a-half weeks old and she just had 7 babies. I was letting her mingle with my boy rabbit just a little, while I switched their living spaces (outdoors in the bunny run or inside in the bunny room).

“I didn't think she could get pregnant because she was so young, but I still kept it short. Then I heard her make a noise and noticed that he had tried to mount her. From that point on I didn't ever let them mingle again.

“But it was too late! I noticed her wool all over the place today and checked and I felt a lump in her belly. I was freaking out. I called my friend, who knows bunnies and she was sure she couldn't be pregnant so young.

“Anyways, I just went down to check on her at midnight and discovered the litter. I've been up all night fussing and reading online articles. I feel terrible for her. I’d like to know the possible complications and if my bunny will be all right!! ... Alana.”

As a prey animal, rabbits are designed to mature early so they can propagate the species quickly. This is so the species can endure a high rate of predation and still survive.

The earliest pregnancy in a domestic rabbit was 11-12 weeks, according to one unsubstantiated report, while the scientific tome, Rabbit Production, reports that rabbits on average can become pregnant at around 14.2 weeks of age. Mind you, this is on average.

If Alana’s rabbit delivered a litter at 17.5 weeks of age, it must have conceived at around 13.5 weeks of age, which is very early indeed.

Will Alana’s rabbit be alright? Yes, probably. But sometimes, young does do abandon their litters. Whether or not the litter survives depends on several factors, including among others the doe’s health and maternal instincts.

The above scenario is covered in depth in the following resources:

The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver dedicates all of Part III to rabbit reproduction – 88 pages full of questions and answers covering the gamut from breeding to weaning. In total, you'll find 301 pages of solutions for nearly every imaginable situation confronting rabbit raisers and owners.

Additionally, the e-book, Rabbit Reproduction, provides 104 pages of instruction covering the how-to's of rabbits reproducing.

Overheard ...

From Ottawa, Ontario, Canada comes this delightful story:

My Cottontail Sidey

"My pet rabbit literally dropped into my life four months ago, May 2014. I work as a letter carrier and was surprised when a crow flew by and dropped a young bunny in the middle of the road. While I realize the rabbit was the crow's dinner and nature can be cruel, I was horrified at what I was seeing.

"I scooped up the dazed bunny and put her in my shirt pocket. She was the size of a hamster. The vet I took her to glued shut a quarter size wound. I decided to bring her home...."

Continue reading here

Healthy Rabbits

Fly Strike (Myiasis)

A visitor to Raising-Rabbits had been given a 2-year-old neutered male rabbit, which lived happily in her back yard. A year later, the rabbit started acting very agitated, and wouldn't sit still for long.

By that time, its rear was caked with feces, and there were little bugs crawling around the area. A vet appointment was secured, but it died beforehand.

“Does anyone know what could have been the problem?” the visitor asked.

It seems fairly clear that the rabbit died of fly strike, a condition more officially known as myiasis. Flies, attracted by the rabbit’s fouled rump, laid their eggs in the manure. The larvae hatched, penetrated the skin, and the rabbit succumbed to infection or toxic shock from the larval poisons and excrement. Pretty gruesome.

Do you have a mainly free-roaming outdoor rabbit? Is it sufficiently tamed that it will come easily to you for checking? Or, do you have a method whereby you can reliably catch or trap the rabbit so it can be checked?

Additional information on fly strike can be found on page 286 in The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver. This book also has a wealth of info on nearly every health challenge and rabbit husbandry issue you might run into!

Rabbits in the News

Whole Foods Market is now selling rabbit meat,which in my opinion is an applaudable move.

I've seen two very brief and one-sided news stories on the issue - for example this one - which largely present the objections of those individuals that wish to redefine rabbits only as pets, and ignore or are ignorant about the long and rich history of rabbits as meat dating back thousands of years.

Humans are scientifically classified as omnivores due to the profound differences between human digestive processes and those of herbivores. For more info on the impossibility of obtaining the essential Vitamin B12 outside of animal nutrients, see Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

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Your friends at wish you a wonderful September, 2014.

Happy Autumn, and enjoy your rabbits!

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