There is a reason for concern when weaning young bunny rabbits or purchasing them. Rabbits age 3 weeks to 10 weeks are at an elevated risk for bunny diarrhea which can be fatal. It just so happens that weaning falls in this time period.
It is tempting, then, to assume that weaning causes bunnies to die of diarrhea. But not so – it is the stress at weaning which, if not handled wisely, can upset the bunny's digestive processes and result in a bunny’s death. And since death from diarrhea can strike at any age, including before weaning and up to and throughout adulthood, let's take another look at bunny weaning worries.
We discovered the following Craigslist post aimed at both bunny buyers and bunny sellers, which linked to Raising-Rabbits as though we supported their argument:
(The post has since been removed, but in case it returns with a different posting number, we thought it best to leave this info here for now.)
Why should we care about a confused post on Craigslist?
Because the opinions of the
poster seem to be widespread across the worldwide web, and because
Raising-Rabbits exists to help present the truth about raising rabbits.
Here is what the post said:
"ANYONE INTERESTED IN
PURCHASING BABY BUNNY'S [sic]:
"Please, PLEASE! Be sure to ask the age! Bunny's [sic] sold before the age of 6 weeks will usually die due to lack of milk and their body not processing food (they get diarrhea) also called Enteritis. Do your research (https://www.raising-rabbits.com/rabbit-diarrhea.html) before buying a bunny and watching it suffer until death. An honest rabbitry will not knowingly sell a rabbit before 8 weeks of age because does not have a good chance of survival. Once a rabbit gets Diarrhea it is hard to save and usually considered gone. There is a reason for a weaning age! IT IS THE LAW a bunny is NOT sold before 8 weeks of age!!!
"I have seen bunny rabbits before the age of 8 weeks all over Craigslist lately. Just because someone says they are weaned does not mean they are of correct age! Many will selfishly sell rabbits before weaning age because they are "CUTE" at that age and sell quickly but only to doom them for death in the end. Even at 8 weeks some bunnies are not ready to be weaned. Look for diarrhea on the bottom to see if bunny's [sic] are truly ready to be weaned."
I can certainly see that the poster believes what s/he wrote, but I see a twofold problem. First, the post is nowhere near accurate, and second, the poster is a bully.
The post is representative of the online bullying that frequently occurs when opinions or situations arise that are caddywampus to one's own personal opinion. In this case, the poster took umbrage at rabbits being sold for pets before s/he thought they should be sold. Unfortunately, s/he didn't have a clue but couldn't restrain her/himself from bashing readers with misinformation and a threatening attitude.
I leave this individual to find courtesy and kindness on his/her own, and in the meantime we'll explore the truth about weaning worries:
At right: This 5-week-old kit shows the remnants of a mild bunny diarrhea. It was not physically weaned at the time. This kit never showed any signs of illness and never experienced any loose stools later.
It is impractical to lay down dogmatic rules about when you can and cannot wean and/or sell baby rabbits.
It is far better to understand exactly WHY a rabbit might get diarrhea after weaning and to prevent it as much as is possible through excellent rabbit husbandry practices.
The point is not to see how early one can wean, but to identify the biological realities of weaning rabbits in order to establish best practices and to allay any unfounded weaning worries.
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