How to Raise Bunnies
This page is all about raising Holland Lop bunnies. I hope that you will find this page helpful! I have created this out of experiences that I have had, and hope that it will answer some of your questions.
Breeding Holland Lops
So you put the male and female rabbit together, and soon you have a wriggling litter of cute baby bunnies 30 days later, right? Not exactly. Well, it could go that way or it could go much differently. Wait, what?? Let's start at the beginning. Here are some common issues that can occur while breeding Holland Lops.
1. First of all you should always wait until your bunny is at least 6 months old. Even though rabbits can reproduce at 3 months of age!
2. An overweight or sick rabbit may not let it's self be bred.
3. An underweight or overweight doe may have problems delivering her kits.
4. For a first-time mama, it is always hard especially in dwarf breeds like the Holland Lop.
5. Always keep an eye on the buck and doe when they are together. Sometimes a doe can get pretty aggressive towards the buck!
6. Even though there are lots of things that can go wrong while breeding Holland Lops,
in my opinion, it is so amazing to have the experience of raising adorable baby bunnies!
How I Breed My Bunnies
First I pick the bunnies I want to breed. Then, I put the buck in a small exercise pen and give him a few minutes to get used to his surroundings before I add the doe. Never put the buck in the doe's cage unless you want a fight! I give them 15-30 minutes together, then I take the doe out and put her back in her cage with some whole raw oats as a treat. I'll do the same for the buck. If the doe tries to run away from the buck of backs up in a corner and growls, I will take her out sooner and try again in a few days.
Caring For The Pregnant Doe
There is not much to caring for a pregnant doe, but here is what I do for mine:
I give her lots of exercise and when I'm totally sure she is pregnant I will start adding more Whole Raw oats than usual to her dinner or breakfast. Then as she gets closer to her kindling date I make sure her environment is kept clean and quiet. So there you go that pretty much sums it up!
The Growth Of The Kits Inside The Doe
Day 8: On day 8, the kits will be about the size of a marble but it does vary on the breed of rabbit. You should be able to feel little bumps on the outside of the doe's abdomen.
Day 10-12: Between days 10-12, the kits will be the size of grapes. You probably will be able to feel the kits on the sides of your doe's abdomen. Your doe may also get cranky and grumpy around then.
Day 20: On day 20, the kits will be about the size of small eggs! You will probably be able to feel your doe's abdomen get tighter.
Day 25-28: Between day 25-28 your doe will probably be asking for her nest box, in which case you should give it to her. Also around this time, you might be able to feel little kicks if put your hand on your doe's abdomen.
Day 30-32: On day 30-32 you should be expecting babies! The kits will be about the size of a mouse! They will be hairless until a few days old and their eyes won't open until around 12 days old.
Caring for Newborn Kits
When your doe starts pulling out fur and stuffing it in the nest box, she is probably going to have her babies in the next hour or so. Leave her alone especially if it is her first time. For a seasoned pro, I think it's fine if you want to watch quietly. Usually, I'll go to check on her in about an hour. When you go to check on her and find a nest box full of wriggling fur, what do you do? Here is what I do:
1. First, I give the doe a yummy green, like kale or dandelion to distract her.
2. I pull out the nest box and remove the fur from the top, then I gently take every kit out and corral them in the front of the nest box. You can put them in a different container, but I prefer to just keep them in the nest box so they can stay warm. Then I count the kits and remove any that didn't make it.
3. After I check on them, I put the kits back in the nest box and cover them in fur.
4. From that day on I check the kits about twice a day, making sure that their tummies are round and firm, and that they are warm.
Day 1: On day 1, the kits will be about the size of a mouse. They will be hairless and their eyes are closed (no don't worry, they aren't aliens... just newborn bunnies).
Day 5: By day 5, the kits will have grown a thin layer of fur and usually I'll be able to tell what color they are.
Day 7: By 1 week, the kits will be bigger and their coats will have started to come in more.
Day 10-12: Day 10 is a big day! The kits will start opening their eyes and by day 12 they should be fully opened! If your kit's eyes have not opened by day 12, you can gently put a wet wash cloth on the eye and very, very gently help it open. By this time the baby buns should look more like bunnies than aliens.
Day 14-21: Between weeks 2 and 3, the kits will start venturing out of the nest box. If a kit sneaks out before 2 weeks, you should put it back in so it doesn't get cold.
After all if the kits are past 2 weeks old and one or two get out, you should just put all the kits out and remove the nest box from the cage. At 3 weeks, the kits start to resemble a very fluffy, cuddly, cute bunny. Of course it is totally fine to cuddle with them, as long as you are very gentle.
Day 28-35: By weeks 4 and 5, the kits will get extremely active and cute! They can be introduced to an exercise pen to play in....also by this time you can start potty training them.
Day 42-49: Between week 6 and 7 will be terribly hard for the kits because it is weaning time! When you wean the kits make sure not to separate them from one another just yet, it would be very scary for them if they are separated from mom and other siblings.
Day 56-63: Between weeks 8 and 9 if you are planning to find forever homes for your bunnies they will be ready to go to their new families now!
I hope you have found this information helpful, please understand that I have created this page for educational purposes and was inspired by my own experiences raising a small, healthy herd of Holland lop bunnies. if you want to learn more on how to care for your bunny go to Frequently Asked Questions.