food for kits

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by topside1, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,869
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    hopefully i am a soon grandmother to be....through my rabbit. she is quite plump and when i went outside to feed, water, and check up on her especially, i was amazed to see she started to build a nest. i did not mention this is my first litter did i???? and hers!!! so hopefully she is going to kindle soon!!!!! well if all goes well i decided to read up on weaning and i read that one breeder gives each kit its own water dish and feeds them oats, pellets, and sunflower middles.
    i was wondering are the pellets the same pellets fed to the doe.
    also what do you all feed the kits till they are old enough to eat strait pellets...and when is that.
    same goes for the water do they really need their own dish and what size(s)/height are they.
    also i am aware of the needed amount of light in the winter (14 hours) and was wondering because i have a light on for warmth all day and night would it be wrong/too much?
    out i go to check up on her because it is around 34 and i am afraid that they might not be born in the nest box because she is unexperienced. i tried to search the archives but really did not know what to type in to find it. hope you can help me. all for now topside1
     
  2. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    281
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2003
    Location:
    Louisiana
    First thing I'll say is that kits will make a nasty mess if watered with a bowl or crock. They will climb into the water and can drown. Also, they will use the water bowl as a toilet. And you do not want them to get wet at this time of year. That can be fatal. It's best to use a water bottle or an automatic watering system. Both use a nipple and the kits will learn by watching the doe. As for feeding, the kits will begin eating by nibbling the hay that's in their nest. We drop feed pellets into the nest starting at about 9 days of age. They will start eating the pellets soon after. The feeder in the cage/hutch needs to be at least 7 1/2" wide or wider to give all the kits and the doe room to eat. Use a commercial feed pellet with 16% -18% protein, 2.5% - 3.5% fat and no less than 18% fiber. Too little fiber is bad, 18% - 21% is what you should look for. Watch for signs of diarrhea, give hay to help control it. Otherwise we do not feed anything other than pellets. Get them at the feed store, not the grocery. How much light rabbits need is debatable. We do not add light during the summer, but we keep the lights on all night during the winter. Also, we will place a heat lamp on the cage and above the nest if the temps get really low. Our rabbits seem to breed better when we use the lights and they do not show any negative behavior from having the lights on all night. Check the kits often as they can be dragged out of the nest when they fail to let go of the doe after nursing. They also will climb/jump out before they are strong enough to get back in. Because of the way a rabbits teeth are made, the doe can not pick up the kits without cutting into them. They will not return a kit to the nest if it gets out. The kits eyes will open at about 10 days (+-) and by 2 - 3 wks. of age they will be crawling all over the place. Weaning is a matter of choice. Many people wean at 4 wks., while others wait longer. We wean at 8 wks. What ever works for your needs. I would not wean before 4 wks. unless the doe died.

    Good luck and enjoy your babies,

    MikeL
     

  3. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,308
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Most kits wont leave the nest until after 3 weeks. By then, they will see mom drink from the bowl and will know how to use it. In all the years I have had rabbits that were crock watered, I have NEVER had any instance where a kit has suffered from any damage, drowning, etc. On the other hand, I have had ducklings drown. Goes to show you that some animals have a little more smarts.

    They nurse up to 8 weeks or more if mom isn't too tired of them by then. I would give some breens but only after 4 weeks or so.
     
  4. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,869
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    thank you for you all's help. she still has not kindled but i can't wait. hope it is this evening or the morin'. thank you for the info. it makes the next series of events comforted for me now knowing what to do and what experienced breeds and raisers do. thank you topside1
     
  5. rickd203

    rickd203 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    665
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    :cowboy:

    Thanks Mike,

    Good info. I hadn't thought about putting feed hay and pellets in the nest box. My kits are 11 days so this info comes at just the right time. I need to start changing out some of the bedding straw so I will replace it with feed hay. I think this might also explain why the doe keeps putting her play sticks in the nest. I get sticks from the maple trees in my back yard and cut them into 6" lengths. The bark has a slightly sweet taste and they chew the sticks down to the bare wood. I have also given them some of the corn on the cob that is sold to feed squirrels. They seem to enjoy pulling the corn off the cob but don't eat very much of the corn.

    I have always used water bottles so I know that they always have good clean water. I'm thinking of switching to an automatic watering system. Although I feed the rabbits twice a day, I sometimes forget to check ALL the water bottles. If they are all getting water out of one 5 gallon bucket then I have less to remember to check.

    I use lights on timers that come on just before sunrise or sunset to give them the effect of a 14 hour day. I heard that constant light can cause behavoir problems in some rabbits.

    :cowboy:
     
  6. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Messages:
    4,869
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    Monterey, Tennessee
    nice to hear that you, rickd203, also benifited from my question. that is wonderful that your kits are fine and hope you the best of luck in the future.
    this moring at 5:30 i went out to check up and feed my four pack. well it seems my 4 pack has finally become an 8 pack!!!! i was starting to get worried that the babies were too big for her to deliver and were stuck. that is a question i have..... if you breed a bit bigger buck to a smaller female will she have trouble....ex. this happens in dogs. thank you and wish the best of luck to every one else who needs it. topside