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Okay...I learned that a rabbit that I bred went to a new rabbitry.
Thought I'd check them out and congratulate them on getting a nice bunny.

Found out that this is a rabbitry run by a 17/18 year old, under her dad's supervision.

She separates her babies out from mom as soon as they are eating, into separate cages (right around 3 weeks) and then sells them at four weeks.

She says that she has no issues with growth rates, baby bunny diseases or anything. She raises mini rexes mostly.

I'm flabbergasted. I look at my mini rexes and I can't imagine taking them away from mom at three weeks unless I had too/or mom died. Yes, i list them at 4.5 weeks and pet bunnies sell at five weeks, most at 6 and the rest to pet shops usually at 8. But they stay with mom until they are sold (unless they are boys and then I separate them out at sevenish weeks).

She's rather quite defensive about it. Has anyone else run into this? And if so, how do you handle that in a helpful way, or encourage better treatment of their wee ones?
 

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There are lots of people that do it this way. I do it the way you do mostly. I try to get them away from their mom by 8 weeks at the latest, but that being said, tell this youngster that she is losing money by doing it this way. A baby who eats mom's milk will eat it as long as they can and supplement their feed with "snacks" from mom's bowl.

If she thinks she is losing money, she might do it the better way, and its true, so that helps too!
 

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I wonder why she does it that way... It sounds like a lot more work to me (all those extra cages) and I can't see that she is ahead financially either. I agree with Dunroven. If she thinks there is a more profitable way to do things, she might change her methods. Do we have laws about this kind of thing here in Ontario? I've never sold rabbits as pets and never sold very young ones... and I am not up on what is allowed by law.
 

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One local pet store employee around here raises rabbits for the store and does the same thing. She breeds her does back a week or two after giving birth and said she had to have the babies out so the doe could raise the new litter.

Bad as a puppy mill, IMO. But how can you change someone's way of doing things? All they care about is getting those babies out while they are still small and cute. They don't care if those rabbits live to be more than 3 years old.
 

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I know we're used to the magic 8 weeks, but I doubt it's hurting the babies. Personally, I always left mine with the mother for as long as I could, because like Dunroven says, I'd rather they had milk then pellets. But (and I had some mini rexes and saw it more with them) I did have some does who were really done with their kits a few days after they were out of the nest box. If I transferred them all to one of my bigger ground cages I could get those does to put up with the babies for 5 or even 6 weeks, but if I didn't have a ground cage, those babies needed a cage of their own at a month old or the mother would hurt them, driving them away.
The rabbits I kept from those litters were just as healthy as the ones from more tolerant mothers.

And I did breed my rabbits back when the babies were 2 weeks old. The does got a break in the summer heat. My girls were all fat and happy, it didn't hurt them that I could tell. If their bodies needed a break, it wouldn't take and I'd try them again when the babies were 6 weeks old.

So I doubt it harms the rabbits. I'd be more upset about pumping babies into petstores. I think the shipping would do a lot more harm to them then the weaning. And then the chaotic environment of the pet store.
 

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You could check and see if she's violating any laws? Here in NY I *think* you can't sell them below six weeks? Eight Weeks? There is a clause about selling a batch of 6 or more of them though, I guess so they can get shipped to the pet stores?

I have weaned some at four weeks on occasion. They didn't seem to do any worse than ones weaned at 12 weeks, which is usually when I get around to weaning and sexing them! I wouldn't SELL them at four weeks though! Heck, I don't know what I want at four weeks! Even if it was something I knew I didn't want, I probably wouldn't sell it much before 6 weeks.

This next year I'm breeding LH for Nationals, which also happens to fall in the correct time frame for Easter bunnies. I'm going to sell a few of the ones I don't want to the feed store, but I told him I would take any that didn't sell back.
 

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I know in the states, laws as to selling age vary by city, county and state codes. I suggest doing a Google search to find out what the law is where you live.

We sell our juniors for show and brood stock. It's hard to gauge type with any certainty under 4 weeks of age! Ethically, we personally don't feel right selling a rabbit under 10 weeks, our reputation as breeders depends on quality stock.
 

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Beaniemom and twohunnyz have a good point. I didn't sell any of mine much before 9 or 10 weeks, my does might have been finished with them but I wasn't! My mini rex were pretty sought after by 4Hers for showing and you just can't tell much before that. I always thought that a different home/routine/feeding schedule was far more stressful then the weaning.

Many states have laws about how old an animal has to be before you sell it, but I don't know how strictly it is enforced. When I worked at a pet store we received some very young bunnies. Around here dog breeders will lie and even falsify registration papers to sell 5 and 6 week old puppies, they just want rid of them before they make too big a mess.
 

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Hmm. Raising meat rabbits you for sure want to keep those babies with Mom, consuming that super rich milk AND eating pellets to promote growth. Wouldn't doing the opposite achieve the opposite? Smaller rabbits?
 

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I couldn't find any Ohio laws regarding the age of a rabbit for sale but Indiana prohibits sale of rabbits under 2 months old, except for commercial establishments that are equipped to care for rabbits.

Sec. 13. (a) A person who sells:

(1) a bird under the age of three (3) weeks; or

(2) a rabbit under the age of two (2) months;

commits a Class B misdemeanor. This subsection does not apply to commercial breeders or distributors whose facilities are adequately equipped for the care of young birds or rabbits.
 

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Production rabbitries routinely wean at 4 weeks the does are rebred usually at 14 days and the doe need some time to rest. I wean my pets starting at 4 weeks taking out the largest and leving the smallest`
 

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I've been raising rabbits for a long time.

When I wean depends on the circumstance. When I need a lot of babies(between Oct and Jan and Mar and April when I have a small number of brood does and am needing babies for show season)I wean early so I can get the next litter from the doe. Usually 3.5-4 weeks. When it's slower and I don't need as many babies to pick from I can let them go 5 weeks. Some does I need to wean at 3 weeks. They just raise kits too big, especially small litters.
 

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Thanks for posting that Danaus. I was wondering about the age they can be sold. I started posting mine at 8 weeks old. I did wean them earlier as they were not nursing much and eating alot, but I thought 8 weeks was a good age to let them go.
 
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