Many of you will have had a bunny at home at one time or another. But do you know how rabbits are born? How many babies can they have? …
How are rabbits born? Explanation for children
When Mommy and Daddy Rabbit decide to have bunnies, Mommy will have to carry them on her tummy until the bunnies are ready to go out. When they are born, rabbits are very small and delicate, therefore, they cannot be held or played with them until they have grown, or we may accidentally harm them.
Mama rabbit has between 1 and 5 bunnies, whom she takes great care of and gives them milk that she generates herself to suckle. This milk is very important for your babies, so they cannot be separated from their mother until they stop drinking it.
Are rabbits mammals?
Rabbits are part of the order of lagomorphic mammals. The hare and the pika are also part of this order.
Rabbits are mammals since they are vertebrate animals, that is, their body is made up of bones just like that of humans, and other animals in nature. They have hair all over their bodies, their respiration is through the lungs, and females have breasts, which allow them to feed their young as they secrete milk.
How are rabbits born? Reproduction
The reproduction of rabbits takes place very easily and at any time of the year, the gestational period is extremely short and the litters are usually quite numerous.
The sexual maturity of rabbits is variable and depends on both the breed and the sex of the specimen, but as a general rule all are capable of reproducing before reaching one year of life. Some species can begin to reproduce early at 4 or 5 months, although the vast majority of giant breeds do not reach full sexual maturity until 9 months of age. In either species, females take less time to be physically ready to reproduce than males. After 4 or 5 years of life, the rabbit becomes too old, so it is not recommended that it continue to mate. In order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, you can choose to neuter and spay your pet.
The gestation period of rabbits is quite short-lived, being considered one of the shortest in the entire animal kingdom. In specific terms, the gestation time of a rabbit ranges between 29 and 35 days, with an average term of 31 days. If this is not the case, the veterinarian must be quickly resorted to inducing labor or the offspring will not survive.
How many babies can a rabbit have?
In each pregnancy, the same doe can have very different litters, since these can be made up of between 1 and 5 young rabbits. However, litters of up to 15 kits have been recorded .
In some breeds, especially medium breeds, it is common for the average to be higher, with between 5 and 8 kittens per parturition. What usually happens is that, the larger the litter, the higher the mortality rate occurs among the offspring, many of them perishing practically at birth.
How are rabbits born? –
The rabbit will prepare a nest with the materials she has available, in many cases using her own hair as a mantle. When parturition begins, the doe retreats to the nest, where she remains during delivery and begins to nurse her young practically as soon as they leave the outside world.
The delivery of a rabbit is extraordinarily fast, since it is estimated that the average time they take to give birth is just half an hour.
After delivery it is important not to disturb the mother or touch the kits. Discomfort and changes in the smell of newborns can be the cause of maternal rejection and even cause the mother to kill the kits.
How can we help the birth of bunnies?
The ideal is an environment with little light, without external noise and with a stable temperature. We should not overwhelm her with our presence, she will instinctively know what to do and our role is simply as watchmen to make sure that there are no complications during delivery.
Once the doe has given birth to her young, you must be very careful that the male does not approach her or the bunnies. If you do, it is possible that the doe will be fertilized immediately after giving birth, if this happens it will be impossible to breastfeed the kits throughout the lactation period.
The newly released mother will begin to take care of her litter and feed it with her milk a few minutes after birth. Typically, you visit them twice a day to let them suckle, usually early in the morning and late at night. Breast milk will be the exclusive food until weaning, then you can start feeding them with special feed and hay.
When to separate the baby rabbits?
If, for whatever reason, we need to separate the young from their mother, this separation must be done.
when the kits have been weaned. Thus, they no longer need the contribution of breast milk, something essential for the proper development of their body.
In general, the age of 28 days from birth can be taken as a reference .
Curiosities about the birth of rabbits
Young kits are born deaf, blind and totally dependent on their mother. On the fifth day their hair begins to grow and on the ninth they open their eyes and lift their ears.
After the first four weeks, you can pet and hold the bunnies on a regular basis. This procedure allows them to easily get used to the human presence.
One striking fact about rabbits is that they are capable of devouring their young after birth. In normal conditions this should not happen, but if the mother feels in danger or becomes nervous for any reason she can act in this way. Hence the importance of giving her space during childbirth!