When do baby rabbits leave the nest?
May 10, 2021
Your pet rabbit gave birth, and you are already curious to know when this kitten will grow up and start playing.
I described everything you need to know in this post about baby rabbits growing up week by week and when you can play with them.
Rabbits are delicate animals, and you can imagine how fragile the babies are. However, baby rabbits grow up quickly, and sooner than you expect, you will see them playing around.
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When do baby rabbits leave the nest?
Baby rabbits leave the nest between three to four weeks of age. After three weeks, bunnies are weaning. During this time, they learn to survive without relying on their mother’s milk. After exploring outside the nest for a week, they are ready to leave their nest.
Rabbits are cute fluffy animals. But they were born without fur.
A newborn rabbit also has closed eyes. Around the age of 10 days, baby rabbits’ eyes are fully open. You can also see that the baby rabbit has grown full fur.
Though the baby rabbits’ eyes are open in ten days, they don’t leave the nest.
For another week or perhaps two weeks, these bunnies will depend on breastfeeding.
Doe rabbits know it better that when is the right time to stop feeding their babies.
Mother rabbits don’t breastfeed baby bunnies for long. Rabbit milk is rich and only ten minutes of breastfeeding a day are adequate for healthy baby rabbits.
Often you may see doe rabbits outside the nest and think that the bunnies are not well-fed. However, it’s the survival instinct of rabbit mothers to stay away from the nest to prevent attention from predators.
You will see the baby rabbits occasionally go out of their nest between three to five weeks and only return to the nest for sleeping.
After five weeks, baby rabbits are ready to live on their own. Five weeks old rabbits are independent and can feed on hay and grasses. They are prepared to find their food and don’t like to live in the nest.
Will baby rabbits return to the nest?
After five weeks, a baby rabbit is independent. They don’t depend on breastfeeding anymore. Thus they don’t need to return to the nest or stay close to the nest.
Baby rabbits stay close to the nest when they want to go back to sleep or feed.
Once they already learn how to live independently and find their food, they want to explore more territories.
Commonly wild rabbits live in a 5 acres radius. House rabbits don’t have the privilege, but once they leave the nest, they might find a different location within the house to sleep comfortably.
So if your house rabbits are over five weeks old and don’t return to their nest anymore, you can remove the nest and prepare a different home for them.
The nest is not necessary for independent rabbits.
How long do baby bunnies stay with their mother?
The baby bunnies stay with their mother until four to five weeks. After three weeks of age, baby bunnies leave their nest and return only to feed or sleep.
After five weeks, baby bunnies are independent can survive without going back to the nest.
Because baby bunnies only remain with their mother for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding baby bunnies is essential for up to three weeks, and after that, baby bunnies begin learning to eat hay and grass.
Do you need to clean the nest of your rabbits?
A rabbit builds its nest using hay and fur. It is usually clear and dry for kittens.
Having a dry nest is vital for the better health of baby rabbits.
Rabbits will drop their poop in the nest, which rabbit guardians don’t have to clean.
If you see an excessive amount of poop in the rabbit nest, you can clean some. Don’t remove all the rabbit droppings.
If you notice that the nest is not dry and the hay has moisture due to pee, you should replace the grass in the nest with fresh and clean ones.
Moisture in the nest can become fatal for baby rabbits. Water will attract insects and cause infection in baby rabbits. Rabbit kittens can have a condition in their eyes if there moisture in the nest.
This infection can cause even cause blindness in rabbits.
Therefore it is crucial to check the rabbit nest twice every day and clean it.
How to know if wild baby rabbits are orphans or not?
If you find a wild rabbit’s nest and notice kittens alone, don’t assume they are orphans.
People often see kittens, and if they don’t see the mother around, they think they need to take care of the rabbits.
Well, you must not touch the kittens or adopt them. Wild rabbit mothers stay away from the nest to restrict attraction from predators. Baby rabbits are vulnerable to other wild animal attacks.
So the doe lives in a different place and only goes back to the nest during dawn and dusk. The doe rabbit breastfeeds only during dawn and dusk.
Rabbits’ milk is rich in nutrition, and feeding kittens for a long time is unnecessary.
A mother rabbit breastfeeds kittens not more than ten minutes a day. Feeding the kittens for 10miuntes total in a day ensures that the baby rabbits will grow up healthy.
You will likely find a rabbit nest during the day, and the mother is not there. It’s because that’s not when the doe rabbit feeds its children.
So the baby rabbits you find out on a random day in your yard are not probably orphans.
To further ensure that the rabbits are not orphans, you can cover the nest with some grass. Next, check back again after 24 hours. If you see changes in the nest from how you left it the last time, that means the mother rabbit was back in the nest to feed the young.
Don’t adopt a wild baby rabbit without ensuring that they are not orphans. Baby rabbits can barely survive without their mother. If you see the baby rabbits are healthy and sleeping in the nest, be assured that their mother is taking care of them.
What to do if you disturbed a wild rabbit’s nest?
If you disturbed a wild rabbit’s nest, the first thing you should check that did you hurt any baby rabbit or not.
Hurting a baby rabbit depends on how you disturbed the rabbit’s nest.
If you find any signs of injuries in the rabbits, don’t try to take care of them yourself. Rabbits are delicate animals and considered exotic pets. Only professionals should take care of rabbits. If you find injured baby rabbits, immediately call the local rabbit rehabilitator.
They can genuinely help the baby rabbits.
Nevertheless, if you did disturb a baby rabbit’s nest and none of the kittens are injured, then cover the nest with some grass and hay the way it is supposed to be.
If the wild baby rabbit’s nest is in your yard and you have other pets, then keep your pets away from the nest.
Eventually, after a month, when the baby rabbits grow up, they will leave your yard, and then you don’t have to stop your pets from going anywhere in the yard.
But if you don’t keep your pet dogs or cats away from the nest, dogs and cats might hurt these baby rabbits.