The babies are coming out the nest now and chasing mom around the cage trying to nurse, nibbling at her food and tasting her water.
Holland Lops grow very quickly in the short amount of time that they are babies. Here's a detailed description of each week until 8 weeks old and what it brings in the bunny family.
Above is day of birth. We'll be following one kit as he grows up, but right now he looks almost exactly like the rest of his broken siblings. The baby we're following is the little guy at the end, with his head underneath his brother or sister. Kits are born hairless, blind, deaf, and with a poor sense of smell. They are completely dependent on mom for everything. They can't even go to the bathroom by themselves at this age.
Our little baby - dubbed "Freckles" because of the specks all over his back and face - is now one week old. He has a thin layer of fur and his color is becoming more apparent. At this age, you can tell that he's a broken orange. His ears are close to opening and so are his eyes. His sense of smell is getting better, and, whenever he thinks mom is near, he gets hungry and looks for her.
In the short second week, the babies change tremendously. Here's our little Freckles with his siblings in their second week picture. He's on the top, we can see his side. His eyes are open, he can hear, and he can now distinguish mom's smell from mine. He has a thick layer of fur.
Here's our same baby, now three weeks old!!! At this age, I'm very confident on his gender. He's a buck! His fur is getting very long but he's still only a handful! He is the smallest baby in the litter, the "runt", and has the biggest head and smallest ears of all of them.
The babies are coming out the nest now and chasing mom around the cage trying to nurse, nibbling at her food and tasting her water.
He made it to week four!! Baby bunnies can die very easily, but once they pass three weeks they are usually out of the dark until weaning. His fur is laying down nicely and is becoming so beautiful and thick! At this age, we are working with him on that carpet, should he become a house pet, teaching him to like being groomed, ect. At this age, I'm beginning to think he's a little different then his siblings.
Week five! With this one, I've included a side-by-side picture of his sister, Cinnamon. Little Freckles is a lot fluffier then his siblings! I'm now positive that he's a "Fuzzy Holland". Some Hollands (such as his mother, Gracie), carry the fuzzy gene and, if both parents carry it (because it's a recessive gene), the baby can come out with fuzzy fur, or wool, rather then fur like the rest of his family. The babies at this age are drinking less and less of mom's milk. In fact, she has them almost completely weaned herself. They eat mom's food and hay and drink water.
He's now six weeks old. From here on out, he really won't change much in looks. He's gone from "airplane ears" of week three to five to nice, lopping ears for the breed he is!
What a beautiful boy! He's seven weeks old now. This week will be a busy one for him. He'll get reserved, weaned and then sold all in one week! His fur is still continuing to grow and getting crazier!
This is the last picture I took with the little boy. He's 8 weeks old and ready for his new home. The day after this picture was taken, Mr. Freckles left to become a little house bunny for the Rodgers family and is renamed "E.B." from the movie Hop! He's spoiled and his family loves him so much! However, we'll always remember him and love him here, too!
Rabbits, just like humans, love a little extra treats in the diet. As long as the treats don't interfere with the rabbit's hunger for its pellets and hay, and the rabbit doesn't become obese, we have no reason to withhold a yummy "something".For treats, I prefer giving fresh fruits/veggies to older rabbits and oats to babies. Store-bought treats with added sugar are just bad for the rabbit's teeth and don't need to be bothered with. If you want to feed something other then a fruit or vegetable, try Special Bunny Cookies made with everything a rabbit over 6mos can eat!!! You don't need to add the honey, because rabbits don't really have a sweet tooth, and your rabbit will appreciate it just as much as a pat on the head!! I'm going to be making these soon for my bunnies, but so far I haven't got around to it.
There are certain treats that rabbits love. There are other treats that would make them sick of fed to them. Here's a list of what rabbits can/can't eat:
Alfalfa Sprouts, Apples & Apple branches, Artichoke, Asparagus, Banana (no skin), Basil, Beet Greens, Blackberry Leaves, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, Carrots and Carrot Tops, Cauliflower, Celery, Cheerios (not many), Clover, Coriander (Cilantro), Dandelion Greens and Flowers, Eggplant, Grass, Kale, Mint, Mustard Greens, Oatmeal (plain dry), Parsley, Peaches, Peppermint Leaves, Peppers- Sweet, Pineapple, Pinecones, Plums, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Leaves, Radishes & Leaves, Shredded Wheat (plain), Spinach, Strawberry Leaves and Strawberries, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Turnips, Turnip Greens
NEVER FEED ANY RABBIT UNDER 6 MONTHS ANY FRUITS/VEGGIES OR THEY COULD GET DIARRHEA! ONES IN BOLD ARE THE ONLY ONES IN THE ABOVE LIST THAT BABIES CAN HAVE
Alfalfa Hay, Apple seeds, Baby Carrots (treated with preservatives), Banana Peel, Broccoli, Cabbage, Candy, Carpet, Cherries and Cherry leaves, Citrus Peels, Corn, Dried Fruit, Lettuce, Nuts, Pear Seeds
NEVER FEED LETTUCE! IT CAN CAUSE STOMACH ACHES AND DIARRHEA!
My rabbits especially seem to love their oats, carrots, kale, peaches and strawberries, and celery.
Some breeders give their rabbits bread. We don't, because we hardly ever have it in the house (everyone in my family besides my dad is allergic to gluten and dairy), and I don't believe it is very good for the bunnies' digestive system.
This post is going to be mostly what makes up a good rabbit pellet and what rabbits need in a pellet. Holland Lops are very sensitive and can't handle things that bigger, meat-breed rabbits can. The point of a good rabbit feed is to be well-balanced and have everything a rabbit needs without providing a ton of other supplements.
I feed my rabbits Albers Rabbit Feed. It's fantastic and I've never had to use any other feed. I agree with the ingredients and everything it has in it. No matter the feed you buy, you should always look for these traits:
16% PROTEIN: Hollands cannot have high protein because they are a small breed. Under 16%, for Holland Lops, is not enough protein for this active breed.
AT LEAST 16% FIBER: Albers Rabbit Feed has between 18% and 21% fiber. The more fiber it has, the least amount of hay you need to feed. Hay should still be in the diet because it's what consists of wild rabbit's diets, and helps keep the teeth at a normal length.
FAT CONTENT: Alber's has 2% crude fat. There should be as little fat as possible, yet still some.
SALT: There should be some salt in the pellets. If there is none, offer a salt spool. Albers has a relatively low salt content which I don't like very much, but treats and oats provides enough salt without the spool.
VITAMINS AND CALCIUM: Vitamins and calcium are optional. Most feeds have added vitamins and calcium, I have never seen a feed without.
TIMOTHY OR ALFALFA BASED: Albers is Alfalfa-based. If you feed an Alfalfa-based pellets, never feed Alfalfa hay.
NO CORN!! : Rabbits cannot have corn. Corn clogs their digestive system and doesn't break down properly in their stomach. In other words, they are allergic to it.
Look for an upcoming post on hay, the best kinds to buy, and the best places to buy hay!
Water is a vital part of a rabbit's diet. Water and food are the same side of the same coin. Without water, the rabbit will not eat.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep the rabbit's water bottle full, or at least to make sure that the rabbit always has access to it.
One day, a little while ago, Gracie still had food in her bowl from the day before, which isn't like her at all. Her water bottle was full. I put my finger to the nozzle and coaxed water out of the bottle. None came, so something was wrong.
I took the bottle in the house and unscrewed the nozzle. This bottle (the glass one) had two balls inside, so it doesn't drip. Well, the second ball got stuck so water couldn't flow.
After I got the bottle fixed and put it back in her cage, she drank for literally a full ten minutes or more. After she was done drinking, she ate and ate and ate.
Rabbits generally drink 1/2 cup of water per day. More if there is a lot of salt in the diet or in the summertime. My rabbits probably drink over half a cup because they get half a cup of food per day. Naturally, they should drink more then they eat.
Rabbits shouldn't get hairballs if they are getting enough exercise and have a proper diet. However, sometimes when a rabbit is shedding or molting, the fur will have a hard time passing through the digestive system. Rabbits cannot throw up so they don't pass the hair balls the way cats do. Hairballs are never fatal by themselves, but they can make the rabbit stop eating because it feels full.
To prevent hairballs, brush or comb your rabbit everyday when it is going through a heavy shed/molt.
If the rabbit does get a hairball, it will not look bloated but may stop eating or eat very little. If your rabbit stops eating it can mean a number of things. However, if it has been violently molting then treat for a hairball.
To break down the hairball and get the gut moving properly, give the rabbit a couple papaya enzymes. They can be purchased at any vitamin store.
After the hairball is nonexistent, increase the playtime of your rabbit and give it more exercise. Rabbits that are fit and healthy should never get a hairball.
Rabbits are very delicate. They're small, lightweight creatures, with tiny bones and a fragile digestive system. Not all breeds are on the same level of "delicate", and not all rabbits within the breed are as delicate as the next.
Each rabbit is different, but we all have to take precautions. Something that's done with "good intentions" such as feeding a baby bunny a carrot, can prove to be fatal. Or, the rabbit can be completely fine and beg for more.
Rabbits in the wild know how to protect themselves, which foods they should and can't eat, and how to avoid being eaten.
Our rabbits are not wild. They are domestic. Sure, a baby bunny can eat a carrot in the wild and be completely fine. A wild baby bunny could also have a heart attack and die in your arms if you try to pick it up.
Over the years of domesticating rabbits, breeders have fed what's easiest to get and the cheapest. It's much cheaper to buy a bag of food, than a dozen carrots, per day, per rabbit from the supermarket.
As the rabbits ate less and less of what they would find in the wild, their digestive systems were trained to accept what they were being fed now, and shifted from the farmer's garden to a balanced diet of pellets, water and hay.
Of course, there are breeders that feed baby bunnies banana, carrots, apples, ect. and they never show signs of being sick. However, they probably have been doing that for many years and know what to do if a baby were to show signs of being sick from the fruits or veggies.
Holland Lops, as a breed and as individual rabbits, have never seen the "wild". They've never tasted "freedom". And they don't even care. Without humans, they are lonely, sad and depressed. The breed was developed to be just the way it is. Constantly seeking attention, Hollands thrive in human interaction and make wonderful pets.
Holland Lops could never, ever, survive in the wild. No breed that was developed in a rabbitry could. Letting your rabbit go because it would have a "better life" in the wild than in a shelter is sentencing it to a quick death, either by eating something poisonous, not being able to find its own food or water, or being eaten itself.
Even though they are so delicate, you don't have to worry about your rabbit accidentally eating a leaf as a baby. If they show any signs of pain after being monitored for a couple hours, or they have a difference of droppings (smaller, bigger, runny), take them to an emergency "exotic" pet vet.
We bred Gracie yesterday! I borrowed a buck from Dragonfly Hollands Rabbitry, and he's a real looker. Nickole's Kico is so soft, beautiful and has great width, crown and ear shape and placement!!! I'm so excited to see what these two produce, because Gracie has a lot of her own width.
Gracie only successfully "took" twice. She wasn't in the right mood, but I'd wished she had gone another time. I'm sure Kico got her, but she went for 3 last time and had her 5 babies (all alive and healthy!). I can't wait for more babies. There's just that feeling in your heart when you put your hand into a warm nest of baby bunny bodies for the first time. I guess you just have to be a rabbit breeder to understand. :)
Hoping for the best, and the countdown begins!
Here's the pair - Dragonfly's Gracie (orange) (not the best picture), and Nickole's Kico (chinchilla):
Well, it's October now. There hasn't really been much to blog about lately, besides articles and such. BUT, we are going to get Gracie bred on Saturday! YAY!!! I miss tiny baby bunnies!! I'm going to borrow a stud again from Dragonfly Hollands rabbitry, but I don't know which one yet . . .
Gracie is shedding horribly. I hope she finishes her molt soon, because I don't want her to be positively naked after she's pulled fur for her babies! With her first litter, she pulled so much fur! Her tummy and the inside of her back legs were completely bare! She pulled fur at 22 days, 28 days upon the arrival of the nest box (she knew exactly what it was for!), and minutes before giving birth.
I'll blog again on Saturday after Gracie is bred, saying how it went. :)
My name is Holly.
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