Mother rabbits feed their babies twice per day. They typically feed them in the morning and in the evening, usually taking no more than five minutes for each feeding.
A mother rabbit may eat her babies because something has frightened her or because she is skittish and confused. She may also be suffering from a dietary deficiency.
People feeding baby rabbits do need to be trained on proper technique and schedule. Many baby rabbits die from inexperienced people trying to feed them and injuring or overfeeding them.
Eastern cottontail rabbits leave their mothers only two weeks after birth. Commercial breeders of domestic rabbits usually remove the babies from their mothers about four weeks after birth, but the baby rabbits leave the nest by three weeks after birth.
Owners should primarily feed their pet rabbits hay. Rabbit owners often use Timothy hay, but other grass hays, such as meadow and oat, can provide healthy variety. Dark, leafy, washed greens are also important to feed a rabbit, and owners can supplement their diets with a good-quality pellet.
A mother rabbit is called a dam, and a father rabbit is called a sire. A female rabbit that has not given birth is called a doe, while a male rabbit is called a buck.
One female rabbit is capable of giving birth to between one and 14 baby rabbits, also known as kits or kittens, per litter. However, the average litter size consist of six babies.
Rabbits do not eat their babies, according to the House Rabbit Society. After birthing baby bunnies, a mother rabbit eats the afterbirth because it is rich in nutrients, and this discourages predators from finding the nest.
The gestation period for rabbits is 29-35 days with 1-12 babies per litter; birthing can occur in as little as 10 minutes per litter. The short birthing cycle means a female rabbit can give birth to a new litter before she is finished weaning the previous litter.
A good diet for a baby rabbit, or kit, should contain a pellet food high in fiber (18 percent minimum), hay, vegetables and water. Vegetables with a high amount of vitamin A should be provided daily, including romaine lettuce, carrots, collard greens and parsley.