Separating kits from their mothers.

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Steven673

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I am completely new to this so please forgive my ignorance. Me an a couple of friends are going to raise meat rabbits and are in the process of researching and gathering supplies to make the cages. I cannot seem to find and answer to my question on any website so I hope you can help me out. When you separate a kit from the mother does each rabbit need to go into its own individual cage until it is butchered or are they all placed in one cage? This will make a huge difference in how many cages i need to build. I know it's probably a stupid question but I have been searching all over the internet and no one seems to address this particular issue. They all just say they need to be separated. Thank you.
 
There are no stupid questions.

Once the kits are weaned and eating well, I take the doe back to her cage and leave the kits in their growout cage. I raise New Zealand rabbits, and my growout cages are six feet long by 30" deep.

Oh, and welcome to RT!
 
All questions welcome here--folks have certainly been very patient with mine :)

We are also raising for meat and separate the kits from the doe at weaning--usually between 4 and 6 weeks. Sometimes we move the doe out and sometimes move the kits. Our cages are 30' x 36' and 30' x 48'. We grow out litters of 8 kits in the larger or separate a larger litter into 2 of the smaller cages.
 
Thank you this is a big help. Now I know to make an additional grow out pen. Thanks again. I am excited to learn more about this. It's something we've wanted to do for a while.
 
if you are only raising for meat then a singular grow out cage tends to work well.
If you are growing to show or to raise up a replacement then putting one/two rabbits in a cage works really well.
 
What I do totally depends on the number of kits I have, and my future plans for them.

Sometimes I'd leave a litter with the mother until processing. This works best for lower numbers of very fast weight gainers. The dam has to agree to this too, and not all will. ;)
Unfortunately, I can't use this method with my current buns, because of a tendency towards larger litters and slower weight gain.

Doelings that I intend to keep are usually left with their dams until I decide I want another litter. No specific reason, other than a vague hope that there is some benefit towards socialization. (I dream of colony buns, though I fear that goal is far off.)
So for normal weaning (which I do somewhere in the 6-9 week range) I either place the kits in another cage or else separate them by gender in two separate cages. Mostly depending on how many kits of each gender I have, and how many empty cages are available to me. :)
After I process a litter, I usually give replacement stock their own cages, or pair them up for another month or two. My harlis are good natured enough to have company for everyone except active brood does and mature bucks.
Recently, I left a junior buck in the growout pens just because he was super easygoing. He did a fine job as "babysitter" to the early-weaned litter, and was processed along with them.

If older kits are sharing cages, keep an eye on them to make sure they are getting along. Pulled fur (from mounting) is the most obvious sign of sexual maturity, and a great indicator for when they need their own cages.

As you can see, they can adapt to a variety of situations.
My personal guidelines are:

1, It's a good idea to remove kits from a caged doe before another litter arrives, as a doe may become territorial to the new kits. Also, the older kits may disturb a nest of newborns.

2, It's a good idea to remove bucklings by 12 weeks to prevent rebreeding.

3, I do not single out kits into individual cages until they have reached 8 weeks, as I feel they are healthier and happier with their litter mates.
 
Steven673":3jgvt52l said:
I know it's probably a stupid question but I have been searching all over the internet and no one seems to address this particular issue.
Marinea":3jgvt52l said:
There are no stupid questions.
Rainey":3jgvt52l said:
All questions welcome here--folks have certainly been very patient with mine :)

:yeahthat:

You have stumbled upon one of the only sites on the internet where you will never be faced with ridicule or antagonism no matter what question you pose. :D Most topics have been addressed here multiple times (the Advanced Search feature is great if you don't feel like posting a question), but we don't mind going over things more than once- indeed, oftentimes we gain new insights by doing so.

So ask away! And welcome to RabbitTalk! :welcomewagon: We will be happy to help you on your journey into raising rabbits!!!

Zass":3jgvt52l said:
I either place the kits in another cage or else separate them by gender in two separate cages.

I usually have several litters weaning at once, so I separate by sex. A word of caution- if you have a group of rabbits together for a time, and then suddenly introduce other rabbits, war will break out, so it is best done right away when the kits are first weaned or very soon after.

ladysown":3jgvt52l said:
If you are growing to show or to raise up a replacement then putting one/two rabbits in a cage works really well.

I agree- one or two rabbits to a cage will gain faster. I will place freshly weaned "keepers" two to a cage initially (mostly for warmth) and separate them into their own cages by about 10-12 weeks.
 
All questions welcome here--folks have certainly been very patient with mine :)

We are also raising for meat and separate the kits from the doe at weaning--usually between 4 and 6 weeks. Sometimes we move the doe out and sometimes move the kits. Our cages are 30' x 36' and 30' x 48'. We grow out litters of 8 kits in the larger or separate a larger litter into 2 of the smaller cages.
Once the doe has her litter, when do you put them in the grow out cage?
 
@DHarris This thread is from 2016, but I interpret the referenced post as saying that the kits are weaned to at around 4-6 weeks, and at that time the kits would be put in a grow out cage. It sounds like Rainey chooses the exact format (all in one big cage, or separated in 2 smaller cages) based on what is available.
 
This is just what works well for me, and I’m not saying it’s the best for everyone… not everyone has the space or the cages to make it work.

I have two cage sizes that I use: 24Dx36Lx18H for single rabbits and 24Dx48Lx18H for does with kits or growout groups.

Each breeder rabbit has a 36” cage of his/her own. I always breed two does on the same day so their kits will be about the same age if a foster is needed and for best utilization of available cages.

Mama stays in her 36” cage until a week before she’s due to kindle, when she moves into a 48” cage. She’ll stay there until the kits are 4-4.5 weeks old, and then move back into her 36” permanent home until a week before her next litter. When the kits are 6 weeks old, I evaluate them, tattoo with a code that tells me parentage, sex, and approximate age before separating them by gender. All males from both litters are put into one 48” cage and all female kits are combined in another. At 8 weeks I remove any I’m retaining as breeders into permanent 36” cages. If growout cages are crowded, I’ll separate breeding quality kits into group cages by sex (which size cage dependent on numbers) while offering them for sale. They usually don’t stay here very long — if I still have them by 12 weeks I reconsider whether I want to keep them myself, add them to the freezer group, or hold onto them for sale later as a proven doe/buck after siring/raising a litter.

This means I need to have a minimum of 2 larger sized cages ready for use every time I breed a pair of does — and I try to plan breedings so I have 3-4 empty ready when weaning kits.

Of course, this keeps me busy building cages, but 🤷‍♀️
 
Bit tight on cagespace, that is part of the reason to leave does with mom if she lets them (or if older they her), bucks go either to another cage or freezer at 12 weeks. If i want to wean to breed again or mom is not happy having the kits so long they all move to another cage (or freezer), but not before 8 weeks old.
Now i don't run a max production schedule due to meat needs and aiming for a closed herd (i.e. more breeding stock then just the standard trio). And i prefer meat on the hoof also partly for limited freezerspace. Along with development of young animals without adult supervision tends to give problems. I prefer animals that know what no means for instance. Doe refusing them milk is important part of growing up for young animals, just removing them because they shouldn't need milk anymore gives other problems/stressfactors i don't want.
 
Welcome to Rabbit Talk! I move them all into one cage and feed them like crazy. you can't feed them a lot when they're with mom(She eats it all). It just depends on what you want to do. You can keep them all in the same cage(as long as it's big), separate the bucks from does, and so on.
 
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