While baby bunnies are a cuteness overload, it may be difficult to know how old they are since the mom, or doe, will probably kindle her litter in the safety of her burrow.
When the babies do emerge, you may wonder just when they were born. A quick rule is found in their beautiful peepers.
Baby rabbits, or kits, open their eyes at around 10 days of age. Other signs to help tell their age more accurately include the amount of fur they have, whether they can see and hear, and also their weight. Even the position of their ears is significant in telling a baby rabbit’s age.
Rabbit Age Range – Noticeable Changes
There are several noticeable changes that happen as a baby rabbit grows and matures. You will notice the following signs that can help you determine how old your bunny is:
3 Days or Less
When baby rabbits are born, they are pink fleshy bundles as they have no fur and are blind and deaf too. They are completely dependent on their mother for sustenance. Bunnies nurse and rely on sustenance from their mother’s milk up to three weeks of age.
From 7 Days
At around 7 days of age, your baby rabbit will start to grow fur. This is when they are preparing to withstand the elements of being outside the warm burrow that’s been their whole world till now.
From Day 10 to 12
When your bunny is 10 days old, its eyes begin to open. They start to interpret sight, though they are still deaf at this age.
Only by day 12 will kittens experience their first sounds as their ears start to open.
At 3 Weeks Old
As your bunny turns three weeks old, they begin to eat solid food. This is also when they start to make a special kind of poop known as caecotrophs, which is nutrient-rich (and while this is exceedingly gross), your baby bunnies will snack on these at night.
During this age change, baby bunnies will also start to venture out of their burrow. This is when they start to explore their world.
They will stick close to the burrow as they are vulnerable to predators, and this is also where their mom still comes to feed them (though more infrequently so).
At Five Weeks
By the time your baby bunny is five weeks old, they are ready to leave their burrow and go out on their own for longer distances.
Their mom will stick around for a few more weeks to look out for them and help them with the occasional feeding and by keeping an eye out for predators.
After Five Weeks
When baby rabbits are 5-6 weeks old, they are more adventurous and become fully independent. They are ready to leave their mother for good as they are now fully weaned.
At the age of 8-12 weeks, rabbit kittens are ready to be adopted by new owners, which is when they are usually ready to be sold or rehomed.
Baby rabbits become mature enough to reproduce around 12 weeks of age, which is when they need to be separated according to gender.
The Second Six Months of Life
Between the age of 6-12 months, your bunny will reach its adult weight. Smaller and standard breeds mature earlier and you can get a final indication of their size and weight at age 10 months.
Large or giant breed rabbits will reach this after a full year of growth.
The average bunny adds on half a pound of weight per month after six months of age. This means you can calculate their age by subtracting two pounds from their weight (which accounts for the first six months) and divide the remainder by half to reach their age.
So a bunny that weighs eight pounds will have weighed two pounds at six months, and the remaining six pounds when divided by half will yield the age of one year and six months. This is not the most accurate measure as there will be some variation according to breed though.
Rabbit Age Changes for Different Breed Size
Different breed rabbits have different changes according to their age. Dwarf or miniature kittens can weigh in at as little as 1-1.5 ounces, while giant breed bunnies can rock the scale at triple that at birth.
Your bunny will gain different weight values based on its breeding. Large breed bunnies will gain as much as three-quarters of a pound in weight per week as they age, while dwarf or miniatures will add as little as half a pound per week.
Dwarf rabbits are usually fully grown by six months of age. They will weigh in at less than 2-3 pounds when mature.
So if you notice your young baby bunny is already weighing four pounds, then they are not a miniature after all. However, most bunnies aged six months old will weigh at least two pounds and they gain half a pound per month after that.
How Old Are Baby Bunnies When They Leave the Nest?
Bunnies are ready to leave the nest (if you have a domesticated bunny) or a burrow (in the wild) when they are 6-12 weeks old. This is quite similar to human age as a 6-week-old bunny is the equivalent of a 16-year-old teenager.
Therefore, a year old bunny is the age equivalent to a 20-year old human.
How Old Are Baby Rabbits When They Are Ready to Breed?
Life continues, and once the baby rabbits have left the nest, it won’t be long before they are ready to have their own litter of furless pink babies to rear and raise. But how old are bunnies before they can have their own litter?
Medium to large breed rabbits is sexually mature and ready to breed at four to four-and-a-half months, while small and miniature size rabbits are breeding-ready at three-and-a-half to four months. Giant breed rabbits only mature for breeding at six to nine months.
Bunnies are exciting additions to the family, and while you may be eager to have your first litter of beautiful kittens to play with, you should be aware of their aging, the rate they mature at, and when they are ready to breed. This will help you enjoy your bunnies without an unexpected population boom.
If you are getting a new bunny as a pet, it is always a good idea to weigh them to confirm their age before simply letting them hop into your rabbit population.
Age determines their feeding requirements and health care, so knowing your rabbit’s age is essential for good rabbit-keeping.