I have been encouraging people interested in getting rabbits to get those that are above 8 weeks old. I believe it is hard to know without seeing how a 8 weeks old should look like. I personally have not found any website providing such information and therefore, using my own rabbits as an example, I am using this post to enlighten new comers how baby rabbits look like on a week by week manner. I will also be disclosing some common “tricks” used by unscrupulous breeders/sellers. But what’s all the fuss about getting rabbit older than 8 weeks about?
Many new comers to the hobby has been very lucky to have gotten baby rabbits a little older than 4 weeks old and survived till adulthood but I am not about to encourage you taking chances like that. Losing a pet is very devastating and nerve wreaking. I also noticed that there is another big group of rabbit owners who are lucky in the sense that the rabbits they bought were indeed older than 8 weeks. But these are those that survived being kept longer in the shops that has taken them in much earlier.
The main concern that I have for younger rabbits being purchased is that, they are under-developed especially on the part of their digestive system. What you see is not usually what you get in young rabbits. Though they may seemed to be healthy at 4 weeks and nibbles on solid food, it does not mean internally they are fully developed.
I know some of us not only purchase on impulse but also through sympathy. There is nothing wrong buying based on sympathy if you know well enough the consequences or else to save yourself from heartache, I will strongly discourage you from getting the rabbit unless you have a nursing doe at home ready to help foster this little one.
“Those are imported rabbits”. Do not be fooled. If you are given this reason to justify the price tag, please ask to see the imported parents of the rabbit in question. True imports should have tattoo on their left ear. And should come with 3 to 4 generations of pedigree. The tattoo number on their left ears should match those of the pedigree. This is one of the reason why I would like to tattoo my rabbits. But it is a very painful procedure for the rabbits and I do not want them to go through that.
Please take note that it is harder to identify with larger breeds because their sizes do not normally reflect their actual age. Looking through the following photos you can roughly get an idea. Holland Lops are dwarf breeds and I dare say this is applicable for other dwarf breeds as well. Try to look at the overall physical appearance and try to identify them when you pick your pet rabbit.
Enough of words, let’s look at some photos.
1 Week Old
2 Weeks Old
3 Weeks Old
4 Weeks Old
This is the most crucial age. Most rabbits are taken away from their mother at this age and be distributed to many locations. Highly stressful for them. Just don’t be fooled by how matured they look. They are under-developed internally. If someone tries selling you a baby rabbit that looks like this, just say “NO THANK YOU”. Cute it may be but please do not be fooled! That’s exactly how most are being cheated.
5 Weeks Old (approximately)
6 Weeks Old
Most sellers are afraid of this age because they really look ugly at this age. Most baby rabbits look ugly from this age till they are about 6 months old. Some may start to look better earlier between 3rd or 4th month. If I were you, I won’t judge them at this age. But for those using cute-ness as their main selling point, this is definitely a NO NO. If you are a newbie looking for a rabbit, this is also NO NO. Still too young. Rabbits at 6 weeks need their mother’s cecal to help balance the flora in the stomach.
7 Weeks Old
8 Weeks Old
Junior (4/5 months)
This is the time they start to blossom…
Senior (6 months & above)
There you have it, not only a repeat of the photo collections that I have but it serves as a good guide for all of us on how to evaluate the rabbits that we are about to take home.
Hope you all the best in choosing your pets!