So, your female rabbit is expecting her first litter. Or perhaps you’ve just adopted a baby rabbit for the first time. You have no notion what you should do or where to begin.
Raising a baby bunny can be an enriching experience. However, learning how to care for young rabbits is essential. Even though the doe will handle most of the work, there are a few things you know.
This article will provide you with helpful tips on how to care for your baby bunny. We’ll look at what you should do if the rabbits are orphaned or if their mother has abandoned them. We also respond to her questions.
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Putting Together a Nesting Box
The first three weeks of a rabbit’s life are spent entirely within the confines of its nest. They then begin to explore the world around them. Prepare the nest box for the young rabbits at least three days ahead of time. The mother will have more time to prepare it to her taste.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build a nest box:
- Choose a big wooden box. 9 x 15 inches is a decent size. The walls should be five inches high to prevent the young kits from falling out of the nesting box.
- Add newspaper or paper pulp bedding to line the bottom of the box. Add hay to line the nesting box.
- Using your fist, make an indentation in the center of the hay. This makes room for the infants to lay down. Offer your female rabbit a quantity of hay to create the nesting box the way she wants it.
- Before giving birth, your rabbit will begin removing fur and placing it in the nesting box; pulling her fur aids in keeping the infants warm. Gather whatever stray fur you come across and deposit it in the nest.
- When the time comes, the mother rabbit should comprehend what the box is for and give birth to her offspring within it. You should leave her alone while she offers delivery, but you should check on the newborn baby bunnies as you go along.
When To Handle Newborn Kits
In the nesting box, your rabbit should give birth to all of her pups at the same time. To regulate their body heat, they need to keep close together. Rabbits can, on rare occasions, give birth outside of the box.
It’s unclear why this occurs, but it might be harmful. The newborn kit that has been separated will rapidly grow cold and die.
Mother rabbits do not bring their offspring back or relocate them. Pick up and place a baby in the box if you see one on its own. They will remain put once inside the box as long as the edges are high enough.
Take each baby out once a day to weigh them and evaluate their condition. If you can’t tell the newborn kits apart, use a washable marker to mark the inside of their ears.
Do not hold the newborns for any longer than necessary. Since rabbits are prey animals, being picked up might induce stress.
Feeding Baby Rabbits
The mother’s milk is required for newborn rabbit kits. For the first two weeks of their lives, this will be their only source of nutrition.
Don’t be concerned if you don’t see the doe with her young. Baby buns only need to be fed twice a day. It’s normal for their mother to spend most of her time away from the nest.
Because the mother generally feeds her infants at night, you may never witness the newborns suckling. Fortunately, determining whether or not the infants are being fed is simple.
Pick up each infant in the morning and inspect their stomachs. Their tummies will appear round, fat, and swollen if they have been fed.
Weight loss, concave tummies, and wrinkled bellies are all indicators that the babies aren’t adequately nourished. It would be best if you took the mother and all of her kits to a veterinarian as is in their nesting box for medical assistance.
How To Feed Newborn Rabbits Without a Mother
There are times when the mother rabbit refuses to feed her kits or abandons them. It’s also possible for a doe to die while giving birth, leaving living kits without a mother.
It is possible to raise healthy newborn rabbits without a mother. Without their mother’s milk, orphaned infants struggle to survive. They are prone to bacterial imbalances in the stomach and poor health.
Hand-feeding Baby Rabbits
There is no such thing as rabbit milk substitute formula. Replacement cat milk, developed for orphaned kittens, is the closest thing available.
Feed the kits in the following amounts twice a day:
0 to 1 week: 2 to 2.5 cc
1-2 weeks old: 5-8 cc
2-3 weeks old: 8-15 cc
3 to 8 weeks: 15 cc
Feed the infants with a syringe or an eyedropper. Some kits like to drink while lying down, while others prefer to drink while standing. Slowly feed them and let them swallow normally.
Allow the kits full access to alfalfa hay, grass hay, pellets, and water starting at two weeks old. Cecotropes obtained from an adult rabbit can also be given to them. It will aid in the development of beneficial gut flora.
Begin progressively reducing the frequency of feeding after seven weeks. By eight weeks, you should be able to wean the kits off of milk completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Keep Baby Bunnies Warm?
Warmth is essential for baby bunnies. Use a heating pad or cover the babies with a warm towel. Remember that rabbits are born without fur, so make sure the towel and heating pad are warm, not hot.
What Diseases Are Baby Rabbits Prone To?
Mucoid enteritis is the most common cause of infant/weanling death. Severe diarrhea may occur, and blood or mucus may be present. Bloating and gas are other side effects. A pathogenic bacterial overgrowth in the baby’s hindgut (cecum) causes mucoid enteritis.
It Is Possible to Care for Young Kits
Caring for baby bunnies can be daunting and frightening, but it is also extremely rewarding. Create a nesting box out of a wooden or cardboard box to ensure that the mother rabbit is ready to deliver her newborn bunnies.
Mother rabbits feed their young at night, but orphaned rabbits can be hand-fed twice a day. If you follow our helpful hints, your newborn kits will be happy and healthy in no time.