How much goat milk to feed a baby rabbit
Caring For Orphan Baby Rabbits
Wild Baby Bunnies – Orphaned or Not?
Wild baby bunnies are most often not orphaned! Many people mean well when they contact HRS after discovering an “abandoned” nest of wild rabbits. Often they wish to “rehabilitate” them with some advice from others. The reality is fewer than 10% of orphaned rabbits survive a week, and the care that people attempt to provide can be illegal, unnecessary, and potentially harmful.
The best thing you can do is put the bunny right back where you found him, in the general area, as the mom will only come back at night to call and find him. Leave the area. If injured, please contact a wildlife rehabber or rabbit vet immediately! You can search Google for your state/country and wildlife rehabber. Also search your state + wild rabbit rehabbers. You can call your Humane Society for referral and also check here: http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator If you find a baby with eyes open, and he appears healthy, leave him be.
I/My Dog/My Cat Found a Rabbit Nest! What Do I Do?
Rabbits hide their nests in plain view, often putting them in the open, sometimes in the middle of the lawn, as well as in brush piles and long grass. If you find a nest that has been disturbed, do all you can to restore and protect it. Do NOT bring it inside. If a dog has discovered the nest, keep your dog away from the area and reconstruct the nest with grasses. If need be, you can move the nest a few feet away where safer, even up to 5-6 feet away. A moved nest should always be covered with string in a tic tac toe pattern and monitored to be sure the mother found it and came back to the babies. She will scrabble away the surface area to feed her babies beneath her and then scrabble the earth, grass, leaves, back over the nest to hide it again so it’s pretty easy to see if the string has been disturbed and if the babies are warm.
Baby jackrabbits wait like this for mom
Babies should never be put back into a nest that has been flooded with water, has bugs/ants visibly crawling in and out, or if a baby has been killed and there is blood in the nest. Use common sense. Baby bunnies who have fleas are compromised and should be immediately taken to a wildlife rehabber or humane society, rabbit vet.
Rabbit mothers nurse their babies for approximately 5 minutes a day. Both wild and domestic mothers will be in the nest early in the morning and then again in the evening. The milk is very rich and the babies “fill up” to capacity within minutes. Mother rabbits do not “sit” on the babies to keep them warm as do some mammals and birds. They build a nest with fur and grasses which helps to keep the babies warm in between feedings. For domestic/pet rabbits, do not force a mother rabbit to sit in the nest box. You can pick up the babies and see if they are feeding by checking the size of their stomachs (should not be sunken in), the pinkness of their skin and activity level (they should not be blue in color or sluggish in movement) and the amount of time that you hear them crying (baby bunnies should be quiet most of the day…. if they are crying constantly then they are not getting fed). If you come across a nest of wild bunnies, and the mother is nowhere to be seen, please DO NOT disturb them.
If your dog disturbs a nest, or you find a wild bunny with his eyes open, please put him back if not injured. Mom will be coming back at night to call and feed him only once in the middle of the night. Do not take the bunny inside or feed him! IT IS A MATTER OF HIS/HER SURVIVAL AND UP TO US AS HUMANS TO LEAVE NATURE BE AND LET THE MOM CARE FOR HER YOUNG. We often hear of mothers moving their babies and their nests, and have seen moms come back every night for up to a week to look for her missing baby. Do not take the baby from the mom or she will be frantic. Many call or write saying, “… but it is raining, etc., ” but remember, these are wild bunnies and belong out there.
I/My Dog/My Cat Destroyed a Wild Rabbit Nest! What Do I Do?
Remake the nest as best you can with grasses, hay, straw in the same place. Nests can be moved to a safer place up to 10′ away from the original site and can be reconstructed if necessary. To make a new nest, dig a shallow hole about 3″ deep and put into it as much of the original material as you can recover, including the mother’s fur. Add dried grass as needed, and put the young back. Mother rabbits return to the nest to nurse only at night, staying away as much as possible so as not to attract predators. To determine if the mother is returning, create a tic-tac-toe pattern over the nest with straw, grasses or tiny twigs. Wait 24 hours to see if the twigs have been disturbed. She may be able to feed them without moving the twigs much, so double check–If the babies look healthy, are warm, then the mother is coming back. If they are cold, dehydrated, get them to a professional; do not care for them yourself. Please contact a Wildlife Rehabber or rabbit vet or Humane Society immediately. Google your state and wildlife rehabbers. Also check http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator.html and http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitatorA healthy jackrabbit waiting for mom. Leave him be.
How Do I Know If the Wild Baby Bunnies Need Help?
Very young wild baby bunnies with eyes closed and ears back rarely survive in captivity, even given the most expert human care; and so it is very important to determine whether they really need help. Try to assess whether the infants seem warm and healthy or cold, thin, and dehydrated. One test for dehydration is to gently pinch the loose skin at the back of the neck. If it does not spring back in one second, or stays in a “tent,” the bunny is SEVERELY dehydrated and needs rehabilitation IMMEDIATELY by a professional rabbit vet or rehabber. Another test is to stroke the genital area to stimulate elimination if the eyes are closed. If the pee is brown and gritty, the mother rabbit has not been there to help the bunnies urinate. The brown, gritty urine is toxic, and the infant bunny must be cared for by a professional. Please contact a Wildlife Rehabber or rabbit vet immediately. Google your state and wildlife rehabber, call your Humane Society, and also check http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator.html and http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator.
Older baby bunnies who are found outside of the nest may not be orphaned or in need of assistance. This is most often the case. Baby cottontails are born without fur but develop a full coat in a week. Their eyes open in 10 days, and in three to four weeks they are weaned. At this age, they may explore the world outside of the nest but return there to sleep. They are not ignored by the mother but stay with the family group until four or five weeks of age. To determine whether a bunny of this age needs assistance, first see if the bunny feels cold to the touch; perform the dehydration test. Also look for bleeding, convulsing, fly larvae, broken limbs; if any, get to a rabbit vet or emergency vet immediately. If he is just out and about, leave him be. He is discovering his world, waiting for mom to return at night when we humans are asleep. Don’t assume because he is letting you pick him up, he needs help. They are prey animals, taught to freeze when a predator (or human) approaches. Leave him be!
What if the Baby Bunny is Injured?
Either call or take him to your local rabbit vet, humane society or animal shelter/animal control. Call first as often they will come pick up the baby. If after hours, contact a local emergency rabbit vet or rabbit vets found here and also here. The best thing you can do for an injured wild baby bunny is to get in touch with a skilled Wildlife Rehabber by searching your state/country and wildlife rehabber, or calling your Humane Society, and or trying this link http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator. html and http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator
Is there anything I can do to avoid orphaning wild baby bunnies?
The harsh reality is that many of us who care about wild baby bunnies may be contributing to the suffering and death. House cats who roam outside will kill about every other time they go out. And unlike feral cats who hunt because they are hungry, and kill immediately, house cats maul and torment their prey, sometimes skinning baby bunnies alive. Cat owners need to provide managed outdoor habitats for their cats – such as window boxes or pens. Providing a bell on your cat will help warn the wildlife if you cannot keep him inside. Keep your dogs on a leash with you if you see a rabbit nest.
Lawn chemicals can produce convulsing death in baby rabbits. According to the Poison Control Center for Animals, lawn applications that contain herbicides are not directly toxic to small animals; but they may make toxic plants more palatable to them and may make the animals sick for a few days. Products which contain insecticides, such as Dursban or Diazinion, which are added to many lawn products to control fleas or grubs in the lawn, are toxic.
The Bunny isWild and Really Orphaned – How do I care for it?
Again, make sure you KNOW for sure the mom was killed and the bunnies are abandoned (not warm, etc.). You will not see the mom. The mom will only come back in the middle of the night to feed her babies. If the mom was killed, the best thing you can do for a wild orphaned baby bunny is to get in touch with a skilled rehabilitator. In the meantime, call your local humane society or animal control and one of these vets for a wildlife referral: Rabbit Vets and Pet Bunny Vets. Google your state and wildlife rehabbers, and also try http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator.html and http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator
How much formula should I feed a Wild Orphaned Bunny until I get him/her to a rehabber?
The following is a guideline for the daily amount to feed a TRULY orphaned wild bunny (mother was killed, etc. ) Remember with wild bunnies, the mom only comes back at night to call and feed him once or so for 5 mins; please put him back for her if just found and healthy. She leaves them alone between feedings. Don’t assume they are abandoned! Wild rabbits NEED a skilled wildlife rehabber. You should not feed at home or the chances of their surviving is extremely low! Most die from bloat, wrong feedings/stress. These feedings are NOT meant to take place of an actual rehabber, but for someone only who may live too far from a rehabber and is faced with a wild mother, killed, for example. All others need to call your humane society, local rabbit vet, or google your state and wildlife rehabber. You can also check here http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator.html and http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitatorFeeding of True Orphans
Age + Amount (This WILL vary SO MUCH depending on type of rabbit. It is impossible over the Internet to see your particular rabbit, so this is only approximate.) Use KMR kitten or KMR kitten plus Goat milk, regular not low fat. Add a pinch of acidophilus (aka Probiotic) to the formula to promote healthy gut flora. Formulas vary depending on region. Avoid Esbilac and any puppy formulas! FEED TWICE A DAY ONLY for healthy babies, three times if low weight. It may be easiest to start with a 3 cc/ml syringe or an eyedropper. Feed only with the bunny sitting UPRIGHT, and point syringe down towards bottom or side of mouth, so if too much comes out, the baby does not aspirate. At first, they may only take a few drops at one feeding until they are not stressed and used to this.
Newborn to One Week: 2- 2+1/2 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings per day).
1-2 weeks: 5-7 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings per day). (depending on bunny..may be much LESS if smaller rabbit!) Newborn babies (if eyes closed) all need to be stimulated to urinate and defecate prior to or following feeding until their eyes open. (Except Jackrabbits do not). *See how to below.
2-3 weeks: 7-13 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings). Domestic eyes open at about 10 days of age. Start introducing them to timothy and oat hay, pellets and water (always add fresh greens for wild ones).
3-6 weeks: 13-15 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings–again, may be LESS depending on size of rabbit! A cottontail/brush bunny will take so much less!! Half this at most.) Cottontails wean and release about 3-4 weeks and jackrabbits much later (9+ weeks), whereas domestic rabbits are 6 weeks.
6 weeks-9weeks for Jackrabbits only, continue up to 9 weeks with formula, gradually changing to a dish for the warm formula, replacing the formula after 9 weeks slowly, continue adding more of their natural greens and hay (dandelions, oat hay, timothy hay, Italian parsley, carrot tops, small carrots cut up) and a small water bowl. Most markets will sell these greens. They need a rehabber before release!
Wild rabbits NEED a skilled wildlife rehabber. These feedings are NOT meant to take place of an actual rehabber, but for someone who may live too far from a rehabber and is faced with a wild mother, killed, for example. Please call your humane society for referrals to rehabbers, or your rabbit vets, or google your state or country and wildlife rehabbers. You can also try here: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator.html and by state here: http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator or http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator
*After each feeding it is important to gently make the bunny defecate and or urinate (brush bunnies/cottontails only..if the eyes are not opened yet) to keep the intestinal and urinary system running smoothly (just UNTIL their eyes open). No need to do this for jackrabbits; they go on their own. Use a cotton ball moistened with warm water after eating, and gently stroke the anal area until the bunny starts producing stool and urine and keep stroking until the bunny stops. You are reproducing the behavior of the mother rabbit who would lick her young to stimulate them to go to the bathroom and to keep the nest clean. Again, ONLY if the eyes are still closed. Handle a wild rabbit only during feedings as excessive handling can be extremely stressful/potentially fatal. Wild rabbits don’t need heat if furred and healthy. Wild rabbits should not be fed at home, but get them to a professional rehabber as it IS CRITICAL for their survival and to be with their own kind. Most die from overfeeding and/or stress.
As soon as the wild bunnies’ eyes are open, you may introduce them to plain alfalfa pellets, hay, such as oat hay, timothy, alfalfa and veggies such as carrot tops, Italian parsley, dandelion greens. Dandelion greens and hay (timothy and oat hay) are extremely important for wild rabbits. You can add whole oats from a feed store, and some grated carrots. The greens must be fresh, rinsed, and replaced if not eaten in a few hours. You can place them in a cup of cold water with just the tops sticking out to keep them fresher. (For a domestic rabbit baby, see section under the Domestic heading). Wild cottontail and brush bunny rabbits should be released as soon as they are eating hay and greens and are approximately 5 inches in body length and run from you. This varies with the area, so size is not easy to say. They will be small, but the longer you keep them, the more agitated and difficult to handle they will become and the less likely their chances for survival in the wild. Release ONLY at dusk or dawn. Jackrabbits (hares) are not ready until 9+ weeks.Make sure they get exercise daily. Jackrabbits mature much slower than the brush/cottontails and need to develop strength. If they are ready, earlier, they will let you know.
WARNING: Jackrabbits really NEED a skilled wildlife rehabber as they can run from you, throw themselves into walls to get away; many have died or severely injured themselves in captivity as they are so very wild. Please DO NOT raise them if you are not a skilled wildlife rehabber. This is vital. Noises and sounds easily frighten the jackrabbit and they are not able to be handled after 9 weeks. Often, sadly, we get reports of how a well-meaning person who tried to raise a wild rabbit, only to find it literally died of fright or got injured inside the cage. They are wild and belong with their own kind, out in the wild.
Jackrabbits really enjoy being raised together, whereas cottontails/brush bunnies may fight and do fine alone. Give them a carrier as their place of privacy (line with thick towels) with plenty of fresh hay and greens described above and water bowl. Again, wild rabbits need a skilled wildlife rehabber; it is critical to their survival.
The Bunny is DOMESTIC (i.e., pet rabbit, NOT wild) and Really Orphaned – How do I care for a domestic baby?Baby Domestic Agouti Bunny Baby Domestic/Pet Agouti rabbit baby
Remember that both the domestic pet rabbit and wild bunny moms only feed their young usually once in the middle of the night. Don’t assume the mom is not caring for them if you don’t see her nurse them. Check their tummies to see if they are round and the babies are warm in the morning–this means she is caring for them. In the rare situation that you have an orphaned domestic bunny, such as when a domestic rabbit mom is sick or refuses to care for her young, you will need to feed the babies. Overfeeding is a leading cause of death in these youngsters which results in fatal intestinal disease.
If truly orphaned, use KMR KITTEN powder formula (can also use Meyenberg Regular Goat milk found at Safeway in the milk section or Whole Foods until you can find the KMR KITTEN formula), and follow the directions on the can. It may be easiest to start with a 3 cc/ml syringe or an eyedropper. Some use pet nurser nipples on the end of a luer lock syringe, or a teat cannula on the end of a syringe. Feed only with the bunny sitting UPRIGHT, and point syringe down towards bottom or side of mouth, so if too much comes out, the baby does not aspirate! For those who are slow to learn nursing, SC fluids may be necessary to prevent electrolyte imbalance or dehydration (check with a vet on this only!!). Domestic buns with closed eyes should be fed 2 x a day, and the number of feedings gradually decreased until they are weaned. If their eyes are still closed, you need to stimulate their bottoms with a warm moist towel after feedings to help them to pee. (Domestics are weaned about 6 weeks compared to wild bunnies who are weaned about 3-4 weeks for cottontails and 9+ weeks for jackrabbits). Bloat is commonly associated with too frequent feedings and too much at one time.
Feeding Amounts for DOMESTIC/PET Orphaned babies*: Feed twice a day up to these amounts: Newborn– 2.5 cc/ml each feeding. One week old: 6-7 cc/ml each feeding. Two weeks old: 12-13 cc/ml each feeding. Three weeks to six weeks: Up to 15 cc/ml each feeding (a.m. and p.m.). Note this is for DOMESTIC, NOT WILD bunnies. Each bunny varies. If this is a smaller rabbit, he will consume much less. Do NOT overfeed! Contact an HRS contact, rabbit vet, to be sure.
*After each feeding it is important to make the bunny defecate and urinate (if the eyes are not opened yet) to keep the intestinal tract and urinary system running smoothly (only UNTIL their eyes are open). Use a cotton ball moistened with warm water and gently stroke the anal area until the bunny starts producing stool and urine and keep stroking until the bunny stops. You are reproducing the behavior of the mother rabbit who would lick her young to stimulate them to go to the bathroom and to keep the nest clean.
Provide a soft nest area in a box with clean towels, and cover the babies so it is dark until their eyes are open. Do NOT provide extra heat if the room temperature is at least 65 to 70 degrees F because excessive heat can be fatal. If the room is cooler, then you may place a heating pad on a low setting under no more than HALF of the nest so the bunny can move to a cooler area if it gets too warm, and be sure there is no way the mother rabbit can get to or chew the electrical cord!
For domestic rabbits, if you have a healthy adult rabbit at home and you can collect cecotropes (the soft, chain-like droppings that the rabbit usually eats) then these can be mixed with the KMR to give the baby bunny normal bacteria for its intestinal tract. Only one cecotrope per day for 4-5 days is needed. This is particularly important for rabbits under one week of age. Also good is to sprinkle a pinch of acidophilus powder, also called “Probiotic” from human capsules in the milk a little each time for healthy flora for both wild and domestic bunnies.
As soon as their eyes are open, you may introduce the bunnies to plain alfalfa pellets, hay, such as oat hay, timothy, alfalfa. Please refer to the handout Care of Rabbits for more information on diet for domestic, pet rabbits. You may reach [email protected] for domestic/pet rabbit questions. Below is the email for wild rabbit questions: [email protected] (wild) (If links above did not answer your question).
(See above for wild rabbits). For all rabbits, avoid ANY regular milk, puppy formulas, etc. Use KITTEN formulas like KMR. Avoid Esbilac. Feed only upright. Less is better than more! Overfeeding will cause bloat and pain and possible death. Please get to a rehabber.
Sources: Caring for Cricket – What Not To Do When You Find a Wild Baby Bunny by Julie Smith and Handout by Midwest Exotic Animal Hospital, and additional wild bunny info by M. Wilson (HRS educator and rehabber). For questions not answered about wild rabbits above, email: wildbunnyrehab at gmail.com
Below content was merged from: /caring-for-orphans/
Rabbit mothers nurse their babies for approximately 5 minutes a day. They will be in the nest or nest box early in the morning and then again in the evening. The milk is very rich and the babies “fill up” to capacity within minutes. Mother rabbits do not “sit” on the babies to keep them warm as do some mammals and birds. They build a nest with fur and grasses which helps to keep the babies warm in between feedings. Do not force a mother rabbit to sit in the nest box. You can pick up the babies and see if they are feeding by checking the size of their stomachs (should not be sunken in), the pinkness of their skin and activity level (they should not be blue in color or sluggish in movement) and the amount of time that you hear them crying (baby bunnies should be quiet most of the day…. if they are crying constantly then they are not getting fed). If they are warm, mom is most likely feeding them, but again, she only comes back in the middle of the night.
If you come across a nest of bunnies in the wild and the mother is no where to be seen, please DO NOT disturb them…this is normal. By removing them from the nest you are greatly reducing their chances of survival.In the rare situation that you have an orphaned bunny, such as when a mother rabbit is killed by another animal or in the road, or when a domestic rabbit refuses to care for her young, you may try feeding with Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) or Meyenberg Goat Milk (for wild rabbits, but they need a professional reahabber–do not feed at home). Remember though, that both wild/domestic bunny moms only feed in the middle of the night, so don’t assume she is not caring for them! For true orphans, remember to feed ONLY TWICE A DAY. Overfeeding is a leading cause of death in these youngsters which results in fatal intestinal disease. Provide a soft nest area in a box with clean towels, and cover the babies (if eyes are closed) so it is dark.
DO NOT provide extra heat if the room temperature is at least 65 to 70F because excessive heat can be fatal. If the room is much cooler, then you may place a heating pad on a low setting under no more than HALF of the nest so the bunny can move to a cooler area if it gets too warm.
For a wild bunny, you need to get him to a wildlife rehabilitator if he is TRULY orphaned (mom was killed). Remember with wild bunnies, the mom ONLY comes back at night to call and feed him; please put him back for her if just found and healthy. With domestics, the mom only feeds once or twice a day for only 5 minutes. Leave babies with the mom. For wild orphans, first google your state and wildlife rehabber, and call your humane society, also try http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitator.html and http://www.owra.org/find-a-wildlife-rehabilitatoror as it is illegal in most states to keep a wild animal, and they really need a professional as this is critical. Local rabbit veterinarians or humane societies may also know of a rehab facility.
The following is a guideline for the daily amount to feed a TRULY orphaned bunny (mother was killed, etc.) that will be about 5 lbs as an adult. It is impossible on the internet to be exact. Please find rehabber.
GENERAL FEEDING OF ORPHANS
Age + Amount (This WILL vary depending on type of rabbit.) Use KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) for domestics and Meyenberg Goat Milk, regular not low fat for wild ones,or KMR. Add a pinch of acidophilus (AKA Probiotic capsules) to all formula to promote healthy gut flora. Other formulas vary depending on the region of the country. Avoid using Esbilac or any puppy formulas or cow’s milk. Do not add Karo syrup. FEED TWICE A DAY ONLY unless baby is low weight, than three times.
Newborn to One Week: 2 – 2+1/2 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings).
1-2 weeks: 5-7 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings).
(depending on bunny. .may be much LESS if smaller rabbit).
2-3 weeks: 7-13 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings). Bunnies whose eyes are still CLOSED need to be stimulated to urinate and defecate before or after each feeding. Again, seek a professional on this. Domestic eyes open at about 10 days of age. Then start introducing them to timothy and oat hay, pellets and water (always add fresh greens for wild ones–dandelion greens, parsley, carrot tops, grated carrots, all fresh, watered down). See below for detail.
3-6 weeks: 13-15 cc/ml each feeding (two feedings–again, may be LESS depending on size of rabbit! A cottontail will take so much LESS–about half of this!.)
Domestics are weaned about 6 weeks. Cottontails wean and release about 3-4 weeks and jackrabbits much later (9+ weeks). Feed only twice a day up to these TOTAL amounts. You may find an eyedropper or syringe easiest to use. Feed them upright, and go slowly watching them lick and swallow so they do not aspirate. For domestic rabbits, if you have a healthy adult rabbit at home and you can collect cecotropes (the soft chain-like droppings that the rabbit usually eats) then these can be mixed with the KMR or goat milk to give the baby bunny normal bacteria for its intestinal tract. Only one cecotrope per day for 4-5 days is needed. This is particularly important for rabbits under one week of age. Acidophilus capsules for humans, opened and sprinkled some in formula, works well too.
After each feeding it is important to make the bunny defecate and urinate (until their eyes are open) to keep the intestinal tract and urinary system running smoothly. Use a cotton ball moistened with warm water and gently stroke the anal area until the bunny starts producing stool and urine and keep stroking until the bunny stops. You are reproducing the behavior of the mother rabbit who would lick her young to stimulate them to go to the bathroom and to keep the nest clean. No need to do this for jackrabbits or if bunny’s eyes are open.
As soon as their eyes are open, you may introduce the bunnies to hay, such as oat and timothy hay, some alfalfa, and pellets, and for wild ones, add dark leafy veggies such as dandelion greens, carrot tops, parsley, grated carrots, etc. Keep the greens fresh, moist, and stand them up in a heavy mug of water. Change greens often. If this is a wild rabbit, you do not need to introduce pellets. If this is a domestic rabbit baby, then you may introduce plain alfalfa pellets at 2 weeks of age (please refer to the handout Care of Rabbits for more information on diet). Wild rabbits should be released as soon as they are eating hay and greens and are approximately 5 inches in body length (for cottontails) and are afraid of you (about 3-4 weeks). Jackrabbits are released much later (9 weeks up). They will be small, but the longer you keep them, the more agitated and difficult to handle they will become, and the less likely their chances for survival in the wild. They may be easily injured in your care as they attempt to get free. For wild bunnies, please do not raise them yourself, but take them to a rehabber! Google your state and wildlife rehabber or see links above.
Modified from an original document from :
Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital
Feeding Baby Rabbits Raw Goats MilkRabbits
by Alishaupdated on Leave a Comment on Feeding Baby Rabbits Raw Goats Milk
In raising rabbits, you’ll likely find yourself in a situation where you need to step in a feed baby rabbits. Maybe the doe died, or more commonly, you have a litter too big for mom to handle.
When I first got into rabbits and began to learn about them, I heard that anything over 10 kits may likely be too many for a doe to handle and a couple may likely die. So far this appears to be true where I have lost 1 or 2 kits when litters are over 10 kits. Being wiser about it now, I check on large litters every 1-2 days to see how the kits are doing. Any that are begin struggling I step in to help. Ideally, I try to breed 2 does at once so that if one has a smaller litter than the other then I can play musical bunnies and even out the litters by adopting out 1-2 kits to the mother with fewer babies. This seems to work pretty well and does accept the new babies pretty willingly.
NOTE: Notice the size differences in the photo below. The runts I moved from the large litter of 12 are much smaller than the litter of 4 that are only 1 day older.Large Litter Of 12 Kits (1 week old) 2 Runts Added To Smaller Litter Of 4
If I don’t have a second doe with a smaller litter then we need to supplement feed the weaker babies with goats milk. I try to keep babies with their mom so most of the work is done and I just have to pop in and help feed. With our setup, it’s not too disruptive to our does. If we were able to, it would make more sense to just remove the 1-2 kits completely to feed so they aren’t causing a strain on how much the other babies are able to eat off of momma doe.
Our goats kid around the same time that our rabbits start to breed so we have a fresh source of milk for struggling babies. Also, from what I’ve read, rabbit milk is very rich so I tend to use the cream off our goats milk. With raw milk, the cream tends to rise to the top of the container, so when prepping the milk for baby rabbits I skim the cream for the top to make up about 3/4 of what I feed the baby bunnies. The milk is heated to 105-110°F as the small amount I prepare cools quickly.Skimming Cream Off Our Fresh Goats Milk To Feed To Kits
Rabbit tummies are tiny, so I start off with one eye dropper of milk to allow their stomach to recognize the new milk source. Then I come back a couple hours later to offer some more before going to just two feeding per day. Diarrhea can quickly equal a dead bunny so it’s best to start slow. I also offer the milk in spurts so the kits aren’t inhaling the milk into the lungs.Feeding The Runt Of The Litter With Concerned Momma In The Background
Below is a basic feeding guide. How much you feed will depend on the size of the baby. Tiny runts are going to require less milk.
Feeding Guide: (DO NOT OVERFEED)
Newborn to 1 Week: 2-2.5 cc/ml milk (twice per day)
1-2 Weeks Old: 5-7 cc/ml milk (twice per day)
2-3 Weeks Old: 7-13 cc/ml milk (twice per day)
3-6 Weeks Old: 13-15 cc/ml milk (twice per day)
*Eyes start to open as soon as 9 days old.
*Babies start nibbling at adult food at 3 weeks old
*Many newborn mammals cannot urinate/defecate on their own. Baby bunnies require the stimulation of the mother’s tongue on their bellies and anus in order to release their bladders.The Two Runts Doing Well & Just About Weaned
I’ve had great success with supplementing the goats milk for baby kits that are struggling. Their tummies appear to accept it well and not cause digestive upset. I hope this post can help you with your rabbits too!
What to do and how to feed baby rabbits without a female rabbit, artificial feeding of baby rabbits without a mother
Many rabbit breeders face the problem of a female refusing or being unable to feed her offspring. Babies are simply left to fend for themselves. If this happened to you, don't despair. After all, animals can be raised to their feet with the help of artificial nutrition. How to feed rabbits without a rabbit, find out with us.
- 1 Is it possible?
- 2 Nutrition Rules
- 2.1 Milk
- 2.2 Kozie milk
- 2.3 Herbal granules
- 2.4 Artificial mixtures
- 3 Power of Orphans at different ages 9000 3. 3 At the age of 17-30 days
- 3.4 When to switch to an adult diet?
- 4.1 Similar items
Is it possible?
Of course, it is quite possible to organize the feeding of rabbits left without a mother by yourself. The organization will take you some time, you will need syringes, nipples, mixtures or milk directly, but the result will please. Often, rabbits fed with milk and milk mixtures grow up even stronger than those that were next to their mother. But why kids remain orphans, you can find out from our previous article.
In addition to feeding rabbits by a person, you can use another method - to plant babies with another nursing mother. With the right approach, she will take care of the orphans as if they were her own. But in this case, you should carefully select the female, because not everyone will agree to feed "foreign" children. If you don’t have any other nursing rabbits on the farm, except for the one that left her cubs, do not be alarmed.
As you know, for any newborn babies, including rabbits, feeding with mother's milk is best. There are other options, but only this product is suitable for the smallest rabbits. Next - more about the products that can be used to feed rabbits.
The first product that all livestock breeders turn to is cow's milk. Feeding pure cow product is not suitable for rabbits - it is too different from mother's milk. If you intend to feed newborn rabbits with cow's milk, dilute it in equal proportions with regular condensed milk. This increases fat content and nutritional value. From the first days, you need to do 5 feedings, giving the fluffies 1 ml of such mixed milk per dose, and then, as they grow older, gradually increase the portions.
If you do not consider cow's milk as an acceptable option, you can choose goat's milk. It is no less beneficial for little rabbits than that produced by the mother, and it does not need to be mixed with other types of foods. Some farmers give Acidophilus in a mixture with goat's milk, but it is better to check its dosage with a veterinarian. Goat milk is given to rabbits from birth, 2 ml twice a day. From the beginning of the second week of life - 5 ml twice a day.
Feeding orphans in the first weeks should be only dairy. You can make a combination of herbal granules with milk only from 3 weeks or from the 1st month of life, if the babies are developing well. Newborn rabbits should not be given such a nutritional supplement, otherwise they will have stagnation in the intestines! The amount of herbal granules after 30-40 days of life is calculated by the amount of weight (about 3% of the total weight of the animal). Each serving must be weighed, as pellets from different manufacturers weigh differently.
Formula-fed formula-fed rabbits are a good option as they are nutritious and digestible. You need to make such a milk "porridge" by diluting the mixture more concentrated than indicated in the instructions. Feeding mixtures in the first week of life of rabbits should be built according to the schedule.
If the babies are gaining weight well, well-fed, they do not have indigestion, it will be noticeable immediately. From the 1st day of life to the 7th, the mixture is given 5 ml 3 r / day, from 7 to 25 days - twice a day, 20 ml each, increasing by the end of the month each meal to 60 ml.
Experienced livestock breeders are advised to leave rabbits in cages with various special feeds and finely chopped vegetables from the age of 17 days, because it is at this age that their teeth change. The replacement of teeth stops at the age of 45 days, the animals finally stop eating milk and milk formulas. Also, rabbits are weaned from their mother if they are suckling.
Important! Rabbits have a well-developed instinct to imitate their relatives. From 14 days of life to 30, you can offer them finely grated carrots, a small amount of dry rabbit food, greens.
Feeding orphans at different ages
We figured out that small rabbits may even need to be fed milk, as well as powdered milk mixtures similar to mother's milk. Herbal granules up to a certain age must be said "no". How exactly to feed your newborn pets from the moment they are born? And when should you switch to a more adult diet so that the transition is natural? Let's find out more about this.
A newly born or day old rabbit is fed with milk or formula. On the first day, we give food literally drop by drop, making sure that the rabbit's tummy does not overflow. Little fluffies still do not have an understanding of how much liquid they need to suck out, they will drink how much you give.
From the first to the fifth day of life, we feed 4-5 times a day, 1 ml of milk or formula. By the 5-6th day of life, if the animal gains weight well, defecates regularly and grows, its weight should exactly double. The weight of a newborn rabbit on average ranges from 40 to 80 grams.
Nutrient liquids should not be heated above 37 degrees. It is better to drink milk through a pipette or through a syringe without a needle. All manipulations must be carried out with clean hands, done in clean dishes.
5-14 days old
If you are successful in feeding milk to newborn rabbits, by 5 days of age, the babies will double their birth weight. From five days, pets are watered not 5, but 3 times a day, giving 25-30 grams of mixture or milk. This continues for about 14 days. By the end of the second week, the rabbits are already noticeably gaining weight, and they can be transferred to a two-time diet. The weight of such an animal during this period reaches 260 grams.
17-30 days old
Feeding rabbits at the age of one month is much easier than newborns. By the month the animal gets stronger, weighs about 500 grams, and sometimes more. From 17 days of age to 30 days from birth, most of the milk teeth are replaced by molars in pets. If the animal is healthy, it is actively interested in new food: vegetables, grass, it can eat hay, dry oatmeal, a mash of milk porridge. The diet at the age of one month is two times a day, many breeders exclude milk and mixtures after a 30-day milestone.
When to switch to an adult diet?
Rabbits can and should be introduced to an adult diet from 30-45 days, similar to the period when they are weaned from their mother. Dairy feeding at this time is a controversial issue. Some people advise not to remove milk, but if your babies are large and healthy, feel free to remove this product. The adult diet is very diverse, these are root crops, vegetables, fresh green grass, hay, special rabbit feed, oats. After a dry meal, you can give wet food, root vegetables or vegetables.
Why is it necessary to moisten food and mix dry and wet foods? Dry food irritates the rabbit's respiratory tract, especially during growth.
Video "How to feed a rabbit with a syringe"
Informative video about how rabbits eat from a syringe. The babies in the video are 3 weeks old.
How to feed and go out without a female rabbit: tips
Many farmers often face the problem when a female rabbit refuses to feed her newborn cubs. In this case, you need to know how to feed rabbits without a rabbit. So that the babies do not die, they should be fed with artificial nutrition.
[table of contents]
How to feed baby rabbits without a female rabbit
Content of the article:
- 1 Is it possible to feed baby rabbits if the female rabbit refuses them?
- 2 Feeding options for newborn babies:
- 2.1 Cow's milk
- 2.2 Goat's milk
- 2.3 Grass pellets
- 2.4 Formulas
- 3.1 Age 0-5 days
- 3.2 Age 5-15 days
- 3.3 Age 15-30 days
- 3.4 Age 30-45 days
Feeding rabbits is a rather complicated process that requires certain skills and knowledge. If you approach this matter responsibly, then small animals can go out. Often mothers refuse babies and cubs are left alone.
In this case it is necessary to feed them with cow's or goat's milk. For artificial feeding, you will need a syringe, a nipple, animal milk, or, in extreme cases, a dry, milk formula. Pipette-fed babies grow up stronger and more resilient than those fed by their mothers.
If you do not want artificial feeding, then it is worth placing the babies with another female who has milk. With the right approach, her maternal instinct will work and she will take custody of the cubs. Such a step is very risky, since not all rabbits will feed other people's babies.
Feeding options for newborn babies:
One of the first products best suited for formula feeding. In its pure form, it is better not to feed cow's milk, because in composition it will be very different from the mother's. Cow's milk should be mixed in equal proportions, for example with condensed milk. Thus, you will increase the nutritional value of milk. It is worth feeding the animals 5 times a day. At one time, you need to give a few drops. As the baby grows, the dose is gradually increased.
Goat's milk is very useful for babies if they are fed without a female rabbit. Such milk is saturated with all the necessary vitamins and should not be mixed with other dairy products. You need to give goat milk 2 times a day.
If you are thinking about how to get rid of rabbits with other products, then you should use herbal granules.
Please note that in the first days of life orphans can only be fed with milk.
A mixture of milk and herbal capsules may be given when the pups are at least one month old and only with positive growth dynamics. Newborn rabbits should not take this supplement as it can lead to intestinal congestion. The correct dosage of herbal granules should be taken into account by weight (about 3% of the total weight of the animal). The individual dose needs to be weighed, because each manufacturer's granules can weigh differently.
Formulas are instant milk. It is possible to feed newborn animals with such mixtures, they perfectly replace mother's milk and have a high energy value. The mixture should be diluted much thicker than stated in the annotation to make a slurry. The mixture can be given to cubs from birth.
Thanks to these mixtures, rabbits without a female rabbit should gain weight immediately. If babies have indigestion, then it is necessary to abandon dry powders. With good dynamics, it is recommended to feed the cubs from birth according to the following scheme:
- 1-7 days give 5 ml 3 times a day
- 7-25 days 2 times a day 20 ml
- 25-30 days the dose should be increased to 60 ml
Many farmers advise leaving feed and fresh vegetables from 3 weeks of age. At this age, rabbits change their teeth and need solid food. When the pets are 45 days old, they are completely transferred to special feed, hay and vegetables.
How to feed rabbits if there are adult relatives nearby? Animals have a highly developed instinct to imitate adults, so if you leave finely grated vegetables in a cage, then little rabbits will watch how other brethren eat enthusiastically. Most often, orphans begin to eat the same thing as other rabbits. You can leave mashed vegetables in the cage from 2 weeks.
What is the right way to feed babies?
Rabbits often don't know when to stop and the animal can eat as long as the food gets in. How much food to give depends on the condition of the animal and its weight. In the first days of life, milk is given literally in a couple of drops to make sure that the body absorbs this product and the rabbit can eat. The nutrient mixture should be at room temperature and not higher than 35 degrees. Mixtures are recommended to be given with a pipette or syringe (without a needle). You can see in more detail how to feed rabbits in the video. Mixing utensils must be clean.
Age 0-5 days
At this time it is necessary to give water and milk up to 5 times a day in small portions. If the rabbit perfectly absorbs food, then you can gradually increase the rate by a couple of ml. Constantly monitor the condition of the rabbit. During such a period, the cubs are more vulnerable.
Age 5-15 days
If the feeding went well, then 5 days after birth, the animal should gain weight. You need to feed the mixture 3 times a day, 30 ml each. By the end of 2 weeks of age, rabbits should weigh about 250 grams.
Age 15-30 days
30 day old pups are much easier to feed than newborns. By the end of the month, a healthy rabbit should weigh approximately 500 grams. If the pet is completely healthy and full of energy, then hay, vegetables, fruits and cereals should be included in its diet. Feed should be 2 times a day.
Age 30-45 days
In the natural environment, by this age, the cub is taken from the mother, so rabbits must be completely weaned from dairy products at 35-45 days.