What to feed a baby hare



Orphaned Squirrel
Orphaned Chipmunk
Orphaned Raccoon
Orphaned Skunk
Orphaned Rabbit/Hare
Orphaned Woodchuck

HAVE I FOUND A RABBIT OR A HARE?Although similar in appearance, rabbits and hares are distinguished by differences in their anatomy and behaviour. Hares tend to be larger than rabbits with longer legs and feet. They turn white in the wintertime and are found more typically in rural areas. Hares are born at a more advanced stage than rabbits as well, being covered with fur and having their eyes open. A hare will have her babies in long grasses, fields, or under a bush.

Rabbits on the other hand are born without fur and their eyes do not open until a number of days after birth. A rabbit's nest consists of a shallow hole covered with natural materials and fur, commonly found in a garden or against a building typically in an urban setting.


IS THE RABBIT/HARE TRULY ORPHANED? Once the young have their eyes open it is very common for them to come away from the nest a bit to explore. If you have found a baby rabbit or hare just sitting in your backyard chances are it is not orphaned. It will make its way back to its nest in the evening. If however the rabbit or hare has been in the same spot for the past two days and is easy to catch then it likely is orphaned and needs help. It is typical never to see mom tending to her babies, she comes usually once or twice a day to feed either late at night or early morning. This way she avoids luring predators back to the nest. If you are uncertain and perhaps something has happened to mom there are a few tricks you can try to determine if mom is still coming. Sprinkle baking flour around the nest. If there are footprints in the flour in the morning then mom is coming. You can also place a string in the shape of an X over the nest. If in the morning the X is disturbed then again mom is coming and leave alone. If there has been no signs of disturbance to the X or flour after a couple of days then they will need to be rescued.


AGING THE RABBIT/HARE: In order to properly care for the baby you have found, it is important to know its age. Consult the chart on the back to assess age.


FEEDING: Orphans that have been without their mother will be suffering from chill and dehydration. They must be thoroughly warmed first, and then offered warmed rehydration solution. Pedialyte is a rehydration solution that is available in drug stores- it should be heated to body temperature and offered every couple hours for the first several feedings. Formula should be a powdered esbilac, which is a puppy milk replacer that can be purchased at a vet clinic or pet store. Mix only enough for 24hrs and keep it refrigerated. Cow's milk, human baby formulas, and most pet products (except Esbilac) are not suitable and will likely cause death. Ensure formula is well heated and kept warm throughout the feeding as cold formula will cause diarrhea which can lead to death. Feed with a 1ml oral syringe ensuring that the feeding routine and environment is kept totally quiet. Please do not have more than one person as a caregiver and do not allow the animals to be handled by any other person. See chart for feeding schedule. Once feeding is finished, wash its face well with a damp face cloth, as formula dries quickly and causes fur loss.

* Rabbits and hares are slow and difficult to feed, so take your time and be patient, as it is essential for them to get the required amount.


HOUSING: See chart.


RELEASE: Should occur late in afternoon in appropriate area (where there is suitable habitat for either hare or rabbits) and where there would not likely be domestic predators such as dogs or cats. Hares should be at least 300 grams at release and becoming wild and hard to catch. While rabbits, should be around 200 grams and displaying similar behaviour.


*In some jurisdictions it is illegal to care for wildlife and you should consult your government wildlife agency.


INTERNET SITES: There is some good information on the Internet, but other sites give advice that will kill the animals you are trying to help please be very careful.


www.squirrelrehab. org/rehabinfo/orphaned.html














20 grams


2 mls Formula

4 times per day.




- stimulate genital area

before and after feeding

to induce elimination.

- use a q-tip or fingertip dipped in hot water

-keep indoors in a cardboard box or pet carrier filled with soft, ravel free blankets.

-heating pad outside the bottom of the box on lowest setting, heavy towel inside bottom of box to maintain only a slight warmth. If caring for more than one rabbit the heating pad is not necessary

- wrap rabbit in a soft blanket when removed

from box, to protect from drafts.

- watch for signs of diarrhea. If diarrhea develops, use an unflavoured pedialyte instead of formula for 24 hours, then gradually reintroduce the formula.




1 week


40 grams

3 mls. Formula

3 times per day

- same as above



-same as above

- wrap in blanket or towel while feeding.


2 weeks


60 grams

4-6 mls. Formula

3 times per day



- same as above

- may begin to eliminate

on its own. If not, continue as above.

- same as above

- same as above


3 weeks


80 grams

8 mls. Formula

2 times per day



- stimulation should no longer be necesary

- place rabbits in enclosed plastic cat carrier & place towel over carrier to protect from light and offer security

- introduce small dish of large flake raw oats & a little pile of freshly picked clover

- Offer a small dish of water or drinking bottle


4 weeks


100 grams

10 mls. Formula

1 time per day - wean fully in 4th week


-the rabbits are becoming more active and will require more space

-find a quiet area of the house to section off a 4ft x 4ft area, include their carrier in this space

-should be eating pellets and natural foods like freshly picked clover and small tender dandelion leaves (will keep in plastic bag in fridge for a few days). Make sure they have not been treated with pesticides. Always have a handful of timothy (not alfalfa) hay in cage


5 - 7 weeks



150 - 200





- continue weaned diet








0 to 1 wk

Birth weight is 65-80 grams, gaining ~9g/day

4x/day formula; 3-4 mls

Stimulate after each feed may not urinate every time

1 to 2 wks

4x/day formula; 4-5 mls

As above

2 to 3 wks

4x/day formula; 5-6 mls

As above

3 to 4 wks

3x/day formula (as much as they want. NB - should be taking at least 6-8mls/feed before reduce from 4x/day feedings to 3x/day feedings)

Introduce large flake raw oats & a small dish of water or drinking bottle

Stimulation should no longer be necessary

4 to 5 wks

2x/day formula (as much as they want. NB should be taking at least 10 mls/feed before reduce from 3x/day to 2x/day)

Continue raw oats and offer freshly picked small tender dandelion leaves and clover (no pesticides) and water

As above

5 to 6 wks

1x/day formula should self wean during this week

As above


It all started with a phone call, as these things often do.   It was the 2nd of September, and as I was checking the calls left on the answer machine, I came across a message that sounded urgent.  It appeared that the callers’ partner was a pilot of a small plane that was kept in an airfield, the runway of which was basically a field with the grass kept short by an industrial-sized lawn mower.   That day, the mower had accidentally run over a group of baby rabbits (or hares, the lady was not sure which), and she did not know what to do.  Apparently the mower had struck 4 babies, two of which were killed almost instantly, one ran away (perhaps injured, perhaps not) and one stayed put in sheer terror, and it was this one that ended up in a box in the lady’s kitchen.  She went to a local pet shop to find out what she should do with it, and was advised to contact me here at CottonTails®.

By this stage it was getting late, so I suggested that the lady put baby and box (lined with pulled grass) somewhere quiet and warm overnight and to bring it to me in the morning if it was still alive.   To be honest I was not expecting the door bell to ring, as most cases like this sadly pass away from shock within hours.  I was also expecting a young rabbit, as I have only once had a brown hare come into the rescue in almost 20 years of running CottonTails®, and that was handed in from someone who had accidentally hit it with their car.  That one lasted about 20 minutes, and there was nothing I could do.

The next morning arrived and, to my surprise the lady did indeed turn up with the rabbit/hare in the boot of the car.  I decided to examine it there as a precaution before bringing it in, just in case it was a rabbit with myxomatosis, but when I cautiously opened the box it was apparently immediately I was dealing with a hare after all, a tiny little leveret cowering in the corner!

I was aware that the leveret had not had any food for over 36 hours, so the first thing I had to do was prepare some kitten milk for him.  I decided to use Beaphar Kitty Milk (made up at a concentration of 1 flat scoop to 15mls cooled boiled water) and add in the probiotic Avipro Plus (1 flat scoop to 100mls milk).   I have hand-reared many baby rabbits over the years, so was not surprised that the leveret only took a small amount during this first feed.

I settled him down in a small inside cage with a towel draped over the top to give him some security, and placed him in the kitchen where he was warm.  Leverets are born fully furred with their eyes open so don’t really need heated pads, unlike rabbits that are born naked and blind and rely on mum’s pulled fur and their siblings to keep them warm.  He weighed 128grams, and fitted easily into the palm of my hand.

Every couple of hours or so I encouraged him to take a bit more milk, and by the end of the day I was reasonably happy with how things were going.  He seemed content but wary and ready to run if necessary!

Things continued like this for a couple of days, and by day 3 (6 days old) he was feeding well enough to cut the feeds down to 4 times a day.  From the start he was bedded on fresh hay, with grass and other vegetation available at all times.   On days where the weather was good, I started to put him out in a secure run on the lawn in the garden for a couple of hours, which he thoroughly enjoyed.   By this stage he was living in a very large inside cage with a plastic house that he liked to sit in, and he could frequently be heard to be “drumming” with great enthusiasm with his front paws in an attempt to make a comfortable patch in which to spend the day.  When a wild hare rests, it will usually scrape away the vegetation and then lie down on the bare earth, making a shallow depression known as a form.

I weighed Bambi again at 7 days old and he was 188 grams, a good steady increase from when he first arrived.  I started a new routine to let him have some extra exercise in the evening, and filmed him running around the living room – it was plain to see how happy and relaxed he was by the cheeky way he explored and investigated everything.

By 13 days old he weighed 269 grams and I was starting to hope the way forward was clear.   How wrong I was.  When he was 14 days old he started to show the first signs of gut stasis, and believe me, this is just as serious a condition in hares as it is for rabbits.  I started treatment immediately but there was something I had not taken into account – the problem of injecting a wild leveret.  Although very young baby rabbits (domestic or wild) resent having an injection, their behaviour is completely and utterly different from that displayed by a leveret.  Even trying to find the right spot to administer the medication resulted in total panic, and the injection itself was almost impossible as he tried everything he could to get away.  Even trying to safely wrap him to restrain his movements did not help his terror.  I placed an order with the vet for the oral variety of the gut stimulant metaclopromide, and in the meantime continued with pain relief, metaclopromide injection, gentle massage and a heated pad.

Worryingly, he then developed bloat (a common complication of gut stasis) off and on for the next 3 days, with his abdomen swollen and hard and him clearly in pain, but with frequent medication and hands-on tender loving care he was holding his own.   At 17 days old the oral meds finally arrived, and by mid-morning he seemed brighter and started to eat some grass, passing some tiny droppings covered with mucus. However, by midday, he had collapsed.

I worked relentlessly with him all afternoon and feared the worst, but by late evening he appeared to be more comfortable and spent a reasonable night.  The following day, however, the gut stasis symptoms returned with a vengeance, and I was convinced he was about to die.  I stepped up his medication and sat with him on my knee for a long time, gently running a heated massage gadget on his abdomen up and down, up and down, until his muscles relaxed and the medication started to ease his pain.  By evening he seemed better, but had developed significant lameness in his left hind leg and he couldn’t put any weight on it.   This I just couldn’t understand, as I knew he had had no accident, fall or twist that could have caused any injury.  On examination it was clear that nothing was broken and he had full mobility, but just would not put his foot to the floor when moving around.

The next few days showed a continuation with his recovery, and in the meantime I had carried out some research on his symptoms and it appeared that he possibly had “Brown Hare Syndrome”, a usually fatal condition but one that leverets don’t often get as they have some immunity from their mum’s milk, something of course he had not had.

He was by then 25 days old and I was just starting to think positively again for his future  when he suddenly collapsed flat on the floor, paws out sideways, heaving quickly and vigorously in his attempt to breath, and very, very distressed.  His membranes had turned blue and it was clear he was about to die.  It was one of those situations where you know you have nothing to lose by trying anything you can think of, so I started immediately with additional medication – anything that I felt may help – and placed him gently on his heated pad on the hay to let nature take its course.

To my utter amazement and joy, within 6 hours he was fully recovered!  I think it is likely he had had some kind of heart attack, possibly linked to his previous illness, so it was a minor miracle that he pulled through.   He certainly was proving to be a tough little character!

By this time it was clear we had missed the boat as far as releasing the hare was concerned as by then the weather was getting cold and due to his illness he had not been hardened off outside as would have been necessary by this stage if release was to be a viable option.  Not only that, due to all the handling and attention necessary to save his life, he was a bit too tame to make this feasible, at least in the short term.  It was decided, therefore, that I had better set him up in accommodation that would suit him for the winter and, with my husbands’ blessing, I erected a huge dog pen with a large run attached and positioned it in the kitchen by the window.  Although our kitchen/dining room is big, this set up took up a rather large chunk!

The hare was by this stage 26 days old, and was not impressed with this sudden change in environment, but after sulking for an hour or two he emerged from his “box”, a large hooded cat litter tray, to tentatively explore his new home.   Within minutes he was kicking up his heels and having a great time, checking every corner in case he had missed something important.

Despite pressure from the family, I finally gave in and allowed a name to be chosen for the hare.  I had refused to do this beforehand as I was concerned he was not going to make it, but the proof of his resilience was there in front of me and it just had to be done.  I spent a while looking at him stretching his long elegant fawn-like limbs and the name came to me straight away:  “Bambi”!   So Bambi it was.

Within a few days I had established a routine with his day-to-day maintenance of cleaning and feeding, and he was still enjoying three feeds of milk a day, 100mls at a time which is quite a volume for a small creature but it was the highlight of his day.  I very gradually increased his vegetables so he was having a large pile of spring greens, celery and broccoli every day, in addition to copious amounts of hay and of course his bottle feeds.

By the time he was about 2 months old I started to introduce an eggcup full of dried food once a day, and chose Burgess Light as it was high in fibre and low in protein, a good combination which I have found works very well with rabbits with delicate digestive systems.  I soon had proof of something I was sure would be happening but had failed to see it myself – that of the process of coprophagy.  This process common in rabbits, guinea pigs and other species is where the food goes around the digestive tract twice so the animal is able to digest every bit of nutrition properly by ingesting a soft type of droppings directly from the anus, chewing and swallowing them with clearly great enjoyment. I happened to being taking some photos of Bambi at the time so struck lucky, and the photos below illustrate the point nicely.  If you look carefully at the lower photo you will just see the caecotroph about to be enthusiastically consumed!

If his release had been on the agenda, he would not have been given any dried food as it is vital for rabbits or hares that are to be released only to be given food that they would be able to find for themselves in the wild, but in the circumstances this was not going to happen for several months at least.

Soon he was actively seeking out the pellets, and it was apparent they were very much enjoyed.  So much so, a rattle of the food box provoked a rapid response with Bambi waiting impatiently at the side of the run.

Soon he was actively seeking out the pellets, and it was apparent they were very much enjoyed.  So much so, a rattle of the food box provoked a rapid response with Bambi waiting impatiently at the side of the run.

As he was getting a big boy by now I thought I had better start to cut back his milk feeds, and reduced them to two a day by the time he was 4 months old, and once a day by 5 months old despite Bambi’s antics at night trying to persuade me to give him more!  By this stage he was taller than the run sides when stood up on his hind legs, and looked rather like a demented kangaroo when taking his bottle.

I got him down to 30mls once a day, and he stayed at this level for another month until I finally decided enough was enough and withdrew his night time feed completely.   It took a few days for him to accept that this was how things were going to be, and I almost caved in to his persuasive tactics, but knew it was in his interests to get him weaned properly.  I replaced the milk feed with some grass and vegetables, so he still had something to look forward to, but you could tell he was not that impressed!

Although I realized that Bambi was going to be with us right through the winter, I hadn’t thought about where we were going to put the Christmas Tree, as it usually took pride of place exactly in the middle of where the run now stood.  Intense family discussion took place and it was decided to move the furniture around to make a new place for the tree, so Bambi’s pen was able to stay where it was.  This hare was starting to rule the roost!  During the tree decorating process he watched from his box with great interest, but to be honest I think he thought we were all totally potty, and maybe he was right.

By this stage, Bambi had become very relaxed with life, spending a lot of time sprawled out in his litter box that was fastened tightly to the top of his “house” to stop it moving when he leaped into it at great speed, a frequent occurrence.

I came down one morning between Christmas and New Year and opened the curtains to find I was staring at Bambi staring at me, on the wrong side of the run fence!  It appeared that he had somehow managed to climb up in the corner and over the top but then had landed in the curtains, and the way the run was set up he was not able to squeeze between them and the patio doors so had to sit there until rescued.  I opened up the run and he gratefully ran straight back in, pleased to be back home again.  He did not attempt this manoeuvre again for a few weeks as I think it had scared him, but in early February he started to get a bit restless and started leaping over the top on a regular basis.  Once again a family discussion took place, and it was decided for his safety to move him out into the large aviary outside as soon as the weather turned a bit milder.  Within a week he was safely settled in his new home, a 12 foot by 8 foot aviary with flight and inside area.

Although we placed his “house” in the aviary with him, he rejected it right from the start, and took to lying low in the dark area during the day and coming out from dusk onwards.   After a week or so, however, he decided he would prefer to snuggle down in a corner of the open part of the aviary on a bed of hay, and here he would stay all day (apart from feeding time) until dusk where again he would become active, mimicking the pattern he would have shown if he was wild.

Bambi shares the aviary with several birds, and all have accepted each other very well, even grazing together when a big pile of fresh grass and dandelions are placed on the floor.  The only slight problem is that Bambi has developed a talent as a sneak thief, snaking his way inside the quail house to steal their seed!  No matter what I did to make it difficult for him, he could often be seen with just his back legs and bottom sticking out of the feeder whilst he slithered his way through the tiny doorway to eat his fill.  I have now changed the design of the quail feeding house and make sure there is only just enough to feed the quail for 24 hours and Bambi now seems to think there is not enough of a reward to take all the trouble to get his now very reduced snack.

I have not ruled out releasing Bambi is he starts to become restless and unhappy, but for now he seems happy and content, even letting us stroke him for a short while whilst he has his evening meal of grass, dandelions and some pellets.  It is always on his terms, however, and he is very quick indeed to tell you off if you hang around for too long by either drumming on your legs with his front paws or even biting, but it is more a hard nip than a very aggressive bite, more a warning than an actual attack.

I feel very privileged to have had this adventure with Bambi, and I have learnt a huge amount in the process.  It is strange that although Bambi looks very like a rabbit in many ways, he is in reality totally different.  Hares do not burrow and rarely nibble on non-food items so from that point of view are a pleasant change compared to the destructive behaviour of a rabbit, especially in the house.  Being solitary creatures, they do not seem to need the attention of another hare, unlike rabbits who love living in compatible pairs or groups and enjoy being groomed by their companions.    One thing is for sure, having a hare in the house has been quite an experience!

The film below was taken in May 2013 when Bambi was 8 months old.

Some facts about Hares:

  • Scientific name: Lepus europaeus
  • Female = a Jill, male = Jack
  • The European hare is the fastest land mammal in the UK.
  • Hares can have between 2 – 4 litters of young a year, usually between February and September. The young are born in the open, with a full coat of fur and open eyes.
  • The young hares are known as leverets and each one in a litter will be left in a separate form of its own.
  • They are able to leave their birth place very soon after they have been born.
  • Hares protect themselves in their forms by lying as still as a statue, tucked in close to the ground with their ears pressed flat along their backs
  • A hare will not move until the last minute before it is discovered, as its best defence lies in stillness and camouflage.
  • Hares can run incredibly fast, up to 35 miles per hour, although this is saved for escape and they generally lope along at a much more leisurely pace.
  • In March and April, hares can often be seen leaping about and having wild chases with each other. They will sometimes also have ‘boxing matches’, standing up on their hind legs, face to face and box with each other. This peculiar spring behaviour is where the expression ‘Mad as a March Hare’ comes from, as usually involves unreceptive females fending off amorous males.
  • Hares are herbivores, eating grass and other plants.
  • The leverets may be eaten by predators such as foxes, buzzards and owls, but the adults are generally quick enough to escape most enemies.
  • Leverets are particularly vulnerable to cutting machinery in grass fields.
  • Baby hares or leverets receive very little care from their mother so the babies lie very still in their nests called scrapes or ‘forms’ to avoid being seen by predators.
  • For about the first month of their lives, the leverets come together at sunset to be fed by their mother. Hare milk is very high in fat and nutrients so that baby hares only need to be fed once a day. After about a month they have to learn to take care of themselves.
  • The Easter Rabbit or Easter Bunny as people sometimes call him is actually an Easter Hare! In places in northwest Europe, like Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and some other European mainland countries, he is still called the Easter Hare rather than the Easter Bunny.

Update:  9th July 2013 (10 months old):

Up until yesterday, Bambi has been doing very well and seemed happy and content.  However, I have spent a lot of time today battling to save him.  He has not been himself for a few days but was not showing any definite signs of anything specific, I just noticed he was not as keen to come forward for his usual goodies.  If he had been a rabbit I would have started gut stasis treatment as a precaution, but being a wild hare it is a totally different situation as any manhandling can cause severe stress which can be fatal.  Last night he was nibbling on some dandelions and grass so I felt a bit happier, but this morning it was clear he was in pain so I decided I had to act regardless of the risk, so gently scooped him up in a large bath towel and hung on for dear life as it was like holding on to a kangaroo!  Hares feel very different from rabbits, as they are not at all soft and cuddly but are hard and leggy.

It took a good minute or two for him to stop struggling, and then I managed to get a dose of Metacam into him (which I think he quite liked) before offering him a syringe of recovery mix with added probiotic and rehydration therapy.  Much to my surprise he took several syringes of this, and then I had to stop and get his gut stimulant injection over with, which went down like a lead balloon as you can imagine.  However, he seemed to forgive me as he took some more recovery mixture and then I gently let him go on to the aviary floor again.  He seemed brighter so I left him to it.  After a few hours I checked on him again, only to find he had gone rapidly downhill.  A repeat of the morning antics transpired, and once again he rallied, enjoying a bit more recovery mixture and some grass.  I have just come back up this evening from the aviary, and I am pleased to report he seems much more relaxed but I know we are not out of the woods yet.  I am desperately hoping that he pulls through, as he has become a member of the family and we all love him dearly.  Funnily enough he has made friends with our last remaining chinese quail, and the pair are often seen nose to beak, or snuggling against each other contentedly.  Bless!

10th July

Bambi seemed bright this morning and when I went into the aviary he was tucking into some green veg, which was a good sign.  I decided not to catch him but to observe how things went, but within a couple of hours it was clear he was not right so had to get the bath towel out again and administer the medications once again.  He enjoyed several syringes of recovery mix too, which was reassuring.  He seems reasonably relaxed at the moment, and I have switched on the cooling fan to send air through the aviary as it is extremely hot again today.

13th July

I am glad to report that Bambi has pulled through and is back to his old self again.  I just hope he is not going to make a habit of this!  I have included below some photos I took today, including a couple with the quail who is never far from Bambi’s side.

The film below was taken about a week before our little quail, Bambi’s dear friend, passed away due to old age.  I found her still snuggled in between Bambi’s paws, her favourite place, and I take comfort from the knowledge she was warm, safe and content when she died.  I know we shall all miss her as she was a plucky little bird, a real little character.

Attempt to bond Bambi with a Belgian Hare neutered female

I was well aware of the vast differences between hares and rabbits, but as Bambi seemed to enjoy the little quail’s company I thought it may be worth trying him with a neutered female Belgian Hare, which despite the name is actually a type of rabbit.   She looked and behaved more like a hare than a bunny, but I knew the social and behavioural differences meant I was trying to match two totally different species, so did not have much hope of success.  I filmed the process, and have included the film below – it makes interesting watching, especially as a comparison between hares and rabbits.


July 2014 – Bambi is just under 2 years old now, and in the last couple of months has started making a snorting sound from time to time, usually if he is annoyed about something or if excited.  I managed to capture this on film, and the clip is below.

April 2015 – A short piece of film taken at supper time!

Here is some film I took using my iphone, filmed on 27th June 2015.

Here are some photos I took at the same time:

The film above was taken on Christmas day (2015) as I could not resist taking some footage of Bambi enjoying his festive breakfast!  He is now over 3 years old.

The film below was taken in September 2016, and Bambi is now over 4 years old.

I took this photo below earlier this year (2017) with Bambi being 5 years old, as the sun was catching his beautiful fur which made it shine like gold.  I think it is the pattern and colouring of the fur on their backs that can give them that golden shine when running in fields in the sunshine.

October 2017:  Bambi is now 5 years old and I took the following film just to show how keen he still is to have his daily treat!

Here is a short film of Bambi, taken on 14th March 2018, with Bambi just over five and a half years old.  Apologies for the poor light but I filmed him enjoying his supper last night just as it was starting to get dark.  He is very settled these days and has accepted his new friends – 4 of my elderly pigeons that were being attacked by crows so they are now confined to the aviary for their own safety.  I have never seen crows be so vicious with pigeons, they obviously worked out they were old and doddery and easy pickings, but it does not mean I have to agree with nature which is why they are confined to barracks!

This film below was taken in June 2018 and is an interesting study on hare behaviour when faced with a pushy pigeon …

Here is a short film of Bambi waiting eagerly for his breakfast – filmed in June 2019.   He is almost 7 years old (born September 2012).

Here is a film of Bambi and friends, taken at the start of April 2020.

This film and photo were taken in 2022, and Bambi is now in his 10th year!  He is showing no signs of age, although has perhaps mellowed a bit as he is not so inclined to box me in the knees!

How to feed a hare at home?

Each animal needs its own conditions for a full life. For the well-being of the animal, there are certain requirements for habitat, lifestyle and nutrition. Pets are pampered based on the natural preferences of their wild "brothers". One of the "savages" that people are trying to tame is a hare. When choosing the conditions for caring for a long-eared animal, they rely on a comparison with a rabbit, but these are completely different animals. Rabbits are more suited to living side by side with humans than hares. Years of evolution have created differences in the lifestyle, pregnancy of rabbits, the appearance of newborns (hares are covered with hair, and rabbits are born naked), which serves as a reason to approach the maintenance of eared at home in a different way. Rabbits are ready for family upbringing, special feeds are sold for them in pet stores, at home they are often treated to grains, while grain in a hare will cause gastrointestinal problems. The conditions for keeping hares should be studied by a person before he takes a forest dweller to himself.

A person's opinion of a safe place may differ from that of a hare. You should not condemn a hare who left her cubs on the site, or not far from the road. She didn't leave them forever. The mother comes to feed her offspring on average 1-2 times a day, more often at night. Therefore, you should not worry about lonely rabbits at first glance. But if something happened to the native mother of the hares, then you can’t count on another hare, because they don’t feed other people’s cubs. If a person chose to take a hare home, his duty is to properly feed the baby, to pick up milk similar to a hare as much as possible and later pick up food. It is required to study what is possible and what is not for the animal.


What can a hare do at home?

Cat and dog milk replacer (Royal) is suitable for the first meal, fresh goat milk can also be used. When the baby is gaining strength and weighing more than 700 grams, there is a need for complementary foods with grass, berries, fruits and vegetables.

The choice of herbs is varied, field ones are suitable: plantain, clover, medicinal dandelion, mouse pea, nettle, coltsfoot, yarrow, chickweed, shepherd's purse. Man often seasons his food with herbs that are good for hares, and which are not difficult to find in stores at any time of the year. These include: parsley, dill, cilantro, arugula, basil, spinach, tarragon, rosemary, and melissa and mint added to tea.

The choice of fruits should not be specific with notes of exotic, ordinary turnips, zucchini, pumpkin, carrots, sugar beets, fodder beets are suitable for hares, getting to summer cottages in secret from their inhabitants. In the plots, long-eared find treats in the form of berries such as strawberries, wild strawberries, currants, mountain ash, they can be content with plums. It is not forbidden to treat, now a pet with a banana, watermelon, apricot, cucumber, orange, sweet pepper, apple.

Another food recommended for hares, more familiar in nature - sprigs of aspen, linden, cypress, pine, beech, bird cherry, mountain ash, along with fruits, wild rose, birch, larch, willow, you can give juniper branches, but the berries of the bush are poisonous. Branches are better to choose young and soft.

The slanting barley, sour and the enemy of gardeners - quinoa will be to your taste. In winter, with a poorer choice, you can pay attention to oatmeal, dried fruits, hay, dried berries, herbal granules (not biofeed).

It is important to maintain water balance when feeding any animal. Every body needs water. It should be freely available for the hare, the need for water does not depend on the juiciness of the consumed fruits and herbs.

When feeding hares at home, there may be such an inconvenience as the preference of the hare to eat at dusk and at night. If this can cause the owner severe discomfort, it is better to abandon the idea of ​​​​going against the nature of the oblique and get another animal. It is worth remembering that even following all the recommendations for rabbit nutrition, you should not lose sight of the need for movement. For a hare, movement is life, you can’t keep him in a cage like a rabbit. Otherwise, the hare will not survive. If it is not possible to allow the hare to move freely around the "possessions", and the love for the eared knows no bounds, it is better to opt for a rabbit.

Do's and Don'ts for Domestic Hare

Under no circumstances should cow's milk be used from a carton. Hare milk with a fat content of more than 15% contains a lot of protein (casein, globulin), 6 times more than in cow's milk and 4 times more nutritious. Methods in the form of adding eggs or cream to milk are not only ineffective, but also detrimental to the animal. An egg can cause frightening salmonellosis and metabolic disorders, an obstacle to the absorption of vitamin B1. Antibiotics that are given in factories to birds can lead to poisoning of hares. Intoxication and poisoning are not immediately noticeable, but only for 3-4 days, however, a knowledgeable veterinarian will immediately detect malaise as a result of malnutrition of the tails.

Infant formula will not replace rabbit milk, but will only harm the animal (an autopsy shows a greatly enlarged heart, spleen, liver, and intestinal problems after baby food). Beofar dog milk replacer causes diarrhea.

Bread is a universal product that is used to feed the animals you like, but in vain. Flour will easily disrupt the metabolism and lead to the suffering of the animal.

Biofeed for rabbits, let it remain for rabbits, it is not recommended to give such feed to a hare. Coarse fibers quickly clog the gastrointestinal tract, leading to disorders and death

White cabbage, according to cartoon stereotypes, is liked by rabbits, but it is also a forbidden product for long-ears. It is better to replace cabbage with another cartoonish recommendation - carrots.

At home, hares will not refuse to gnaw wires, furniture, so it is worth removing something useful in everyday life, but harmful to the pet, in an inaccessible place. The same goes for pills, which, if consumed by a hare, can be fatal.

The common table with the animal should be excluded, the hare does not need leftovers left after dinner.

Feeding wild hares

If at home the feeding of a hare depends on a person, then in natural conditions the hare is free to choose the right food for himself, and different hares have different preferences. The white hare, known for its changing white color among taiga forage, gives preference to willow, aspen and birch. The basis of nutrition is connected with the terrain and the predominance of shrubs, so clearings are revived by birches and aspens, and it is with them that the hare living near the Karelian lakes limits itself. Depending on the geography and the predominance of species of shrubs and trees, the hare's views on food change. The closer to the north, the slower the process of regeneration of forests, and therefore less food for the long-eared. To the south, the hare no longer actively eats willow, birch and aspen; oak twigs and bark occupy an increasing place in the diet. Hare delicacy - terminal soft shoots, nutritious in their structure. In the north, a meager selection of bark makes the hare gnaw at the beavers' houses. Also in the north, the white hare prevents the partridge from being content with the ends of birch and willow shoots, buds, ahead of them in this matter.

Moose are also competitors in eating young shoots, but at the same time they help the hare by breaking trees and bushes, opening access to trees and shrubs.
Without grandfather Mazay, his wards adapt well to conditions and food resources, despite floods. Brown hares prefer open areas, preferably with nearby fields sown by humans, or in light forests with an abundance of blueberries and blueberries. Rusaki influence the spread of plants by eating seeds in late summer, not all of which are digestible. Summer herbs: clover, dandelion are essential components of the diet. In winter, finds under the snow in the form of remaining fruits, as well as shoots and bark of oak, aspen, broom, and apple trees bring joy to the hare. The hare has enough strength to search for food under the snow, unlike partridges, which come to the excavation sites after the hares, in search of a tasty and overlooked hare.

Hares often come down from the forests to watering holes, they start drinking water from about two to four weeks, but for now they do not need to feed on milk.

What a wild hare cannot do

Poisonous plants are contraindicated in nature, which the hare will not eat on his own. Mushrooms, berries that do not benefit the animal will not be in its diet. So at a juniper, a hare gnaws only twigs, leaving poisonous berries unattended. Do not doubt the choice of tailed ones. The negative human impact on the forest, waste, garbage is eaten by the inhabitants, which leads to irreparable consequences for their health.

How to feed a hare

The microbiota in cubs is formed as a result of feeding mother's milk and imitating adults: sucking on grass, or eating small amounts of soil. This is important for the health of the hare, so obliques feel great without human care. In the case when a person tries to feed a hare, it is required to follow the rules established by nature. In nature, the female feeds the hare for a short time and 2 times a day; at home, when the hare is exhausted, you can try to feed it more often, once every 2.5-3 hours. As noted earlier, the hare should be fed with substitutes for cat or bitch milk, as well as goat. The powder should be diluted thicker than for a kitten or puppy. Cow's milk and cream should be avoided. Treating condensed milk will not lead to anything good.

A hare does not always willingly take merciful milk from a person, in these cases it is necessary to take care of the cub with force. You can collect milk in a syringe without a needle for 10-20 ml, it is convenient for feeding. Gradually, you need to increase the dose, and feed less and less. Warm food, not from the refrigerator, is more useful for the digestive tract system. To avoid problems with the stool, you can massage the abdomen with a cotton swab.

In the first week, the milk teeth of hares change, if during this period the animal tries to eat grass, it may not have enough milk. The norm of milk is 100 ml per day. On milk substitutes, you should keep the hare for up to one and a half months, introducing other foods into the diet after 14 days (preference for legumes and soft branches along with leaves), but leaving the milk base. By 20 days, you should drink from coccidiosis and helminths. By a month or two, the hare should be completely transferred to adult food.
born. In addition to proper nutrition, you do not need to deprive the baby of warmth (heater).

Experts can also easily determine the age of a hare from a photo. The minimum weight for switching to more rigid food from milk substitutes is more than 600 grams.
When deciding to feed a hare, a person needs to monitor the weight gain of the animal, the norm is 30-70 grams per day. For example, at birth, a hare weighs a little over 100 grams, by day 20 600, after a month about 950 grams.

You need to understand that a hare is not a cat, even the most experienced pet lover, sometimes unable to leave a hare. The cat itself will not be able to feed the rabbits, its milk contains pathogenic substances dangerous for the eared, and the difference in the approach to feeding the offspring is significant. So hares rarely eat, quickly and a lot, kittens can lie with their mother for a long time, slowly sucking milk drop by drop. A single serving of cat's milk is not enough for a hare.

When meeting cute fluffies, it's best to walk past. The mother hare will feed them, so the animal will have more chances to survive. According to statistics, only 5 out of 100 survive next to a person. But if a person decides to take a hare home, one should approach his feeding and maintenance with special responsibility. If the error is recognized within 24 hours, it is not too late to return the hare to its place, or contact the specialists.

Irina Ivanishchena

I am engaged in professional breeding of hamsters and rats on a permanent basis. I know things about them that most people don't. Always open to constructive discussion

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How to feed a hare at home

Contents of the article

What do hares eat in nature

A hare is a herbivorous fur mammal that belongs to the order of lagomorphs and lives on almost all continents. These representatives can be met even in the steppes and deserts. And it is natural that each species adapts to the conditions in which it exists. How do they survive in the wild? What do hares of different breeds eat at home and in their natural habitat?

What do hares eat

What do hares eat

The diet of hares is varied, especially in summer, although it all depends on where this wild animal lives. Eared ones feed mainly on plant foods - the roots and bark of trees, leaves and stems of plants, vegetables and fruits, they eat young shoots of shrubs with pleasure. In the spring, with a deficiency of mineral salts, soil can be eaten by a hare and even stones can be swallowed.

Hares are generally considered vegetarians, but there are cases when they ate the meat of partridges caught in hunting traps.

Varieties of hares

For us, these are small harmless fluffy animals that live in the forest and quickly disappear from view when danger approaches.

Since February, the offspring of hares begins to appear. As soon as the animal is born, the mother feeds the little rabbit and runs away from the hole so as not to attract predators with her smell. After a couple of days, she returns, again feeds the hungry offspring and runs away. This thick milk is enough for babies for several hours. A week later, the rabbits have teeth.

First, the hare lays grass in the mink, which the hare begins to feed on after about 10 days. By about a month, the grown offspring no longer needs their mother and begins to live independently.

In Russia, you can meet 4 species of hares:

In nature, in total, there are 32 species in one version, according to scientific disputes, adding to this species both rabbits and pikas, 45 species. Let's get acquainted with some of them.

Hare - hare

Lives in the forests of Russia, South America, Mongolia and many other countries. In winter, in order to be less noticeable on the snow, it changes color to white, and only the black color remains on the tips of the ears. In summer the jumper is grey.

What does a hare eat in the forest? In the diet in summer there are plant foods: herbs, dandelions, cereals, mountain ash, blueberries, mushrooms. In the fields, eared feast on cabbage, in the garden, animals can even gnaw onions and carrots. In autumn, white hares feed on branches of shrubs, and in winter it is more difficult to feed in the forest, so they eat the bark of trees such as willow, aspen and birch.

Eared ones of this species can also feed on elk horns dropped in the forest. If possible, they dig up berries from under the snow, feed on hay extracted from haystacks near the villages. In the spring, when fresh grass appears on the lawns, hare hares eat this delicacy in flocks.

This animal is nocturnal, so it often lies during the day, and at night it gets food by running long distances.

Brown hare

Let's get acquainted with this hare. Mermaids are large individuals of brown color with hairs of different shades. They live in Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iran.

Rusaks willingly eat cereals, chicory, dandelions. If the hares settle in agricultural fields, then they harm the crop by eating fruits, vegetables, melons. In Australia, for example, hares are declared pests that pose a serious danger.

In winter, a European hare gnaws on the bark of trees and bushes. Unlike the white hare, this species feasts on the bark of oak, maple, broom, periodically digging seeds of plants and fruits from under the snow with their paws. In spring, they often damage the roots of shrubs, eat leaves, young shoots and stems of plants.

Tolai hare

Hares are not large in size, legs and ears are longer than those of other individuals. A representative of this species lives in the deserts and in the Russian steppes, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.

What do hares eat in nature? In winter, they move closer to settlements. In the mountains they descend into valleys where there is no snow cover. The main food is the green parts of plants. In spring, the diet consists of the roots and tubers of herbaceous plants (they also eat young grass with pleasure).

Ephemera grows in the desert - herbaceous annual plants - one of the treats of hares. In summer, food is cereals and sedge, in autumn - corn in the fields, wheat and barley. In winter, there is no good nutrition, so they are content with the bark of trees and shrubs.

Manchurian hare

Distributed in the south of the Far East, in the Amur River valley, in China, in the north of the Korean Peninsula. Outwardly - almost like a wild rabbit, small in length and weighing up to 2.5 kg. The hind legs are short, the coat is hard and bristly, does not change color with the change of season.

These animals are the same forest dwellers as the white hares. They feed on the stems of shrubs and woody plants, berries and fruits. In winter - bark and shoots of poplar and aspen.

Antelope Hare

Because of the hot environment, such as Arizona in the USA, the high temperature causes the hares to have very long and large ears. This helps not only better hearing, but also the regulation of heat transfer.

In the daytime they hide from the hot sun in the bushes, but from evening to morning they lead an active lifestyle. They eat mostly cacti and grass.

Chinese hare

This type of hare is found in the hills of China, lives in Vietnam and is even included in the Red Book. Individuals of small size, with short hard brown fur with many shades, at the ends of the ears there are black triangles.

In the diet: deciduous plants, branches, shoots.

Curly hare

Lives in China, India, differs in small size and weight about 2 kg.

Mainly nocturnal and feeds mainly on grass and herbaceous plants.

Some interesting facts:

  • This animal is very hardy. It can reach speeds of up to 50 km / h, covering huge distances in a day.
  • Heat leaves the body through long ears, thereby saving the animal from overheating of the body. During the rains, the hare presses its ears and water does not get there, which would provoke the animal's illness.
  • Females live for about 9 years, males - 5. At home, with good and proper care, they can live up to 13 years, but in the wild they often die from the clutches of predators before they reach adulthood.
  • Due to the frequent eating of the bark, their teeth are worn out, but new ones grow to replace them.
  • Even when escaping from predators, a hare never runs into someone else's territory.

Under natural conditions, animals get their own food, but what to do with a hare that has appeared in your house? Of course, to figure out what hares eat?

Feeding at home

It is worth knowing that the nutrition of hares, especially at home, is difficult to bring closer to natural. The fact is that hare milk has no analogues. Cow's milk and infant formula do not have the fat content of rabbit milk. Some farmers feed rabbits with cow's milk with eggs or cream, but then the probability of eared death increases. Do not use condensed milk due to the high sugar content.

Eared animals should be fed at least 2 times a day in small portions of 5-10 ml at a time.

Only a one-month-old hare begins to eat independently. Young hares eat fresh grass, vegetables and fruits well, they love carrots, tree leaves, and berries. From the 2nd month, ready-made feeds can be introduced, but not earlier, as they are absorbed worse and bring discomfort to the animal. For the winter, you can stock up on dried grass harvested in the summer.

Keeping and caring for a hare at home

Under natural conditions, a hare travels a very long distance. Therefore, pets, except for small ones, are best kept in a free-range apartment or in open-air cages, where it is spacious, and not in cages. But keep in mind that they leave their excrement everywhere and you have to clean up after them.

Young hares need warmth, they need to massage the tummy and wipe under the tail with a cotton swab moistened with warm water.

No matter how much you try to love your pets, do not forget that they are wild animals, and you need to bring their content as close to natural as possible. Now you have an idea of ​​​​how the diet is chosen by the hare and in what conditions it should be kept.

What to feed a hare in captivity?

In no case do not feed the hare with clover, cabbage and beets as advised above, you will kill the animal. Withered grass, yes, you need to give, for example, sedge, it’s fashionable to have some apple tree branches, for example. And never give cabbage and beets, alfalfa, they cause bloating and the hare dies. Potatoes are also not allowed, just a little bit of carrots, you can give a little barley or oats. And best of all, do not torture the animal and release it into natural conditions, hares do not live in captivity.

During the warm period, animals have the opportunity to eat a lot of juicy greens. Favorite hare delicacies are clover, yarrow, bedstraw, dandelion, tansy and other herbs. Animals and berry plants are attracted, both their stems and leaves, and the fruits themselves. And if the hare finds moss, he will not refuse such food either.

Trees and shrubs are also a source of valuable food for hares. In summer, animals feast on their lower leaves and nutritious shoots. Young trees are readily eaten whole. In this regard, the hare often looks like a pest in the eyes of people, since the mentioned trees often become rooted seedlings.

In addition to eating the ground parts of plants, the animal can also find food in the soil layer, in the form of various roots. And sometimes, under the ground, the hare manages to find truffles - mushrooms with fleshy and fragrant fruiting bodies, with which he also enjoys refreshing himself.

During the ripening period, a hare, having visited a potato field, can dig up and eat plant tubers. The fruits of other cultures also do not go unnoticed by the long-eared animal that visited agricultural land at the end of summer or autumn.

At the same time, ripe alder cones, as well as rowan and wild rose berries become tasty food for the animal. By the way, the hare is known as a seed distributor. They serve as food for the animal, but not all are digested in his stomach.

As autumn progresses, more and more roughage appears in the hare's diet. Now fresh greenery is replaced by withered grass, bare branches of shrubs and tree bark. And this food will be the main one for a long time.

Hare diet in winter and spring

Whether or not an animal survives the freezing weather depends to some extent on the amount of precipitation. Much of what hares eat in winter is hidden under the snow cover, and if the animals cannot get to the vegetation, they are very hungry and it becomes much more difficult for them to withstand the low temperature. All this often leads to the death of animals.

what do hares eat in winter

In order to make their existence easier, the resourceful animal with the onset of severe cold moves closer to the settlements and to the hills, where there is less snow. Noticing a haystack, the hare gets the opportunity to rest in it and get enough of dry grass.

In winter, animals look for surviving spikelets of grain in the fields. But the biggest luck for the hares will be to attack the winter crops. If a whole detachment of animals visits such a place, then a significant part of the work of people can be wasted, while the hares will be satisfied.

Animals are saved from starvation by frozen berries left on the bushes, as well as fruits that have fallen in autumn, which the hare diligently digs out from under the thickness of the snow. Tree bark is necessarily present in the winter diet of these animals. Most often, the hare chooses soft breeds: birch, aspen and others.

In spring, animals finally get the opportunity to eat sprouts that break through the rapidly melting snow. Buds and blossoming foliage, fresh grass and young shoots - there are a lot of healthy and satisfying vegetation in the hare's spring diet.

The diet of hares

For many years of its existence, the hare has never been tamed by man. But sometimes it happens that a wild defenseless hare gets into people's houses, and a person needs to feed him. The food that hares eat in the forest and at home differ significantly.

Diet of hares

Description of animals

Usually a wild animal of the hare family acquires offspring in the last month of winter. After the appearance of small hares, the female first feeds them, then leaves the nest so as not to attract predatory animals with her smell. After a while, she returns again with the intention of feeding them and leaving again. This is how the female behaves until the hares have teeth.

Wild hares make primitive nests from hay and leaves, or dig small holes. Hares, unlike domestic rabbits, are born with hair and sighted, so they can survive in such open areas. A few days after birth, they begin to move independently and hide not far from the nest - in the bushes, under the trees.

The first teeth in young animals begin to erupt at a week of age. Then the mother drags grass into the nest for the young. The first feeding begins from the tenth day of life.

Young hares feed on grass and after the age of one month they no longer need the help of their mother.


Several varieties of this furry herbivore live in the wild. All of them differ in fur, size and behavior. On the territory of Russia it will be possible to meet representatives of each of the breeds.


This animal lives in the forest-steppe zone of our country, in the southern part of the USA and Mongolia. For camouflage in winter, the animal changes its natural gray fur for a snow-white fur coat. Only the ears at the end remain black. In summer, a wild animal living in the forest eats mushrooms, cereals, dandelions, rowan fruits, blueberries and herbs. In the fields, cabbage becomes food for wild rodents; in the garden, animals gnaw onions, carrot tops and root crops. In autumn, the white hare survives by eating young twigs of bushes. In winter, when food is scarce, a hungry animal feeds on the bark of aspen, willow and birch.


This is a large hare with brown fur with white, black and gray hairs all over the coat. The animal lives in the Far East, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkey. Hares feed on dandelions, chicory and cereals. These forest animals cause great harm to melon, vegetable and fruit plantations. In winter, the animal gnaws on tree bark, stems of young seedlings and shrubs. Prefers to eat maple, oak bark, pull seeds of fruits and plants from under snowdrifts.


Representatives of this species, which is not large in size with long legs and ears, lives in Russia mainly in the steppe zone, as well as in the territories of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In nature, the basis of their diet is green vegetation. In early spring, individuals eat tubers and roots of herbaceous plants. In summer, they feed on cereals and sedge, in autumn - barley, wheat and corn. In winter, with a lack of green food, the hare eats the bark on trees and shrubs, young shoots.


The largest population lives in the Far East, on the Amur coast and in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. Outwardly, the variety is similar to a wild rabbit - it weighs about 2. 5 kg, has a body of small length, short and hard hair. With the advent of another season, the fur does not change. These hares eat the same as white hares, in the cold season they feed on tree bark, young stems of plants and bushes. During the spring-autumn period, fruits and berries are eaten.

Feeding in nature

Feeding of hares in the wild depends on the season. In summer, in the forest, the animal feeds on young twigs of fruit trees. Animals love to gnaw on stems and leaves, sometimes they eat roots, but only young ones.

Eared hares feed mainly on plant food - roots and bark of trees, leaves and stems of plants, eat young shoots of shrubs with pleasure

In the second half of summer, wild hares feed on seeds of herbaceous plants. The most favorite are inflorescences and shoots of dandelions, clover, chicory, alfalfa, tansy and colza. Of cultivated plants, preference is given to cereals and sunflowers. Young and adult hares love watermelon, melon.

In winter, in nature, hares feed on seeds of cereals, meadow and steppe plants, eat garden crops (fruits, root crops), digging them out from under the snow.

In severe winters, a wild animal is not able to extract food for himself and his family from under a thick snow cover, therefore it feeds on woody vegetation - bark and shoots of a tree. Favorite trees: oak, apple, maple, pear, willow and aspen.

In winter, hares eat their morning faeces. The fact is that it is the morning droppings that are rich in useful microflora and some nutrients that animals lack in harsh winters.

With a lack of minerals and nutrients, the animal even eats soil or small stones. It is a herbivore, but there were isolated cases when a hungry hare ate the meat of partridges stuck in hunting nets or traps.

Rules for feeding

It is problematic to bring the feeding of hares at home to natural feeding. It is worth feeding them at home at least twice a day, and in small portions, in order to exclude disorders of the gastrointestinal system. A single serving for a little hare is 5-10 ml.

Month old hare begins to feed on his own. A young hare willingly eats fruit tree leaves (cherries, cherries, plums), berries, vegetables (cabbage, carrots, beets), apples are preferred from fruits. Succulent food is the basis of nutrition in the summer. Young and adult individuals are given dried meadow and steppe herbs.

Store-bought food is introduced into the diet from the age of two months. With earlier feeding, such food can provoke problems with the gastrointestinal tract. With the advent of winter, individuals are fed hay from meadow grasses and branches of fruit trees. Forage for the winter is made in the summer.

Maintenance and care

A hare that lives in the forest or in the steppe zone travels hundreds of thousands of kilometers in its entire life, so it is contraindicated to keep such an animal at home. For its temporary maintenance, a spacious room or aviary is suitable. Some breeders keep free range animals in their living quarters. But it is worth considering the fact that individuals will leave their excrement everywhere, you will have to periodically collect their droppings.

Young hares need warmth, they need to massage their tummy, and wipe under the tail with a cotton swab moistened with warm water.

  • after each feeding, the animals are massaged on the abdomen to improve the digestion process;
  • with a cotton pad soaked in warm water to be wiped under the tail.
  • Interesting facts

    These wild representatives of the hare order have unique features:

    1. Hares have increased endurance and are able to cover long distances in a day, developing high speed (about 50 km per hour). Chasing a hare during a hunt requires large energy expenditures from sniffer dogs.
    2. The animal's ears are a kind of temperature regulator - excess heat escapes through them.
    3. During the rainy season, the animal closes its ears to its head so that water does not get inside and cause illness.
    4. The average life expectancy of females is 9 years, males - 5 years. In the conditions of a house or apartment, with proper care, an individual lives for about 13 years. This is due to the fact that in the wild many predators hunt for a hare - wolves, almost all types of birds of prey that are able to cope with such prey. An individual is not able to live up to 13 years.
    5. Given that the hare constantly gnaws at the bark of trees, branches, its teeth wear down quickly, but new incisors grow in their place.
    6. Fleeing from predators, the individual never leaves its territory.


    A wild animal needs conditions as close to natural as possible. If a person had to raise small rabbits on their own, they are provided with everything necessary for full growth and development.

    Briefly about “How to feed a wild, forest hare? How to keep a hare at home?

    We will temporarily interrupt the stories about our eared ones and tell you how it is actually possible to feed a hare? What you need to know and most importantly - understand.
    We hope that this article will help those who, by a certain coincidence, have got hares or young hares. And as it turned out, there are not so few people who lived with these animals on the peekaboo.

    What needs to be understood from the start? A hare is not a rabbit . He has a completely different way of life, structure, physiology, behavior. It does not live in burrows, it cannot tolerate confined spaces, it controls a huge territory with a food supply. The basis of the forage base is grass, young branches, berries, fruits. The hare settles not far from water bodies, since even with a “juicy” diet, it needs water.
    Movement is the basis of a hare's life. According to the experience from the study of the Moscow Zoo, about 3 out of 5 hare hares released into the wild after 2 weeks of keeping in cages died from rupture of blood vessels, heart problems.
    Why don't rabbits die? Are they kept in cages? The thing is that the rabbit is a burrowing animal. In addition, he leads a sedentary lifestyle. He does not need so much movement, initially he lives "in cramped quarters, but not offended." However, keeping them in a small cage also affects their health - this is not natural. But if the rabbit at least survives, then the hare will not.

    Based on this, we can already draw a couple of conclusions about keeping a hare of any age:
    – Hares should not be settled in cramped cages. You are shortening his life considerably. Keeping in a cage is possible only under the condition of walking, at least 5-6 hours (preferably in the dark). The ideal option is free walking around the apartment, plot or aviary.
    - Rabbits must not be fed grain-based rabbit food. It can only be an additional food, but not the main one.
    - The hare must have fresh water at all times. The fact that hares do not drink in the presence of milk or grass is a myth, by the way, which has already led to the death of one domestic hare.

    - And most importantly - you can’t row the basics of keeping rabbits under a hare. These are different TYPES. It's like comparing a fox to a dog.

    We continue. Hares bring offspring from 2 to 5 times a year. The notorious “Nastoviki”, “Kolosovichki”, “Herbalists” and “Leaf Falls”. Cubs usually appear from the end of March to September. Sometimes, young hares can bring offspring earlier (February-early March) or later (October-November), but such broods do not survive.
    A hare does not dig a hole, as rabbits do, because hares appear fully clothed and sighted. The task of the mother is only to make a “nest” out of grass, hay, or digs a small depression. After that, she gives birth “without uttering a drop of blood” and “leaves children”.
    Although not everything is as it looks at first glance. During the day, two, a week, the hares sit in the same nest, warming each other. This is vital. Newborn “loners” are usually abandoned or stray hares. Some slightly grown hares scatter through the nearest bushes and hide while waiting for their mother.
    Mother comes to us 1-2 times a day - carefully feeds them and licks them.

    This is how a newborn hare looks like:

    And so, already a full-fledged hare overgrown with wool (from a week): Or the fact that the mother abandons offspring? By the way, the stories about “someone else's voluntary guardianship” were smashed into the trash from the experience of breeding a hare on game farms and aviaries. The size of such enclosures could reach from several square meters to more than 3 hectares.
    The key word here is “voluntary guardianship”. Any rabbit running past becomes a victim of insatiable rabbits, who, in fact, don’t care if it’s a mother or not - the main milk. In most cases, the “victim” runs away, although the grown young, as a rule, can catch up with her.
    According to the research of the Moscow Zoo, if there are young hares on the territory, newborns die of hunger, so females bring hares to a new place each time.

    What conclusions can we draw?
    – Rabbits should be fed at least 2 times a day.
    - Little rabbits need warmth.

    – If you take a little hare back “to the wild”, in the hope that the hare will feed him, he will simply die. No foreign hare will feed him. Thanks for the lost soul. Not figs was to pull hands.

    Now let's go directly to the main point. Here, you are holding a newly found hare in your arms. You plan to keep it for one reason or another.
    (Keep it permanently, since a hare grown out of will will die in nature, later we will explain why).
    The first thing you should find out is your age. The nutrition and care of the hare will depend on age. Age can be determined by weight or appearance.
    The second is where you will keep him.
    Third - are you ready?))

    From the first days to several weeks:

    Hares at this age require the most care, it was for them that it was believed that it was impossible to grow a hare out of will. Cubs at this stage feed on milk. Hare milk is very fatty and nutritious, about 17%. It is impossible to find an analogue. Perhaps you will have a nursing hare or rabbit - but we doubt it. We recommend feeding “orphans” with bitch and cat milk substitutes. Neither goat's nor cow's natural milk can be compared with rabbit or substitutes. We are silent about the purchase. If there are no options with substitutes, then goat will do. Some people also feed cow, mixing it with an egg or heavy cream. But we do not recommend this option. At best, you will “hold out” the bunny until he eats grass, at worst.
    Feed the eared - at least 2 times a day, at least 10 ml per dose. (We fed our bunnies every 3 hours.)
    Also, a little bunny needs warmth and occasional belly massages to avoid problems with going to the toilet. It is best to give him a cage with hay, periodically placing heating pads. From childhood, he will be accustomed to the “tray” and well. you won't crush him running all over the house.
    It is possible to completely tame a hare to a person, avoiding all problems, only from his birth.

    From a few weeks to a month:
    Hooray. No wakefulness for 24 hours a day, changing heating pads and massages. Hares at this age begin to switch to adult food. The key word is move. The milk diet is reduced to 2-4 doses per day. You can introduce various herbs into the diet (snotweed, plantain, dandelion, wheatgrass, burdock, etc.), give carrots, apples, pears, berries, branches. Contrary to myths, hares are not very fond of cabbage. Moreover, it is deadly for little rabbits, because. causes diarrhea and bloating. The cage, the lair, must always be open - the hare explores the world. Tolerantly remove the Nesquik scattered around the house, observe where the bunny goes most often - if necessary, transfer the cage there.

    From month:
    You can safely refuse milk to your hare. Although some kids require it more. a couple of years) You completely transfer the hare to grasses, hay, branches, berries, vegetables and fruits. You can feed grass-based rabbit food with grain mixtures - but this should not be the main food. The option with “compound feed for meat rabbits” should be excluded immediately.
    The hare constantly flies around the room. It is very important for him to contact you.
    From this age, you should definitely drive away helminths for your pet, drink it from coccidiosis and vaccinate. Coccidia and worms are the lesser of evils, and if your hare gets sick with myxomatosis or VGBK, it will be at least a shame. since all these diseases end in death.

    And a few words off topic.
    Dear people, if you liked the hares so much and you want one for yourself - DO NOT SPECIALLY PULL HARES FROM THE WILD . Why? Because if you change your mind the next day and release the hare, no hare will feed him. Because the hare will grow up sooner or later. Because the hare is a wild animal and can be dangerous. You say - if it's wild, then it will grow up and let it out? Any hare grown in a room, in a cage, in an aviary will be completely different than the one that ran long distances from birth, got food, ran away from predators, developed immunity from local diseases and parasites. You will release the “sterile”, ignorant wildlife into the wild. It is not necessary to say that you will put the hare in good hands. I can immediately sketch out options for his future - dog training, slaughter for meat, an attempt to “cross with rabbits” (there are some!), A funny toy in a cramped cage, petting zoos and, with a low probability, experienced hands (private owners with experienced, centers of wild animals, professional zoos).
    If you are not ready for such an animal, do not take it. Leave the hare where he lies. Forget about it.
    If you want a hare. Check with those who already own it. I'm sure they will help you. We have been looking for a home for three-legged Mota from St. Petersburg for several weeks - where have you been? Or a hare with broken paws from Murmansk? Or do you need a complete one? There are many people who did not follow the advice “do not rip out of nature”, did not cope and attach hares. There are those people who are engaged in breeding them for “stew”. we are sure that you can not harm nature, but save an already doomed living creature by making it a pet.

    On the photos:
    Hare Motya, owner Kristina Grigorieva
    Hare Tisha, owner Nastya Zlobina
    Hare Loki, owner Inna Isaeva
    Hare Marusya, owner Kristina Grigoryeva
    Hare Yasha, owner Vasily Vasiliev
    The house of the hare vk. Group of owners of domestic hares

    What does a hare eat in nature?

    Lagomorphs are representatives of the order of placental mammals. Animals have a placenta, so that the cubs are born quite developed, strong. The females feed their offspring with milk.

    Brief description of hares

    A characteristic distinguishing feature is the ears - long, tubular, not proportionate to the body. The use of ears is that they help animals survive in dangerous conditions of the wild.

    The structure of the digestive tract

    The animal feeds on plants, roots, tree bark. They eat heavy food, so nature has provided the animal with a large caecum, constantly growing teeth. There are no fangs, there is an empty space between the incisors and molars, called the diastema. The right and left rows of molars are connected by a thin bridge, forming a hard bony palate. The upper jaw of animals has 2 pairs of incisors: large in front, small with small incisors behind. The teeth are constantly growing to grind down the incisors, the animal is forced to gnaw.

    The stomach consists of 2 departments responsible for certain functions:

    • fundic – food fermentation;
    • pyloric - digestion of food.

    Where hares live

    Hares live everywhere: in the tundra, taiga, steppe. They are loners by nature. They lead a nocturnal lifestyle. In search of food, animals go out in the dark so that twilight hides them from natural enemies. Having refreshed themselves, the animals return home before sunrise. So that no one guesses about the lair, the beast climbs into it backwards, having previously confused the tracks.

    The lair is chosen carefully, scrupulously. It should be warm, protected from the wind. Animals do not like dampness, noise. Animals do not dig holes, they choose a ready place: bush, arable land, tall grass. Due to the coloring, the animal is impossible to see.

    They are homebodies, do not change their habitat. If people or animals force him to break away from his familiar place, the beast does not go far. The maximum distance from the place of residence is 2-3 km, when the danger passes, the animal will return home.

    At the onset of cold weather, hares living in the uplands descend to the lowlands to wait out the winter.

    The cleanliness of the animals should be noted. They often sit down and clean up: comb, lick the hair.

    What does a hare eat

    Hares are herbivores. The diet of animals is diverse, depending on the time of year and the region in which the animal lives. In spring, the animal feeds on young shoots.

    What does a hare eat in winter

    Winter is a difficult time for wildlife. In frosts, animals dig up the snow, looking for dry grass. They can be found on winter fields, where they eat up spikelets and root crops left after harvesting. Animals gnaw the bark of trees, bushes in the forest. This causes a lot of trouble for gardeners, because hares spoil valuable varieties of fruit trees.


    Summer diet is wide. Animals feed on plants, actively gaining weight. They prefer the upper part of the grass: leaves, flowers. They eat dandelions, pickans, tansy, strawberries, blueberries.

    While eating, animals jump up and down to assess their surroundings. If the animal noticed or felt the danger, it begins to loudly knock its paws on the ground. Knocking is a warning of danger.

    Reproduction and longevity

    Foot tapping is used by females during the mating season to attract nearby males. In a fight, males must identify a worthy contender for the paw and heart of a long-eared beauty. The courtship period is long: it starts in January and ends in August-September.

    The female bears offspring for about 2 months, about 43 days. In one litter, a hare brings 1-9 cubs. In winter, 1-4 hare are born, in summer the number increases. Rabbits are born completely covered with hair, with open eyes. Newborn babies are licked by the female, slightly shaken to stimulate blood circulation. Then, the mother hides them in a recess, leaves to look for food. For three weeks, the hare feeds the cubs with milk, then they switch to self-feeding with grass. If a nursing female meets strangers, she will definitely feed them. Even if the mother died, orphaned babies will receive the necessary milk, they will not die of hunger.

    Since thousands of hare chicks do not live to adulthood and die from the claws and teeth of predators, the animals have a natural fertility. Animals are characterized by a rare feature - superfitting - a female can be pregnant with offspring at different stages of development. Females reach sexual development by 6 months. During the mating season, the female makes sounds resembling human muttering.

    Outwardly, it is impossible to distinguish a hare from a hare. When examining the genital organs, you can see that the females have visible abdominal and pectoral nipples.

    In the wild, hares live 7-8 years


    In total, 32 breeds of hares are known, but scientists insist on including hares and rabbits in the breed, of which there are about 45 species.

    Blue hare

    This is a fairly large animal, weighing approximately 1.5-5 kg. The ears of the animal can reach 10 cm in length. The short small tail is always snow-white, the dimensions vary between 5-10 cm. The hare's paws are wide and thick, which helps it to jump in deep, loose snow.

    The color of the hare in summer depends on the range: from gray with red stripes to dark gray. The belly of the animal is white. Bunnies are larger and heavier, but they do not differ in color. In winter, the hare puts on a snow-white fur coat, for which he got his name.

    White hare can be found even in Argentina. In Russia, he lives everywhere, is an object of hunting, since hare meat is famous for its tenderness.

    European hare

    Animal weighs about 6-7 kg, dark gray with specks, dark brown eyes. The ears of the hare are long, they can reach 14 cm. The tail is elongated, its length is about 8-14 cm. Since this species lives in places with little snow, its paws are narrow and dense. The animal prefers the steppe.

    Rusak was introduced to Australia where it became a national disaster. Uncontrolled reproduction led to the death of the local fauna, the loss of a huge amount of crops. The doctrine is conducting research aimed at eliminating the beast from the territory of Australia.

    Tolai hare

    Desert animal accustomed to living in a warm environment. The size of the animal is small. Weight - 1.5-3 kg. Legs are long and narrow. It has long ears and a tail. The fur is gray with a yellowish or brown haze. Dark, light colors alternate, the hare looks motley. The tail of the animal is dark, but there is a distinctive feature - at the end there is a brush of white stiff hair.

    Manchurian hare

    Miniature fragile animal, weighing up to 3 kilograms. It has short ears and a tail. The coat is variegated, a strip of black hair is visible in the center of the back. Sometimes there are melanists - hares with a black coat color.

    Antelope hare

    Not found in Russia. Habitat: Mexico, Arizona, USA. The ears of the beast reach 20.5 cm and serve not only for hearing. Given the hot climate, the ears are a kind of heat exchanger, helping to lower body temperature.

    Chinese hare

    Miniature animal weighing up to 2 kg, lives mainly in China, Vietnam.

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