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Caring for Rabbit Kits
(
or to the layman-Caring for Baby Bunnies)
by Pat Vanecek

When baby bunnies are born they do not have any fur and their eyes are closed. The Doe (Mama rabbit) will usually make a nest in the box that you have provided for her. She will dig a hole in the pine shavings and grass hay. Then she will line the hole with her fur. This helps keep the bunnies warm.

The day the bunnies are born, I take the nestbox out and check to see how many bunnies are in there. If there are any dead ones, I take them out. I put all they babies back under the fur and put it back in with the Mom.

The next day I will check it again. Rabbits nurse generally once a day (usually early morning between 2-6am). When I check the nestbox the next day, I make sure that their tummies are full. If not, then I'll hold the Doe in the nestbox for 5 minutes and see if she will nurse then. If not, I'll wait another 24 hours--check the nestbox again. If they haven't been fed, then I will remove them and foster them to another Doe. I have listed a substitute milk recipe below.

Bunnies need to nurse until they are 4-6 weeks old. Some will wean themselves. It is good policy to move the Doe into a new cage and leave the babies in the cage they were raised in. This creates less stress for the bunnies. They can usually be sold between 6-8 weeks old.

Substitute Milk recipe:
1 cup whole milk, 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp. of SULFERED molasses (NEVER use HONEY) and a couple drops of liquid vitamins. The hardest part is getting it into them the first few days without choking or drowning them. Use a q-tip & replenish with an eyedropper. The q-tip dispenses the milk in a seeping sort of pattern much more like the nipple of the doe normally would. Allow them to drink until they are full and have stopped nursing. After hand feeding be sure to rub the genitalia till the bunny urinates (the mother licks them while they are nursing). Bunnies need to be fed this substitute every 4-8 hours. (milk replacer, milk substitute)

Homemade Critical Care Recipe (for young bunnies)
1/4 of a banana
1/8 cup regular rabbit food pellets
1/4 cup unflavored Pedialyte
1/8 cup canned pumpkin
options: rabbit vitamins, hay (can clog syringe) , calf manna, uncooked oatmeal (not quick), molasses

Blend in blender until smooth and thin enough to syringe feed. Additional Pedialyte added will thin to a baby food paste consistency. Place syringe behind front teeth and squeeze a pea-sized portion into rabbit’s mouth. Allow to chew and swallow between bites. Feed 1 cc, 2 to 3 times per day until rabbit begins to eat normally. Keep ingredients on hand at all times. From Bunnybees.com    Thanks again, Carolyn

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this page last updated 2/7/10
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