Rabbits are usually great mothers and won’t need any intervention when it comes to raising their babies.
However, there are occasions when does will abandon their young or may die during childbirth. In these cases, you may have to hand-rear baby bunnies.
This is possible, but it can be tricky.
In this article, we will look at how to care for a baby bunny.
Table of contents
How To Set Up A Nesting Box For Baby Bunnies?
Baby bunnies need to be kept comfortable, safe, and warm during their first few weeks of life.
The best way to achieve this is by setting up a nesting box. You can do this in a few easy steps.
- Find a sturdy box that is large enough to comfortably contain all of the baby bunnies. There should be enough space for them to grow larger and remain comfortable, too.
- Get two thick and soft towels and line the bottom of the box. Make sure one of them doesn’t lie completely flat and instead allow it to bunch up a little. This will give the baby bunnies something warm and soft to snuggle into.
- Put the babies in the box. Include some soft nesting wool or hay inside. This will mimic their mother’s fur and make them feel safer.
- Make sure that there is at least one to two inches of space above the baby bunnies so that air can flow around the box. Cover the box with a thin towel but leave a gap so that fresh air can come in and out.
- Try to keep the room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can’t keep the room that warm for any reason, then you will need to provide a heat source. All you need is a heating pad on the lowest heat setting. Wrap the pad in some towels and place it on one side of the box. Make sure that none of the pad is bare and that the kits have enough room to move away from the heating pad to a cooler part of the box if they want to.
How To Hand Feed Baby Bunnies?
Newborn kits need their mother’s milk. Typically, it will be their only source of nutrients for the first two weeks of their life.
This makes hand-feeding baby bunnies very difficult. Unfortunately, there is no replacement rabbit milk formula available.
The closest replacement milk available is the replacement cat milk intended for orphaned kittens and this is your best choice.
We would recommend using Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR.) It is available as both a powder that can be mixed with water and as a liquid milk that comes in a can.
To get the best mix of nutrients, you should add two further ingredients to the mix. These are:
- Acidophilus powder – this can be purchased in capsule form. Simply break open a capsule and add a tiny pinch of powder to each feeding. Acidophilus powder is a probiotic that promotes healthy gut flora.
- Heavy whipping cream – rabbit milk is very high in calories, so replacement kitten milk needs some extra calories. Make sure the whipping cream doesn’t have any added sugar or other ingredients. Mix one tablespoon of cream to every eight ounces of liquid milk.
Kits are normally fed twice a day by their mother and you should also follow this routine. You will need to increase the amount of milk depending on their age.
- Zero to one week old – 2 – 2.5cc per feed
- One to two weeks old – 5 – 8cc per feed
- Two to three weeks old – 8 – 15cc per feed
- Three to eight weeks old – 15cc per feed
You should use either a syringe or an eyedropper to deliver the milk.
Different kits have different preferences for how they are fed as some prefer to lie on their backs and others prefer to be upright.
Let them feed slowly and make sure they have the chance to naturally swallow each drop.
After they reach the age of two weeks, you can give the baby bunnies unlimited access to other foods such as grass hay, pellets, alfalfa hay, and water.
These will help the kits grow healthy gut bacteria.
At seven weeks, you can begin to reduce the number of feeds you give them. By eight weeks old, the kits can be weaned off milk completely.
How To Help A Baby Bunny Poop?
Newborn kits are unable to poop by themselves. Usually, their mother helps their digestion by licking them after every feed.
The licking action stimulates the kit’s digestive system and helps them pee and poop. Without their mother on hand, you will need to step in.
After finishing each food, you can mimic the mother’s licking by moistening a cotton ball in warm water.
You should then take the damp cotton ball and gently stroke it over each bunny’s anal and genital region. Be gentle and do this repeatedly.
You should see that the kit will begin to pee and poop. Keep stroking until the kit stops.
Thankfully, you will only need to do this for a short period. You can stop once the kits open their eyes, which usually happens around the 10-day-old mark.
Usually, baby bunnies are well looked after by their mothers and human intervention isn’t necessary.
However, sometimes does aren’t able to look after their kits and we have no choice but to step in and hand-rear the baby bunnies.
To do this effectively, you will need to create a nesting box to keep them safe and secure.
Replacement rabbit milk isn’t available so you will need to use replacement kitten milk and add a couple of extra ingredients to make sure the kits get all they need. Please check out our article on what to feed baby rabbits without a mother for related content.
You’ll also need to help the kits poop until they are 10 days old.
We hope this guide has all of the information you need to care for baby bunnies.