After finding an abandoned baby bunny, the first thing we google or ask is, “how to save a Baby Bunny from dying?” Before getting into the depth of the discussion, let me tell you some facts. Only less than 10% of orphaned rabbits survive longer than a week. Rabbits are sensitive animals as they have weak digestive systems and need a specific temperature to survive. The case gets more susceptible if you need to handle orphaned baby bunnies.
When you find abandoned wild baby rabbits in a nest with no mother in sight, you need to make sure they are abandoned. Mother rabbits return to the nest to feed their babies twice a day, so you need to wait for her to return.
It would be best if you spent a couple of hours or more waiting for the doe. Rabbits roam around their nest, so you should look for the doe near the nest. If the doe doesn’t return to the nest or you don’t find the doe anywhere, it means that the wild baby bunnies are abandoned. You don’t need to pick the wild baby bunny until you are sure that they are abandoned.
Nurturing wild baby bunnies without a mother is a tough job to handle that’s why you should always cross-check whether they are abandoned or not. Rescuing abandoned wild baby rabbits do more harm than welfare; I am saying so because the needs of the wild baby rabbits are very different. Wild baby rabbits are very sensitive, so you need to be super cautious while rescuing a wild baby rabbit with no mother. In this article we tell you all about, “how to save a baby bunny from dying?”.
Primary steps for how to save a Baby Bunny from dying
Here are some steps about how to save a baby bunny from dying. Read and follow these primary steps while rescuing wild baby bunnies:-
If the baby bunny you find is injured, you should immediately inform your nearest wildlife rehabilitators and take the rabbit to the vet.
Firstly, you need to ensure that they are orphaned. Once you get confirmed that the litters are abandoned, you need to build a nest for them. The nest of the newborn baby bunnies is small, shallow, and is made in grassy areas. Nesting baby bunnies in an open place can be risky. Open places are under the reach of predators, and wild baby bunnies can become their prey, so you need to ensure the rabbit’s safety.
You need to ensure that the temperature is between 95 to 98 degrees. Next, you need to arrange food for baby bunnies. The mother rabbit’s milk contains many nutrients, and the wild baby bunnies need their mother’s milk, most importantly for two weeks to six weeks. So you need to make sure that you are providing sufficient nutrients to the baby bunnies. Apart from all this, you will also need to stimulate urination and defecation.
Method of identifying whether babies are abandoned
It is not mandatory that if you find the baby bunnies alone, they are orphans. The mother rabbit never abandons her litter by will. There must be some geographical or environmental hindrances that the doe cannot make it to the kits. That’s why she is not able to assist her baby bunnies. If you find wild baby bunnies in the forest, there are chances that the doe has camouflaged her litter.
Unlike doe, the newly born baby bunnies don’t have any scent. So if the doe stays with the newly born baby bunnies, she will put her litters’ life in danger as the predators can sense her body smell. So the moment baby bunnies are born, she feeds them and camouflages the nest of her litters.
The doe comes back to the nest once or twice a day to feed her babies. Feeding baby rabbits hardly takes 3 to 5 minutes. That’s why you won’t recognize whether the baby bunnies are orphans or not. The Indiana Department of Natural resources also supports this theory. The mother rabbit camouflages the nest and leaves her newly born babies alone to deter the predators.
To confirm the abandonment of wild Baby Bunnies, look for the following signs
It is hard to predict that whether the wild baby bunnies are orphans or not. But still, here I am providing you with some methods to recognize whether the baby bunnies are orphaned or not.
A pinkish healthy tone of skin means that the babies are full and are getting enough nutrients. On the other hand, wrinkled, thin, pale, or blue skin indicates that babies aren’t healthy and aren’t getting enough food and nutrition.
Well-fed baby bunnies have a full round abdomen while, on the other hand, abandoned rabbits have sunken abdomen.
If the baby rabbits are vocalizing, it means that they are starving. The healthy rabbits are likely to be silent, and they don’t produce any noise or movement because they are aware that noise can get the attention of predators.
Sluggishness indicates weakness. If the kits look sluggish and unhealthy, it means that they are likely to be starving.
For getting full surety, you can do a cotton string test. Take some cotton or strings, place them over the nest and click a picture of it. If the cotton strings are not at their place in the morning, it means that the mother rabbit came to feed her babies. And if the cotton strings are at their locations, it means that the baby bunnies are orphans.
How to resuscitate a wild baby Rabbit or Baby Bunny?
Firstly you need to confirm that the baby bunnies are alive. If you find a wild baby bunny whose body is cold and there is no movement in the body, there is a probability that the baby rabbit is still alive. Rabbits are born blind, deaf, and without furs. At the time of birth, the baby bunnies don’t have any fur. That’s why it becomes important to warm them. Without fur, these furless cuties won’t be able to make it. Because of the cold temperature, the baby bunnies get into a state of hibernation where it is difficult to tell whether the baby rabbits are breathing or not.
If you find a warm baby rabbit, moving and breathing, maybe the kit has recently gotten separated from its doe and litter. You need to get the kit back into the nest. Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits cannot retrieve their litter, so they need human intervention for transporting their litter.
If you find a wild baby rabbit breathing but not moving immediately, try to warm him. If a kit is cold and shows, no movement do not speculate that the kit is dead. When the kits get chilled, they become still to preserve their energy. It helps them sustain themselves for a long.
If the head of the wild baby bunny is arched back and his mouth is open, it means that it’s a gone case. The baby is very late for resuscitation and won’t survive the battle of life and death.
The warmth of your body to save a Baby Bunny from dying
The heat of your body is enough for making the kit warm. But still, you should equip yourself for taking additional steps if needed. The most effective method of warming a kit is placing it under your shirt close to your warm skin. It is the fastest way of warming a kit’s body. When the kit gets warm, you will be able to feel the movement of the kit.
Warm the kit with a hot dryer and hand towel to save a Baby Bunny from dying
Warm the hand towel with the help of a hairdryer. Now keep the wild baby bunny in the warm hand towel. Warm the other hand towel and switch the baby rabbit on the other hand towel. Repeat this until the color of the baby rabbit is back to pink.
Heating pads are at the rescue
Wrap a towel around the heating pad and place the heating pad on to the lowest setting. After that, keep the baby bunny and heating pad in a shoebox. The skin of the newly born rabbit is very sensitive and thin, so don’t turn the setting of the head pad to the highest. Let the kit warm slowly. Setting the heat pad high can burn the delicate skin of the newly born kit. Don’t leave the baby alone, and keep checking the temperature of the heat pad. Once the baby is completely warm, take him out of the heat pad, and place it with other litter.
Waterless warm water bath to save a Baby Bunny
The other way of bringing a baby rabbit back to life is by giving him a waterless warm water bath. For this, you need to keep the kit inside a small storage bag. Keep the mouth of the bag open. Take some warm water and pour the water around the bag. Hold the bag firmly and make sure that the kit doesn’t come in contact with water.
Before putting the wild baby bunny back in the nest, make sure that the baby is completely warm. If the kit is partially warm, the other litters will wiggle away from him, keeping him alone. Without the warmth of the other litter’s body, the little kit will not be able to make it. So before returning the kit to the nest, make sure that the kit is completely warm and pink.
How to make a nest for baby Rabbits?
The main function of the nest is to keep litter warms. If you ever find abandoned litter, you should rescue them and build a nest for them. An ideal nest made by the doe consists of fur, hairs, grass, and dry leaves. So you have to make a nest similar to it.
For making a nest, you need cardboard, cotton (if found, bunny furs are the best), and a towel. Firstly take shallow cardboard put some clean cotton or bunny furs in it. Don’t forget to sanitize the cardboard before using it for the nest. Now cover the top of the nest with a small light towel. Don’t cover the mouth of the cardboard completely. Keep some space open for letting the air in. You don’t need to make a very strong nest because the wild baby rabbits need nest only for three weeks.
If the baby bunny is too cold, you can use the heat pad in the nest. Set the temperature of the heat pad at the lowest. Please don’t leave the heat pad for too long in the nest as it can burn the rabbit’s skin. Avoid using an electric heat pad because once the baby rabbits get warm, they will snuggle, and an electric heat pad can be dangerous for them.
If you find a baby bunny outside the nest and the mother is in sight, you can put the wild baby bunny back in the nest. If you have heard that a mother abandons her kits, if someone touches the baby rabbits, this is simply a myth and has no empirical base. If the doe is around the nest, don’t mess the nest unnecessarily, you should only provide your assistance if needed.
What to feed to orphaned wild baby Rabbits?
Milk is the only food for baby bunnies, and the baby bunnies need hand feeding as they cannot feed themselves. Some people prefer cow’s milk to substitute the mother rabbits’ milk. But according to some vets, cow milk is not safe for the consumption of newly born baby rabbits. Rabbits have a weak digestive system, and newly born kits have a very delicate stomach. Cow’s milk contains lactose, medication, pus, and hormones; all these things are hard on the digestion system of the baby rabbit.
Remember that rabbits can’t remove Toxins substances from their body as they cannot vomit. So it’s not safe to feed cow’s milk to the newly born baby bunnies as their stomach is very delicate.
So what should we feed to newly born Baby Bunnies?
The best substitute for the doe’s milk is kitten milk replacer or Meyeberg goat milk. Rabbits rely on milk for their subsistence for two weeks only. After two weeks, the rabbit’s stomach can start digesting solids. Once the bunny completes four weeks, he will consume the same food as her mother. Milk will be the staple part of a rabbit’s diet till six weeks. In a nutshell, a newly born baby rabbit needs milk mainly for two weeks and minimally for six weeks.
How to make the milk for the orphaned wild Baby Bunnies?
Pre-mixed milk is the best and convenient alternative to mother doe’s milk, but if you can’t find it, you can make the milk for the baby bunnies by using goat milk.
- Firstly, take 56 grams of powdered milk with one cup of goat milk.
- Now add one tablespoon sugar-free whipping cream.
- Next, mix the whipping cream with the milk thoroughly.
- Lastly, boil the milk at a temperature of 98 to 100 Fahrenheit.
Let the milk cool down before feeding to newly born wild baby bunnies. Though it is not a doe’s milk, the milk still contains the same nutrition as the mother rabbit’s milk.
How to feed a newly born Baby Bunny?
The amount of milk you need to feed the baby depends on the weeks the baby bunny has completed. You need to feed the baby bunny twice a day. There are some parameters that can help feed newly born baby bunnies.
- For feeding a newly born baby bunny, you need 22½ ml milk per feeding.
- If your bunny is 1to 2 weeks old, you can feed him 5 to 7 ml milk per feeding.
- For a 2 to 3 weeks old bunny, you need 7 to 13 ml milk per feeding.
- And a 3 to 6-week baby bunny will need 13 to 15 ml milk per feeding.
You can adjust the quantity according to the size of the baby bunny. Make a routine by feeding the baby bunny at a similar time every day.
Correct parameters of feeding the orphaned wild Baby Bunny
There are different methods of feeding a baby bunny. You can feed a newly born baby bunny with the help of a syringe. 1 ml syringe is best for newborn kits, and 2 ml syringe is best for 3 weeks old rabbits. While feeding with a syringe, keep the syringe at the corner of the rabbit’s mouth.
You can also use a bottle for feeding the baby bunny, but you need to make sure that the bottle is sterile before feeding to the baby bunny. For feeding the bunny with a bottle, place the nipple at the corner of the rabbit’s mouth and slowly release the correct quantity of milk.
You can also feed the baby bunny with a small shallow dish. However, the dish method is not for newborn bunnies. You can use the dish feeding method for bunnies older than two weeks. Raise the head of the baby an inch above the floor. Take some drops of milk on your finger let the baby bunny lick the formula. Baby rabbits can drown in the dish, so never leave the dish near the rabbit.
Correct technique of holding a Baby Bunny while feeding
Ideally, the mother rabbit lays the kits on their back while feeding. So it would help if you also did the same. Wrap your baby bunny in a hand towel, and then lay the baby rabbit gently on your gap. Don’t let the baby rabbit lay straight on the back while feeding. Keep the baby rabbit slightly upright so that the milk doesn’t get into his lungs.
How to stimulate and defecate orphaned wild Baby Bunnies?
Baby bunnies can release their urine and feces after ten days of birth. Until then, they are dependent on their mother. The doe stimulates the kit’s belly and anogenital region with her tongue. The orphaned baby rabbits are dependent on their caregiver for releasing their urine and feces. For cleaning the feces of bunny rabbits, follow the instructions given below:-
- Firstly, sanitize your hands and get some lukewarm water.
- Now take a cotton ball and wet it in lukewarm water.
- Lay the baby bunny on its back.
- Start rubbing the genital region and abdomen very gently.
- After some time, the rabbit will start releasing its urine and feces.
- Now take another clean cotton ball for cleaning urine and poop.
You need to clean the baby rabbits regularly. The babies will get ill if the bladder and bowels aren’t emptied every day. If you find the urine and feces unusual, you should take the rabbit to the vet.
Provide cecotropes to orphaned Baby Bunnies for good health
Though it sounds strange, it is true that rabbits produce cecotropes themselves. Cecotropes are formed in the cecum. It is a grape-like dropping that contains a variety of good bacteria that shields the rabbit from pathogens. Rabbits consume the cecotropes immediately after producing them from the anus. To your wonder, let me inform you that cecotropes are a crucial part of a rabbit’s diet.
If your rabbit is not producing cecotropes, you need to get him cecotropes from a healthy adult rabbit. Once you get cecotropes, mix it with kitten milk replacer and feed the baby bunny according to the size and age.
Now, I think after read this article you understant very well, “how to save a baby bunny from dying?”.
In an ideal situation, the doe will give birth in the nest. If the doe gives birth out of the nest, then the life of her litter is in danger. And if it’s a wild mother rabbit, the chances of surviving litter are less. It is because, unlike other animals, the rabbit mother cannot retrieve her kids. The doe needs human intervention for transporting her kids to the nest. Cats and dogs can transport their litter by carrying it in their mouth, but rabbits need assistance retrieving their litter.
Unfortunately, if a doe gives birth out of the nest, her litter will die because of cold. If you are fortunate enough to find a kit, you should try to warm the baby. The best possible way to warm the kits is by putting the kit under your shirt. Remember that it is best to consult a vet if the kit also has an injury.
If you find a wild baby rabbit, you should immediately inform wildlife rehabilitators. Once the wild baby rabbit is fully healthy, you should send him back to the wild. Domesticating a wild baby rabbit is not a good option as it can be illegal in your state.
That was all about, ‘How to save a baby bunny from dying?” Hopefully this article was useful for you. If you have any recommendations, you can drop your feedback in the comment section for further improvement. Happy reading!
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