Taking care of a baby rabbit isn’t easy. While taking responsibility for such a pet, the first question that arises to mind is, “what do baby bunnies eat?” Sometimes you find an abandoned baby rabbit, or you may also adopt baby rabbits. In both situations, you need to make sure that you are handling them with utmost sincerity as they are fragile and in a vulnerable state. So, you must be aware of what type of food is good for it and whatnot. The first six months of a rabbit’s life reflect their long term health. So, you should take care of your baby rabbit to ensure that they get sufficient nourishment to lead them to healthy bones and muscles in adulthood. We will discuss in this article what do baby bunnies eat and how it affects their body. Keep reading to know more!
About Baby Bunnies
Baby bunnies look different when they are born as they don’t have any fur on their body. When the baby rabbits are born, they are hairless and blind. That’s why they need extreme care. However, baby hares are different from rabbits. They are born relatively mature and mobile with hair and good vision as compared to rabbits. But both require undivided attention because they are most likely to get killed. Mother rabbits feed their kittens once or twice a day, and that too for just 5 to 10 minutes. In this short period, kittens get their whole day’s milk supply. Generally, the doe feeds these kittens while you sleep. Unlike the other animals, the mother rabbit rarely nurses her babies after giving birth.
How to take care of a Newborn Baby Rabbit?
The newborn baby rabbit doesn’t have fur on its body, and they don’t have fur either. They open their eyes after a couple of days. Baby rabbit’s fur also starts growing in 7 days. When they become 12 days old, a thick layer of fur appears on their body. But when they turn between 3 and 12 months, they lose their soft fur, and after that, their sleeker adult coat will grow. Proper caring increases the chances of a baby rabbit survival without its mother. So, here are a couple of things you can do to ensure comfort and protection.
Make a proper bed or nest box.
The first thing a newborn, young, and adult rabbit would need is a place to live and sleep. We have illustrated that the newborn’s body is fragile and it needs to be protected. So, you need to look for a space away from any of your other pets and comfortable for the kittens. In the forests, mother rabbits prepare a nest for her babies, and later she protects them from the predators. She feeds the babies once or twice and then leaves them alone to keep them safe from other animals. Similarly, you don’t have to keep touching the babies. Rather than that, you need to make sure that you are keeping the babies comfortable and safe.
Once you prepare the kitten’s nest box, you need to think about the food, and one of the best ways is to consult a veterinary doctor. You can also go to the pet store and find the appropriate food for the newborn. Generally, the mother rabbit feeds the baby rabbits, but if she isn’t around, then you can buy replacement milk for the baby rabbits. You can feed the baby rabbit with a syringe or eyedroppers. Don’t forget to be gentle with the kitten as they are little and in a vulnerable state. Baby rabbits won’t eat from the bottle at this early stage, so don’t force them. Give them enough time and let them eat at their own pace.
Safety is essential for everyone, whether you are animals, humans, newborns, strong, or weak. We recommend you do not rule out this factor at all. You must know that mother rabbits usually don’t nurse their kittens after birth but rather spend time keeping them safe and out of danger. You should also keep the baby rabbits safe from any danger. Suppose you have other pets such as dogs or cats. Don’t let your kids play with these babies, as they will end up hurting them. Along with that, keep the vessels and bowls in which you feed these kittens. It would be best if you also kept the place where your rabbits stay clean and hygienic.
What is the procedure to feed a newborn baby Rabbit?
While feeding the baby rabbit, you need to handle them gently. Handling them carelessly would hurt them, and you don’t want that. Additionally, the body of a newborn rabbit is quite different from an adult one. The newborn rabbits don’t have fur, and their eyes are closed for the first few days. Please don’t touch the baby rabbits quite often. Rabbits don’t prefer being handled all the time, so it would be best if you handled them as little as possible. There are a couple of things you should remember while taking care of a baby rabbit.
Confirm mother is feeding or not
Bringing a newborn rabbit home isn’t a bad idea as long as you take care of them. But if you are snatching a baby rabbit from their mother, please don’t do it because the mother rabbit is more efficient than you in keeping her kittens safe, healthy, and happy. However, if you find an abandoned or orphaned rabbit, you can take care of them to give them a good life. Here are some things that would help you to recognise if the rabbits are abandoned or not-
- Generally, abandoned baby rabbits are cold and cry for more than a few minutes while feeding.
- They turn blue, and their skin drains because of dehydration.
- Sometimes, the mother rabbit rejects their babies, and in such a situation, you should keep the babies away from the mother because she might hurt them.
- You should not assume an unattended nest as an orphaned one. To avoid such a state, you can check the nest to ensure whether they are abandoned.
Buy Replacement milk for the baby Rabbit.
If the mother of the rabbit isn’t around, then the baby rabbits wouldn’t get milk. So, you can buy the replacement milk for the baby rabbit from any local vet’s office or store. You must know that the mother rabbit has the most caloric of all mammals’ milk. That’s why you need to make sure that you get the proper and appropriate replacement. You can buy Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) or goat milk to feed the babies. To feed this milk replacer to the baby rabbit, you can use the syringe or eyedropper.
Get a syringe or Eyedropper for feeding
As mentioned earlier, if the mother rabbit isn’t around the baby rabbits, then you need to get the milk replacement to feed the babies. It will help them to grow appropriately and have all the required nutrients on time. Feeding the newborn baby rabbit with a bottle isn’t a good idea. The bottle is good only when the baby grows at least a week or two old. In the beginning, you can use either a syringe or eyedropper for feeding. Using a syringe or eyedropper will help you to have control of the number of food kittens eat. To prepare the milk replacement, you need to mix the formula appropriately and feed the kittens with the syringe.
How to take care of a Newborn baby Rabbit while feeding?
The newborn baby rabbits don’t have any fur on their body, and they are also quite small in size. Because of that, they need to be handled gently and then fed with a syringe or an eyedropper. Kittens can get easily infected, and that’s why you must be careful with the first couple of days. Beware of keeping the babies out of danger, and don’t let any other pets near them. Here are some tips that would help you to take care of your baby rabbit while feeding.
Feed the baby Rabbit
Before bringing a baby rabbit home, you need to make sure that their mother is around or not. Other than that, if she is nearby and comes back to the nest, then you don’t have to touch the baby. But if the mother rabbit abandons the kittens, then you can take care of them. The mother rabbit’s milk is great, but if it isn’t accessible, you can go for milk replacement. You will get the milk replacement from a vet’s office or pet store. To feed the milk replacement formula, you can use a syringe but don’t rush as it would hurt the newborn.
Let the kitten eat at its own pace
The baby rabbits are fragile, and you need to be patient with them. Don’t rush while feeding them, and let them eat at their own pace. At first, the baby rabbits didn’t even open their eyes. It takes a couple of days to open its eyes and get fur on its body. Feed the baby rabbits with the help of a syringe or eyedropper. If they rush while eating, then it can suffocate or kill them. We understand you want to keep your pet safe, but paying enough attention would ensure that your pet doesn’t die.
Wean the baby Rabbit
After a certain time, you need to introduce your baby rabbit to the solid food. But make sure you don’t do it early. You can continue feeding your baby rabbit the milk replacement formula and solids until the kitten is ready to wean. Domestic rabbits generally wean at about six weeks. However, it will wean at around 3-4 weeks of age to 9 weeks. It also depends on the type of rabbit you have. Some of the rabbits breed, like Jackrabbits, wean at about nine weeks and the cottontail wean at 3-4 weeks.
How often should you feed the baby Bunny?
You can feed the kitten twice a day for their good health. In case the baby rabbits have low weight, then you can feed them thrice. As illustrated earlier, using a syringe or eyedropper would be a good idea than a bottle at this initial stage. While feeding the baby, make sure it is sitting upright and then point the syringe towards the bottom of the mouth. Overfeeding your rabbit can cause the death of bunnies. So, you don’t have to give the kitten more than they require. You should let them eat at their own pace to avoid any mishaps.
What do baby Rabbits eat?
The baby rabbits need to eat to grow properly, just like any other offspring. If you don’t feed a newborn, then they will starve to death. Mother rabbits feed their newborn once or twice a day, and that too for 5-10 minutes. We know that rabbits are prey animals, and it’s difficult for them to survive. You can feed a newborn baby rabbit with the milk replacement. All you have to do is to mix the formula and feed the kitten with a syringe. After that, she leaves the baby rabbits lying inside the nest and protects them from predators.
When should I feed the baby Rabbit solid food?
You can feed solid food to your baby rabbit when they are around three weeks old. Meanwhile, they can have milk or milk replacement formula. After three weeks, the baby starts nibbling at solid foods, and they are ready to leave the nest as well. When you start incorporating solid food into your rabbit’s diet, remember, domestic and wild rabbits feed on different kinds of solids. So, if you know what kind of rabbit you have, it would help you take care of it. Here are some points you might find helpful while planning the diet for your rabbit.
Wait till the baby Rabbit opens its eyes
The baby rabbits are born with their eyes closed, and they take time before opening their eyes. It would be best if you waited until the kittens open their eyes. When the rabbits are ready to leave their nest, then you can introduce the solid food. After around three weeks, your rabbit would start nibbling, and it is the right time to feed them some hay or vegetables. The hay and pellets are available at the pet stores; you can also explore some other food options for your young rabbit from there.
Introduce solid food
Once your rabbit starts eating solid food, you can offer them hay, vegetables, and pellets. Avoid giving them fruits daily as it would adversely affect the health of your rabbit. Occasional fruit treats are good, but you shouldn’t feed your rabbit cookies, grains, seeds, nuts, and bread. The young rabbits should have the proper supply of fresh hay and pellets as they are in their growing stage.
Provide water for the Rabbit
Along with food, the rabbit requires water too. Sometimes, the rabbits face dehydration because of the lack of water, and it risks their lives. It would be best if you kept a bowl of water around their living space. However, avoid giving a large bowl to your rabbit. Make sure the bowl size is ideal for the rabbit, as if you provide a large bowl, then there are chances of drowning. If the babies are incapable of drinking the water themselves, you can help them drink water from a bottle.
What to feed a young Rabbit?
Now, when the baby rabbits become young, you can feed them with hay, vegetables, pellets, and sometimes with fruits. When you feed the kitten, you need to feed them by yourself, but when they become a few weeks old, they shift to solid food. You need to make sure that the rabbit has access to water all the time. Shortage of water and food can lead the pet to have the disease.
Hay plays an important role in young rabbits’ diet. You can introduce grass such as meadow or timothy from the start. This food will provide the necessary fibre that is good for the digestive process to function. Alfalfa hay is good for young rabbits, and it is high in calcium and protein. While giving the alfalfa then you can mix it with grass hay.
You can add pellets to a young rabbit’s diet as they are a good option to have diverse items. The pellets are rich in nutrients, and rabbits eat them quickly. Additionally, if you give an adult rabbit more pellets, then it would lead them to obesity. It becomes hard to groom themselves when a rabbit gets fat. So, make sure you are not feeding your rabbit too much. The main motive is to keep them healthy, not to lead them towards obesity.
Fruits and Vegetables
Both fruits and vegetables are good for rabbits, but excessive fruits aren’t good for your rabbit at all. However, most green vegetables are good for rabbits. You can give small amounts of fruits occasionally to your rabbit. Along with that, fresh vegetables will help your rabbit to manage the size of its constantly growing teeth.
Just like kids, rabbits also enjoy the occasional treat. In treat, you can feed your rabbit their favourite fruits, vegetables, or any other food. Your rabbit would be more than happy if you offered bananas, apples, carrot tops, grapes, blueberries, and other such fruits. Occasional treats are good but avoid feeding your rabbit too much fruit as it might badly affect their health.
That was all about what do baby bunnies eat and how you should feed them. You need to be extra careful while handling the baby rabbit and feeding them. Avoid feeding them with a bottle for the first couple of days. When the baby grows, feeding is the crucial element that would contribute to giving them good health. I hope you liked this article and if you have anything to add, let us know in the comment section. We would be delighted to hear from our fellow readers.