If you are going to be taking care of any baby bunnies, there are certain things that you will need to know.
These tips can help you take care of your rabbit so it grows into a healthy and strong adult.
Even a seemingly small mistake in caring for these creatures can have devastating consequences.
Nutritional Needs of the Mother
Baby rabbits feed off their mothers, so you will need to make sure that her nutritional needs are being met. A mother rabbit’s diet should consist of around 20% percent and 18% fiber. These animals don’t need much fat in their diet (about three percent or less).
You also need to make sure that the mother rabbit has access to clean drinking water on a daily basis. This is a crucial component of keeping them healthy overall. A little bit of alfalfa can help with ensuring that she gets a full and complete diet with plenty of nutritional value.
Separating the Rabbits
It is also very important that you separate the mother from the male rabbit. Sometimes male rabbits will harm their own children. There is also the chance that the male rabbit will impregnate the female shortly after it gives birth.
You will want to keep the male and female rabbits in different enclosures, but still close to each other. This will ensure that the female doesn’t experience excessive stress, which can have a negative effect on the overall pregnancy.
Putting together the Nest Box
When it comes to caring for baby rabbits, the nest box is one of the most crucial things to consider. Baby rabbits don’t have any fur on them when they are born, so they need to be kept warm. The nest box should be filled with materials that will help keep their temperature up at a normal level.
You can put stray or hay in the nest box, but make sure that it is clean and free of any pesticides or other potentially harmful chemicals. You can put this material on a clean and soft towel. Make sure it is brand new or close to it so there are no loose threads.
You’ll want to keep this box on the other side of the cage from where the mother does its business. This will help with keeping everything going smoothly once the female gives birth.
You need to choose a dark place in your home that is extremely quiet and doesn’t receive much foot traffic. This will also help keep the stress level of the mother kits down to a minimum. Even a moderate amount of noise can cause serious issues.
Closely Examine the Baby Rabbits
When you walk in to discover that your rabbit has given birth, you’ll need to check to see if any of the kits didn’t make it, as this is a possibility. It might be necessary to distract the mother with a treat while you take out any dead rabbits. You can feel free to handle the babies, as the mother will be very familiar with your particular scent by this point.
Warm them up
If you find that the baby rabbits are too cold after being born, you will need to fill up a hot water bottle and put it underneath the base layer (towel) in the nesting box. This should do a pretty good job of warming up the kits so they stay healthy.
Check for Nursing
You need to make sure that the babies are nursing from their mother. The easier way to tell if this is happening is by looking at their tummies.
They will be round and warm if nursing is taking place. If not, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. If you notice the babies making any mewling noises, they probably aren’t nursing.
Consulting Your Veterinarian
If it doesn’t seem like the babies are nursing, you will have to call up your vet immediately. They will be able to provide you with useful advice. If there are more than eight babies, it could be the case that the mother cannot handle all of them nursing.
Cleaning the Nesting Box
Cleaning your rabbit’s nesting box is an essential part of keeping the mother and their babies healthy. You will need to do this every single day. Make sure to replace the towel on the bottom of the box, as well as the other material inside.
Feeding the Babies
Your baby rabbits will not begin eating regular food until they reach at least eight weeks of age. You will notice them beginning to nurse less and less over this period of time. You will want to wean them off the mother’s milk with pellets that are specially formulated for rabbits.
It is important to not try weaning your rabbit’s off their mother’s milk too soon, as this can weaken their immune system. Do not give your rabbits any greens until they are at least four or five months old.
This will help with preventing issues with their digestive system. When they can eat greens, you can give them foods like kale, romaine lettuce and carrots.
- It is important that you meet the nutritional needs of the mother before and after it gives birth.
- Adult rabbits need a good amount of protein and only a tiny bit of fat, so keep that in mind for the mother.
- Make sure that you separate the male and female adults before the female gives birth.
- Once the female has given birth, check all of the babies to see if there are any that did not survive.
- You might have to distract the mother with a treat before you can removing any of their babies.
- If the babies seem cold, you can warm up them up putting a full hot water bottle under the towel.
- Check for signs of nursing to make sure that the babies are feeding from their mother as they should.
- If nursing is not taking place for some or all of the babies, you’ll want to contact your vet right away.