If you happen to come across wild baby rabbits and are wondering if you should intervene and feed them, it’s important that you know when you should make that move and what to do once you have the baby rabbits. This includes knowing how and what to feed them. Feeding wild baby rabbits can be a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your children should you want to include them in on the experience.
Should I Be Feeding These Baby Rabbits?
If you are to discover some baby rabbits that appear to be abandoned in your back yard, take these few things into consideration before picking them up and taking them inside to feed them. A mother rabbit only feeds her babies once a day for just a few minutes. After that, she tends to stay clear of the nest, as to not draw attention to herself from potential predators.
Take a few minutes to observe the yard and see if you see a mother rabbit lurking around nearby. If you do not see her you could watch and wait for some time to see if she comes back around. If after a long while you do not see a mother Rabbit, it might mean it’s time for you to step in.
If you are still uncertain you could always call your local wildlife rehabilitation center. They may come out and take the young rabbits with them to care for them. Or, if they cannot come to rescue them for some reason, might be able to give you advice on how to go about doing it yourself.
For about the first 3 weeks of a baby bunny’s life, they depend on their mother for nourishment. After then, from about 3 to 6 weeks of life, they will go between their mother and the food provided by their owners if they live in captivity. Meaning, depending on how old they appear to be you may be feeding baby rabbits milk or more solid food.
What to Feed a Baby Rabbit
Baby rabbits still require some of their mother’s milk up to at least the 6th week of life. If their mother is not present and able to feed them, there are steps you can take to ensure that they get the nutrients that they need. Rabbits milk is the most caloric of all mammals, so you will need to keep this in mind when preparing milk supplementation for your baby rabbits.
Veterinarians suggest “Kitten Milk Replacer” (KMR) or even goat milk to feed your baby rabbits. It’s also recommended that you add one tablespoon of sugar-free heavy whipping cream to their milk to add necessary calories.
Although, the best milk for baby rabbits is the milk produced by their mother, of course. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you might be able to pair the abandoned baby rabbits with a foster mom that can provide natural rabbit milk for them.
How to Feed a Baby Rabbit
Typically, baby rabbits lie on their backs when nursing from their mother, as she will just stand over them allowing them to nurse comfortably. This means you could gently wrap the baby rabbit in a blanket or towel and hold them how you might hold a human infant in the bend of your arm.
They should begin to eat comfortably in this position but be mindful of how quickly you feed them. Forcing too much milk into their mouths too quickly can lead to them aspirating. Meaning the fluids have gone down into their lungs rather than into their stomach. You must let your baby rabbit eat at its own pace.
How Much Should I Feed the Baby Rabbit?
There is no set in the stone amount of milk that a baby rabbit should take in when it is not coming from their mother. The amount they should eat depends on how old/how big they are, as well as what breed of rabbit they are.
A good rule of thumb to follow when feeding a baby rabbit is that when they are newborn (1 week old) you should try to feed them 4-5mL of milk split into two separate feedings per day. As they continue to grow and develop, that amount will increase by about 5mL of milk each week until they’ve hit 6 weeks of age and have begun to wean off of milk and onto solid foods such as hay, vegetables, and pellets.
Becoming a baby rabbit foster mother is a great responsibility to take on. They grow so quickly you need to be prepared to make changes to their diet every week accordingly. Baby rabbits need high-calorie content in their supplemental milk to make up for the number of calories they would otherwise be getting from their mother.