HELP I have a wild baby bunny

leobloomApril 15, 2006

I found a baby bunny about 4" long (when stretched out). I've been feeding it kitten milk substitute purchased at a local pet shop. The mom was killed by a coyote a few days ago, and I rescued it shortly after. It's opened its eyes and is eating about twice a day. Does anyone have any information about what I need to be doing (ie. feeding, warmth, general care)?

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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Well if it is eating you must be doing something right..They really require very little just food and warmth...Make a little "nest" for it, a box with some hay packed in it is good but you can make one by rolling up a towel into a tube and then insert it down into a box to make him a little nest, and keep him warm...if you have to leave him outside you should cover him well so that nothing can get to him ...If his eyes are open he is at least 10 days old...I would suggest getting some rabbit pellets if it looks like he is going to make can feed him those before long...just put some in his nest and let him 4 weeks he will be hopping around and by 6 weeks you will need a cage or to let him go....

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 7:36PM
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cheribelle(Z5 IA)

I would offer the milk at least 3 times a day, preferably 4. Other than that, keep it warm and unstressed. Stress kills bunnies.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 7:42PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Should have mentioned.....and by 8 weeks you can dress him and eat him............LOL

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 8:50AM
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I had this happen to me, just be careful not to over feed it, just small amounts at a time, mine kept acting hungry so I kept feeding it and it overate. I used to breed rabbits and noticed how the mom controls how much they eat.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 9:39PM
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marquisella(z4 NY)

baby rabbits only eat once a day


    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 10:11AM
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remuda1(7b Hood Co TX)

I am by no means an expert, but I do have some experience. My female black lab used to find baby cotton tails and very gently carry them in her big slobbery mouth like they were her babies. She would bring them to the house like she was so proud to show off her "kids". I had no way of knowing where on our 20 acres, she found them, so naturally, I became the foster mom. It seems to me that the most important thing is to just leave them alone when you're not feeding them or changing bedding. I kept them in the master bathroom with the door shut. We would use the guest bath while we had our visitors. I pulled all kinds of grasses and weeds to feed them with. My thinking was that these were the things that they would be eating when I released them so it made sense to me to do it that way. We have horses so I used hay for the bedding and supplemented the grasses and weeds with alfalfa as well. I once had five babies in the bathroom!! Be SURE to have a lid on whatever you are keeping it in. They get VERY active at night.

Out of about 30 babies over the years, I only lost one. It was the smallest one she ever brought home. I then found out that very young rabbits have to eat their momma's poo. I know it's gross, but it contains beneficial bacteria that gets the baby's stomach working correctly. I even looked all over town for a bunny breeder that might have the special momma poo, but was unable to find anything in time.

Good luck with your baby.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 11:18PM
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jessay3(Ga Z 8)

My Mom rescued a baby rabbit from the neighbors cat today. She seen it yesterday and the cat was after it and she scared the cat away and the bunny ran under the steps. She left it alone, hoping the mommmy rabbit was going to come back for it. Well this morning when she was taking her dog out she seen the cat with it. It is not hurt, thank goodness!
I have never raised a rabbit. I have raised a puppy that was orphaned after it's mother died during surgery the day after it was born. I have searched on the net for information, but the only thing they say is to call a wildlife expert. I can't find one in the phone book though. Honestly I would love to keep it. I have bought replacement milk at Petsmart and tried to give him that but he's not really interested. I've also put dandelion greens and grass in the box in hopes of him eating that.

I'm not sure how old he is. He is between 4 to 6 inches long stretched out. I think he is a cottontail too. HHHEEEELLLLLPPPP, please!


    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 9:06PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

If his eyes are open, the bunny is at least ten to fourteen days old. Once bunnies leave the nest, they begin to eat solid foods. I have heard that you can feed kitten milk replacer but I have no firsthand experience of doing so. I suggest you continue to offer the milk replacer, but offer other foods as well.

I do raise domestic rabbits, and I know that as soon as they can move around the nest they will nibble solid food. Try small quantities of rolled oats, commercial rabbit pellets, and hay, if you can get it. Your pet store should have small bags if timothy or alfalfa hay. Make sure you also keep a fresh dish of water in the cage. I always add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to the water dish, but if you don't have any don't worry too much about it. Some twigs from an apple tree, pear tree or maple tree are good for your rabbit to chew. They help to keep his teeth healthy and also give him nutrients that he needs.

A wild bunny should be able to eat greens like the dandelions and plantain, but make sure he has other foods as well. Too many greens can make baby domestic rabbits very sick. I think wild rabbits can manage them better, but it is best to give small amounts at first.

It is very important to keep an eye on your bunny's poops. They should be round, fairly dry and about the size of a peppercorn at this point. This is a sign that the bunny's digestion is working fine. If the poops are really soft or runny, then the bunny is eating things that do not yet agree with him.

I know you will want to cuddle or play with your bunny, but cottontail rabbits are very nervous and are easily harmed by fright. Your little guy has already been through a rough time, so be gentle and calm with him and do not expect him to want to play much. Wild rabbits really do not make very good pets. If you manage to take care of him for a few weeks, please consider releasing him into the wild again. He will be happier to have a free life. If you enjoy looking after him, you could always ask your mom if you could have a pet domestic rabbit. Good luck and if you have more questions, please post them in this forum. I usually look in once a day or so.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 10:46PM
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jessay3(Ga Z 8)

LOL Maggie, I don't have to ask Mom if I can have a rabbit! I am an adult with kids of my own. Although she would love to tell me what to do, and it would make her day if I asked her permission for things still!

I am planning to release the rabbit. I would do it now but I'm not sure if he's old enough to survive on his own. I brought him to my house to take care of him because I live in the "country" on 5 wooded acres. DM lives close to a highway.

Do you think if I took him back the mother rabbit would take care of him if she came back? Like I said earlier she didn't come back for him overnight, but I'm not sure if the cat got her first.

Does anyone know WHEN rabbits can fend for themselves? I do not want to harm him by stressing him out. But I also don't want to let him go if he's not old enough to take care of himself. Any advice?


    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 2:15PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

A doe only tends to her babies once or twice a day.....other than that they are on their own and she might not even be close to the nest....If he is moving around well on his own and very active, he probably didn't need rescuing...It is sort of like a baby bird that fledges...they run in an out of the nest playing and eating...I would just try to take care of him until you are sure that he is Ok and then just let him go....remember that a 8 week old rabbit is considered a fryer...ready to butcher and eat so they grow up fast...

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 4:41PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Ooops! Sorry, Jessay3! I guess the reference to your mom led me astray. Young girls seem to be attracted to baby animals in distress... and I jumped to a conclusion.

But never mind... my advice still stands. I don't think you should return him to where he was found. His mother is unlikely to return to take care of him. If you can raise him for a couple of weeks more, and then gently release him with access to a box for shelter and food and water while he is making the transition back to the wild, I think that would give him his best chance. As far as I can tell, once cottontails leave the nest, the mother rabbit has nthing more to do with them.

Good luck... and let us know how things turn out!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 10:05PM
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broomhildah(7/8 VA)

Wow, I never knew that about bacteria in the mother rabbit's poo. But it makes perfect sense. And explains why baby bunnies have that disturbing behavior.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 9:17AM
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Baby horses eat their mothers poo, too. The bacteria digest the grass, and the horses digest the bacteria. Don't know if it's the same way with bunnies, but I'd assume so, since I don't think they have a rumen.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 10:45PM
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I could also use some advice on this topic. My husband came home with 2 baby snowshoe hares that he saved from certain death. He watched a bird take off with 2 of them before he realized what they were and when he wandered over to where the bird was snatching them from he found one frozen to death (we'd had a dump of snow the night before) and only 2 left. He picked up the two remaining bunnies (with an angry bird circling above him) and actually had to gently peel one of them off the ground, it had started to freeze there. So now we have these baby bunnies at our house. We've already fed them once. I'm pretty sure we're ok in the feeding, caring for them area. The only time we've even touched them is to move them or to feed them. My question though do I know how old they are??? I want to be able to release them again but I don't want to do it to late or to soon. I have read that snowshoe hares are actually born with fur, eyes opened and ready to hop. So apparently those aren't going to be good indicators. Does anyone know approximately how old a snowshoe hare might be if it's only about 2"-3" from bum to nose?? Please help. :) Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:56PM
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Hey my boyfriend brought me a bunny yesturday from work, it fell in a pit and wasn't able to get out, he brought it home for me because I have a bunny and guini pigs. I put it in a separate cage with some wood pellets and put a bowl of rabbit
food and dish with water also a tube of water (wasn't sure which it would use) its about the size of my palm, very active and jumpy, I gave it some timothy hay as well. What else should I do ? I do intend on keeping it

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:56PM
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Well no one is going to believe this story when I tell it but... about three hours ago my son and I were on the porch and I have a cat with four kittens in a box and he was looking at them and he picked up a baby wild rabbit who was nursing with th kittens and told me that mama cat had a little tiny baby. I had no idea what to think. This cat went out and found a wild rabbit and was nursing it as one of her own. She was cleaning it and everything the poor things eyes are not even open. It can't be anymore that maybe five or so days old. And suggestions on whether or not to take it from mama cat and nurse it myself or leave it with her and hope she doesn't kill it

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:24PM
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treasurificgal(z8A CA)

Kayla629 How's the baby bunny doing?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 8:46PM
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