Taking care of baby rabbits can be a challenge. One way of caring for them is to ensure that they get the right food and drink.
Now, it’s always best to leave it up to the mother rabbit to care for its babies.
However, in some cases, you may have to take care of it if it’s an orphan.
So, one thing you need to know is that it’s not a good idea to give water to rabbits 2 weeks or younger. A newborn rabbit can start drinking water when 3-4 weeks old.
This article discusses why you should not give water to a baby rabbit before it reaches the appropriate age.
It also explains why water is a necessary part of growing babies’ diets.
Wait for Two Weeks Before Giving Water to Newborn Baby Rabbit
Newborn rabbits start to open their eyes for the first time when they’re around ten days old.
Before this point, your baby rabbit’s digestive system will be extremely sensitive.
Before 2 weeks, a baby rabbit won’t be able to handle solid foods or water.
That is why it’s best to let the baby’s mother feed it milk. The milk will help it grow healthy, and it’s the only food they should consume at this point.
Also, try not to handle the baby rabbits until they’re two weeks old unless it’s necessary. Handling the rabbits can be harmful to their health when they’re so young.
What to Keep in Mind When You’re Giving Water to Your Baby Rabbits
Rabbits are sensitive creatures, and they’re even more so when they’re babies. So, you need to be extremely careful with how you care for a baby rabbit.
Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re giving water to your baby rabbits.
Make Sure to Fill a Shallow Bowl of Water
When giving your baby rabbit water (after it’s two weeks old), it’s important to fill a shallow bowl of water.
There should be only a small amount of water in the dish.
A deep bowl full of water could be fatal to baby rabbits. Your rabbit could fall into the bowl and drown.
Baby rabbits don’t have the body strength to help save themselves.
Place the Water Container in the Corner of the Box
It’s best to keep the water container in the corner of the box where your baby rabbit and its mother are kept.
This way, you’ll allow the baby to reach the container with ease. It’ll also help prevent it from coming in the way.
Rinse and Clean the Water Container Frequently
It’s a good idea to make it a point to rinse and clean the water container once a day.
Doing so will help eliminate any bacteria from developing in the container. As a result, you can help reduce the risk of spreading illnesses.
Refill the Water Container Frequently
If your rabbit has given babies, it’s vital that you devote enough time and attention to them.
Baby rabbits need consistent care, so you’ll need to stay on top of things so that they grow healthy.
One way to ensure that is to refill the water container every time it’s out. Baby rabbits need to stay hydrated to maintain their health.
Hydration also helps keep baby rabbits’ skin moisturized.
Moreover, some researchers claim that drinking enough water or milk can help reduce baby rabbits’ consistent search for attention.
Consider Letting the Mother Teach the Babies How to Use the Water Bottle
Some pet owners prefer giving their rabbits water through a bottle. If you do the same, you could rely on the mother rabbit to teach its babies how to use the bottle.
This way, you won’t have to use a water dish (or crock) at all. However, some baby rabbits might find it challenging to tilt their heads up to drink water from the bottle.
So, it’s crucial that you monitor your baby rabbit. So, you can then tell if they’re getting enough water or not.
That said, a crock is still the best method of providing water to baby rabbits. This is because rabbits drink water off the ground in the wild.
So, a crock is a natural and instinctive way of hydrating.
Why Water Should Be an Important Part of Your Baby Rabbit’s Diet
In addition to keeping your baby rabbit hydrated, you should introduce water early into its diet for various other reasons.
Water is essential to all creatures, but here are some ways it can specifically help baby rabbits.
It Helps Them Grow Properly
Water will help your baby rabbit grow properly. It helps them eat other foods. They won’t eat food if they can’t drink water.
So, it ensures that their entire digestive systems work properly.
It’s important to note that baby rabbits grow the most in the first few months after birth.
Therefore, enough water is vital to their physical development.
At the same time, it’ll also help prevent health problems regarding their digestive system.
Insufficient water and other foods can stunt their growth and lead to various illnesses in the future.
Enough Water Helps Improve Baby Rabbits’ Wellbeing
Water is also important for the mental growth of your rabbit.
When the physical needs are being met, baby rabbits can improve their wellbeing—provided that it’s getting enough care and attention.
Placing a crock of water in the hutch can also help a baby rabbit to become independent.
It also enables it to retrieve the necessary elements to keep it healthy and safe.
What to Keep in Mind About Giving Water to Wild Baby Rabbits
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to find wild baby rabbits that may need help from humans to survive.
Now, while it’s certainly a good deed to take up the responsibility to protect those creatures, some things need to be kept in mind. Here’s what they are.
Determine if the Baby Bunies Are Orphans
Just because you see some baby rabbits in the wild without their mothers doesn’t mean they’re orphans.
Mother rabbits aren’t always beside their babies.
To us, it may seem like it’s ignoring the babies or has abandoned them, but that may not be the case.
Mother rabbits feed their babies twice a day. The process is also about five minutes long. During the rest of the day, they may tend to other matters.
So, you can determine if a baby rabbit is alone by inspecting the condition of their health and wellbeing.
What you must do is to consistently check up on the nest. They are most likely not abandoned if they seem content there.
In addition to that, you can look at how the baby rabbits look. Abandoned baby rabbits will have shriveled skin due to dehydration, may cry at feeding time, or have a bluish hue on their bodies.
Also, rabbits getting enough care from their mothers won’t seem distressed. It’s likely that the mother is just taking a break.
So, don’t try to separate the rabbits from their mother if that’s the case.
You Can Leave Them in the Wild
The survival rate of hand-reared rabbits is fairly low (about 10%).
Therefore, it can be a good idea to simply leave them in the wild if it seems like there’s enough shelter. You can continue to give them water, though.
So, you should only interfere and provide water to wild baby rabbits if they look visibly unhealthy and seem alone.
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