What to do with a Wild Baby Rabbit?
With the increase in wild rabbit population within urban areas, chances of finding the nest of baby rabbit increase nowadays. But unfortunately, people abolish the nests of wild baby rabbits and carry the baby rabbits to their homes.
A wild baby rabbit requires the special care of a vet or professionally trained wildlife rehabilitator. Therefore, in the majority of cases, wild baby rabbits are unable to survive in homes.
Yes, you can take care of a wild baby rabbit at your home. Pick the wild baby rabbit and place at a comfortable location, feed the baby rabbit, let him rest for 2-3 days, and then bring him out of the cage. Mother rabbits have no issue in accepting the wild baby rabbits even from humans.
If you picked up the baby rabbit from the nest, immediately but back the baby bunny in the nest to make sure of his/her survival. In case if the nest is destroyed, rapidly rebuild the nest and put the baby rabbit in the nest.
In various states, it is illegal to retain a baby rabbit in the home without a rehabilitator license. If you find a baby rabbit and you really want to take care of him, immediately contact a vet or wildlife rehabilitator.
What to do with a Wild Baby Rabbit?
In this article, our editors have explained the best methods to deal with a wild baby rabbit. Read these guidelines and you will be good to go go.
Taking care of a wild baby rabbit can be a hectic job. You should learn how a wild baby rabbit behaves for a better understanding.
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Normally, wild rabbits build their nests on a plain surface and sometimes in the center of the backyard. Nests are built with grass and fur. Mother rabbits remain outside the nests most of the time and spend very little time nursing the baby rabbits. Therefore, most of the time baby rabbits remain alone in the nests.
If you find a baby rabbit nest unattended for a long time, immediately contact a wildlife rehabilitator and do the following steps:
Place the rabbit gently in a comfortable condition
If you find the baby bunny somewhere, the best way is to leave him alone. Mother rabbits spent only a few minutes in the nest with their babies.
If you find that baby rabbit is injured, immediately remove him from a dangerous situation and consider making some temporary arrangements for the baby rabbit.
Prepare a place for a baby rabbit
Construct a comfortable place for a baby rabbit with a wooden or plastic box supported with high sides is recommended. Put a layer of pesticide-free soil in the box and follow with a layer of dry grass. Make a circular nest in the hay and use fur from the actual nest if possible.
Do not use hairs of other species, especially predators. Place the box in such a place that it gets heat, only on one side, from some sources. Therefore, baby rabbits move to another side of the box if they feel too warm.
Move the wild baby rabbit in the nest
Gently move the wild baby rabbit in the nest, prepare for him. You may have to use gloves to avoid any kind of infection from wounds of the baby rabbit as a precaution. Try to handle the baby rabbit as little as you can. They get irritated from unnecessary handling and die.
Place a soft and warm cloth or tissue on wild baby rabbit for heat and security. Handle the waste of wild rabbit baby carefully and do proper sanitation because wild rabbit can transfer diseases to domestic rabbits.
Put a screen on the bunny box
If wild baby rabbits can walk, it is most probable that they jump out of the box. Therefore, place a screen on the top of the box to keep them in the box properly.
3 days’ rest
Let the wild baby rabbit sleep for 3 days in the box, and subsequently, you may move him to another place like a small hutch. Rest is important for a wild baby rabbit to get customized with the new surroundings.
Allow the wild baby rabbit to spend some time outside the cage
Allow the baby rabbits to spend some time outside the cage. As they start walking, they should have to spend some hours on the outside grass lawn.
Recent researches concluded that direct sunlight is beneficial for the appropriate development of the wild baby rabbit’s bones and teeth. Sunlight helps to activate vitamin-D in the skin that supports the animals to get calcium from their food.
There are no exact and specific rules about how long rabbits remain outside, but it is depending on the weather and body conditions of baby rabbits. It is beneficial for rabbits to remain outside for some hours.
When wild baby rabbits go outside, proper supervision is needed all the time to save them from predators and avoid letting them get in some trouble. During outdoor timing, rabbits must be provided with proper shade and water to avoid overheating problem.
Wild baby rabbits enjoy outdoor timing by eating grass (if the grass is free from chemicals and pesticides). There may be predators who try to attack baby rabbits during walking or on the cage when putting in open space.
Properly feed the wild rabbit with a healthy diet
If a wild baby rabbit is roaming, it may need only permanent access to fresh green, grass, and water. You can also prepare a formula in a shallow dish for the baby rabbit. Once the baby rabbit starts eating fresh grass (free from pesticides and herbicides) and starts roaming around, it is an indication of good health.
This is the time to release the wild baby rabbit in the area properly safe for this little prey animal. Wild rabbits normally have access to fresh grass, hay, and water, which is the normal feed of wild rabbits.
Best ways to feed the newborn wild rabbit
Be calm and slow while feeding the bunnies. Let them get a feed at their own pace, be very kind while handling them. If you try to feed the baby rabbits speedily, they will be choked and die.
Place the nipple of the bottle in the bunny’s mouth and let him be feed by himself. Proper care needed to feed the newly born rabbit and place the nipple of the bottle gently in his mouth.
Place the teat of the bottle in the rabbit’s mouth. Bend the baby rabbit marginally backward and try to give the teat in between its side teeth. It is impossible to place teat directly between its front teeth.
As the baby rabbit gets the teat in between its side teeth, gently try to move the teat towards the front teeth. Softly press the bottle so that a very little amount of formula comes out of it.
Generally, a baby rabbit takes a couple of minutes to start sucking. Continue this process up to four days, two times a day. Provide the second feed around evening time daily as mother rabbit do.
Newly born wild baby rabbits, cottontails require stimulation to urinate and poop after the feeding. This can be easily done by using a small cotton bud or a moist q-tip, by gently rubbing over anal and genital areas. This will give the sensation of licking from the mother rabbit.
Feed mixture formula to prepare at home
The formula is not composed of rich nutrients as mother’s milk. Normally, rehabilitators feed the wild baby rabbit with a mixture of KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) and Multi Milk. These are easily accessible on rehabilitator supply stores. Probiotics may be added in the mixture if possible.
The mixture must be thick because the mother rabbit’s milk is thick as compared to other small mammals. Normally, it contains three parts solid and 1 part purified water (by volume).
Never put the formula container directly on heat. Instead, warm it by floating the formula contain on the warm water. Use syringes with a small nipple attached or an eyedropper to feed the baby rabbit depending on the size of the baby rabbit.
Keep the baby rabbit in sitting while feeding and get ready with tissue in hand to rapidly clean milk appears on nostrils. Normally, baby rabbits need feed twice a day.
Precaution: never feed the baby rabbit with cow milk as it is proposed for calves not for rabbits. Instead, you may use goat milk formula for baby rabbits.
Avoid overfeeding the little bunnies
Always keep in mind that overfeeding may lead a wild baby rabbit to death. So never, try to-over feed a bunny. Bloating and diarrhea are the main causes of death of baby rabbits, which happens due to overfeeding.
The quantity of feeding depends on the age of the wild baby rabbit. Be alert that cottontail bunnies are smaller and require less quantity of feed than recommended amounts.
Following are the normal recommended feeding amounts:
Newly born to one week old: 2 to 2.5 ml feed twice a day.
Up to 2 weeks old: 5 to 7 cc feed twice a day or less if, rabbit size is small.
Up to 3 weeks old: 7 to 13 ml feed twice a day or less if, rabbit size is small.
Up to 6 weeks old: 13 to 15 ml feed twice a day or less if, rabbit size is small.
Also, you can add some fresh green grass for wild rabbits during the age of 2-3 weeks.
Discontinue the feeding formula at the appropriate age. Normally, cottontail rabbits stop the milk feeding at the age of 3-4 weeks.
Therefore, you must not feed the formula to more than 6 weeks of age. Wild jackrabbits do this at the age of 9 weeks, therefore after that replaces the feeding formula with a cut-up of tinny bananas and apple pieces.