Before deciding to care for wild baby rabbits it is important that you are positive the rabbits are orphaned. If you find a baby rabbit wandering around, it is possible that the baby has left the nest to explore and can find her way back. However, if you see the baby in the same spot for a couple of days and she doesn't leave, then she is probably orphaned.
Other People Are Reading
Make the babies a soft nest. Take a sturdy cardboard box and put some clean, soft towels inside. Put the babies into the box and then cover the top of the box with another towel so it is dark inside. Be sure to leave a 25mm / 1 inch opening so enough air gets into the box.
Provide extra heat for the babies if the temperature of the room you keep them in is below 20 degrees C / 68 degrees F. Take a heating pad and set it to the lowest setting. Put the heating pad inside the box under the towels. Be sure the heating pad only covers half of the bottom of the box so the rabbits can move to a cooler spot if they get too hot.
Go to a pet store or a veterinarian's office to buy some Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) for feeding the baby rabbits. Do not give them cow's milk. Add 1 tbsp. of cream to each can of KMR to increase the caloric count. It is also a good idea to mix acidophilus into the KMR. Acidophilus increases the chances of the baby surviving because it keeps the bacteria in his stomach balanced. Add 1/2 the contents of one capsule until the rabbit is two weeks old, then add the contents of one full capsule after two weeks.
Wrap the baby rabbit in a towel and cradle her in your arm or lay her on your lap to feed her. Baby rabbits feed from their mother while lying on their backs, so try holding the rabbit that way while feeding, if she allows it.
Use an eye dropper or a syringe to feed the KMR to the rabbit. It is very important to feed the rabbit slowly and let him eat at his own pace. Feeding too quickly with an eye dropper or a syringe could cause fluid to get into the rabbit's lungs and suffocate him. Feed him once a day. Newborn rabbits should eat 5 CC of KMR daily, this increases to 10 to 15 CC at one week old, 20 to 30 CC at two weeks, and 30 CC until weaned. If the rabbit does not eat this much, it is alright to feed twice a day, but never more than twice in one day.
Help the baby to urinate and defecate after each feeding to keep her urinary tract and intestinal system operating well. To do this, moisten a soft cloth or a cotton ball with warm water. Gently stroke the cloth or cotton from between the rabbit's front legs all the way down and over her anal area. Continue stroking until she produces urine and stool.
Place small amounts of timothy or oat hay, and pesticide free greens such as dandelions and grass, into the rabbit's box when he is around 10 days old and his eyes open. Do not give rabbit pellets to wild baby rabbits. Rabbit pellets are higher in protein than what they can find in the wild after you release them. If you feed them pellets, the change in diet after release could lead to their death.
Tips and warnings
- Handle the wild baby rabbits only when necessary for feeding and care. Keep them in a quiet area. Handling is stressful for them and could kill them.
- Release the baby rabbits back into the wild as soon as they are eating hay and greens and are urinating and defecating without assistance. Wild baby rabbits should be released when they are around 13cm / 5 inches long. Release them in a safe area away from roads, and choose a spot where pesticides are not used. Do not release them in a public park where grounds are maintained with pesticides. It is best to release them early in the morning so they have all day to get used to their surroundings and find a home.
- Mother rabbits feed their babies once a day, and stay away from the nest the rest of the day so as to not attract predators to the nest. Therefore, just because you do not see the mother does not mean they are orphaned.