Many people will discover rabbit nests with no mothers nearby and assume the babies have been abandoned, when really the mothers only visit at night. However, if you know for a fact that the babies are orphaned, you want to try to raise them yourself. According to the Aurora Rex Rabbit Ranch in Indiana, bottle feeding a wild baby rabbit does not have a high success rate; the survival rate for bottle-fed bunnies is no higher than 10 per cent. Understanding how to create the right baby formula can help you do your best to keep the bunnies alive.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Kitten Milk Replacer
Mix one part Kitten Milk Replacer and three parts Pedialyte into a small bottle for very young rabbit formula. Feed this diluted formula to baby rabbits as long as their eyes are closed.
Supplement the rabbit's diet with solid food by the time they are three weeks old. Provide the rabbits pellets and alfalfa hay. Soak very dry bread in unpasteurised, raw cow or goat milk, or in the Kitten Milk Replacer. Rabbits will begin to munch on these on their own; do not try to force them.
Provide high-protein pellets with at least 17 to 18 per cent protein by the time the rabbits are five weeks old. Most rabbits will begin to eat exclusively pellets and hay and wean from the bottle completely between four and six weeks; jackrabbits may need to be bottle fed until nine weeks.
Tips and warnings
- Find Kitten Milk Replacer at pet stores. Find Pedialyte at convenience or grocery stores.
- Consult expert websites such as the Aurora Rex Ranch for techniques for feeding and caring for baby rabbits.
- Do not use puppy milk to feed baby rabbits.
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