How to Feed Newborn Rabbits

Written by kimberly sharpe Google
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How to Feed Newborn Rabbits
Clean the rabbits cage regularly. (Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A mother rabbit will feed her babies unless she dies, becomes mentally unbalanced or becomes physically unable. Domestic rabbits rarely feed their young in plain view. They will usually sneak the feedings, which often makes owners think the newborns have not been fed. Rabbits nurse their young twice per day. Only attempt to feed domestic newborn rabbits if the mother cannot physically perform the task. The babies will require bottle feeding until they are about eight weeks old. At two to three weeks of age, they will begin to nibble on hay but they will depend on the bottle for the majority of their nutrients.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Kitten bottle and nipple
  • Goat milk or commercial kitten milk replacer
  • Lyophilised freeze dried colostrum
  • Cow milk cream
  • Thermometer
  • Wash cloth
  • Rabbit excrement
  • Sanitising hand soap

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  1. 1

    Place the baby rabbits in a location where the temperature remains 23.9 to 25.6 degrees Celsius. Line the nest with cotton filling so the rabbits can snuggle together within its softness and stay warm. Place a hot water bottle beside one baby rabbit so it has the option of snuggling beside the bottle like it would do its mother or litter mates.

  2. 2

    Disinfect the bottle and nipple using steam or boiling. Allow to air dry.

  3. 3

    Mix 1/6 cup of goat milk or kitten milk replacer, one tablespoon lyophilised freeze dried colostrum and half a teaspoon of milk cream in a container. Heat to 40.6 degrees Celsius. Refrigerate any unused formula promptly or discard.

  4. 4

    Fill the bottle with the warm formula. Wrap the bottle in a wash cloth so the baby rabbit can knead the bottle with its front paws as it would its mother.

  5. 5

    Sit on the floor so the baby does not accidentally injure itself if it jumps from your hand or lap. Lay the bunny horizontally in your hand.

  6. 6

    Drip a bit of formula onto the baby's mouth to encourage it to eat. Push the nipple of the bottle between the bunny's lips. Some baby rabbits automatically suck the nipple and others lap the liquid as it drips from the nipple.

  7. 7

    Feed the baby rabbit five to seven cc/ml of formula twice per day until the baby rabbit reaches two weeks old. Increase the formula to between seven and 13cc/ml twice per day at two to three weeks old. From three to eight weeks old, feed the baby rabbit 13-15 cc/ml twice per day.

  8. 8

    Rub the genital region of the baby bunny using a warm, moist cloth to encourage it to urinate and defecate after each feeding. The mother rabbit would naturally do the action after each feeding, too. Do this until the baby rabbit reaches three weeks old.

  9. 9

    Mix a pinch of excrement from a healthy rabbit into the formula one time when the rabbit is three weeks old. The excrement from the healthy rabbit will help add needed bacterial fauna to the baby rabbit's digestive tract. Repeat the process at each feeding for three days in a row.

Tips and warnings

  • Baby rabbits are completely weaned at six to eight weeks old.
  • Place hay in the baby rabbit's pen when it reaches two weeks old to nibble.
  • Make sure the baby rabbit has a daily supply of fresh water.
  • Wash your hands using a soap sanitiser before feeding the baby bunny.

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