What can be done to keep orphaned baby rabbits alive? In such an emergency, the young animals have to be bottle-fed. Find out everything you need to know about hand-breeding rabbits here.
Now and then it happens that the rabbit’s mother falls ill or even dies after the birth of the young. It can also happen that the rabbit is so young that she is overwhelmed with her role as a mother. For the offspring, this means that they cannot be suckled by their mother.
Alternative to hand-rearing rabbits
If your rabbit is unable to suckle her offspring, it is a good idea to first try to find another nursing rabbit to nurse you. The rabbit may accept the offspring as her own. If this is not possible, the young animals must be reared by hand.
Some rabbit protection organizations have contacts who have experience with hand-rearing. You will certainly find animal rights activists in your area on the Internet who can help you and the rabbit offspring. If not, it is important that you take care of the orphaned offspring yourself. In any case, the babies must be supplied with substitute milk as soon as possible.
This is how hand-rearing rabbits works
Cow or canned milk is not suitable as food for small rabbits. On the other hand, milk for rearing cats, which is available in powder form in pet shops, is well tolerated. The milk powder is mixed with lukewarm fennel tea or water in a ratio of 1:2. To prevent digestive problems and flatulence, a few drops of Sab Simplex (from human medicine) can be added to the substitute milk.
How to properly give milk to baby rabbits:
- The mixed milk is fed using a 1 ml syringe (without a needle), a pipette, or a small rubber teat from the pet shop. Under no circumstances should liquid get into the nose or lungs of the rabbits.
- When rearing by hand, small meals of about 1 ml each every two hours make sense. From an age of more than a week, the feeding intervals can be extended to four to five hours.
- After each meal, the rabbit’s stomach (in the direction of the anus) must be carefully massaged. This is important so that the boys can defecate and urinate and do not get gas.
From the third to fourth week of life, the rabbits’ diet is slowly switched to green fodder.
So that the young animals do not cool down, they need a warm nest. To keep the nest warm, a hot water bottle with lukewarm water and several towels can be placed underneath.