Caring for rabbits is already challenging as it is. How about caring for baby rabbits?
This must unlock a new level of care because babies are more fragile and need even more care and attention. So, when you think your bunny is pregnant, it’s essential to read and learn about how to care for baby bunnies.
Is My Rabbit Pregnant?
Before worrying about babies, you must first confirm if your rabbit is pregnant. Rabbits get pregnant the same way almost every animal does, through mating.
If you have both a male and female rabbit together, then there’s a possibility of them having children together. While there are ways to find out whether or not they are pregnant, it could be difficult for first-time rabbit carers. Here are some signs to observe.
Dating and being around male rabbits
Although it’s one of the most evident pregnant rabbit indicators, the gestation period for rabbits is concise. Thus, it’s a pretty easy thing to miss. The baby bunnies only stay in the uterus for approximately a month before they get to hop out of their mom.
So if she hasn’t been around a possible partner within this time, she isn’t likely pregnant. Rabbits of the opposite sex can live with each other. Although making sure, they are neutered is the best move if you don’t want them to produce babies.
Just like how humans gain weight when pregnant, so do rabbits. While babies are developed inside her, she would likely gain weight. It’s hard to tell whether they are gaining importance because of food or pregnancy.
Just to be prepared when expecting baby rabbits, it would be helpful to take their weight regularly before and after feeding for monitoring. You may even feel the baby when you stroke her belly!
Because of the changes occurring in their bodies, your rabbits may become aggressive (they may even growl at you!) and show signs of irritation when you interact with them.
You may wonder if they don’t like you anymore, but it’s probably because of their pregnancy. It would be helpful if you give them space for now.
Pregnant rabbits typically build their nests on instinct. Mother rabbits will usually start creating a nest one week before she deems going into labor. She will dig or create her den using materials available around her. If the materials are insufficient, she will even rip her fur.
Caring For Baby Bunnies After Birth
After labor, what should the next step be? It could be overwhelming seeing the baby rabbits in their nest. At the same time, it’s a breath of relief once you make sure your rabbit gave birth successfully and safely.
Remove any male rabbit around them
The first thing you would like to do after your rabbit gives birth is removed her husband around them. While they are not a threat to the babies and the mother, he can impregnate the mother rabbit and the female babies when they mature.
Thus, it’s best to keep them away. This is also an excellent time to neuter the male rabbit.
Remove the placenta
Remove the placenta or any marks of after marks from the birthing area. You don’t have to worry about the mother getting aggressive because they are familiar with your scent already.
Provide a cozy and safe place for them to stay
Whether or not your rabbit already built a nest for her babies, it’s crucial to make one or modify it (if she already made one). You need to make something comfortable for both the babies and the mom.
You can make a nest out of hay and other comfy materials you can find. Make sure to position this in a quiet area.
Make sure that they stay warm
There may be times when you spot the baby bunnies scattered and feeling cold. In these types of scenarios, it’s best to step up and gather them together so that they are warmer than when scattered.
It’s a vital thing to keep them warm because they cannot digest food when the temperature is cold.
Check them every day
Make sure that they are well-fed every day. Check their tummies every morning and make sure they all have full bellies. When you check on them, and it looks like their tummies are not full and are sulky, this could equate to a failure in their mom’s lactation.
When the mother rabbit is not lactating, you would need to bring her to the vet and give her a dose of oxytocin to help in stimulating their milk glands.
More About Caring For Baby Bunnies
Make sure that the mom is well-fed
Make sure that the mother has unlimited access to both food and water. During these times, she needs to be healthy to nurse her babies properly.
Enough food and being in good condition ensure proper milk production, and thus, their babies get enough milk as needed. Please make sure you check their supply now and then. Mother rabbits drink more water than ever.
Keep their space clean
Make sure that the nursing box or area is always clean. The babies will probably excrete their wastes in the box as they are not strong enough to move around.
This being said, their box will get dirtier as time passes by. So, to keep them comfortable, take time to clean their box and provide clean beddings.
Slowly adapt the baby rabbits’ diet
Baby rabbits can begin trying to eat pellets at a very young age. Typically, they will start showing interest and eating pellets slowly during their 2nd week.
While they are slowly adapting to solid foods, they should still stop nursing. They should continue being nursed for a whole eight weeks after birth. They will slowly start drinking less milk and consuming more pellets or alfalfa hay.
Their mother’s milk is essential as it is paramount in providing antibodies. If they stop drinking milk too soon, they might miss out, and their immune system might not be as strong because of the missing antibodies.
Take care of them for eight weeks
You should be hands-on in caring for the baby rabbits for eight weeks. While they are during this stage, they are susceptible to dangers like diseases and bacteria.
Do not be afraid to handle the babies, which would help them get accustomed to you and get tamed. Please take note that it’s essential to wash your hands every time you hold them.
Things To Remember For Baby Rabbits’ Diet
As they start eating solid food, you should provide them with an unlimited supply of alfalfa hay, pellets, and water. For their eating paraphernalia, make sure that their dish is shallow, so it’s easy for them to get their food.
While the baby rabbits are still growing, ensure that you do not feed them greens yet. Their digestive system may not be ready yet and may cause complications in their digestion process.
You can start slowly introducing them to greens when they reach two months. However, if this causes digestive problems like diarrhea, or other intestinal issues, immediately withdraw whatever greens you may have fed them.
Here are some recommended starting vegetables you can slowly introduce them to.
- Romaine Lettuce
When they grow older, you can slowly start introducing them to treats and a menu with a wider food selection.
Taking Care of Baby Bunnies FAQs
Can baby bunnies drink water?
Yes, they will start drinking water at about 3-4 weeks after birth. You should provide them ample water in shallow dishes to make it easier.
Can they drink other types of milk like cow milk?
No. You should not give baby rabbits other types of milk. They need their mother’s milk, as it contains essential nutrients and antibodies that they will need to grow correctly. Different types of milk may hurt their digestive system as it can be indigestible for baby bunnies.
When can they be separated from their mother?
Baby rabbits can leave their mother at eight weeks old after birth. However, it’s best not to leave their mother unless they are completely ready. As you may have known already, they need their mother’s milk.
How long can baby rabbits go without eating?
Baby can live without food for up to four days. Baby rabbits in nature only eat once a day during dawn (12-5 am).
Is it okay to touch baby rabbits?
If it’s a pet rabbit, you can as they are already accustomed to your scent. Just remember to make sure your hands are clean and sanitized.
If you see a nest of wild rabbits, you are not to touch them unless you are sure they are orphaned. When confirmed, you can handle them as they would need human care.
Motherhood is complicated and complex. Being a good pet owner requires you to help your pet in challenging times like childbirth and raising babies.
During these times, you need to research and learn more about caring for baby bunnies. Your pet, who is now a mother, would appreciate and need your help during these times.