Rabbits are adorable creatures. However, you need to handle them with care, especially those kittens who don’t have a mother.
In this blog, you will learn how to increase the mortality rate of orphaned rabbits. Here’s what to feed rabbits without a mother.
What to Feed Rabbits Without a Mother?
Like any animal, the rabbits’ kittens are vulnerable to diseases, infections, and prey. Thus, you must be aware of feeding baby rabbits’ do’s and don’ts. Here is the list of food that can somehow substitute a mother’s milk.
Though nothing can substitute a mother’s milk, the best we can do is feed them with replacement milk. You can check your local pet shops or the nearest veterinary clinic for rabbit replacement milk, such as Kitten Milk Replacer.
However, since a rabbit’s milk contains high calories, you need to add unsweetened whip cream to patch the Kitten Milk Replacer’s calorie deficit.
Goat Milk is another good source of nutrients for your orphaned kittens. It almost has the same amount of nutrients as rabbits’ milk.
Not sure how to feed your baby rabbit without harming them? Watch this video to guide how to take good care of your baby rabbit while feeding them.
When to Stop Feeding Baby Rabbits Milk?
Milk helps your kittens strengthen their immune system. However, you can’t continue giving your orphaned baby rabbits milk as they grow up quickly. This means that their body needs extra calories, vitamins, and other nutrients that can’t be substituted by milk.
Thus, when your rabbits’ kittens are around six to seven weeks, you may need to introduce the baby rabbits to other foods that are essentially part of their diet. These include hay, fruits, and vegetables.
What are the foods that baby rabbits can eat?
Rabbits are herbivores, which means that their primary diet must consist mainly of fruits and vegetables. But, keep in mind that though baby rabbits are omnivores in nature, they can’t eat all fruits and vegetables.
Do you want to know more about the foods your baby rabbits can eat without harming them?
What fruits can you feed to rabbits without a mother?
There are many fruits that you can feed your rabbits without a mother. The most common fruits that they can eat are as follows:
Apples contain great nutritional benefits. Otherwise, the saying that goes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctors away’ won’t exist.
But, can your baby rabbits without a mother eat seedless apples?
Apple’s nutritional value is mainly composed of the following:
The nutrition facts of apples show that the fruit contains fiber, which is very important to a rabbits’ diet.
If you feed rabbits without a mother with a medium-sized apple, they will get around 4 grams of fiber from it, which helps promote the baby rabbits’ gut health.
Bananas contain a lot of nutrients too! However, bananas contain much sugar and starch, affecting your rabbits’ sugar level.
Though it is rare to see baby rabbits have sugar level issues, you must know their health conditions before feeding bananas.
When you feed rabbits without a mother, make sure that you give them not more than a medium-sized banana.
Another perfect fruit to feed rabbits without a mother is pineapple. This tropical fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals, including manganese and fiber.
Pineapple has a manganese value of more than 100% of the daily value and 10% fiber.
When you feed rabbits without a mother with pineapple, they will get manganese that will help them keep active and energized, and most important of all, it will protect the cells from getting damaged.
But if you opt to feed the baby rabbits with pineapple, feed them moderately as too much sugar can be dangerous to their health.
Cucumber is another fruit that you can give to your baby rabbits.
Cucumbers are rich in water and fiber, perfect for feeding rabbits without a mother. However, since cucumber contains a considerable amount of water, you must not make cucumber the primary source of fiber but as an additional source.
Water in cucumbers makes it fiber less and less nutritious.
What vegetables can you feed rabbits without a mother?
Baby rabbits have a very delicate and complex digestive tract. Thus, you must be very careful when feeding them vegetables to ensure they won’t get any indigestion.
Carrot tops are one of the best vegetables to feed rabbits without a mother. Though carrot tops contain sugar and carbs, they are low compared to other vegetables, making them a perfect treat for your baby rabbits.
In general, lettuce contains psychoactive properties. These properties may cause harm to animals. However, the lettuce, particularly organic romaine lettuce, the psychoactive properties found in the vegetables are harmless.
When you feed rabbits without a mother vegetable like lettuce, you must check what variety works well with them. For example, iceberg lettuce may not be as nutritious as romaine lettuce since the iceberg lettuce contains mostly water.
On the other hand, romaine and other lettuce with darker leaves contain a good amount of Vitamin A and Vitamin K, which your rabbits must have.
Feeding baby rabbits can be tricky, and sometimes it takes up much of your time than expected. Here’s a video that can be your guide about what your baby rabbits can eat.
Can You Feed Rabbits Without a Mother Grass?
When the rabbits without a mother growing up, their diet will consist of grass. Thus, you must introduce the baby rabbits to grass after feeding them with milk.
But do not feed them a massive amount of grass. Since you are just introducing grass to the baby rabbit’s diet, the grass must be cut or chopped into a smaller size for the baby rabbits easily chew it.
Can You Feed Rabbits Without a Mother Hay?
Definitely, yes! You can feed rabbits without a mother with hay.
Choose the dry hay when you start feeding your baby rabbits. You must select dry hay over wet hay as it may cause cold and fever issues to your rabbits.
You must introduce your baby rabbits to hay at an early age since their diet must at least be at 80% when they grow up.
Hay also controls the growth of your baby rabbits’ teeth.
Overgrown teeth are a common problem for rabbits, and the constant chewing of hay helps your rabbits naturally trim their teeth.
Is It Advisable to Feed Rabbits Without a Mother Pellets?
Actually, it is not advisable to feed your baby rabbits pellets. As much as possible, you need to keep their diet natural. Unless you groom the rabbits for pet shows, you need extra help developing their body and coat.
However, make sure that the pellets you give to your baby rabbits are rabbit-friendly and clinically approved.
Avoid These Foods When Feeding Baby Rabbits Without a Mother
Anything excessive can be fatal to the baby rabbits. Apart from that, there are particular foods that you cannot feed rabbits without a mother. Here is a list of food you must not give when feeding rabbits without a mother.
Though nothing can substitute a mother’s milk, cow’s milk comes close as it offers many vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. However, feeding cow’s milk to the rabbits without a mother as cow’s milk is not advisable.
Cow’s milk may contain some antibiotics or any medication that may compromise your rabbits’ health causing them complications at a very young age that may lead them to death.
Pellets (Excessive Feeding)
You might be confused about why we put pellets here while advising that your rabbits may eat them without compromising their health.
You can actually feed rabbits without a mother with pellets. However, you need to control their portions as feeding them excessively can be dangerous to them. It may also lead to obesity and may seriously affect their GI tract.
Fruits and Vegetables Rich in Sugar and Carbs (Excessive Feeding)
Diabetes is not a deadly disease, but its complication leads to fatal death. Unfortunately, all animals can have diabetes, and rabbits without a mother are not an exception.
Some high-carb and high-sugar-content vegetables include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Fruit seeds
Other Food that You Must Not Feed Your Rabbits Without a Mother
Your baby rabbits cannot also eat the following:
The food listed above is one of the human beings’ ultimate food favorites. However, no matter how delicious they are, you must not share with the baby rabbits, not even single bite-sized chocolate, eggs, chips, crackers, and bread.
Why so? Chocolates, crackers, bread, and chips contain carbohydrates and sugar, which may harm your baby rabbits’ sensitive stomach, leading to abdominal discomfort and fluctuating blood sugar.
As stated above, rabbits, in general, are pretty sensitive when it comes to their diet. You should stick to a rabbit’s strict diet to not harm them.
How to Treat Excessively Fed Baby Rabbits Without a Mother?
Overfeeding your rabbits may cause them to excessively bleed internally, which is a very deadly condition.
If you notice that the orphaned rabbits are excessively fed, do not feed them on their next meal. Let them skip one meal to give their body some time to digest all their food intake.
After that, slowly reintroduce the baby rabbits to the food again. This time, be mindful of the food portion you will give to the baby rabbits.
However, if you are not comfortable doing this, we highly advise that you should bring your rabbits to the veterinary clinic to closely monitor them.
Do not be anxious if you do not know what to feed rabbits without a mother. Instead, keep this in mind, do not feed the orphaned rabbits anything that may upset their stomachs, like high-sugar or high-carb food. Most importantly, do not overfeed the baby rabbits.