Feeding a baby rabbit can become a difficult task sometimes. If you are a novice bunny keeper, you surely have so many questions in mind. What to feed baby bunnies? How to feed them, right? What to do if they have lost their mother?
Don’t fret. You will find all the answers to any questions you may have through this post. Whether you already have a baby bunny or still waiting for them, here are the things you should know and keep in mind:
Why Is Feeding a Baby Rabbit Important?
In many cases, rabbit keepers entrust this thing to mother rabbits in most cases. The mother can manage and give the necessary nutrients for the babies to grow into healthy and active rabbits. Also, the mother socializes the babies.
However, there were times the mother becomes too aggressive towards the little ones. This happens for some reason. Typically, the mother rabbit is very caring to its offspring. When this caring behavior turns into the aggressive one, there is a logical explanation for that. Unfortunately, that particular reason seems to be unclear in some cases.
The only way to solve the problem is feeding the babies on your own. That is also your last option in case the mother dies after giving birth.
What to Feed the Baby Rabbits?
In the first few weeks of their lives, the baby rabbits should be fed with only milk. They will depend on the milk of their mother until they reach the right time for eating solid foods like pellets. Their growing bodies are quite fragile. Their developing digestive tract is also somewhat sensitive to major changes involving food, attachment to their fellow bunnies, and environment.
Milk is the only food that you should give to your baby bunnies within the 1st to 3rd week of their lives. If they are with their mother, you should not try replacing her milk with replacement milk. Don’t try feeding the baby bunnies with the high-caloric milk from a pet store. You must contact a veterinarian to ensure the health and wellbeing of your pets.
How to Feed the Baby Rabbits with Milk?
When your little bunnies don’t have a mother, your loving hands should take charge. Feeding them can be challenging at first. Eventually, you will finally learn how to manage and feed them with ease.
If you adopted baby rabbits, then you have to find out the right food for them. For newborn bunnies, you may feed them with milk alternatives that are widely available in the nearest veterinary clinic. If not, you may feed them with goat milk instead.
In feeding the baby bunnies with milk, you should buy and use syringes. Keep in mind that baby rabbits are not yet capable of sipping through the bottle. With syringes, you can give them milk at the right amount and in the proper way.
In feeding newborn bunnies with milk, use 4-5 cc syringes. For the 1st to 2nd week, you can use 10-14 cc syringes. If the babies are already more than 2 weeks old, then you may use 15-29 cc syringes. Then, once they are already 3 weeks old, feed them by using 30 cc syringes. Milk is best for baby bunnies for up to 3 weeks.
How to Prepare Milk for Your Baby Bunnies?
Feeding the baby bunnies with milk is not as easy as it seems with how the mother does the job on her own. You can’t just feed the babies with any kind of milk. If the mother’s milk is unavailable, then you have to prepare a replacement milk formula.
The real milk from a doe is full of nutrients. Hence, when preparing milk formula, you must follow the standards. Also, you should prioritize food safety.
The cow’s milk isn’t a great replacement for baby rabbits. Instead of the cow’s milk, you should settle for goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is healthier and better for your baby rabbits because it contains more nutrients like the real rabbit’s milk.
You may buy a rabbit formula from a local pet shop or veterinarian clinic. You can also make one right in the comfort of your home. Your homemade milk formula for your baby bunnies requires:
- A glass of the goat’s milk
- Egg yolk
- 1 tsp. of honey
After preparing these ingredients, mix them well. Then, you also have to give the supplementary nutrients and calories needed. Get your preferred milk formula and feed the babies.
Preparing a Milk Formula for Baby Rabbits
Some rabbit owners feed their bunnies with milk by using a spoon. While that may work, a syringe offers a more convenient way to feed stubborn baby bunnies. Here’s how to get started:
- Wash and clean your hands first. After that, take one bunny with your hand. Hold the baby gently, ensuring that you do not turn with its belly up. Mimic the mother rabbit and provide them the necessary support. This way, the bunnies will be able to suck the milk inside the syringe correctly.
- Put the end of the syringe beside the mouth of a baby rabbit. Make sure it does not enter the mouth.
- Push the syringe only when you have to pull out the milk. However, be sure the milk does not squirt out of the syringe. What you should do is only putting the syringe’s tip close to the bunny’s mouth to let it find the smell of milk. Continue squeezing while the bunny takes the milk. Be sure that you do not squeeze while the tip of the syringe is inside the mouth of the baby bunny.
- If the belly of the rabbit is already round, it means the rabbit is already full.
- Keep the milk warm at room temperature. It is extremely important.
What Happens After the First 3 Weeks?
Continue feeding your little bunnies with only milk until the 4th week. At the age of 7 to 8 weeks, you will still need to feed them with milk. However, you also need to feed them with alfalfa, which is rich in protein and calcium. Alfalfa is best to give for young rabbits.
Pellets are also good for them, which are rich in protein, too. Feed your young rabbits with milk, alfalfa, water, and pellets. Since pellets are so tasty, bunnies usually choose them over hay. On the 5th week, you may mix up milk with grass hay like Timothy or meadow. The little bunnies may hesitate to take them, but they will eventually get used to the taste later on.
However, do not forget to take time. At first, the baby bunnies will begin biting on them, so you should give them just some pellets and strings of grass.
Feeding baby rabbits can be daunting, especially if you have to do this on your own. Just one wrong move, and you will lose your pets. So, you must be ready for this by knowing how to feed them the right way. If the rabbit’s milk is impossible to get, then you have to follow the guidelines given above to prepare and provide nutritious replacement milk to nourish your little bunnies. Proper nutrition is the most important for their growing bodies, so make sure the replacement milk you offer matches the nutritional content of their mother’s milk.