Do you also think that the baby bunnies are adorable and cute? Perhaps you always want to pat them and give the best attention to them. Here comes a crucial question: Do baby bunnies need a heating lamp?
Baby bunnies do NOT require a heat lamp. Generally, the heat lamps cause additional trouble rather than being helpful. The baby bunnies will remain warm by staying in their mother’s fur, hugging their rabbit siblings, and laying in the hay. However, if you are still worried about the babies, you can use the heating pad, and it is a safe and comfortable option.
But, you will come across a few problems while warming the babies on your own. Let’s talk about these issues so that you can stop buying unnecessary stuff.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use A Heat Lamp
Firstly, the mother rabbit often prepares something for her babies. The adult rabbit will make a nest or shelter using hay, fur, or grass to warm the baby bunnies. Unlike hens, the mother rabbit would not sit on the baby bunnies to warm them. The nest built by the mother rabbit acts as insulation and will keep the babies warm.
Even in the cold weather, the wild bunnies will make sure to keep the babies warm. So, it is natural for your pet rabbit to do every possible thing to give warmth to the kits. You do not have to interfere unless you see them in drastic situations. We will talk about these later in the following sections.
Instead of being effective, the heating lamp gives more problems. They can be dangerous to the bunnies in several ways:
Firstly, the heat lamp might overheat the rabbit’s temperature. Bunnies are vulnerable to overheat and are ideal to stay in cooler weather. When you keep a heat lamp near the rabbits, they can not escape the light of this lamp, which results in overheating. If a bunny overheats, this situation is harmful.
Secondly, your bunny might eat the heating lamp’s cable. As you know, bunnies like to chew, so they will bite on every object they find. Even though a few heat lamps announce that they have a secure and safe cord, your rabbit is likely to chew on it as well. The new heat lamp will cause a fatal fire incident.
Many rabbit owners say that the hay nests catch fire from the heating lamp, which results in the death of the baby bunnies. Never use the heating lamp because it is a real threat to the lives of the rabbits and the babies.
Do Baby Bunnies Feel Cold?
You should keep the new or just born bunnies in around 100 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures till the first week. The mother rabbit can keep her babies in a 60 to 75 degrees room. The hay or the fur nest, which the mother rabbit built, will give the necessary insulation to keep the babies warm along with the cuddling of littermates.
When the babies reach their 10th or 12th day, they are free from freezing problems. At this time, the kits are grown up and will have an adequate amount of fur, which keeps them warm.
Raising-Rabbits.com is an online blog and conversation platform. Several bunny owners from this blog said that the rabbits were born, and they raise these babies in 13 degrees Fahrenheit low temperatures. A few owners raise the babies by keeping them in outer housing where the temperatures are below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. But, the results vary. A few adult rabbits have built a warm nest, and some babies could not resist the cold temperatures.
What Should I Do To Help Mother Bunny?
After the mother bunny gives birth, you can do a few things to help it. The mother bunny prepares everything for her kits, and when it is pregnant, you might need to support it. Even though the mother rabbit does not require much, you have to make a nest for the babies when she does not build it. It is better to check on the baby bunnies for a few weeks.
Building A Nest
When the pen is not suitable for the mother bunny to build a nest, you will see litter on the cage cables. It is a situation that you need your concern. The babies would not get sufficient warmth from the cage wires, and as the mother rabbit can not shift them, you are likely to lose a few babies. It is better to quickly remove the litter from the wires of the bunny’s pen.
Some new rabbit owners might be surprised. You can encourage the mother rabbit by helping her in creating a nest for the babies.
Take a small box to make the nest. The sides of the box should have enough space for the mother rabbit to come in and out. It is better to use a shoebox and keep rabbit’s fur, grass, or hay on it. Place this box inside the mother’s pen. When the baby bunnies are born, keep them in their nest and wrap them in their mother’s fur.
You do not have to worry about dealing with the kits. Pet bunnies are familiar with owners and their scent. The rabbit would not throw out the baby when a human touches it. Even though the mother bunny will be annoyed at you for dealing with her baby bunnies, you do not have to worry about the kits’ safety even when you pat them.
Checking On The Baby Rabbits
Several breeders advise checking the babies many times a day so that you will know if they are warm and well-fed. Other rabbit owners check once or twice a day, thinking that the mother bunny will fulfill the baby’s needs.
When the babies are in cold weather, and if you are concerned about them freezing, you can go to them many times a day. You have to make sure the babies did not leave their nest and check if the mother bunny is feeding them well or not.
A few active kits might leave and roam around the nest, and you have to return them to their nest. Baby bunnies are vulnerable to light and exposure and could die with ease. Unlike dogs or cats, the mother bunnies can not collect their kits. She will need your help to get her baby back to bed.
While returning the baby bunny to the nest, you have to grab it gently and keep it next to the other babies. You have to make sure that the babies are cuddling closely to their littermates and cover them with their mother’s fur.
When you see a baby bunny laying away from the nest and is cold, do not think it is dead and stop panicking. The baby might be alive, and it will save its energy to stay warm. You do not have to worry if the kit moves around and is still warm. Pick it up and keep the baby close to its siblings. In the following section, you will know the ways to warm the baby bunnies.
When And How: Warming The Baby Bunnies
When you find a baby far away from its nest and if you feel cold while touching it, this situation calls for quick action for warming it. But, DO NOT warm the baby bunny directly and quickly as it could become dangerous. Here is a list of ideas you can use to warm the baby bunny:
Firstly, it is better to use your natural body heat. Keep the baby close to your skin under your top. When this warms up the baby, it will begin to squirm around.
Warm And Soft Towel
It is also good to use a warm and soft towel from the dryer. Do not use the hot towel, only use the towel or blanket that is warm. Gently carry the baby bunny in your hands by wrapping it around the towel. When the towel is cold, replace it with a new warm one. Repeat the same process until you see the baby feels warm and is squirming again.
Giving A Bath With Water
Giving a bath with warm water is also one of the practical methods. However, DO NOT drown the kit in water.
Fill the bowl with some warm water and not hot water. Now keep the baby bunny in a bag and open the top. At a slow pace, place the baby with the bag in the bowl that is full of warm water. It gives warmth to the babies. Repeat the process and only stop it when you see the baby is moving.
Keeping In The Nest
When you are sure that the baby bunny is warm, return it to the nest. When you keep the kit in the nest, even if it still feels cold, the littermates and other babies will stay away from the baby to keep them warm. When the kit is not getting the warmth from its siblings, it may start to feel cold again.
Even though the mother rabbit is making a nest for her babies, if you are still worried about the babies freezing, buying a heating pad is a better alternative.
Keep the heating pad beneath half the area of the nets or grate of the pen. When you keep the heating pad only on the half side, it will be easy for the babies to move away to another side when they feel hot. It is better to leave the pad in a deep and wide location. You do not have to warm the bunnies quickly, and if you do, it might result in a dangerous situation.
However, you have to know that getting a heating pad is optional and not necessary. The mother bunny often gives the needed warmth for her babies. It also builds the nest for kits even before they are born.