The bunnies give birth to many babies in their life. Sometimes, it is impossible to know if the mother rabbit is feeding the baby bunnies or left them. Here are a few ways using which you can know if the mother is taking good care of the babies or not.
When the mother bunny is not giving food to the babies, keep her above the kits. Now hold the rabbit so that it can care for them. You can often see this situation with new or young mother bunnies. In general, while nursing the babies, the mother will stand above them. If the mother rabbit is still not caring for them, call the veterinarian.
If you are intervening to make the mother feed the baby bunnies, it is good to pat her. It makes the mother rabbit remain calm. The new mothers will have a hard time understanding the whole situation. It is a foreign sensation to the young mother to nurse her babies. Being a rabbit owner, you should know why a mother bunny is not nurturing the babies and what you can do to help her.
- How Much Time Can Baby Bunnies Live Without Eating?
- How Can I Know If The Mother Is Taking Good Care Of The Kits?
- Should I Often Have To Keep An Eye On The Babies?
- When Are Baby Rabbits Weaned?
- Is It Possible For Female Bunnies To Nurture Other Kits?
- Can I Bottle-feed The Bunnies?
- Is The Mother Bunny Harming The Babies?
- In Which Situations Should I Contact Veterinarian
How Much Time Can Baby Bunnies Live Without Eating?
Baby bunnies can live up to 24 to 48 hours without eating. Even if the mother bunny does not give food to the kits right after they are born, you do not have to worry. Before encouraging the mother to feed the babies, you should give it some alone time and space. It helps the mother bunny to heal from the birth of the babies. Though she might be confused at first, the mother will realize the whole situation.
Baby bunnies should eat only one time a day, so it is okay if you have not seen them eating. When the babies have dark pink skin with fewer wrinkles, it means that the kits are warm. If you find the babies sleeping in their nest with ease, the mother is taking good care of them and feeding them well. The baby rabbits have transparent skin, and sometimes you can see their stomachs with milk when they are young.
When you find babies with cold skin, flat stomach, bluish color, and plenty of wrinkles, you have to intervene. If they are searching for the mother bunny rather than sleeping, the mother rejects them and is not feeding them well.
How Can I Know If The Mother Is Taking Good Care Of The Kits?
One quick and easy way is to check the nest of the baby bunnies. When the mother rabbit pulls her fur and keeps it on the babies, the mother is looking after them. Plucking her skin is a natural habit to the mother bunny before the babies are born. When you see the mother doing this, you do not need to worry. It creates a warm enough bedding or nest for the kits to stay warm and safe.
According to some rabbit expert sources, “If the mother bunny is not feeding milk to babies or not removing her fur or has not built a nest, you should take her to a bunny veterinarian. The veterinarian will inject a tiny dose of oxytocin into the mother. It is a medical drug, and it stimulates the milk glands in her. Within a day, the mother bunny should nurse.”
You have to remember that the oxytocin drug would not show its effect 48 hours after the babies are born. Thus, you should not postpone this process.
When you come across a wild rabbit burrow, it is better not to disturb them unless you are confident that the adult bunny is not arriving there. Even when you did not find the mother bunny, she might be taking care of the kits in her way.
Should I Often Have To Keep An Eye On The Babies?
If you want to see how the baby bunnies are doing, you can visit them once a day. When you are going to them, rinse your hands and don’t wear any bottle perfumes or fragrances. It is better to pat the mother bunny before petting the kits. While dealing with the babies, pat them once or twice until they start to come out of their nest box by themselves.
The above method assures not to leave your scent or human smell on the rabbits. Though the bunnies do not have the best eyesight, they have a better sense of smell. They depend on fragrances to recognize the baby bunnies, and when the scent of the kits changes, the adult bunny can not identify them. Also, the mother might stop feeding the kits even before they are weaning.
When Are Baby Rabbits Weaned?
When the baby bunnies are between four to six weeks, they will wean. After this time, the kits are ready to come out of their nest, and they will find food by themselves.
The babies wean off from the mother rabbit’s milk at a young age because of how often they breed. When the mother bunny gives birth to the kits, it can get pregnant again on the same day. The bunnies have four weeks pregnancy period, and it varies as per the breed.
Is It Possible For Female Bunnies To Nurture Other Kits?
When the mother is not feeding them and not nursing them even after you intervene, other rabbits can nurture these kits. But, it is hard to bring another bunny to take care of and feed many babies. The bunny can feed and take care of more than one baby with ease. But, when there are more than ten baby rabbits, they can not take care of a few babies, and these kits will be left alone. As there are more babies, the new mother might forget about some kits.
Can I Bottle-feed The Bunnies?
You can bottle-feed the bunnies, but the process is not at all easy. Many people do not recommend this method unless you have no other option. Many rabbits that are bottle-fed did not live for more than 3 to 4 weeks since their birth.
There is a reason why bottle-feeding bunnies is difficult. There is no other formula that can match the nutrient levels of mother bunny’s milk. While bottle-feeding the babies, they are likely to get the milk into their lungs. When the milk enters the lungs, the baby bunnies tend to get pneumonia or other fatal lung diseases. As the babies are young, they have a weak immune system, and the above illnesses might kill them.
Experts say there are a few psychological reasons why bottle-fed bunnies do not survive for a long time. But, there is not enough research to find these reasons.
When you are not confident and do not understand how to bottle feed the babies, it is better not to try it. There are plenty of things that can go bad, and it is also hard to bottle-feed the kits.
Is The Mother Bunny Harming The Babies?
“If you see that the mother bunny is harming the kits, you have to check many issues to know the reasons. It might harm the babies during their birth or while feeding them, and sometimes it also eats the kits. Accidentally, the mother bunny may wound the babies if you do not clip her nails. It also causes harm to babies when she is afraid or nervous.” Source
When the baby bunnies wean off, it is better to separate them from their mother bunny and place them in a different pen. The babies are young and have high energy levels. It might be irritating to the mother bunny, which causes her to get aggressive towards the kits. When they are roaming near the mother, it will bite them.
Bunnies are not maternal creatures, and the mother likes to rest alone and wants space from the babies. After removing the baby bunnies from the mother’s pen, the mother will start to sleep, eat, and recover from giving birth. This cycle is crucial for the mother bunny’s health. It is better to leave the mother bunny alone for at least two to three weeks before breeding it again. But, waiting for a month to spawn the mother bunny again is the best choice.
It is better not to keep the male and female bunny in the same pen during this recovery time because the male rabbit will make the female pregnant again. It gives her stress and will make her weak, and the mother rabbit would not have essential nutrients to remain healthy.
If you breed the bunny many times and at some point, the mother may refuse to feed the kits. It means that the mother does have sufficient nutrients and is feeling weak. It always occurs to the exotic breed of rabbits, and they were overbreeding as many people want these newborn babies.
When the bunny starts eating the kits, it might be because she needs nutrients, or there is something incorrect with that baby. Mother bunnies who live in the wild often do this when they find something wrong with the baby rabbits. It is a natural way for the mother to clean up the trash.
Wildlife bunnies will eat their placenta as it contains crucial nutrients and also to stay away from predators. It might be shocking to us, but it is natural for bunnies. When you see the bunny is eating the placenta, do not take it away from her.
In Which Situations Should I Contact Veterinarian
When the mother bunny is not looking after the kits and throws out the babies from their cage, you should talk to a veterinarian. If she shows aggression to the baby bunnies, keep them in different pens and call your veterinarian. If you have other worries or want to know more instructions, talk to the rabbit veterinarian. You will get plenty of advice and crucial instructions on how to deal with the situation.