How to Care for a Newborn Rabbit
If you have an un-neutered female rabbit - a doe - that lives alongside an un-neutered male rabbit - a buck - it's likely you'll soon find a litter of bunnies. There are many circumstances that can lead you to having to care for newborn rabbits; you may have bred them on purpose, in which case you should have an idea of what to do, or it may have happened by accident.
Of course, bunnies need to be cared for differently than an adult rabbit. Stay with us at oneHOWTO and we will provide some guidelines on how to care for a newborn rabbit.
After caring for a pregnant rabbit comes the birth; if you also have the mother in your care, remember to also attend to all her needs properly and not overlook her for the sake of the newborn rabbits. Make sure that she is well fed and looked after, not just for her own well-being but also so that she can produce enough milk to feed her young.
Besides caring for the mother, in order to care for her newborn rabbits you must adapt their cage as if it were a nest so that the offspring can survive. Make a bed for the young rabbits to relax quietly without any disruption. You can do this by simply placing some shredded paper or tissue inside a cardboard box. The mother can then use this paper or tissue to make a nest.
Rabbits are pretty clean, though if you notice the baby rabbit is particularly dirty, the only way you can clean it is by dry washing it, as using water and shampoo may scare it and affect its body's Ph.
If you aren't looking after the mother, you must take extra care so that the room temperature is warm enough and that the room doesn't have any drafts. Place a pleasant source of heat near the bunnies' cage to make sure they don't get cold.
If a newborn bunny is not eating well or not suckling from its mother, use a little bottle - found in pet shops - to feed it. You should give a young rabbit Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) every two hours for a week. Check with your vet beforehand for expert advice.
During the next few weeks you can start to gradually nurse the young rabbit less and less often. At eight weeks old, the young bunnies are ready to stop drinking milk and start to slowly eat solid food. Here you can learn more about how to feed a rabbit.
Newborn rabbits do not know how to relieve themselves so you'll need to encourage them a bit at the beginning. To do so, dip a cotton swab in warm water. Then, use it to wipe the bunny's genital area fifteen to thirty seconds before eating, and, if the newborn rabbit still doesn't do its business, repeat after it has eaten.
If you have questions about caring for a newborn rabbit, please go to vet for specific advice. Ask your vet about the essential vaccines for rabbits; bunnies aren't vaccinated until they are at least two months old, but you'll need to be familiar with the process.
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