How To Take Care Of Newborn Baby Rabbits

How To Take Care Of Newborn Baby Rabbits
Source: Pixabay

 

Good news in the house!!! Your pet rabbit just had newborn babies. Now officially as “pet grandparents”, you must be wondering how do you take care of a newborn baby rabbit. It’s common to have such questions in mind. Caring for a newborn rabbit can be challenging but it’s not rocket science. Learn everything you need to be prepared for it.

As the primary caretaker of your pet, you must be well aware too to provide proper newborn care to the rabbit babies. Healthy newborn rabbits are born without fur, weighing about 1-2 ounces, and 2-3 inches in size. They can have pink or dark, slightly wrinkly skin. They require a suitable environment to grow healthily and happily.

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Food Options Available On Amazon

Note: These food options are for baby rabbits older than 3 weeks. All details are accurate as of the publication date and subject to change.

Nesting Setup for Newborn Rabbits

Setting up a warm and cozy nesting area is a must for newborn rabbit care. This should be taken care of even before the arrival of newborn rabbits, as the babies need constant warmth to survive and spend their first 2 weeks exclusively in their nest.

Also, having a nesting area set up before the mother rabbit gives birth will help her adjust and prepare it to her liking.

Here’s how you can set up one-

  1. Get a large carton box with walls at least 5 inches high so that the babies don’t fall out.
  2. Line the surface of the box with newspaper sheets and clean soft towels.
  3. Before giving birth, the mother will pull her fur and add it to the nesting area to keep her babies warm. Collect the loose fur and place it in the box.
  4. Add soft-eating hay to make it warmer and cozier. Make sure to replace the hay and bedding every 3-4 days as it may be soaked in urine.
  5. Create space in the middle of the hay spread for the babies to be laid in. Place the mother and the rabbit babies in a warm and quiet room.
  6. Place a litter box for the mother rabbit on the opposite end of the nest.

Leave the mother rabbit alone while she gives birth, but check in with the babies soon after. The newborn rabbit babies need to stay all snuggled up together to regulate their body heat. The baby rabbits can only digest food if their body temperature is below normal hence keeping them warm is the first priority.

You can place a water bottle filled with warm water under the towel and bedding in the nesting box. Place it securely so that the babies don’t have any direct contact with the bottle. This will keep them warm.

Handling Newborn Rabbit babies

It is often believed not to touch baby animals as then the mother will refuse to feed her babies once she smells your scent. This, however, is very untrue in this case. Your pet rabbits get accustomed to your smell and they welcome the touch.

So, it won’t alarm the mother rabbit if you handle her kits as she is already used to your scents. You can handle them right after they are born. Make sure to sanitize your hands before touching the babies to prevent spreading of germs.

The mother rabbit rarely gives birth outside the nesting area, however, if that happens the separated baby can get cold quickly and die. Mother rabbits do not retrieve their young ones, so if you see any of the babies separated from the rest of the kits, you must pick them up and place them inside the box.

Remember not to handle the babies longer than you need to as it may cause them stress because rabbits are prey species.

A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:

Feeding Baby Rabbits

The only source of nutrients for the newborn rabbits will be their mother’s milk for the first 2-3 weeks after their birth. You have to ensure that the mother is well-fed and has constant access to water and food while she’s nursing the kits.

The mother rabbits usually tend to stay away from the nesting space and the kits need to be fed only twice a day, so, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see her nursing the babies often. If they are well fed the babies will be warm, wriggly, and have round tummies. Weigh the babies every day to compare weight gains which is a healthy sign.

If there is any sign of discomfort, weakness or diarrhea in the newborn rabbits, contact your vet immediately.

Preparing a Rabbit Cage/Playpen for the Baby Rabbits

After some 10-11 days as the baby rabbits open their eyes, they will start becoming a little curious and would want to explore. You should start looking for housing options for rabbit babies.

Rabbits feel free when the space around them is large and there is room to run around. If not the entire room, a wire playpen or large cage will be good. There should be at least a minimum of 12 sq. ft of space available inside as the bunnies will require it for their daily exercises.

Make sure the room where the babies and mother are kept should be rabbit proofed. Place cords, wires, cables, or anything that can be unsafe for the babies in an inaccessible place so that they won’t chew it up.

It should contain a litter box with paper pulp and hay lined up along with water in a shallow dish. You can also add toys for the baby rabbits to play with. Keep their nesting area and cage clean and hygienic.

Source: Pixabay

Bottom Line

Newborn rabbits are vulnerable, hence its of utmost importance that they remain in warm and secure environment to survive. Always check their body temperature to make sure all the babies aren’t cold. Also, monitor if they are hydrated once they start drinking water. Consulting a veterinarian before introducing the newborn rabbits to any change regarding their nursing or food is advised.

You can also reach out to the Best Friends Animal Society for more help regarding baby rabbit care. To conclude, these basic tips can answer your big question: How do you take care of Newborn Baby Rabbits?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When Can Baby Rabbits start eating solid food?

Baby rabbits can start nibbling on the hay by the time they have opened their eyes. They should only start eating solid food after 2 weeks of birth. After 8 weeks they can survive purely on solid food like leafy greens and veggies.

2. When Can Baby Rabbits leave their Mother?

Baby Rabbits can be separated from their mother after 8 weeks. Before 8 weeks it can prove risky for the baby rabbit’s health to be away from its mother.

3. What’s the common illness in Newborn Rabbits?

The most common disease in newborn rabbits is diarrhea. It can be fatal hence avoid giving the newborns pallets thats high in carbohydrates and fruits, instead feed them fiber rich soft green grass.

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