handfeeding babies - advice, pls

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by silvergirl, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. silvergirl

    silvergirl Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    One of my does abandoned her two babies as a result of a major re-location - we moved from eatern to western NC - so I am handfeeding the two little ones - how often should they be fed - I read somewhere that mommas only return to the nest twice a day to feed their young - the little ones are about a week old now, cute as two bugs in a rug! - eyes just opening - they have figured out how to nurse from the kitten feeding bottle I have and have been drinking 15 to 20 ml each at a feeding but yesterday they downed more than twice that... they seem almost frantic when I put the bottle to their mouths but settle down quickly... They are getting fresh goat's milk from the morning and evening milkings. Any other tips/input? I've handfed one other baby rabbit and was not successful with him, so I am worried about these two - he was doing just fine and then died without warning while I was still holding him after he'd fed... it was very upsetting at the time. I am hoping these guys make it...
  2. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 6, 2006
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

  3. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

    Jan 16, 2004
    Northern Ontario
    I successfully raised 7 of nine babies when the doe died when the babies were six days old. That first few days until the eyes opened were the hardest - mostly because they don't go to the bathroom themselves and you have to stimulate them. After the eyes open they seem to be able to take care of that themselves. Also, when there are several and they crawl all over each other, that seems to help the stimulation also.

    A friend took three to care for, and he lost one of his, and I lost one of mine within a day of each other. It seemed to be right when they were switching from milk to pellets - at about 4 weeks. Everyone was eating pellets well, and then one morning, right after feeding, the little pink eyed white just laid down in the cage and died. Darren had one do basically the same thing. No sign of diahrea or anything like that.

    Am I glad I did it? Yes. Would I do it again? Probably not. This was my first litter ever, and unrelated to anything else in the rabbitry. I had another litter about two weeks later, and it didn't take very long for younger ones to pass the bottle babies in size. So, if you're raising for meat - certainly not worth the expense, time and effort.

    Good luck!
  4. BellsBunnies

    BellsBunnies Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2004
    Do you have another litter close in age you could foster the kits to?

    We used 1 part water and 1 part evaporated milk and a few drops of karo syrup. Dilutrd baby food spinach works also. Don't lay the baby on it's back while feeding or it might asperate some of the food and die.