Your Question Answered: What Do You Feed Wild Baby Rabbits?
Written by The Rabbit Hole Hay Team
Are you in the situation where you've found a wild baby rabbit and need to know how to raise it? If you are up for taking on the challenge of doing so, this blog will help you answer some questions you may have.
There are lots of scenarios where you may come across some wild baby rabbits that seem to be orphaned. Some common situations we hear are:
“My pet brought a baby bunny home and it’s unharmed and still alive. I don’t know what to do with it now.”
“I was gardening or doing yardwork and I happened to come across the nest. It seems like they are hungry and there is no mother bun around.”
Regardless of how you stumbled upon these babies, here’s some things you need to know about what to feed baby wild rabbits. Before you go about this process, it’s important to know if the baby is a jack rabbit or cottontail rabbit. Jack rabbits are even more wild and will injure themselves or can die of trauma very easily. Please seek expert advice and let a professional take care of them if this is the case.
1. Make Sure The Rabbit Actually Needs Help And Is An Orphan
Are you sure that these wild baby rabbits are actually abandoned? How do you know? Rabbit parents can sometimes leave their nest for up to a whole day to forage in the woods and visit with other rabbits, and only come back to briefly check in and feed. If you have been watching the hole and haven’t seen the mom for at least two days or have even checked the rabbits and noticed they are skinny and calling for help, you may need to take action.
Create a nest like situation for the baby rabbits. This can be created by using a blanket or towel in a rabbit cage or hutch. The bunny’s environment should be cozily warm, but not hot. Smaller bunnies may require an incubator for help.
3. Feed The Rabbits
If the baby rabbits you rescued are infants with their eyes closed or barely any fur, you’ll need to hand feed them formula. There are different opinions on what type of milk you should feed them, how often and how to do it. However, goat milk or kitten milk replacer is typically the milk of choice. NEVER feed them cow’s milk. Just remember, wild bunny food is different than domestic bunny food.
Reminder: Any wild rabbit no matter the age should have constant access to hay, water and fresh greens similar to the type are used to in their wild environment. While it is not a baby’s main food source, they may learn how to eat solid food by nibbling on it.
4. Stimulate The Bunnies To Go To The Bathroom
In order for very young baby rabbits (7 days old or less) to be able to go to the bathroom they must be stimulated. Think about how mother animals typically clean their young by licking them. Really, it serves a double purpose which is to help stimulate their organs to urinate and defecate. This might sound a little gross to you and if you’re not able to take this on then please take the rabbits to a shelter or vet.
5. When In Doubt Take Them To A Vet Or Rabbit Shelter
If you don’t think you are able to care for the baby bunnies, are scared to do so or have noticed they aren’t doing well or one is injured, don’t mess around and take them to your local veterinarian or rabbit shelter immediately. Rabbits can pass away quickly. You don’t have time to spare if you notice something is wrong. Let the professionals take it into their own hands.
Eventually you will want to, well, maybe more like have to, let them free and out into their natural habitat again. When you take care of these bunnies make sure you keep in mind that they are wild and need to be released back to where they came from. So don't get too attached! They should not be kept as your pet unless they have an injury or will not survive on their own in the wild.
Again, this is a very big responsibility and takes a lot of time and dedication. Please consider taking the orphaned baby rabbits to an experienced rabbit shelter or veterinarian. We hope this helped answer your questions of “what do you feed wild baby rabbits?”
You can also download our Hay is for Rabbits eBook to know all about the different types of hay, the best ones to feed your rabbit based on their age, and more! That way the next time you run out of hay, you can purchase your next order with us with confidence.