What to Feed Baby Rabbits In Your Backyard

What can you feed baby rabbits? Taking care of newborn rabbits requires knowing what food to include in their diet.

There are also dos and don’ts when it comes to rabbits but one of the most important ones you need to take note of is what to feed them. If you discover a nest with baby rabbits in your backyard, it’s best not to disturb them, and if you plan on feeding them then you must be very careful.

Wild rabbits are easy to be discovered in your yard but before going out with a handful of lettuce and carrots, note that there are ways you need to feed them. It is surely necessary to provide food to the wild bunnies in your yard as they don’t get as much food as a pet rabbit would.

Knowing what to feed the baby rabbits in your backyard will ensure you are not doing more harm than good. So, if the mama rabbit is dead or seems to be ignoring her babies. Put the bunnies in a secure box where she can reach them and this article contains food to feed them. However, if you can’t find mama rabbits, here is what to feed them.

What to Feed Baby Rabbits In Your Backyard

A baby rabbit has the best chance of survival if it’s cared for by its mom so it’s best not to try to bring them in.

Generally, domestic and wild mama rabbit only nurses their babies for a few minutes a day and stay away to draw predators away. Domestic rabbits are considered less aggressive than wild rabbits.

So, best not to bring them in until you are sure. Baby rabbits are considered quite fragile hence you can’t go feeding them carrots.

Before taking on the task of feeding bay rabbits, you need to make sure of certain things. If their tummy looks plump and nice then they are being fed well and should be left alone but if they appear weak then it’s like they haven’t gotten any milk from their mother then you will have to provide them with a special immunoglobin substance which is called ”colostrum”.

This can help replace the first milk they need to get from their mother.

Keep the babies in a warm and quiet place but if they are wild bunnies or are injured, it’s best to contact a wild rehabilitation center soon as possible. If you can’t get to a rehabilitation center soon enough then you need to provide some food and comfort for them.

Things You Will Need:

  • Plastic sterilizing steam bag to remove bacteria from the milk
  • Nursing nipples (Your local pet store should have ones for baby squirrels and rabbits)
  • Syringes or nursing bottles
  • Regular goat milk or Formula specifically made for baby rabbits

H0w To Feed The Baby Rabbits

Human baby formula and cow’s milk are not recommended for feeding baby rabbits but regular goat milk will do just fine. Be careful when feeding the baby as the smallest inhalation of the formula in their lungs can lead to fatal pneumonia. So, below is the procedure for feeding the baby rabbits.

  1. Wash your hands before feeding them
  2. Disinfect the syringes and nursing bottles by steaming
  3. Remove bacteria from the milk or formula by warming it in a microwave or boiling it on the stove.
  4. To feed the bunnies, sit or lie on the floor and use a towel as a lap cushion to prevent the baby from wiggling. Ensure to keep their feeding area quiet to avoid them being stressed.
  5. Tilt the head gently so that it is higher than its back and do not force feed. Place the syringe near the side or bottom of the mouth and simply wet the baby’s lip with the formula so he will lick it off.
  6. You will know when to stop feeding and do not overfeed the bunnies, when their tummy is slightly rounded then it’s time to stop.

After they are well fed, stimulate urination and defecation by simply stroking the anal area with a cotton ball that is moistened with warm water.

This process keeps their digestive system healthy. Continue to hold them gently while feeding until they open their eyes which often happens at about age 10 or 12 days. As soon as their eyes are open, you can go ahead and feed them veggies such as carrot tops, dandelions green, parsley, or plain alfalfa like oat hay or pellets.

What to Feed Baby Rabbits In Your Backyard
Image: Envato Elements

How can you tell how old a baby rabbit is?

To know how old a baby rabbit is, check its eyes. They can open their eyes at 10 or 12 days old so if they still have their eyes closed then they are not 10 yet. If your baby rabbit’s eyes are open and it is already moving in small tentative walk hops, they are likely to be between 10 and 15 days old.

Can you raise a wild baby bunny?

Baby wild bunnies are not that different from domestic bunnies and they can take care of themselves. They are definitely safe to raise and they won’t bite you however you need to ensure their mother isn’t close by and they are quite jumpy too. Wild bunnies can’t be domesticated easily and they will keep trying to escape so it takes patience to deal with them.

Can baby rabbits survive without their mother?

Fewer than 10% of rabbits survive without their mother. They need to be with their mother for the first 10 or 12 days of their birth but if they are not and proper care is taken of them then they are sure to survive. They could technically survive without their mom if they have no health issues. Youg bunnies will sure be fine on their own once they are 15 or 20 days old.

Wrapping Up

Finding a baby rabbit in your backyard does not mean they have been abandoned hence you need to make sure their mother isn’t coming back before caring for them as they often don’t need human intervention.

If you find their nest in a spot where you can’t possibly leave them then you should not hesitate to contact the rehabilitator center. The majority of baby rabbits are being cared for by a distant mother so there is really much reason to worry.