How To Care For Baby Rabbits
In this short video tutorial, an expert tells you how to keep your baby rabbit healthy, and accustom it to be being handled.
Hi. My name's Marie, and I'm the deputy manager of the small animal department at Wood Green Animal Shelters, and today I'm going to tell you how to care for baby rabbits. Baby rabbits emerge from the nest at around three to four weeks of age.
Their eyes start to open at about three weeks of age as well. After that time, they're very curious little creatures and want to know what's going on, and want to try to nibble on everything. It's important that you are cautious with their diet, as they can be quite sensitive to a big change in their diet and to new foods.
So it's really important that they've got lots and lots of hay to feed on. As I've mentioned before, they should feed up to 80% of their diet in hay. You'll also need to consider a small dry mix for their food, and this should be, again, small brown pellets to form a food, and just a small one that is made for baby rabbits.
Only a small handful of this should be fed once a day, and then they can be free to slowly graze on certain types of grasses, and small selections of wild plants, such as blackberry leaves and strawberry leaves, which will be fine for their digestive system. Rabbits will need their first vaccination, which is their Myxomatosis, from six weeks of age. They will then need worming, and their VHD vaccination from three months of age.
It's important that you do keep up to date with these vaccinations, as rabbits are all vulnerable to these diseases, particularly at any age stage, and babies can be prone to it. So your Myxy vaccination will help protect them against it, and the VHD will fully cover them for it. When you're first handling the baby rabbits, it's a good idea to make sure that you rub your hands in some of the bedding material so you've got your ”the mum's smell” on your hands, so you're not introducing any scary smells to the environment.
The best way to introduce a rabbit and help them feel safe with you is to sit in the rabbit run and let them come up to you. Let them take small amounts of food from you and hop on and off your lap. Never try to keep chasing them and picking them up.
It's going to be a very stressful situation for them, and they're most likely to grow into rabbits who are going to kick, scratch, and bite, and even growl at you. So let the rabbits feel safe, and that they can come up to you. Sitting in their rabbit run for half an hour or an hour every day will ensure that you have a really friendly and relaxed and calm rabbit, and as you can see, they'll be really quite happy to be handled and socialized. .