Caring for the Mother and Newborn Rabbits

Taking care of our pet rabbits can be considered as an easy task as these pets are not really as high maintenance pets compared to other animals, however, caring for the mother rabbit and her newborn rabbits could be quite a challenge. If you are a first time pet owner of newborn rabbits, you will surely experience mixed emotions of excitement and happiness, but there is also fear especially when you don’t have any idea how to take care of them. To help make your life easier in caring for them, we came up with the things you can do for the mother rabbit and her newborns.

Caring of the Mother Rabbit

The first thing you need to do prior to having the newborn rabbits is to take care of the mother rabbit first. As the female rabbit goes through hormonal changes due to the stages of pregnancy, it is important to help them avoid stress by making her surrounding stress-free.

  1. Separate the male rabbit for the mean time only if necessary and if you believe it is not healthy to place them together to avoid any form of contact and that the female rabbit can have her quiet time. You can use a division where they can still be with each other through eye contact.
  2. Feed the mother regularly with fresh grass hay and foods that will complete her nutritional requirement together with the kits in her stomach.
  3. Make sure to help her by preparing her nesting place where she can deliver her kits.

After giving birth, you may help the mother rabbit by:

  1. Providing the nest with something to help warm the newborn rabbits. Newborn rabbits are hairless at birth and they need extra warmth to stabilize their temperature. Normally the mother rabbit can take care of this but there are moments when the mother is out of the nest box.Put some grass hay on the nest box and add a blanket or a piece of old clothing underneath the nest box to shield the newborns from the cold coming from the ground or the flooring.
  1. Keep the male rabbit away from the female because there is a chance that it could impregnate the female again after giving birth. Separating the male could also ease the mother rabbit from stress. Getting pregnant prior to weaning is very stressful for the mother rabbit.
  1. Place the mother rabbit and the newborns in a quiet, darkened corner to give them peaceful time.
  1. Avoid having the mother rabbit do too much activities. As much as possible keep her near her kits all the time as the kits could get easily hungry and will follow the scent of the mother’s milk.
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Caring for the Newborn Rabbits

  1. Check the kits as soon as the mother gives birth. Some kits may not survive the birthing process. If there are any dead newborn rabbits, separate immediately. If the mother rabbit is accustomed to your scent, there is no need to lure the mother rabbit out of the cage to be able to handle the newborn rabbits.
five black newborn rabbits

Photo: This Year’s Love | Flickr

  1. Warm the kits immediately. You can do this by using a bottled hot water wrapped securely in a cloth and placing it underneath the nest box.
  1. Keep the nesting box clean regularly.
  1. Make sure that the kits are nursed by the mother properly. You can do this by observing signs of nursing. If the kits have round tummy that looks full, that means they are feeding from their mother. If the babies are quiet and sleeping most of the time, they could be very well-fed. You can tell if the kits are hungry when they create some sort of a meowling sound and they keep moving and crawling. This means they are following their mother’s scent.
  1. If the mother delivers more than 8 newborn rabbits, contact a veterinarian. In most instances, a mother rabbit can only accommodate caring for 8 rabbits. There is a high possibility that she could stress out caring for her babies and might abandon them. Moreover the milk it produces may not be enough and bottle feeding may be necessary.
  1. Introduce nibbles as the kits go through the weaning stage. Introduce vegetables slowly and in very small amounts only.
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Caring for newborn rabbits can be quite an effort to do but this will only take few weeks and then afterwards your sacrifices and efforts will be paid off when you start to see the cute baby bunnies going after you.

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