Originally Answered: About how big does a baby bunny get weaned? i realy need help!?
Nursing wild mother cottontails only feed their babies during the night and for a few minutes in the early morning hours. That is the only time you will see the mother at the nest. So you might falsely assume that the mother is neglecting her litter or that she has completely abandoned them when these babies are actually in no danger.
Also, young cottontails can live independently at a surprisingly young age. Baby cottontail eyes open at 6-8 days. Mothers wean their offspring at 4-5 weeks of age, but they will accept sold foods as early as three weeks of age. If it is over six and a half inches long from tail to nose, it can be on its own.
Since youve had this guuyy for a few weeks now and you did not ay how small it was when you found it you may not want to release it now.
Also you may have saved his or her life it was shivering as it may have become hypothermic and died if it was too small to be out at that time. But now that you have done that you have an obligation to see it through and do whatever is best for the bunny.
Whether that be keep it with you , release it or take it to a rehabber or sanctuary.
If the bunny can’t be released, find an experienced wildlife rehabilitator in you area who will accept, the rabbit. Should you decide to attempt raising this orphan on you own, you need to follow the following guidelines:
. Rabbits can jump surprisingly high at a very young age. They can also injure their backs if not held properly supported Hang towels around the sides; keep the box on the floor if you don’t have dogs and cat or little kids to prevent the rabbits from injuring themselves when they jump. As they mature, place fresh clover and unsprayed (no chemicals) grass in the box so that their first sights and smells will be natural. The box should be cleaned frequently A heating pad set on low under the container can be removed when the bunnies are fully furred and beginning to eat on their own.
use 1 part powdered formula KMR (buy the dry and mix per directions before each feeding) powdered Hartz kitten formula from Wal-Mart) to 3 parts warm water, Rabbits eat best if the formula is warm to the touch. I microwave it and then shake it well so there are no hot spots. mix enough for a morning’s feedings. Sour milk will cause scours. Spend lots of time snugging bunny as they need that comfort and companioship.
You can feed the babies with an eyedropper, syringe, or pet-nurser bottle--depending on the size and age of the rabbits. frequent small feeding are a lot better than large infrequent ones. Too much and not often enough is a bigger problem than the exact formula you use. If the stools become thin, cut the concentration of the mix. Some folks recommend not feeding . Feed slowly with the bunny in a walking position so that the formula is not aspirated into the lungs. Food in the lungs or bubbling out their nose increases their susceptibility to pneumonia. They say rabbits have a nervous system, which does not easily adapt to new situations or to changes. This is why they are so easily stressed. A hard syringe or eyedropper in the mouth is best covered with a piece of gum rubber tubing at the end. If bloat or digestive problems occur, you can add small amounts of OmnigestEZ from Wal-Mart to the diet.
It’s also hard for wild bunnies with their eyes open to adjust to the new odors and sounds. Be patient and persistent. Some volunteers acquire an extra box and sit it on the floor at feeding time. They feed one bunny, place it in the extra box (so as to be to tell which they have fed) and do the same for each bunny in that litter They then feed the bunnies in reverse order from the extra box back to nesting box. This procedure is done to make certain each bunny is fed and gets two chances to fill its stomach. If you hold them up to a strong light in a dark place you can see the milk through their body wall.
Bunnies over seven days old do not need stimulation after each feeding in order to defecate and urinate--they will eliminate on their own. Bunnies less than a week old, however, do need to be stimulated after each feeding. When the eyes are open, continue adding lots of fresh new grass and , dandelion greens, plantain, clover, romaine and wheat germ to the floor of the box each day. This is when the right bacteria are important. Some folks place some formula in shallow jar caps until it is obvious that they are feeding well. Gradually, over a period of several days eliminate formula feedings. Bunnies do get moisture from the greens, it is advisable to a small jar cap of water to the box after weaning. The greens should be picked twice a day--morning and evening. Be sure vegetation is free from any toxic sprays. Commercial rabbit pellets can be added also. Use pellets with the lowest protein content available - most rabbit pellets are too rich. I prefer the basic Purina Rabbit chow.. about 10.00 for a 50 lb bag that will last forever for1 rabbit. Stoe it in a dry place and change food daily even if there is some left over toss it out and give fresh stuff.
Indications that they are feeding well on their own are normal looking fecal pellets with plant debris in them and noticing the difference between how much natural food you put in and how much is left. Apple and fruit slices are too high in sugar. . You can tell if the bunny is eating on its own when you see that it is perky and plump and that its tummy is rounded when no formula has been given for 4 hours or more. At this time it will have a disinterest in formula. You may not actually see them eating but you might see pieces of grass in the corner their mouths.
It is very common for baby rabbits to die quite suddenly at the time they are adjusting from a protein-rich diet of milk formula to their mature protein-poor diet of coarse vegetation (3-4 weeks of age). During this conversion, the bunny's intestinal environment and pH change completely to deal with these new coarse food sources. Prior to eating vegetation, the intestinal tract of healthy rabbits is almost devoid of the bacteria of adult Cottontail rabbits. The rabbit does not obtain these healthy"intestinal bacteria until they begin to eat solid food at the age of 3-4 weeks. They obtain these bacteria from the feces of their mother as they nose curiously about. Also, it is common for rabbits to re-eat their soft stools produced at night. That particular stool is looser and called "night soil". These good bacteria reside in the cecum and the large intestine. When rabbits convert to roughage eaters, these gram positive bacteria and fungi are present in enormous numbers (Bacteroides fragilis , Bacillus subtilis, etc.). The central "processing plant" for these bacterial activities is the cecum, a pouch located where the small intestine meets the large intestine. The cecum is the largest organ in the bunnie's abdomen. Guinea pigs and other plant-eating rodents share a similar cecum. In ruminants, similar fermentation occurs in their multiple-chambered stomach. The rabbit cecum contains a "brew" of these bacteria and fungi that are normal and beneficial to the rabbit. In fact, a rabbit cannot live without them, because these cecal microorganisms produce essential fatty acids, nutrients and vitamins that rabbits cannot produce on their own. This is because their natural diet of leaves, shoots, grasses and hay do not contain them. If, during conversion, rabbits accidentally ingest the bacteria and fungi that are normally on human hands and in the environment (coliform bacteria - including Escherichia coli (E.coli), Clostridia, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacteroides, Streptococcus faecalis, sporogenes. and fungi including Saccharomycopsis sp.) they will die of acute enterotoxemia (these misplaced human intestinal bacterial produce deadly toxins). This disease is similar in signs to toxic shock syndrome in women. One minute the bunny appears healthy and active and the next it is comatose or dead. Once a healthy gram-posative flora is established, the rabbit is much more resistant to diseases caused by these "bad" organisms. Most of these "bad" organisms reside normally in our own intestines and those of carnivorous animals such as our cats and dogs where they cause no harm and are quite essential. So during this period, wear food-handler's gloves when handling the rabbits and be very careful not to contaminate them. Also during this period, the less you handle the bunnies the better because you want them to grow up spooky and fearful of humans and other animals. Otherwise they will not survive in the wild. If you have a source of rabbit fecal pellets from visiting wild bunnies, it is a good idea to "seed" their water crock with a fecal pellet to "inoculated" them with the correct bacteria. The water must not be chlorinated and must be at room temperature. If you are on city water then it has chlorine so either use water you buy in a jug from the sotre to do this or let the tap water sit for 24 hours to drop the chlorine in it. Thsi is only if you are going to do the droppings things.. otherwise rabbits can drink reg tap water and the chlorine will not hurt them,.,, you just dont want it in there if yu are going to introduce those bacteria as it will kill the bacteria.
An amount no bigger than a pin-head is sufficient if it gets directly into the rabbit. I would do it several times. Old-time vets used to do something similar. They would "steal the cud" from a healthy cow and give to one that was sick and needed the bacteria.
Many small animal veterinarians and health food stores sell a paste containing Lactobacillus acidophilus . It is used commercially , together with Streptococcus salivarius, in the production of yogurt. Unfortunately, the intestine and cecum of rabbits on a diet of roughage is not acidic enough for these lactobacilli to survive. So giving lactobacillus paste will not help your bunnie.
A piece of very non-essential information is that rabbits are not rodents. They belong to a slightly different Order and are called lagomorphs. Lagomorphs have two sets of upper incisors (the long teeth) one set behind the other while rodents have one set. Also, lagomorphs can pucker their noses.
If you take this bunny to the vet,.. you might tell him or her it was a gift as they may not treat it if they think it was wild.