Rabbit breeders are interested in the question: "How to feed rabbits without a rabbit?". Indeed, when breeding offspring, they often encounter the fact that the female, for whatever reason, either abandons the offspring or cannot provide him with adequate nutrition. Independently feed rabbits without a rabbit, in this case a rather difficult task.
Babies without mother's milk are doomed from the first days of life. But do not despair, proper care and artificial nutrition will help put them on their feet. As a result, strong, healthy rabbits will thank you with their gratitude - a beautiful appearance.
Rabbits: leaving in the first days of life
Kids are born completely naked and blind, a small fluff begins to cover the body only after 5 days, eyes open only on the 10th day of life. The weight of newborn animals is only 90 grams, but after a week, with proper care and feeding, they begin to increase in size and gain weight. Therefore, the failure of the mother from offspring can lead to irreparable consequences - the death of offspring.
What to feed rabbits in this case for their full and timely development? One individual, depending on age, drinks 5-10 ml of the mixture per day. After a while, the portion is increased to 20 ml. Newborns need to be fed up to 4 times a day, since they still do not have eating skills.
Artificial feeding of rabbits: how to replace female milk?
If newborn babies are not able to get breast milk, then you can try several other options:
- Goat’s natural fresh milk is similar in composition to rabbit milk, but slightly inferior to it in fat content.
- Artificial mixtures for feeding animals contain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins.
- You can use the mixture for babies, presented in a wide assortment in a network of pharmacies.
Caring for babies after their birth
A syringe or pipette is perfect for supplying power. Leading rabbit breeders recommend feeding rabbits a 20-gram syringe equipped at the end with a rubber tip from a pipette with small holes. Care for rabbits in the early days of life should be constant. It is better if the orphaned babies will be in a warm comfortable room.
When feeding a rabbit, they carefully take it in their hands and, having placed a syringe in their mouths, they slowly inject the mixture or milk, previously heated to 37 degrees, so that it does not choke. Nothing will happen if, on the first attempt, it doesn’t work out the way you would like.
Cubs first get used to getting food in such an unusual way. Do not give more than 1 ml of food at a time, the tummy of the newborn should not be overflowed. If the attempt is unsuccessful, repeat all over again, and soon the young individuals will learn to eat right. And the question: “How to feed rabbits without a rabbit?”, You will no longer be interested.
Before you start feeding, treat your wards' tummies with a soft material dipped in warm water, but never press on it. You need to start from the navel with a smooth transition to the hind legs. This is done in order to clean the rabbits from feces, because they themselves can not lick themselves, the female does all for them.
Artificial feeding of rabbits requires a special approach. Prepare the mixture in a clean bowl. After feeding the muzzle, do not forget to wipe it with a soft cloth.
If the abandoned rabbits are 20 days old, then you should not even think about what to feed them, because from this age they already feed on their own. As a top dressing, you can use hay, feed in granules, carrots. But milk should not be excluded from the diet, it should be present before the end of the first month of the individual’s life.
What rabbits are fed with and frequency of feeding depending on age
As an individual grows, the amount of bait and its volume change:
- In the first 7 days of life - 2 ml per feeding. Giving the recommended dose is several times a day. If the pet eats much less, then the required amount of milk should be fed 3-4 times.
- At the age of 7-14 days: 5-7 ml several times a day. Before feeding and after, a light massage of the tummy is done, for better assimilation of food.
- For 2-3 weeks of life, 7-13 ml of the mixture 2 times a day. But now you can gradually introduce solid food - hay in the form of granules and solder with plain water.
- Rabbits 20 days, what to feed now? All the same milk, but increasing the portion already to 13-15 ml.
- At 6 weeks, the individual is weaned from the nipple. The animal begins to gradually move to a full diet. At this time, you should monitor how the pet perceives this or that writing, while not forgetting about its digestion.
What to feed rabbits per month?
The pet has grown, matured and gained strength, now we refuse milk or a mixture and go on to solid nutritious food - granules, green bait, oatmeal in the form of flakes, hay, which should always be dry and fresh, without a mushroom, such as mold and rot. . The baby should always have access to clean water.
How to feed rabbits without a rabbit? Be patient, as caring for babies requires a lot of time and knowledge.
Is the artificial feeding of rabbits justified?
Many rabbit breeders are of the opinion that artificial feeding does not make sense - babies get sick, develop poorly and rarely live more than a few weeks. Indeed, raising rabbits on their own is quite difficult and requires patience, scrupulousness and sequence of actions. But if everything is done correctly, the rabbits grow up healthy and beautiful.
If you notice that the rabbit is aggressive towards rabbits, nibbles them or refuses to feed, try kneading her little nipples, planting and slipping rabbits in this position. You need to hold your mom a little, so that the kids have time to eat. But when no tricks help, you need to immediately make a decision on artificial feeding - rabbits very quickly weaken without feeding, freeze and die.
Talking about 100% survival on artificial feeding is hardly necessary. Much depends on the age at which the offspring is located. The substances that are most necessary and valuable for the baby's body enter the body with the first drops of mother's milk. They trigger immunity and give life force. It is clear that the hardest thing is with rabbits who have not received anything from their mother at all. But from scratch, you can feed, if everything is done correctly.
How to feed the little rabbits?
Compare the nutrient content in the milk of cow, rabbit, goat, dog and human milk.
Three options for artificial feed can be considered optimal:
- The closest to milk rabbit milk is the dog’s composition. But even if there is a feeding dog somewhere nearby, rabbits cannot be slipped into it for obvious reasons. But you can buy dog milk powder for puppies.
- Artificial mixtures sold in specialized stores and intended for feeding kittens, puppies, rabbits give a good result.
- Often, for lack of either, they resort to goat's milk, but it is still very different in composition from what the rabbit feeds its babies.
Since there is not always time to get the right food, it is better to prepare in advance or proceed from the most affordable option. In rural areas, getting goat’s milk is usually not a problem; closer to the city, it’s easier to buy a special formula for feeding. In extreme cases, you can use the formula for feeding babies, which is always in the house where small children live.
Proper feeding of rabbits without a rabbit
Feed rabbits need drip. Based on this, a tool is selected - it can be a syringe with a removed needle or a bubble from under the drops with a removable nipple. If you have time to prepare in advance, you can purchase a special kit for feeding newborn baby animals at the pharmacy. It usually includes syringes and several nozzles for feeding.
If the kids are already a few days old, you can try to feed them with a pipette, later replacing it with a regular nipple. From about a month old, babies themselves can lap from a saucer. In rare cases, it turns out to accustom to the saucer on the 15-20 day of life.
The health and survival of babies depends on how correctly the artificial feeding is performed. It is necessary to take into account both instincts and biological characteristics and to reproduce the natural process of feeding to the maximum. At first, the rabbits do not really perceive the artificial udder, react weakly to it, or completely ignore it. Therefore, especially the first feedings should be carried out very carefully, do not force milk into the inside, but gently smear one drop in the oral cavity and let the baby lick the mixture itself. Forced dripping into the mouth can cause the baby rabbit to suffocate if the milk enters his respiratory tract. the baby should be in an upright position, that is, it must be held with one hand. Over time, the kids get used to it and the procedure becomes easier.
A newborn rabbit needs 4-5 ml of milk or mixture per day. The frequency of feeding is 2-5 times a day (depends on how willingly and intensively the kids absorb the proposed food, how they go to the toilet). Do not think, the more often you feed rabbits, the better. Each feeding takes away the baby’s strength, while he is very tired. At first, give rabbits 10-12 drops of milk and feed no more than 3 times a day.
It is important not to overfeed the babies. When they get used to the pipette, they eat more willingly and may very well “overdo it” with the quantity. In this case, the rabbit’s stomach is full, which can be a health hazard. This can be avoided by taking small breaks in feeding. If, after a short pause, the baby is no longer active, then he is already full and he no longer needs to be given milk.
The norm of milk increases with age of babies. After a week, the rabbit should receive twice as much milk, and after two - three times. The approximate norm for 2-3 week old rabbits is 7-13 cubic cm of milk (you can start adding green herbs, granular food and water), for 3-6 week old rabbits - 13-15 cubic cm (feed 2 times a day). Then you can gradually include dry food in the diet of rabbits, starting with grated carrots, shredded hay.
Many rabbit breeders recommend adding acidophilus to milk, and at the age of 7-10 days begin to give rabbits cecotrophs (rabbit droppings). The fact is that most often artificially fed rabbits die from mucous enteritis, signs of which can be liquid droppings, the presence of blood and mucus in it, diarrhea, refusal to eat, bloating and gas.
The cause of this disease is the accelerated growth of pathogenic microflora in the cecum. The acidity level of babies and adult rabbits is very different (towards higher acidity in babies). When rabbits are born, the inside of their stomach is almost sterile. Mother's milk provides the necessary immune defense and practically cannot bring pathogenic bacteria to babies. And when the kids open their eyes at the age of 10 days, they begin to pick up the mother’s cecotrophs themselves. Artificially fed babies are deprived of such an opportunity.
When the rabbit was just born, it does not yet have the instinct of emptying the stomach, bladder and intestines. With natural feeding, these processes are monitored by the mother, who licks the tongues of her babies' tongues, thereby squeezing the contents out of the intestines. With artificial feeding, this obligation rests with the owner of the animals.
Massage the tummies before each feeding, maximally reproducing the rabbit's movements. If this is not done, the babies' tummies swell and a rupture of the internal organs may form. Take a damp cloth and gently swipe along the tummy, applying gentle pressure to the bottom. as soon as the intestines are empty, you can start feeding. Kids begin to go to the toilet independently at the age of 2 weeks.
At each feeding you need to monitor the cleanliness of rabbits. There should be no dried milk on the face of the little rabbit, the contaminated places should be immediately wiped with a clean cloth. Make sure that there are no leftover food left on the baby’s body. It is also necessary to monitor the cleanliness around the anus - this is usually also done by the mother, carefully licking and massaging this place.
For babies who have not received the necessary immune protection from their mother, cleanliness is an important factor in maintaining health. Bacteria and germs that enter the body can be fatal to a weak organism. Be sure to boil all the feeding devices, feed with freshly prepared mixture (store the finished mixture in the refrigerator for no more than 3 days). Before feeding, the mixture must be heated to a body temperature of 37-40 degrees. Keep your hands clean while feeding.
Unfortunately, not always artificial feeding gives the expected result, but you should not refuse it. As you gain experience, the results will be much better and your time and efforts will pay off with interest. With the right approach and carrying out all procedures, the survival of rabbits, starting from 5 days of age, can reach 100%.
Is it possible to feed rabbits without a rabbit?
It is possible, but rather troublesome, to feed newborn rabbits on their own, without using a nurse. You will need to stock up on special mixtures or add additives to cow's milk, purchase syringes or pipettes for feeding.
If the rabbit is alive, but does not feed the rabbits (this can be determined by a restless squeak from the nest and a small weight gain in the young), the babies will also have to be fed. But in this case, there is a greater chance that the offspring will grow up safely, as the mother will warm the cubs and conduct hygiene procedures.
Rabbit milk has its own characteristics and differs in composition from cow and goat milk. It includes:
For comparison, in cow's normalized milk, fat is only 3.5%, protein - 4%, but sugar - 4.7%. Approximately the same composition of goat milk.
Feeding rabbits milk other animals without bringing it to the right condition will lead to inferior development and death of offspring.
Before feeding rabbits with cow's milk, additives that increase fat content are added to it. You can add cow cream to regular milk of medium fat content. The task of the rabbit breeder is to obtain a mixture with a fat content of at least 10%.
Some owners of orphaned babies dissolve 3-4 tablespoons of good butter in a liter of cow's milk and offer this composition to rabbits.
The rabbit breeder needs to know that it is undesirable to store prepared milk with additives for more than a day.
Feeding rabbits without loss will be better if you get fresh goat milk. It is more fat than cow and is easier to digest.
Its fat content also needs to be increased artificially by introducing cream or butter, but in smaller quantities. Estimated fat content of whole goat milk is 4–4.5%.
To feed rabbits at home, you can use an ordinary milk mixture. The product must be diluted with boiled water not as indicated in the instructions for children, you need to prepare the mixture 2 times thicker. Concentrated dairy product is closest in terms of fat content, protein and sugar content to milk, necessary for rabbits from birth.
There is no need to spend money on an expensive mixture, the cheapest one will do. The main thing is that it be of high quality and with a good shelf life.
Artificial feeding rabbits by age
Mother feeds offspring once a day, at night. When feeding newborns rabbits without a rabbit, you can adhere to 2-3 times a feeding at regular intervals. As they grow older, they switch to two-time and one-time (after 45 days of age).
The mixture for babies should be of a uniform consistency (without lumps, foam) and have a temperature of 38-40 degrees.
From birth to day 5
Artificial feeding of newborn rabbits is carried out three times a day. A single serving of food is from 2 to 4 ml. Not all babies can immediately drink such a volume, they use 1 ml in one feeding, and 3-4 ml in another. Do not worry about this, such a refusal to feed happens. As a rule, in the next feeding the baby makes up for lost time.
If the young animals are with their mother, but the rabbit does not feed the cubs, they are given food once a day. They offer as much mixture as they eat, because it remains likely that babies get some milk from their mother.
From the 15th to the 30th day
Two-week-old individuals can be transferred to two-time feeding. Разовая порция молока увеличивается до 15–20 мл. В возрасте 2 недели малыши открывают глазки и активно интересуюся окружающим миром. Молодняку начинают вводить прикорм:
- кладут в свободном доступе нежнейшее душистое сено или подвяленную траву,
- морковь или кабачки нарезают тонкой стружкой и понемногу предлагают малышам,
- овсяные хлопья (геркулес) или кроличий комбикорм должен всегда лежать в отдельной миске,
- in a cage or box hang a car-drinker with clean water.
It is useful to add any water-soluble multivitamin suitable for rodents to water (Chiktonik, Gamavit).
Wet mixes and cereals should not be offered to small rabbits; they quickly turn sour and can lead to indigestion.
1 month old
Monthly rabbits yet fed with milk, giving out 15–20 ml per feeding, twice a day. Young animals already freely eat hay, vegetables and cereal products.
The amount of hay for monthly rabbits is not limited, compound feed or grain mixtures are given at 20-30 g per day, vegetables at 30-50 g.
2 months old
The milky period at this age ends. Young growth, without a mother, is ready to eat adult food: hay, vegetables and grain. Hay is given in plenty, and the feed rate is increased to 50-60 g per head per day.
Crockery and inventory
It is convenient to feed small rabbits from a syringe without a needle, pipette or a special nipple for feeding kittens. As the pups grow, the pipette is replaced with a larger syringe (20 cubes).
After each use, syringes and pipettes are washed with soap and water and scalded with boiling water.
For hygienic care of rabbits, it is necessary to prepare cotton pads and cotton buds. A large clean towel will come in handy, which is spread on your knees during feeding to protect your clothes from drops of milk.
Features of the procedure
Rabbits are fed in turn - each baby individually. The sequence of actions is as follows:
- The rabbit is taken in the hand and turned over onto the back, fixing the head between the fingers.
- A mixture of a syringe or pipette is squeezed dropwise into the baby's mouth. It is important not to rush and pour too much milk into the mouth so that the rabbit does not choke.
- When the baby gets used to the mixture entering the mouth and begins to swallow actively, the milk supply is made continuous.
Sometimes the little rabbit refuses milk, spitting out and turning away from the nipple. They put it aside and try to feed it at the next meal. Sometimes the refusal of the mixture may be related to its temperature - the baby cannot eat too cold or hot food.
The structural features of the internal organs in small rabbits are such that they cannot go to the toilet themselves. The rabbit helps them in this, licking the tummies and genitals.
Artists are given a massage of the abdomen and genitals before each feeding. Using a damp cotton pad or stick, they make soft circular motions or spend from top to bottom on the tummy. Massage should provoke bowel movements, normally 2–5 minutes are enough to start dropping the litter. Wipe the genitals with a wet towel after the toilet. This procedure should be carried out for 2 weeks of life of young animals.
After feeding, it is necessary to clean the baby's face from the remnants of milk so that the mixture does not dry with a crust on the coat.
What should not be given to kids
The following components are contraindicated for feeding newborn rabbits:
- yogurt and any dairy products,
- milk porridge as a food,
- condensed milk (it contains too much sugar).
When complementary foods are introduced, foods that cause increased gas formation in the intestines and relax stools are excluded: cabbage, all kinds of beets, peas, and fresh grass.
Grain or compound feed is given in dry form. Hookahs are harmful for babies because they stain the hair and clog the nasal passage.
Artificial Feeding Tips
The main indicators of the health of a rabbit artificially fed are the weight gain and regularity of the toilet.
Normally, young animals go to the toilet before each feeding, immediately after the massage. The color of the bowel movements is yellow with a greenish tint. After the introduction of complementary foods, the feces turn black. Diarrhea should not be.
Rabbits are growing fast. Having a birth weight of 40–50 g, they double this weight by the age of 12 days. At 1 month old, a Chinchilla or California rabbit should weigh 600–800 g.
Independent feeding of rabbit orphans, although a troublesome event, is economically feasible if the pedigree population and babies are born strong and healthy.
How to replace rabbit milk?
There is no complete replacement for rabbit milk. In pet stores there are no special mixtures for rabbits, so farmers choose other options than to feed babies:
- cow's milk,
- goat milk,
- baby food,
- special mixes for animals.
Eating mother's milk, rabbits quickly gain weight. Within a week, their mass doubles. However, if the kids are not able to eat from the rabbit, you have to look for an alternative.
Special mixes for animals
In pet stores special milk mixtures are sold for animals - kittens or puppies. They are also used to artificially feed rabbits left without a mother. Veterinarians recommend giving the mixture to dogs for rabbits, they are more suitable in composition and nutritional value. It is necessary to breed dry milk mixes for puppies in the proportion indicated on the package.
The rules of artificial feeding
The rabbits in the first 10 days after birth are completely defenseless: they are blind. Being hungry, babies crawl in search of mom's nipple. In order for them to grow stronger and grow up, they need to be fed in the same way as the rabbit mother does. The owner of the animals will have to master all the necessary skills and follow the rules of feeding. First you need to stock up on the necessary equipment. The following devices can be used as a bottle:
- Syringe without a needle.
- Empty bottle from drops for nose or eyes.
- Special capacity for feeding. These are sold in pet stores and pet stores.
For convenience, you can pull the rubber cap from the pipette onto the tip of the syringe or a bottle of drops, making several holes in it. When the little rabbits grow up a little, they will already be able to eat from a baby bottle, and at the age of 3-4 weeks they will start drinking milk from a saucer.
Feed the rabbit correctly, holding it upright. It is important not to squeeze the baby's body. If the newborn has not yet eaten milk from a pipette, he may not immediately understand how to do it. Experienced rabbit breeders recommend in the first few feedings only to lubricate the mouth of the newborn with a mixture so that he licks it. Over time, the baby will learn to swallow life-saving fluid.
Proper feeding of the baby rabbit
The rabbit’s stomach is quickly overwhelmed in the first days of his life. You can not overfeed newborns: they are able to drink no more than 1 ml of milk at a time. The satiety of pets is determined by their tummies. If they look puffy, and there are no folds on the skin of the abdomen, then the kids are full. Well-fed rabbits are calm and sleep a lot. If they are hungry, then they begin to look for a source of food, spreading to the sides.
Attention! The first feeding must be done no later than a day after the birth of rabbits.
The farmer is required not only to feed the cubs left without maternal care, but also to help them defecate. This is what the rabbit does: before each feeding, she licks the tummies of her babies. In newborns, the intestinal muscles work very weakly, so they cannot go to the toilet without assistance.
Massage the abdomen gently with fingertips, stroking the abdomen from top to bottom, towards the tail. Do this before each feeding. This procedure helps to increase intestinal motility in babies and promotes bowel movements and gas discharge.
Feeding schedule by age
Artificial feeding rabbits need to be organized correctly. Newborn rabbits must be fed 5 times a day until they reach a week of age. In this case, the daily norm of milk does not exceed 5 ml. This amount of nutrient fluid is divided by the number of meals. The prepared mixture cannot be stored. Rabbits should be fed with fresh milk, warming it before that to a temperature of 37-38 degrees.
Attention! In the first two days, babies are unable to drink one milliliter of milk at a time. Just a few drops to get enough. In the future, the rabbit's appetite will increase, they will consume more food.
Starting from the second week, rabbits are given 7-10 ml of milk per day. Feeding is done 4 times a day. That is, each baby should receive about 2-2.5 ml of the mixture at a time.
Feeding a Baby Bunny
From the age of three weeks the cubs eat more - up to 15-17 ml of milk per day, while they should be fed 3 times a day. At this time, kids can already enter the first lure and accustom to drink from a saucer. Up to a month old, rabbits must eat a milk mixture, although other foods are already present in their diet.
If, after some kindling, the rabbit can’t take care of her offspring for some reason, she’ll have to feed the little rabbits without her mother. This is not easy, as it requires time and energy from the farmer. It is impossible to rely on the fact that the entire offspring will survive with artificial feeding. The strongest rabbits will remain alive. It is important to strictly follow the feeding rules and carefully monitor the weekly weight gain of the cubs.