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Old 04-21-2007, 12:00 AM   #1
sham
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I know. I know. Leave baby bunnies alone. They have a very low chance of surviving in captivity. They probably aren't abandoned..etc... but we had to make an exception for these. I know the mother was killed and the 3 babies were removed from the nest by our cats and dog. The cats killed oneand I'm thinking the dog actually rescued the other 2 from the cats. He's always been taught not to harm small animals(we used to have lots of guinea pigs,gerbils, hamsters...) and will carry kittens around without harming them. The 2 babies he brought up to the house were slobbery and in shock but appear uninjured. Their eyes are open but theydo not seemexperienced atwalking. The one shakes and wobbles aboutand the other has not left the towel nest I made. I scattered some fresh grass on top of them in their nest and it did disappear overnight. This morning I moved them into a dog crate. They are becoming increasingly more active but I don't think they'd survive outside for more than a few hours unless they become more steady on their feet especially without a safe nest to go back to. I'm wondering what to feed them until they can be safely released and if they would benefit from putting in a container of water? Would wild bunnies even drink water sitting around? What about alfalfa hay? I think they are old enough not to need formula and even if they would benefit from it trying to hold them in place and force feed them from a syringe would probably result in too much stress.




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Old 04-21-2007, 12:21 AM   #2
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Oh man...Please do your best not to get attached, as bad as that sounds, they are so incredibly fragile.First, try putting some grass blades or clover in with them, and yes a small, shallow dish of water would be a good idea. Guessing from the pics, I would call them about two or even three weeks old, and they would be eating solid food at that point. They would also still be nursing, but I'm not sure whether to advise you to try them on a bottle or not. Maybe one of the mods will come on, this probably should be in the Rabbitry section where more breeders will see it. Keep us updated,and good luck!


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Old 04-21-2007, 12:53 AM   #3
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You know, I believe that it might be illegal to keep a wild rabbit in the US. You should really contact a rehabilitation. A good way to find one would be to contact your animal shelter.
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Old 04-21-2007, 01:09 AM   #4
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There are a few links in our Library with some really good info...

http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic....mp;forum_id=17

Giveit a look...



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Old 04-21-2007, 01:24 AM   #5
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The one in the towel continued to be inactive so I picked it up to double check for injury. It started licking and trying to nurse off my hands. I ended up giving it a couple droppers of baby goat formulawhich was surprisingly easy. It was quite happy to lick it off the end. It almost seems younger than the other one although they should have come from the same nest. It doesn't have the balance to sit up like that one is doing in the pic. Plus it's very calm when I handle it where I can't touch the other one without it jumping about a foot. Good thing I have a soft sided crate in case it bounces too far. I'm not so sure I could find a way to feed that one if it decides not to eat anymore grass.



To keep a wild rabbit into adulthood possibly illegal. To take in baby bunnies hardly likely and no one is going to get in trouble for it even if on paper it is. There are thousands that people try to raise across just this state andin the past the wildlife rehabilitators have just told us to stick them outsideand see if they survive since they are flooded with dozens to hundreds of baby rabbits this time of year. The vet in town has given me supplies to try to save them in the past but I've never had any with their eyes open yet and they never made it. I know the success rate is a tiny percent.
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Old 04-21-2007, 01:59 AM   #6
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I tend to agree with you, Sham, as I said in the wild bunny post from a few days back, here:

http://rabbitsonline.net/view_topic....amp;forum_id=8

IMO, the chance for survival in the house is about equal to the wild, so I'm all for giving it a try, you're very kind.

I'm sorry that I don't have time at the moment to go through that Library material, but there's really good info in there somewhere about what to feed them at that age.

And are you sure they were from the same nest? Probably a lot of nests in the area.

Again, good luck. They're are so cute, I hope they make it.



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Old 04-21-2007, 02:09 AM   #7
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Sorry, I guess my post sounded a little weird. I think it's great that you rescued them, I was just worried that you didn't know what you were getting into. Good luck though!
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:13 AM   #8
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Not sure where you're located,butIhave a friend who's a cottonrehabber in Ohio. If you're close, she would be willing to help. If not, I can give you her email address and Im sure she would be able to help you out via email. Interested?
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Old 04-21-2007, 02:18 AM   #9
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And this is probably the best link for raising cottontails:

Raising Cottontail Rabbits


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Old 04-21-2007, 02:31 AM   #10
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You really have to know what you are doing with wild baby cottontails.

Goats milk is not a good substitute - anything that is not carefully formulated can actually cause more dehydration than if you were to leave them alone, because it can cause diarrhea. These ones are still very very young, still nursing. Although they may nibble on some food, their digestive systems are not fully developed yet and cannot handle incorrect food sources. Often interference

Please contact your local rehabilitator to at least get some advice.Domestic animal vets often have noclue what they aredoing unless they specialize in wildlife medicine. (Almost as hard as finding a rabbit vet).

If you post your location I'd be happy to recommend a reputable one closest to you.At least they'll be able to give you some advice, and the babies will be better off for it.There are some really great rehabbers out there!!! Sounds like Haley knows someone who would be able to at least offer you advice! They great thing about rehabbers is that they are the champions ofnetworking - someone who rehabs cottontails in one state,will know every other cottontail rehabber in the country. The more knowledge you can get, the better chance they will have;especially because wild bunnies are so very different than domestics in this country.

Quick tips, to tide you over until you can contact a local rehabber:

* Keep it as quiet as possible - these little ones are so stressy. You even look at them wrong and they can have a heart attack on the spot. Keep handling to a minimum, and as silent as possible. Chronic stressors of handling and human noises can severly stunt growth, if not kill them outright.

*A small dish of water is fine - as long as it is shallow. As long as they are able to stand, and aren't showing signs of head trauma(i.e. could drown themselves), a shallow dish should be good.

*Keep it dark, with lots of places to hide - cover the container with a sheet, or towel, and put lots of plants and greenery inside to give them places to hide. They will be under constant stress in captivity, so try and give them as much chance to feel like they are getting away from you as possible.

*Lots of fresh greenery - grasses, dandelion etc.

*Don't feed any commercial formulas - they can cause either bloat of diarrhea because of incorrect composition in comparison to mom's milk/Babie digestive tracts are so well stuied to mom's milk - they can't tolerate much else. Much like trying to make us drink seawater 24/7 -things don't match.

You can always reach me via pm. There is a great mammal rehabber in my area (BC, Canada) that I can refer you to if you'd like advice from them.

P.S. We always recommend keeping cats indoors. As much as they may be trained to not catch you small animal, instinct kicks in outside. Cats kill as many small birds each year as the Exxon Valdez did in a one time shot with seabirds. There are some great outdoor enclosure you can build to protect wildlife from you cat and vice versa. Sadly, bells aren't effective because of the techniques cat's use to hunt - ambush.







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