Baby bunny licking me and snuggling?

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SarahsBunny

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Ive had a baby bunny before who was 8 weeks and he never did this so I’m a little freaked out even though its so adorable. Im not sure if my new baby bunny thinks im its mother because he is 5 weeks old. The breeder i got him from never bothered to mention it before he dropped him off and I know its bad that hes away from his mother this early. I made sure to syringe feed him water and watch his hay intake so hes properly growing. That being said i think he thinks im the mom or maybe likes the salt on my skin. Any opinions? Ill put two videos here to show you, is this bunny love or something else?
 

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JBun

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It's not only bad as it increases the risk of stressing the baby bunny and it developing harmful enteric illness, but in your state it's also illegal to sell baby rabbits under 2 months of age except following very specific rules according to the law under article 26 sec. 354 Sale of baby chicks and baby rabbits. Here's an overview of the law in the link below, but always check your own up to date state laws found on your states government website.


Baby rabbits typically all snuggle together to seek security and warmth. And because it seems likely this bunny is used to being around people, the bunny is probably turning to you now for this security and warmth. As the bunny matures and gets older, they usually become more independent and sometimes may also become less snuggly and affectionate as those hormones come in. This can be normal and doesn't mean they don't like you anymore.

I would strongly urge being very careful with the diet of a prematurely weaned baby bunny. I would continue to feed the exact same rabbit pellets the breeder was feeding, with the exception if the breeders pellets are causing illness. I would also free feed a good quality variety of grass hay(timothy, orchard, etc), fresh water in a dish that isn't too big that it might pose a drowning hazard. I would not feed any sugary or high carb treats/foods as these can lead to increased risk of enteric illness developing due to a baby rabbits digestive process not being fully developed yet. I would also not feed any veggies or greens unless absolutely certain the bunny grew up eating them with the mom rabbit, and then sticking with the same ones it is used to eating with mom and not introducing anything new. It's also very important to make sure those veggies aren't packaged in a chlorine rinse(baby carrots, etc), they aren't spoiled in any way, and leafy greens have no signs of black fungus or mold.

Baby rabbit diet

It's also important to not do anything that causes the baby bunny to feel excessively stressed, as this can also increase the risk of it developing harmful illness. It's important to keep an eye on the bunnies poops and eating, as any changes in poop from normal round fecal balls, and any reduced appetite, can signal a potential health issue, possibly a serious one. When in doubt with diet or medical issues, always consult with your knowledgeable rabbit vet.



If you want to better understand the risks involved with newly weaned baby rabbits, particularly ones weaned too early, this link below explains it very well. Be aware though, that it contains very graphic necropsy photos.

(WARNING: THIS LINK CONTAINS GRAPHIC MEDICAL RELATED NECROPSY PHOTOS)
Medirabbit: weaning diarrhea in young rabbits

If you have plans to bond this rabbit with another when he's older and has been appropriately neutered, it's important to read up on and understand the proper bonding of spayed and neutered rabbits.




Baby rabbits are adorable and fun to raise, but there can be difficulties and risks, especially with improperly weaned ones like this one. So it's important to be aware of those risks, do your research, and try and minimize those risks so the bunny has the best chance of growing up healthy, strong, and happy.
 

SarahsBunny

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Yes as mentioned I know it is bad that he was taken away from the mother at 5 weeks but I was told he was 2 months old. After that I read that alfalfa hay was the best for young rabbits so hes on a diet of that and oxbow young rabbit pellets. He has a small water dish that gets filled daily and sometimes it gets in his nose but hes slowly getting used to drinking. So far hes been pooping and peeing perfectly and I gave him a little fur bed with hay in it so it resembles other rabbits. He seems content and sleeps half the day and plays around the other half. Id expect him to sleep often since he is a baby so everytime hes out of the cage he will snuggle up with me and sleep. Im not sure if I should give him time outside the hutch since hes still very small. I do let him run around on the bed and his hutch is fairly big compared to his size. The breeder had him eating vegetables and hay and kaytee pellets which I dont think is proper. I switched up his diet and he seems to be doing well and is growing a bit. Not sure if I should give him kitten formula milk since hes doing fine without it. So far so good and if anything happens I’ll be sure to take him to the vet asap.
 

JBun

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The bunny being under age isn't on you, but the breeder. They're the one that violated the law and mislead you. I just thought you should be aware, and also aware of the risks involved with a baby rabbit weaned too early. But it sounds like he's doing well on the diet you're providing. Because he's weaned and is eating solid food and doing well on it, he doesn't need milk anymore, and introducing it into his diet could actually just cause problems. I would just stick with pellets and hay for now.

One thing I would suggest is changing the hay to a good quality grass hay(no mold) like timothy, orchard, etc. He's already getting a good alfalfa based pellet, there's really no need for alfalfa hay as well. It's overkill for the diet and can make for too rich of a diet leading to excess uneaten cectropes, and for some rabbits the high calcium could cause bladder issues. It also can cause difficulty trying to switch him off of the alfalfa hay and onto a grass hay when he fully matures and no longer needs a higher protein diet. Many rabbit owners read the same advice(one that I very much disagree with) and put their baby rabbits on alfalfa hay in addition to a young rabbit pellet, and then have issues trying to switch them to a grass hay as adults. Alfalfa hay is a better tasting hay to rabbits, and can be very difficult to get a rabbit switched off of it once it's an established taste and habit.

In my opinion it's better to feed a good alfalfa based pellet to provide the needed protein and nutrients for growth in young rabbits, which you're doing, then feed a good grass hay to provide the needed fiber for good digestive health. A pile of grass hay the size of the rabbit is the usual minimum recommendation that a pet rabbit should consume in a day, though they should always have more than enough available they never run out and refreshed at least once or twice a day(they tend to eat fresh hay better). If you want to feed some alfalfa hay as a treat hay, that's usually fine as long as the bun still eats enough of the grass hay, and provided there are no signs of bladder sludge issues from excess calcium from the alfalfa hay. Mixing the two hays together can sometimes help get the bun to eat the grass hay better.

With letting the little bun roam, the main thing to consider is litter box training. If you let a new bun have access to too much space too soon before they're litter trained, it can sometimes cause problems with successful litter training. So you may want to hold off on giving bun too much space too quickly, before those litter habits are established, and especially if he is having any accidents.


 

SarahsBunny

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Ahh that makes sense he has not pooped or peed outside his hutch yet, but I’m definitely gonna hold off letting him roam too much too early. Plus hes so tiny im scared he may get hurt. I usually buy boxes of alfalfa hay, is there a specific box of grass hay that you could link me? Preferably in bulk because im not sure since so many of these boxes of hay has mostly leaves in it. I’m gonna give him the alfalfa hay for now since I noticed that he hasn't been taking the pellets properly and is mostly focused on the hay. This happened to my previous bun who wouldn’t eat the pellet for a good few weeks until he realized they tasted good and then really loved the pellets. Once I see that he started eating pellets ill give him more grass hay. Thank you for the advice though, its greatly appreciated. And yeah I know its illegal in nyc but the breeder is apparently in new jersey which I think has less stricter laws. Even then its probably illegal to rehome them in new york regardless especially if they’re underage, but I think people dont care enough cause I haven’t seen anyone fined yet. I have also seen many many bunny breeders in nyc. Id at least hope they take care of the bunnies properly.
 

JBun

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I usually bought the standlee compressed timothy bales at the farm store, but the quality of those can vary some. If you want to get hay that is more guaranteed to be good quality but will be more expensive, oxbow timothy and orchard can be ordered in bulk bags/box(9, 25, 50lb). Some members on here like small pet select or rabbit hole hay. And some of these sites may have a special deal when ordering today being cyber monday, so something to check into if you're interested.

Second cut timothy is the most common cut and variety of grass hay fed to rabbits in the US. It's a good cut that is a mix of leaf and stem. Orchard is another good grass hay to feed to rabbits and may be better for dental health(high in silica). For extra picky rabbits, oat hay is sometimes a favorite, provide it isn't loaded with mature seed heads(high in carbs). The grass hay to feed is the one that your bunny will eat well, so you may not want to buy a big box until you know your bunny likes the hay first.



Choosing the best hay for your rabbit
 

Milyvan

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Am one of those who like smallpetselect.com (and they have a sampler box of various hay.) Right now we found some high quality 2nd cut from Small World.

So glad you’re caring for the wee bun so well. 🥰 Bet you’ll have a lovely bond even when he’s grown. Regardless, those videos are so adorable. 🥹
 

Jonas

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How did you know that he’s 5 weeks old, if I may ask? Size is not always an indicator of age. Licking and snuggling are normal rabbit behaviors in my opinion. Even older rabbits lick and snuggle with other rabbits and humans, so it’s not a behavior specific to rabbits younger than 8 weeks.

Baby rabbits become independent as early as 6 weeks, so he should be doing well soon.
 

SarahsBunny

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He was very small and couldn’t regulate his body heat too good. I could tell he was definitely around that range. I asked the breeder he later said 5 weeks even after I asked before that I would want at least an 8 week old bunny. But good news! Mocha is doing very well. He’s growing up so fast and is very energetic and loving. Still licks me! lol
 

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I wish you the very best of luck with your bun. I experienced a similar situation with my bun Naji. I received her from a family member after he rescued her from a cat. They keep their rabbits outside. They didn’t even know there was a new litter. No way to tell how old she was but now, after research, I believe she was too young to be away from momma. Naji was just like your bunny to begin with. She developed splay leg on both hind legs. She could only scoot around. I needed to clean her tush every day. She was the most loving pet I have ever owned. She was always licking on me and hiding her head in my hand. I had her less than a year but she will always be in my heart.
 

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