Baby cottontails

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by sham, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Apr 21, 2007 #1

    sham

    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Apr 21, 2007 #2

    gentle giants

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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!
     
  3. Apr 21, 2007 #3

    missyscove

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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.
     
  4. Apr 21, 2007 #4

    Pipp

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  5. Apr 21, 2007 #5

    sham

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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.
     
  6. Apr 21, 2007 #6

    Pipp

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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.php?id=21153&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. :pray:



    sas :clover:
     
  7. Apr 21, 2007 #7

    missyscove

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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!
     
  8. Apr 21, 2007 #8

    Haley

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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?
     
  9. Apr 21, 2007 #9

    Haley

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  10. Apr 21, 2007 #10

    bunnylove83

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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.


    :D


     
  11. Apr 21, 2007 #11

    sham

    sham

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    I'm in eastern Iowa.

    I picked some fresh grass, dandelions, and clover before it got dark. The more active little one ate nearly all of it and I can hear it scratching around in the crate. I think I'll go ahead and add a little alfalfa hay with more greens before I go to bed tonight. If it's moving around well tomorrow I might end up releasing it. The other little one is just staying in the towel. It did eat 5cc of goat formula but I mixed it pretty weak since I'm not sure how well goat formula compares to cottontail milk. Better than cow milk at least.



    Most of our cats are barn cats. They cannot come indoors(exception made for really bad weather) and would not be accepted by the shelter or put down if they were. Some are close to feral but were captured for neutering and shots before being returned to the buildings outside to live.

     
  12. Apr 21, 2007 #12

    bunnylove83

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    I'm not the best with US geography;), but here are some licensed rehabbers in Eastern Iowa.


    Blackhawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project -

    [align=left]4446 E WASHBURN RD WASHBURN, IA 50706 (319) 296-2027
    Volunteer hotline at (319) 277-6511 for advice or animal placement

    On second thought...

    I've attached the link for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Licensed Rehabilitators Directory - you'll know the country geography better than I. I hope they'll be able to help you out - these animals deserve to be taken care of by a qualified and licensed wildlife rehabilitator. It is so difficult to raise these little ones; needing so many years of experience, training, and specialized biological knowledge.

    It may seem that these laws are simply "on paper" but they are there to protect these animals and give them their very best chance at life.:D

    http://www.iowadnr.com/cs/files/wildliferehab.pdf
    [/align]
    [align=left]The little one sounds like he is experiencing quite severe CNS trauma; which will need to be treatedmedically. Often when domestic animals grab an animal, they will shake it inadvertently when they pounce, causing the brain to swell and/or hemorrhage and organ failure to set in. If not treated, this can result in death or permanent brain damage.He may look calm - but this is often a characteristic sign of being in shock.[/align]
    [align=left]If mom was killed- releasing these little ones prematurely when they should still be nursing could prove fatal. They need quite a bit of training from mom to be able to survive in the wild. If you stress to the rehabber that they are confirmed orphans, and are in "distress" needing medical attention (often the term distress is in legislation, so it's good to throw that in there to get their attn.); they are going to put you hig hon the priority list.

    They may have said in the past to put them back outside if they were unsure if they were orphaned or not, and seemed fine.

    Haley - maybe you could get your friend in Ohio to forward her some info if the rehabbers in her area are unable to assist?
    [/align]
     
  13. Apr 21, 2007 #13

    Haley

    Haley

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    Yup, I sent sham a pm with my friend's email address if she would like more info :D
     
  14. Apr 21, 2007 #14

    sham

    sham

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    We've called up rehabbers in Cedar Rapids in the past(I'd have to check with my mom as to all the people she's called)along with a few local vets and even definite orphans they turned away or said they could put them down for us.:( DNR is not helpful in the least whenever I work with them. Everyone I talked to seemed to have no interest, were occasionally just rude,and in the end blew me off. Plus half the time when I ask them about a law concerning a certain animal they don't even know. I once got referred to 3 different people before finding someone who had the right book in front of them. If someone can come up with a definite good rehabber nearby who is willing to take them then I'll be happy to try to get them there but I've never had any luck in the past so I usually do end up leaving the bunnies to their fate or losing them trying to hand feed.

    For my last update tonight, cause I have to work tomorrow and need at least a little sleep, both bunnies are doing good. The active one has been upgraded to hyper and the other one is out hopping around some even if he is a bit off balance still. It's a big difference. Maybe the little one just needed something in his stomach to get him started. When I got back from eating supper he was out tasting various things and sniffing the water dish.

    If they do need to stay inside then they can. They are in a quiet room, locked away from the other animals, and the windows of this room are actually covered so it stays pretty dark. That mesh on the crate is thick and doesn't allow you to see much either. It's also stuck in the corner with 3sides surrounded so they haven't been trying to get out. Only when I open the top and they can see something. It's just that in the past I've always been told wild bunnies should be put outside as soon as possible and will die if kept confined in even a fairly large cage(crate is 30"x20"x24"high). However it seemed like a definite death sentence to stick soggy little bunnies in shock back outside.
     
  15. Apr 21, 2007 #15

    bunnylove83

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    I'd say that it is definitely worth trying a fewmore rehabbers - if you're willing to put the time and effort into trying to help these little ones - you have to do it right.

    If not, it is more humane to bring them into to a rehabber to have them euthanize.

    To prolong their lives with inadequate care is to draw out their time of being under immense stress and suffering. Having fatal diarrhea months from now because of a few weeks of being in inadequate conditions really isn't fair to these little ones.

    DNR has a huge job, and local rehabbers will be well versed in the legalities of wildlife.

    Please at least give a few wildlife rehabilitators a try - this really isn't something you can take on yourself. Whenthere are people that the expertise and know-how to give the orphaned/injured and pollution damaged animals their best possible shot; as an animal lover I would hope you would want the best for them.

    EDIT - I'm going to do some phoning/emailing to our network to get you a referral for a reputable rehabber.Hope to post soon.
     
  16. Apr 21, 2007 #16

    ec

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    This slide show (made by an experienced rehabber)might help dispel some fears, too -[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMwL0parS4Y]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMwL0parS4Y[/ame]


     
  17. Apr 21, 2007 #17

    sham

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    Quick update before I go back to work.Bunnies are doing fine except the more active one keeps jumping at the other one when it comes out from under the towel. I'm debating moving it to it's own cage despite the fact I thought having 2would make it easier on them than being alone. When I set him out of the towel he moves around fine and starts to eat but then when he gets near the other one it jumps at him and he goes back to hiding.

    I also found this articlehttp://www.squirrelworld.com/RabRehab.htmlthe most useful and a breakdown of the composition of cottontail milkhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1184805&dopt=Abstract.From the information in both goat formula actually looks closer to cottontail milk thanthe more frequently used KMR or esbilac which are both lacking in fat or protein.
     
  18. Apr 22, 2007 #18

    sham

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    Calling in a favor from a local guinea pig and rabbit specific vet I got cecal pellets fromdefinitely healthy bunnies. I offered some plain and then mixed with CriticalCare. The calmer one took it easily since he doesn't mind so much being handled and will lick food off a syringe.It was simple to slowly lower bunny and syringe to the container of mix until he switched from grabbing it off the syringe to licking it out of the container. He's sitting in a small carrier on the desk going back and forth between the mix and his greens. Hyper bunny isn't so easy. While it continues to clean itself or munch dandelions even with my hands in the crate I can't touch it or it bounces straight up. I set some cecal pellets and a dab of the mix near the greens so hopefully it will ingest some before I put the other one back and he gets it all. So far no signs of diarrhea. I have lots of properly formed little bunny droppings and pee to clean up tonight.
     
  19. Apr 22, 2007 #19

    lovethetailyall

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    Good for you!! Your doing great..i found abandon baby red squirrel in the fall and i did everything to wait for mum but in the end it ran up to me crawled up my pants and i walked home.....After days and loads of reading i called a shelter and they said it is illegal and to put it down...i said no sorry and turned off the phone...i cant do it.....SO i have had twinkle toes for a few months now and she is going to be slowly released if a few weeks:DScarymum time!



    But im happy what you did...shure many say to leave it let it die but we moved into there land and kill thousands of bunnys a day with are cars and stuff so we should give back and try to help.;)
     
  20. Apr 22, 2007 #20

    lovethetailyall

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    Just a dumb question..if someone ever found baby bunnys(wild) could they put in it with one of there bunnys....but health riskes are to high right..its just a stupid question....but it cant kill to ask?*I wouldn't do it but its just a question*
     

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