I have a new unexpected baby rabbit...need some advice!

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sukigirl

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So a little backstory here. I owned a dwarf rabbit for ten years, Suki, who passed away about two years ago from cancer. I currently now volunteer at a sanctuary and today these four baby rabbits came in. One of the keepers told me that this woman breeds show rabbits, and any of the babies that don't come out "perfect" she gives to the sanctuary. Well, the sanctuary currently has MANY baby animals and they just couldn't handle these small rabbits, so they were going to give them over to animal control. I knew though that animal control was probably just going to euthanize them and it just broke my heart. My apartment doesn't even allow me to have rabbits, but I took one of the babies anyway as my parents in California promised to take him/her if I got caught with him/her, which I'm sure I won't if I'm just careful. I wanted to take them all but sadly I knew my limit was one.

Problem is, I don't know if the rabbit is male or female or how old it is. The woman who left them said they were flops, and the reason she got rid of them is because there ears don't come all the way down. I have dubbed him/her Mew, and he's very small. My rabbit Suki when I got her was already twice the size as Mew. I'm worried if she/he still needs milk and how to care for him/her. Right now I have a small rabbit "water bottle", and it's tried drinking from it, I'm not sure it knows yet how to work it so I poured a little water in it's food bowl just in case. Right now I have timothy hay, lettuce, two grapes and some shredded carrot in it's bowl. I've only had him home now for like...twenty minutes so he hasn't attempted eating yet. He explored a little, tried drinking water for the bottle, cleaned himself and now is just sitting dozing off. He seems very thin, but I'm not sure if that's just normal for his size or lack of nutrition.

I'd greatly appreciate some advice. Here are two pictures of him/her, hopefully it helps enough to get a idea of how big he/her is.

http://i57.tinypic.com/2v0bnn6.jpg

http://i60.tinypic.com/2ajw6qx.jpg
 

Devi

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I would not give such a young rabbit anything besides hay and pellets. Their system is too young for fruits and veg right now. Also he seems to young to be away from mama you sure that the little bun has even been weaned yet?
 

sukigirl

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I have no clue. All the woman did was drop them off and say they were flops and she didn't want them because they weren't show quality, that's it. He's knows how to use the water bottle know and he's nibbling on hay. I'll remove the fruits and veggies if he shouldn't be having them. Should I get some milk for him?
 

JBun

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So yes, that baby bun is far too young to be weaned from it's mom. I would guess it's about 4 weeks old. Can you find out how long ago it was weaned and if it for sure has been eating solid food well? Was a bag of transition pellets given to you with him?

You need to take away the lettuce, grape, and carrot. He's too young to be fed fruit and veg. Best thing is the timothy hay and pellets, preferably the same pellets he is used to eating, from where he came from, then slowly transitioning him on to whatever pellet you plan on feeding. But you are going to need to keep a close eye on the pellet and hay amount that is consumed to make sure he is eating ok. And continue to offer a water dish, and check the water level to make sure he is drinking. If he hasn't eaten much at all and/or isn't drinking, and it's been more than 12 hours, you may need to start syringe feeding. If you can get a hold of some Oxbow critical care food mix, maybe the sanctuary will have some on hand or a rabbit vet should have some, that is the best thing to use for syringe feeding rabbits.

If you can, try and find out exactly what he was eating in his previous home and feed the same thing. This helps reduce chances of digestive upset occurring, unless it was an absolutely horrible diet. Then gradually switch him to the diet you plan on for him, and just ensure that he continues to eat well and is gaining weight.
 

sukigirl

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The woman left nothing with them, she dropped them off at the gift shop and didn't even wait for the keeper to come get them. The sanctuary has two adult rabbits on display, so the keeper gave me a bag of their pellets for him. Is that alright or are there speciality pellets for babies? I have just given him a little of the pellets and he went right over right away and is starting to eat them with gusto.
 

Azerane

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Sounds like a very dodgy breeder. First of all, at that age, pretty much no lop-eared rabbit will have completely lopped ears yet, they can take a bit of time to develop. Bunny looks about five or six weeks at a guess, which is quite young, but they're usually partially or fully weaned by that point.

I agree that you do need to get some pellets and some good quality hay to feed the little guy/girl, good fiber is important, and grapes and carrot are high in sugar and can easily cause upsets in young rabbits and those not used to eating them.
 

JBun

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Sorry, seen your post. If he seems to be eating hay well and drinking alright, I would stick with that for a day or two, and a little bit of pellets, keeping a close eye on how much he is eating and drinking, then gradually start increasing pellets a little bit more each day, so that he will gradually get used to them. And keep an eye out for mushy poop.

You don't want him going back on milk if he has already been weaned, as it can just cause further digestive upset.
 

JBun

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How long had he been at the sanctuary before he came to you? Can you find out the type of pellets they gave you? Being a growing rabbit, he will need an alfalfa based pellet.
 

sukigirl

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Alright, sounds good. Thanks guys! I figured when I saw him that he was just so, so young and I feel for the others. That's why I posted this right away, because I knew he was so tiny that he had to have some special requirements unlike when I first got my rabbit. When would be a good time to start giving him fruits and veggies? Just so I have that information for the future.
 

sukigirl

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The woman dropped them off just this morning. I believe the pellets are Oxbow, but for adult rabbits so I would assume it doesn't have alfafa based. I can pick some up tomorrow for him though.
 

JBun

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You could give him a tiny pinch of the pellets you have now, and then pick up some alfalfa based ones and start transitioning him onto those. You want to do it gradually over a couple of weeks at least. So just start out with maybe a pinch and gradually increase that each day, so that in the end he is eating almost unlimited pellets. Then you want him eating a pile of hay the size of his body, each day. As long as he is eating that, then he can have unlimited pellets. But if he starts eating more pellets and not enough hay, you may have to slightly cut back on them. I found with my babies, that if I fed enough pellets to last about 3 hours before the next feeding, that they would eat enough hay then, and I fed twice a day. This ensured they always ate the right amount of hay for good digestive motility, but also got enough pellets and nutrition needed for young growing buns. So this is all when you've gradually built up the amount of pellets.

Another exception to unlimited pellets would be if you start seeing mushy poop or much smaller and harder than usual poop, as this means the sugars and starches in the pellets are disrupting the microflora balance in the cecum. Then you may need to cut back a little bit so he is eating more hay.

For fruit and veg, you should wait til he is at least 12 weeks old, then they can gradually be introduced one thing at a time and starting out with a little piece and gradually increasing. Best to start with simple leafy veg like cilantro, parsley, carrot tops, dark leafy lettuce, then gradually build up the variety.
http://www.lagomorphs.com/salad.pdf
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/Food/feeding_en.pdf
 
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sukigirl

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Thank you so much : ) For the past hour he's been just munching on grass, pellets and drinking lots of water then he'll clean and bounce around a bit before eating more, so I think he's feeling better. I'll buy him alfafa based pellets tomorrow and start giving those to him along with his timothy grass.
 

ChocoClover

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Geez that's a very bad way to handle culls.

She didnt even wait until they were old enough to tell if they were show worthy! They are way too young to have weaned.

Something to consider: if you want to save them all, you can take care of them until they are old enough to be sold. Purebred rabbits, even ones that aren't perfect, are more likely to be sold than mixed rabbits. It's still a risk, though.

As for taking care of this lil guy, I think the others covered it pretty well. I just needed to vent.
 

sukigirl

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I know! I was very upset that she would just dump the rabbits she deemed unworthy on the sanctuary. I think if someone is going to breed like that, then they need to take responsibility of ALL babies, even one's that aren't "perfect". I wish I could have taken the others, but I have a very small apartment. I couldn't get one big cage for them all because I knew it would be hard to hide when needed, and I don't have the space for four small cages : ( I hope the others get a chance at life and a good home, but I am at least happy (as well as the keeper at the sanctuary) that I was able to save one.
 

ChocoClover

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Yes, great for you to do that. I hope they all get great homes.

I breed rabbits and take responsibility for all babies. The non-show worthy ones go to pet homes and the show worthy ones either stay with me or go to other homes. It sounds like she needs a new plan for her culls, or she should stop breeding so many.
 

sukigirl

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From what the keeper was telling me, she does this about every spring/summer. She breeds her rabbits then all the one's she doesn't want, she drops off at the sanctuary. Sometimes they can keep them and find homes for them, but unfortunately sometimes, like this time, they have so many baby wildlife that they just can't take in domesticated babies since there focus is on rehabbing wildlife and trying to release them.
 

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