The best thing to do, if you find a wild baby
rabbit is to find the hole or burrow where it's nest is and put it
back! Don't worry about your smell making the mother bunny reject it,
If you are sure the mother is dead (your dog brought you
her lifeless form, etc.), then you will need to either formula feed
the baby or find a wildlife rehabilitator.
If you can find a rehabilitator in your area,
this would be better, as such a person will likely already have the
hands on experience in feeding bunny babies. With something this
tricky, experience helps!
Here is a website that might help you find a
wildlife rehabilitator in your area (you can also call your local humane society
Whether you are taking the bunny to a rehabber
or not, the first thing you must do (if you know the mother rabbit
is dead and so you can't simply put it back)
is to keep the baby warm.
If you have a heating pad, try filling a small box or pet cab with a
towel for warmth, then set the pad on low and place it under the box.
Then put the baby inside on the warming towel. This will help the baby conserve body heat and therefore energy/calories.
don't have a heating pad, try heating some water and placing it in a
water tight bottle, such as a good quality sports bottle. Then put
it in a box or basket and fill around it with an old towel, and put a light towel over the top of this.
(You are essentially making a "hot water bottle".) Be sure to test
the result by placing your hand on top, to be sure it isn't too
hot. This should help until you can send someone to the
store for the heating pad (or get the bunny to a more experienced
What to Do If You Must Formula Feed
If you must feed the baby rabbit formula yourself,
will need the information below. Please take the time to click on
each high-lighted link and read the information before emailing us for
more instructions. Do NOT try formula feeding without first
reading these instructions.
Information sheet from the House Rabbit
Society about nursing (orphaned wild) bunnies:
The world's #1 milk replacer. KMR Milk Replacer
is formulated to closely match mother's milk in protein, fat, and
carbohydrates. Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
Available in powder or liquid. For kittens, baby hamsters and other
You can click on the can above to purchase the formula
directly from Petco.com, but since you are in a hurry, you are
better off running out to your local pet store and picking some
up directly. Right click on the picture of the can,
and then select "print picture". This way you'll
know just what to get when you arrive at the store.
What to Do Next
Once you are formula feeding the babies you will
still need to take care of their other needs. Of course you will
still be keeping them warm, as instructed above.
And you will need to check the old towel they are
laying on and replace it with a fresh towel if it becomes damp or
soiled. If your wild babies are doing well, then you may
want to make up a nest box for them, filled with Carefresh litter.
This can be easily discarded and replaced as it becomes damp.
The heating pad, set on lowest setting, can go under this next box.
When the babies become big enough to move around on
their own and their eyes are opened, you can offer them a water bottle
and rabbit chow pellets. By this point, you will want to be
sure the next box is inside a cage so that the bunnies don't jump out
and get injured or lost.
Once again, the best choice at this point is to
find a wildlife rehabber who can guide through what to do next.
Our specialty is pet rabbits and we have no experience with releasing
hand raised wild rabbits to the wild. Remember however, that
hand raised bunnies will have lost some of the caution their wild
cousins would have. And this will make them more vulnerable to
predators and other hazards.
Additional information on
raising wild bunnies can be found here:
Helpful information from the Alabama
Wildlife Center. Please note that if you are planning to
hand feed a baby rabbit, you must not lay it on its back to feed.
Place the rabbit in a sitting up position. The FAQ sheet mentions
this only once and it is easy to miss, but quite critical.