How Often Does A Mother Rabbit Feed Her Babies?

Categorized as Bunny Care Tagged

Last Updated on April 9, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Mother rabbits only feed their kits 1-2 times per day. You can tell that the mother nursed her kits if their tummies are round and the kits are warm. Nursing the kits only takes about 10 minutes in total, so don’t worry if you never saw the mother nurse her kits because it’s easy to miss.

If you notice that the kits don’t have round tummies and are wrinkled, call a veterinarian for advice.

Will the babies die if they are not fed often enough?

An abandoned newborn rabbit.

No, a doe would only feed her kits once or twice a day. The kits would only die if they were not fed for a long period of time, or 3–4 days after being born.

That’s why it’s important to check your rabbit’s kits at least once a day to see if they are being nursed. If you are unsure if the kits are being fed, try weighing the babies to see if they are gaining weight.

If you’re still unsure if the mother is feeding her babies, call a vet for advice.

How long can a baby bun go unfed?

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Kits would often be left alone by their mother after birth, sometimes for up to four days. Most of the time, the first feeding of kits would be 24 hours after birth, so don’t worry if the doe leaves her kits after giving birth.

The reason why the doe would leave her kits is that, in the wild, after giving birth, the mother would leave the nest to look for food. They also do it to not draw attention to the nest, preventing predators from finding it.

The same instinct would kick in if your rabbit is a house rabbit. This is totally normal.

What should you do if you notice that the mother is not nursing her kits?

A mother rabbit in its nest and its not nursing the babies.

If you notice that the mother is not nursing her kits for more than 4 days (you can tell by looking at the tummies of the kits if they’re rounded and their skin is wrinkled), immediately call a veterinarian.

Your vet would likely instruct you to syringe feed your rabbit Esbilac.

Here’s the guide to how much Esbilac to feed a newborn rabbit (make sure you talk to a vet first):

AgeSupplemental feeding(Esbilac)
Newborn5cc
1 Week old12-15cc
2 Week old25-27cc
3 Week old30cc
Until weaned30cc

The amount of milk to feed a baby rabbit that I mentioned in the table is not a rule. You should still look at the kit’s tummies. If the belly is already slightly round and slightly firm, you can stop feeding them for the day.

You would also need to stimulate the kits’ urination and defecation after feeding them.

The next day, check if the kit’s belly is empty by looking if its skin is wrinkled.

Summary

Kits would often be fed for 24 hours after being born. Mothers would often leave the kits alone after giving birth in order to look for food. They also do it not draw attention to the nest so that predators could not find it.

The same thing would happen to pet rabbits. After giving birth, the doe would leave the kits alone to eat. Mothers would only feed their kits once a day, sometimes two. This feeding schedule would only last for 10 minutes, so it’s hard to catch them in the act.

In order to know if your rabbit is nursing their kits, look to see if the kit’s tummies are round and full.

Sometimes, rabbits will not nurse their kits for 3–4 days. This is normal. If it lasts longer than that, immediately call a veterinarian and ask for instructions for supplemental feeding.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (May 2, 2022) How Often Does A Mother Rabbit Feed Her Babies?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/how-often-does-a-mother-rabbit-feed-her-babies/.
"How Often Does A Mother Rabbit Feed Her Babies?." Bunny Horde - May 2, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/how-often-does-a-mother-rabbit-feed-her-babies/

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Sources and further reading

  • Buseth, Marit Emilie., and Richard A. Saunders. Rabbit Behaviour, Health, and Care. CABI, 2014.
  • Lebas, F. The Rabbit: Husbandry, Health, and Production. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1997.
  • Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.
  • Baby Rabbits
  • How to Feed Baby Rabbits
  • Care and Feeding of Orphaned Domestic Rabbits

Image credit – “champagne d’argent mom and babies” by henna lion is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0, “nursing mother bunny” by *w* is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, “I saved a baby bunny today” by Ninithedreamer is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0,

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.