How Often Does A Mother Rabbit Feed Her Babies?

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A mother rabbit with its newborn baby.

Last Updated on August 2, 2021 by Rei

Mother rabbits only fed 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 doesn’t have round tummies and are wrinkled, call a veterinarian for advice.

Will the babies die if they are not fed often?

An abandoned newborn rabbit.
“I saved a baby bunny today” by Ninithedreamer is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

No, doe’s would only feed her kits once or twice a day. The kits would only die if they are not fed for long periods 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 bunnies go unfed?

173800558 04dab757c4 b How Often Does A Mother Rabbit Feed Her Babies?wild rabbit is feeding her kits.” class=”wp-image-2494″/>
“nursing mother bunny” by *w* is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kits would often be left alone by their mother after birth, sometimes up to 4 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 and to not draw attention from 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.
“champagne d’argent mom and babies” by henna lion is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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 it’s 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):

AgeSupplimental 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 I mention 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 for urination and defecation after feeding them.

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

Summary

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

The same thing would happen for 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.

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

Sometimes, rabbits would not nurse their kits for 3-4 days. This is normal, but longer than that, immediately call a veterinarian and ask for instruction for supplemental feeding.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (November 14, 2021) 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 - November 14, 2021, https://bunnyhorde.com/how-often-does-a-mother-rabbit-feed-her-babies/

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