This baby Eastern Cottontail was rescued after a neighborhood cat ransacked its nest. The cat completely destroyed the rabbit’s nest, leaving this baby as the only survivor.
At this time the rabbit’s age was estimated to be between 7 and 10 days. He was approximately 3 inches in length, while measured in a normal seated position. His eyes and ears were open and his teeth were just beginning to emerge.
The individual who discovered this baby setup an incubator which included two night lights to provide warmth. It is reported that the baby rabbit spent most of its time huddled against the night lights, and that the warmth provided by these lights was probably key to the bunny’s ultimate survival.
Set up this way the incubator stayed at roughly 83 degrees on the warm side and 79 degrees on the cool side. The observer suggests that while this temperature range was sufficient for this bunny to survive, a slightly warmer temperature might have been more appropriate.
The baby cottontail was fed warm KMR Kitten Milk replacement, which is available at most major pet stores. The baby rabbit took to the formula right away, and there was never any difficulty at feeding time. The rabbit was fed twice a day, once in the morning, and again in the evening. A 1 ml eyedropper was used to deliver the milk replacement. Initially the bunny ate approximate 5 ml of the formula at each feeding.
The baby cottontail did well on the KMR Kitten Milk Replacement, and began sampling vegetables after only 6 days on the formula (16 days old). The bunny was removed from the incubator at 20 days old, and was kept at room temperature from that point on.
The bunny was slowly weaned over the next 10 days, and thrived on a mixture of garden vegetables. Water was also provided during this time frame, but the rabbit did not drink it. It is believed that the bunny received sufficient hydration from the vegetables he was eating to make the water unnecessary.
At approximately 37 days old the bunny was more than 6 inches long.
At approximately 50 days old and nearly 8 inches in length, the rabbit had thrived on the care he received and was in very good health. The cottontail was released in to the caregiver’s backyard at this time.
4 Replies to “Eastern Cottontail – Hand Raised”
Hello, I read the story of you raising the cottontail baby. I have 4 cottontail orphans about 10 days old. I got them when they were about 2 days old with their eyes closed and very dehydrated. Their mother was killed by a neighborhood cat. Their eyes are now open and they are a little bigger and not skinny anymore. I have been reading all about baby bunnies needing to eat their mothers cecotropes to get the bacteria in their stomach to survive before they start on solid foods.. Did you do that? I have no way of getting cecotropes. I found something online that is probiotics and is supposed to help substitute for the cecotropes… I hope it works. Do you have any advice on raising the babies? Any would be much appreciated!! Thank you,
I do not have the experience to advise. Your best bet wold be to contact a licensed wildlife rehabber for their input. The folks at DFW Wildlife Coalition can recommend one to you. Here is a link to their site: http://www.dfwwildlife.org/
instead of cecotropes you can get Bene-Bac. It come in powder or gel form. You can get it at the pet store.. I personally have been feeding my baby bunny a small bit of natural vanilla yogurt daily since I found her at 5 weeks. Yogurt also has the good bacteria. My formula was equal amounts of Vit-D milk, vanilla yogurt, and 1 egg yoke. 1 egg yoke per half cup of the former 2 ingredients. She has done very well on this mixture.. A rescue told me about this. She has had NO fatalities since using this recipe.. Hope this helps.
I agree you should always contact somebody licensed with that stuff before you try something on your own.