How to Warm up a Cold Baby Bunny
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How cold is too cold for baby rabbits?
Occasionally, a rabbit gives birth elsewhere than in a nesting box. The breeding terminology for this is "a doe on a wire." When it does not have the narrow confines of a nesting box, a baby rabbit, or kit, can be separated from its littermates or the mother doe.
This is dangerous for newborn rabbits as they are born blind, deaf, and hairless with skin thinner than paper. They cool down quickly and exposure can kill them within minutes.
There are many ways to try to safely warm a baby rabbit to the point where it can be brought back to the warmth of the nesting box, its siblings, and its mother.
Unlike cats or dogs, rabbits do not pick up or transport their young. Without human intervention, there is no way for the furless baby rabbit to return to the nest box. He will surely die if left alone.
Before you start
Before taking any of the actions described, first assess the baby rabbit (kit). If the kit is hot and moving, it may have recently wandered around and simply needs to be placed back in the nest box with its siblings where it will warm up quickly.
If the kit feels cold or cool to the touch, don't immediately assume it's dead. To conserve energy when their temperature drops, the kits become very still, which keeps them alive for as long as possible.
What do you need
While you won't need anything more than your own warm skin to help your baby bunny regain body heat, there are additional steps you need to be prepared that require supplies:
- Heating pillow
- Storage bag
- Bowl of lukewarm water
Using body heat
The first thing you can do, which does not require any preparation, is to place the kit under your shirt against your warm skin. The baby should start to warm up immediately. You can even feel his feet start to move.
Try a heating pad
You can use a heating pad to warm the little one. Wrap the pillow in a towel and place it in the lowest setting. Put the heating pad, towel, and bunny in a shoebox so the heat surrounds it.
Slowly heating the rabbit is ideal. Don't give in to the urge to turn the pad to a high setting. A newborn baby's skin can easily burn.
Do not leave the rabbit alone with the heating pad. Smell the cushion regularly to make sure the cushion does not get too hot. Once the baby is warmed up and squirms, place them back in the nest box with their littermates.
Give her a hot water bath without water
Another technique is to put lukewarm water in a bowl on the counter. Place the kit in a storage bag (make sure to leave the top open and hold it firmly) and place the storage bag in the water bath so that the baby is resting against the warm water inside the bag. The idea is not to let the water touch the kit, but to let the hot water heat your skin through the plastic bag.
Use warm towels
You can also put hand towels in the dryer and once they have warmed up (but not heated) simply hold the kit in your hands with the towel wrapped around. Once the towel has cooled, wrap the baby bunny in another hot towel from the dryer. Do this until the bunny turns pink and is warm enough without the towels.
Return the kit to the Nest Box
Before putting the kit back in the box with the rest of the litter, you really need to warm it up completely (and slowly) without any cold for its little body. If it is still cool, the other kits will move away. Without their body heat, the newly warmed rabbit could turn cold again and die.
When a kit fails to recover
Sometimes a baby can be brought back from the brink of death, to gape, gasp, and die, even though it looks like you may have warmed it up. You must realize that you have done what you can, but some kits are too far to report. This is the unfortunate and not-so-fun part of raising rabbits.
How to prevent a baby rabbit from getting cold
This fear of a doe lit on a wire is a very important reason to frequently check on a doe that is pregnant and needs to give birth. In another sad scenario, a newborn baby may be safe in the nest box, nursing, but the doe jumps out of the box with the baby still unwittingly attached to the pacifier.
The baby falls, separates from the nest, and begins to expose itself to the cold. Check for new litters frequently to make sure kits are not on the thread.
Enjoy The Video Tutorial about How to Warm Up a Cold Baby Bunny | Beth's Babies are here!
Source: Holly's Hollands Rabbitry
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