Rabbits/Making a newborn rabbit pee and poo
I work in a well known pet shop, yesterday a member of the public brought in, and dumped, a brand new born presumably wild rabbit. He claims he found it lying on a path, but until the fur comes in, I won't know whether it's a wild rabbit or his own domestic one that has had a baby that he doesn't want! It was so new, it still had it's placenta 'stuck' to it. This has been carefully removed, the cord was already dried so no damage has been done. It was very very cold and crying. Anyway, I have brought it home to give it a chance as no one else had a clue what to do, I am adding Acidophilus to the kitten milk formula and feeding it twice per day which it is taking okay so far. I have weighed it and it seems to have put on 2 gms since yesterday, now being 43gms. I have hand reared a week old kitten before and know that you must stimulate any small animal to pee and poo, however, this little one seems intent on keeping hold of everything. I am using cotton wool and warm water, but nothing is happening, I don't want to rub too long just incase I make it sore. How long can they go without expelling anything before they become sick? I am so intent on keeping this little one alive, i'm even taking it on holiday with me (in this country of course). I have read that baby rabbits are really hard to hand rear, so any help would be much appreciated.
The best method is to wet your fingertip with very warm water and rub the urethral opening and anus with your finger tip. It's far more like the tongue of a rabbit than a piece of wool. You need to use a lot of pressure, don't just rub lightly. If the water is warm enough and you use enough pressure, the rabbit will pee within a minute; usually less. You'll need to do this twice a day.
Do it just before you feed it. Push down on the chest - making the belly push out, then massage until the rabbit urinates. They can defecate without help - but you will need to wipe its bottom several times a day to keep it from getting all clogged with poop.
If the rabbit is taking in milk, then going longer than 18 hours without urinating is enough to cause fatal damage.
Keep in mind that wild rabbits stay wild even when raised from the day of birth. As soon as its old enough to survive on its own you'll need to set it free. If not, you'll have a mean, biting, wild rabbit on your hands that will never tame.
Wild rabbits mature much faster than domestic bunnies. They generally leave the mothers nest by 3 weeks of age, which is the same age as you should let yours go provided it survives until then.
Hand rearing rabbits is actually quite simple; the biggest mistakes are overfeeding and keeping the rabbit too warm.
Remember to feed only twice a day, no more. Overfeeding is the leading cause of death in hand raised rabbits which results in fatal intestinal disease.
For temperature, the ideal room temp is 60-65 degrees; over 70 gets uncomfortable for them.
Please let me know if you have any more questions.