Rabbits/Baby bunnies born/matted hair/possibly missing limbs
We just bought a rabbit and much to my surprise she had babies 2 days ago. I have never raised newborns so of course I loaded myself with information as quickly as possible. When I went out to check on them this morning four of the 6 had passed away and the other 2 were crying and their bellies were sunkin in. From what I have read that means that Mom is more than likely not feeding them. To be on the safe side I pulled them so I can hand feed them. When I brought them in the house and took a good look at them I noticed that what think is Mom's hair is matted all over them and it looks like they are missing limbs (each one is missing 1 leg) and ears. I was just wondering if you have ever heard anything like this before. Could it be that Mom was trying to eat them? Will they be able to live comfortably with missing limbs? How do I get the matted hair off safely to clean their wounds? They are both eating though not very much. The feeding chart that I got from House Rabbit Society said they should be eating right around 2ml twice a day but they're not even close to that. Any help and prayers you can give for these little ones will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.
I'm sorry about this sad turn of events. But you did the right thing by taking the babies away from mama. She was not trying to eat them. But a stressed mama will sometimes overgroom her new babies to the point of mutilation, and she likely would have eventually killed them if you had not taken them away.
This is one good reason NOT to keep rabbits outdoors. There are predators and environmental extremes (heat! cold!) that are just horrible for rabbits. Not to mention the loneliness. Rabbits are as smart and sociable as dogs and cats, and can be litterbox trained to live inside with the family. All my rabbits are free-range house rabbits. Check out the House Rabbit Society site for more information on living with a house rabbit, and then get mama indoors where she will be happy and not suffering the stress that made her mutilate her babies.
As for the babies: be patient. At first, feed them only a little bit at a time, allowing them to get used to the formula. Get them to eat the full amount over the course of several feedings, and gradually they will get to like the formula and eat their full helping all in one sitting.
And yes, bunnies can live perfectly well without a limb or external ear pinnae. They will adapt very well if they have never known anything else. They will be the two little Gimp Twins. :)
I hope this helps, and that you're able to get these little ones growing. I would suggest getting them to a rabbit vet who might prescribe antibiotics, since open wounds from chewed off ears and limbs are certainly a nidus for infection. Baytril or ciprofloxacin would be good, broad-spectrum choices, though there is some evidence that they can inhibit the normal formation of cartilage in very young animals (but usually only at high doses). I have used both of these in baby rabbits with no ill effects, so ask the vet.
I hope the babies will be fine. Good luck,