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Question
Good evening,
I am a veterinary assistant and today had a 10 day old baby bunny dropped of at our clinic. The eyes appear to have just opened. I have attempted raising babies in the past but they are usually too young or too far gone for help. My question is, what is the best way to go about weaning without a mother? I have seen articles on probiotics and cecotrophs and am just not sure where the success lies. At what age would you introduce grasses and have do you start up the gut flora. Just looking for options.

Answer
Dear Krissi

Sorry for the delay in answering.  Had some emergencies that kept me off line.  :(

For information on raising orphaned bunnies, please see:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/orphan.html

and

http://rabbit.org/faq-orphaned-baby-bunnies/

Weaning can be accomplished when the baby is about 8 weeks old.  Just start diluting formula with a little bit of clean drinking water every feeding.  Start with about 10% water, and then increase gradually.  Baby will soon lose interest in the formula when it's not milky.  

I hope the baby is doing well, and will thrive in your care.

Dana

Wild Animals

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

I.D. OF MYSTERY ANIMALS
Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

I.D. OF MYSTERY ANIMAL SOUNDS
It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

COMPARATIVE STRENGTHS
I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

FIGHTING ANIMALS
I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.

Experience

I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

Organizations
House Rabbit Society

Publications
Exotic DVM journal

Education/Credentials
I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

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