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How To Resuscitate Baby Bunnies (Even If They Look Dead)

In a perfect world, baby bunnies would always be born in the nest box, covered with lots of warm fur.

They would flourish and grow in to adorable bouncing fur balls.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Fortunately, if you notice a baby out of the nest box, or an entire litter that is cold, sometimes you can resuscitate baby bunnies, even if they look cold and lifeless.

How To Resuscitate Baby Bunnies (Even If They Look Dead)

Most of the time my rabbits are good mothers.  However, I had one litter when the buck spooked the doe while birthing and half her litter wasn’t in the nest with their siblings.

When I realized they were cold I knew I had to get them warmed up.

When baby bunnies get cold they kind of go into a state of hibernation and you can’t really tell if they are still breathing or not.

Make Sure Newborn Rabbits Stay Warm

If you are trying to resuscitate baby bunnies and they have their heads arched back and their mouths open that’s a very late sign and you probably won’t be able to save them.

If they haven’t reached that state there are a couple ways to do it.

How To Resuscitate Baby Bunnies

The most crucial thing is keep them warm.  The very first thing I do is pop any bunnies I found down my shirt so they start warming up immediately.

(I have to admit, it’s REALLY weird to have wiggly bunnies stashed in your bra.  BUT wiggly is a good sign).

Once they start to wiggle you know they are warming up.

If you don’t like wandering around with bunnies down your shirt you can also try immersing them in warm water.

Obviously make sure to keep their heads above the water and dry them off really well once they are active.

Also, a hair dryer makes an excellent tool to resuscitate baby bunnies.  This is what I did with my cold ones as soon as I got back into the house.

Use A Hair Dryer To Warm Up Newborn Rabbits

Keep An Eye On Them Once They Warm Up

After the babies are warm and active you can place them back in the nest.

Baby rabbits need litters of at least three in order to maintain their body temperature so if you only have a few it’s best to foster them into other nests of similar ages if possible.

If you need to you can also keep the nest inside for being monitored.  Rabbits nurse their young twice a day, dawn and dusk.

You can carry the rabbits in to the mother and wait for her to feed them and leave the nest.  Then you can carry the nest back indoors.

It’s not ideal, but works in a pinch.  I was doing this for quite some time because we had rats (UUUUUGH!) who were raiding the nests.

(Such horrible nasty things.  Quarter inch mesh is the only thing that keeps the villians out, but that’s another story.)

Keep Nests Covered With Plenty of Fur

Make sure they are well covered with fur.  You can even save fur from other litters to add to a nest if a doe doesn’t pull enough.

Messing around with the nest will not make the doe abandon them.  It’s okay to go through the nest after your doe is done kindling.

Daily check for any kits that didn’t make it and remove them.

I like to mark any cold kits with a sharpie on their back so I can go back through the nest and make sure they have  a full, round tummy after being fed and that they aren’t too slow to compete for food.

Hopefully all your rabbit’s are fabulous mothers, undisturbed while birthing, and make it in the nesting box every single time.  If not, good luck.

Want more rabbit related resources?  Check out our homestead resource page!

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Kynzie

Friday 4th of November 2022

My rabbit isn't feeding her babies and I think she's not producing milk. All but one bunny died even though I was stringe feeding raw goat milk. The one left is 11 days old but is no bigger (besides growing fur) than it was at birth. What should I do?

Kathryn

Wednesday 9th of November 2022

You may not see your rabbit feeding her babies. They generally only feed them twice a day at dawn and dusk. If there is only one baby left, it is likely it will not make it as it cannot regulate it's body temperature without siblings.

Millie

Sunday 19th of June 2022

My dad found a baby rabbit so we took it 8n it had no mother no siblings and it was cold but it didn't make it the first 2 nights and I have been grieving bumpers death and I have sat here it's cold dead body laying on my chest and me feeling guilty for the whole day watching it knowing its not waking up but I don't know what I did wrong please give some tips incase I might have done something wrong

Kathryn

Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

I'm very sorry. Baby rabbits are incredibly fragile and sometimes there's just nothing we can do despite our best efforts.

Mary

Saturday 7th of May 2022

I have a bunny who’s probably a month old or something by now but today I found it what seemed to be dead but it was still twitching and it’s nails still had blood in them. Right now I’m trying to warm it up in my bra and I washed it in warm water but idk if I’m doing it right or if there’s anything else I can do.

Kathryn

Monday 9th of May 2022

At a month old it sounds like perhaps it was injured instead of cold?

Dakalo

Thursday 5th of May 2022

Hi I don't know if you'll see this but i hope you do....so i came back from school yesterday and found that my rabbit gave birth (to 3 kits) i found them all on the floor (we didn't know she was pregnant) and i picked them up and made a ne sting box an left the mother in there but when i went to check on them this morning i found two of them dead (i think the mother sat on one of them) i took the one that is still alive to my room and covered it with cotton for warmth please tell me what to do is our first baby rabbit 🙏

Dakalo

Thursday 5th of May 2022

I just checked it and i found green "pee or poop" should I be worried

rebecca

Thursday 13th of January 2022

i know this is an old post but im hoping i can get a response and if so... in time....

i found a bunny earlier (kit) i looked around for newt and dont see one anywhere but he doesnt look old enough to be out by himself/herself i left it alone to see if it would go on its way during the day and i just came out and it is barely breathing its like gasping for air, im trying my best to keep it warm but i have no idea what to do... help please 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

Kathryn

Tuesday 18th of January 2022

I'm so sorry, once they start gasping like that they often are too far gone to be saved. :(

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