Skip to Content

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

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.

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!

Want To Raise Happy Chickens?

Subscribe for our newsletter and get the free email course Intro To Backyard Chickens as well as a free printable checklist to walk you through step by step!

Powered by ConvertKit

Tallon

Monday 12th of July 2021

Hi, my rabbit gave birth a few days ago when we got her we had no idea she was pregnant but in the last few days all 7 of her kits died beyond resuscitation she is heartbroken and I have no idea what to do. thank you

Tallon

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

@Kathryn, Thank you so much, I am planning on getting her spayed in the future I really appreciate all your help.

Kathryn

Monday 12th of July 2021

I'm so sorry to hear that. :( If she is a pet rabbit, you may want to consider getting her spayed in the long run as that will help her avoid health problems. If she is livestock, you can offer her the chance to re-breed, as she may be interested. Either way, plenty of affection and some favorite treats will likely help her right now.

Candy

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

I found a nest of wild new born bunnies covered in ants I washed them off but they are eatin up pretty bad I’m trying now to warm them up they are all 5 still breathing barely I can’t put them back I put them in a box with a towel now what??

Kathryn

Monday 12th of July 2021

Unfortunately, rabbits really don't survive well on supplemental milk. :(

Jojo Boyce

Friday 5th of March 2021

What are some signs that the baby bunny isn’t going to make it? I’m 16 and my bunny gave birth and it’s been 3 days and I warmed it back up but I don’t know if it’s going to make it. It look like it has hiccups but I know that means it can’t breathe, I’ve been researching everything about it and I found your page and was able to warm it back up but I don’t know if it’s going to make it please contact me on my email “jojoboyce2@gmail.com” and if you want my phone number just ask that on my email please.

susan

Friday 19th of February 2021

I just found three kits, well my dog did. at first I thought they were dead until I read these posts. they weren't stiff so I put them back. I'm hoping the mother will hurry and get them warm. but we just had a week of snowy storms. will the kits make it with the snowy surrounding and no mother until feeding time? there's no snow near the hole but all around...

Kathryn

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Yup, the best thing to do is to put them back! Rabbits babies keep themselves warm by piling all together. Mama will come feed them a couple times a day.

Jorja

Sunday 7th of February 2021

Hi! We have had a terrible conundrum, we got bunnies from someone, and we thought the girl was the boy, and the boy was the girl! And then one snuck into the other’s cage, and one month later, we have baby bunnies!!!!! There are six, but the mom was getting nervous because she was young, and so she ate legs off two of them! 😭 they are actually getting around fine, until 15 minutes ago, one of the missing leg ones got really slow! I fed him five syringes of milk and some electrolyte powder with water, which isn’t what the lady recommended, and he got really slow and tired, i have been trying to keep him really warm, but I can’t tell if he is still alive! Any tips? I really love him he is my favorite!

Kathryn

Monday 8th of February 2021

Oh yikes! Rabbits only feed their young twice a day, and they keep each other warm. If you do have to supplement, try kitten formula. Also, sometimes mama rabbits eat the young if they don't have enough protein and some rabbit keepers will offer them a hot dog right after giving birth.