Skip to Content

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

This post may contain affiliate links.

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 Grow Fruit In The City?

You can save money at the grocery store without a time intensive garden or committing to raising livestock. Sign up for the Backyard Orchards email course today!

Powered by ConvertKit
How To Keep Warm And Happy In Winter With No Heat
← Previous
15 Chicken Keeping Mistakes to Avoid
Next →

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.

Tray

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Hi,

So I made a post here last on the 2nd December 2020 about all the kits dying...Its been almost two months since that happened and my doe still hasn't had another litter. Isn't that strange? Shouldn't she have had more kits by now?

Thanks, Tray

Kathryn

Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

Sometimes they don't breed as much when there are short daylight hours. If you don't have a litter by spring maybe try her with a different buck.

Sandie

Wednesday 16th of December 2020

I got baby rabbits not long ago. I was told that both were females by the people who sold them to me only to be shocked last night with a surprised litter.

I got them at 3 months of age and are now 6 months and the mother never gave any signs that she was expecting.

I seperated the momma and babies from the dad. In total she had 5 babies but by morning today there's only 1 left. The mom often cuddles over her only baby left but she won't pull out any fur. I do know that she feeds her baby.

I didn't have much but I used cardboard to line the inside of a wooden box and piled hay to create a nest but I needed fur and only could find fur by brushing my long haired cat. Momma likes it but I'm afraid for the baby. It's all alone, no siblings and wonder what else I can do to make sure baby does not get cold. Momma loves her only baby left.

Kathryn

Friday 18th of December 2020

It sounds like you're doing everything you can to give it it's best chance.