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.

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88 thoughts on “How To Resuscitate Baby Bunnies (Even If They Look Dead)”

  1. My gosh they are tiny little things, I imagine it wouldn’t take long for the cold to get to them. Glad you found them. I haven’t tried raising rabbits but good info to know just in case.

  2. Thank you for this post. It was very timely. I had just read it a few days after our doe gave birth unexpectedly. We did lose two. But the three remaining are doing so well, now. We had to move them all into our home for now. But this will help me again in the future I am sure.

  3. Thanks for this one of my babies must have wiggled out of there nest and couldnt get back in I found it cold I rubbed its chest till movement of mouth put it down my clevage then put a towel doubled over a radiator to get it back warm bunny now doing okay will keep checking her

    • As they warm up they should start moving around. If their bodies are warm to the touch, but there’s no signs of life, there’s not much you can do at that point.

    • Yes, a rabbit can mate even if she is pregnant. It’s also possible she may be experiencing a false pregnancy too, so make sure you write down the second breeding date and provide a nest box just in case.

  4. Today found 3 babies in three different places in the bunny area… i thought they are dead so I hurried them and went online… found online your post, got em out washed em warm and keeping on my belly for now, since can’t find my warm pad…. hoping next hour will show if they alive or get stuff… no wiggles so far, but also not feeling that dead cold either… the deep blue one turned pink again….

    • Feel them and see if they are warm to the touch and if their bellies are rounded or sunken in. Babies won’t move much when they’re very small.

  5. Both of my female rabbits had their bunnies on the 11 feb, 3 days ago…
    So far one hasn’t made it. Just went to the rabbit hutch and found 3 more freezing cold.
    At the moment they are in a box onto of a hot water bottle in front of the living room fire. What can I do or am I doing all I can?

  6. hi, we are first time bunny owners and i guess our bunny was pregnant when we got her with a male. this is her first litter, but we were not expecting this, and she gave birth to them with the male still in with her. not sure, can this affect her taking care of them. 2 were dead. we removed the male right away, then now 3 days later, the remaining 4 seemed lifeless, but maybe too cold. i am trying to revive them right now, but for the future, i guess the male needs to come out so she can birth in peace??

    • Yes, if it’s just the two of them in the cage definitely move the male out. Sometimes first time mamas just don’t know what to do, but stress could have been a factor. Good luck.

  7. Hope someone can help me now. Tonight, I found two cold bunnies, I have warmed them, but still no movement. They are in my cleavage with a warm towel over me. There is one wiggling alive kit in the box. There is not a lot of pulled hair, so from what I am reading, the one in the box, needs to have other kits to keep it warm. Should I bring him in and put him in my cleavage too? and what do I do to keep all three warm? I cant have them down my shirt all the time? I don’t think she pulled enough hair. would cotton towels do any good?

    • If you have another litter you could add the single kit into that would be ideal. You could also add a heat lamp.

      For the future, you can save a little bag of fur that your does pull either for false pregnancy or if they pull too much for a litter and use it for when they don’t pull enough.

      • can i use cotton wool in case there is no far? the mum looks young it only gave birth to one bunny. but no far to cover it, this was its first pregnancy.

        • You can give it a try. If there is only one baby it probably will not make it. They depend on their litter mates to help regulate body temperature. However, perhaps the mama just isn’t finished yet.

  8. My sweet Fern just gave birth to her first babes. Yesterday we were thinking she was not pregnant after all. And planning when to get her started again. Glanced this morning. She was in her box but perked up and I thought she was just in there ha. Go to check on her and give her veggies and see babies in the box. Two had crawled away from the middle fur pile. Brought them in and put them in warm water. No signs of life so far 🙁 Gave her veggies and fresh water. Saw that they do not stay on the babies. So I am leaving her be for a while. And will check on her. Cross your fingers we have live babies in there.

    • I hope everything went well with the rest of your rabbit’s birth. Sorry the two didn’t make it. 🙁

  9. Found a wild rabbit nest in backyard. Mower went over it, . Put a couple of twigs over the nest to see if the doe was coming back and they were moved so the nest is not abandoned. One kit appears dead will the mother remove it or should I? Or just leave it? The other kits seem to be doing well
    Thank you

    • Give mom a chance to move the nest or push the dead one out. If she doesn’t after a day or so it probably won’t hurt to pull it out.

  10. Thank you for your advice. My Doe had the first litter / Kit (new at this) and all 8 babies died of the cold. I promised myself the next round I’ll bring in Mommy & babies (7 this time) and all went well. Until they started dying due to the cold. I made a so called nest for them & Mommy took it for herself & tipped the babies out. So I thought right.. last baby day 5… we have to try harder.. by this I lost all hope.. I saw a clip on YouTube to use a warm hot water bottle then put this strong little guy on it. Phew worked!!! Feeding time is still a challenge as we give love to Mommy & hold her while we help this little cutie grt to a teat. I am feeding Mommy with all I can & spoil her… I pray that she doesn’t run out of milk before this toughy gets old enough not to rely on her.

    Hold thumbs as I don’t think I could handle another death. My heart is broken as I couldn’t save the other angels🐰

  11. I came home to find my bunny like this its a new born only two days, and it seemed dead, it was stiff and cold so we thought it passed away then dad burried it in the garden and I just read your post. I figured it wasnt actuallt dead so the guilt I have now is unreal. The Doe only had one baby as well. I went back out to see if theres a chanve but it started to rain so the bit of earth on top obviouslt got heavier and you know….. Cant stop crying

    • Baby bunnies rely on littermates to maintain their body temperature, so unfortunately even if you had revived it, it still most likely would not have survived.

      If it hadn’t already passed away it was in state of hibernation and unaware of its surroundings. Please don’t beat yourself up.

      • Oh okay at least it felt no pain, It was just hear breaking seeing the mother search for the baby.. She is really aggresive towards the male bunny and he runs away from her when ever she comes near and she attacks him so i dont think therell be more bunnies.. Usually the first time round the doe has only one baby I read

        • Yes, it is very sad. 🙁 If it is just one female and one male you may want to get another female (or have him neutered if they are pets), as the male will be very frustrated when she isn’t interested. Also, make sure they have enough space and hidey holes so she can get away from him if they are kept together.

  12. Well my bunny have 10 babies the first one she rejected and i was hand feeding her but she died last night and when i just went back in the nest at birth she had ten 3 died plus the one last nigjt other ate well fed but i am missing one i have searched high and low can find it

  13. Day four and only one kit left. Should I bring it and mother inside or use heat lamp. Thinking the cold got it and mom ate it… 🙁

  14. My doe is outside she is due this week . I’m sacred about losing the babies. Should move them inside with Momma? She’s nesting pretty hard. Today’s day 27 and this is both of the buck and Does first litter aswell as mine. I am still kinda of Clueless on this I just know the basics could I get some help?

  15. My rabbit had an unexpected litter last night and this morning we went out to give her water and we found 3 kits 8n the fur she had pulled and 1 kit on the other side of her pen and they were all very cold so we brought them inside and used a hair dryer to thaw them out and we have been waiting all day but they seem lifeless and are not moving but we do not know wether to bury them or not what should we do with the kits

  16. My baby was cold is getting warm. But it has cried and did some deep breathing where I think it stopped breathing. It’s not moving to much at first it was wiggling but now it’s only moving a little. Is it to late

  17. My Californian doe just had a litter of two. They were born on the wire (she’s a first time mom so I guess she was pretty confused about where to have them..) and they both looked pretty dead. I stuck them up under my shirt though and one started wiggling just moments after. The Other little kit was definitely for sure dead though. Once I got the one that survived warmed back up I put it back into the nest box but I put a rice filled sock that I had warmed up with it in there. Is that okay or will the doe not enter the best box and feed it because of the rice sock? It’s freezing outside and even though I have a heat lamp on out there, I’m scared that it’s gonna get cold again. She didn’t pull much fur either so I can’t really rely on that. Also I’m worried about the fact that she IS a first time mom and I know it seems pretty silly but will she actually go into the nest box and try and nurse that one kit? I’m not sure if she’ll even realize or remember that it’s in there….

    • Oh, forgot to ask one more thing! I’m not sure how long it’s been since she had the two but it was probably only a couple of hours ago… is there any chance that she could have any more? Or are they all usually born at the same time?

      • Hello so I have 2 babies 2 days old and today I’ve noticed that they are very wrinkly and purplish. I put them on a heating pad for a while and they are warmed up I also made sure that they were fed some milk it just really concerns me and if you can help in any way shape or form that would be very appreciated.

        Thank you

  18. So after you warm up a baby is it safe to return them to the nest? Or do you think the mom will reject them again? The pup is 3 days old and removed from the nest she placed him by the water bowl, as if for me to see when I went to check in her this morning. I rubbed him and he Bagan to move and once warm he’s seems fine.

  19. Hi there, My female bunny Isabella has had a litter of baby bunnies today and when I got home they were cold and there was no signs of movement. I used my blow dryer to warm them up and they are currently warm and pink but no movement still. I’m very confused tho because Isabella has been quickly running across the cage and putting her head in front of my hand when I try and touch the kits. She has also been moving around the hay and fur in the nest box. Is this a good sign they might be alive? How do I tell if the kits are alive or not? And also what does it mean and what should I do if my bunny doesn’t pull any fur at all?

  20. I had a kit on the wire couple days old must have come out of nest when mother left. Was cold and lifeless. I didn’t know what to do so put it down my shirt. After 3 hours I felt movement. Returned to nest and it was fine. Happened many years ago.

  21. Hello I have bunnies that are 2 weeks old but are dying, they don’t have a mother and are being fed goat milk and the temperature should be between 60 and 80 degrees what do I do?

    • Unfortunately orphaned rabbits don’t have a very good chance of surviving. If you can put them in with another litter of rabbits they will have a better chance.

  22. My rabbit had an unexpected birth and she did not pull enough fur the kit is was cold and not inside the box so i tried this and within a few minutes it warmed up thenextmorning i placed it back in the cage but tonight exactly the same happened only this time i could not save it it was warm for a while but then became cold again there was no movement and it’s legs are crossed I hand raised the mother when she was thrown out of the nest and know I think she did the same to the little one there were 9 but now there are 8 I am beyond heartbroken

  23. I found a young wild bunny and I don’t know what to do because I can’t go to the vet without my parents and they don’t care

  24. I was so worried about my baby bunnies being warm enough but I think they got too hot and 4/5 of them just died today at 6 days old 😭 I brought the last one inside but feel awful that I didn’t bring the others inside from the beginning. I didn’t know!! Will the 5th one be okay? It had some blood on it near the genitals. I dont know where it is from. I called the vet but I felt judged after I told her they were outside so she wasn’t much help.

    • Oh no! I’m sorry. Temperatures above 80 can be dangerous for all rabbits. Blood is not normal though, so it could be something else besides temperature.

  25. I have a way to revive them and it works wonders also on baby birds. Blow hot air from your mouth in your hands to warm them up. Hold the little one in your hands and try to enclose their whole body leaving just a small opening. Then start blowing hot hair very slowly out of your mouth with your mouth wide open. This way in instead of just air they receive heat with some moisture, which would also help their lungs expand. I have literally resuscitated besides bunnies little birds like doves, quails and finches that were no longer moving and cold. The secret is also to say a heart felt prayer for them. When you blow the air from your mouth into them you are repeating what God did when he created us. Have faith in your act and they will live.

    • I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about cpr for rabbits. Baby rabbits can go into a state like hibernation when they get chilled and if you warm them up in time they can recover.

  26. Hello, one of our bunnies gave birth to 7 healthy babies on the first, but today we found 11 more outside, we picked them up and some moved, some were stiff. I read an article a that said we could use cpr, can I?

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