How to Feed Wild Rabbits: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Feed Wild Rabbits: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Feed Wild Rabbits: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
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If you get a friendly visit from a wild rabbit in the backyard, the idea of ​​feeding it might cross your mind. However, before gathering a bunch of carrots and lettuce in your arms and running away, it is important to know what the bunny can eat and even if you should feed him or not (especially in the case of a puppy). In general, it is not recommended to feed wild animals, but it is better to know what to give to them and how to do it right to at least ensure that the rabbit is not harmed.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Feeding an Adult Wild Rabbit

Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 1

Step 1. Choose a place in the yard to put the food

If you don't mind wild rabbits visiting, create a space where they can eat. As these animals prefer wooded locations on the property's boundaries, try making a bunch of branches in the backyard or garden.

  • In summer, when rabbits like to eat grass and grass, stop mowing a patch of yard so that the weeds grow taller, providing a hiding place for the rabbits to feed.
  • If wild rabbits feel safe in your yard, don't be surprised if they come back every day to eat grass.
  • In the winter months, when they eat the most bark and twigs, you can make a pile of these items in a corner of the yard.
  • Be aware that if you put food in these places, you could end up attracting other wildlife to your yard.
Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 2

Step 2. Offer grass and hay

It doesn't matter if the rabbit is wild or domestic, grass and hay are the staples of this animal's diet. Surely the rabbits won't have a problem finding plenty of grass to chew on in the backyard, but what about hay? Recommended types of hay for wild rabbits are oat and timothy. Alfalfa hay should only be fed to older rabbits, but avoid feeding this type to adult rabbits as it is rich in protein, calcium and sugar.

  • Buy hay at pet stores or online.
  • Do not use pesticides in the yard if you are the host of wild rabbits. Pesticides can make poor animals very sick.
Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 3

Step 3. Put granulated feed for the rabbits in the yard

The pellet feed is a great source of nutrients for them and, if it has seeds, even better! Don't forget that the pellet feed is very rich in nutrients, so there's no need to overdo the portion size.

Look for feed at pet supply stores. If you know the approximate size of wild rabbits, ask store clerks what the ideal amount of feed for them is

Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 4

Step 4. Give fresh vegetables

Offer at least three types of leafy greens with each meal, including one that is rich in vitamin A. Some good options for bunnies are:

  • Cabbage (rich in vitamin A).
  • Beet leaves (also rich in vitamin A).
  • Lettuce: roman, purple or crisp (do not give iceberg lettuce and prefer darker leaves).
  • Spinach.
  • Parsley.
  • Basil.
  • Mint.
  • Chinese Chard (bok choy).
  • Dandelion leaves.
  • Mustard leaves.
  • Pod (only the pod, without the peas).
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Chard.
  • Broccoli (stem and leaves only).
  • Coriander.
  • Dill (dill).
  • Carrot stalks.
  • Celery leaves.
  • Cress.
  • Very well washed carrot leaves are also a good option.
  • Thoroughly wash all vegetables to eliminate pesticides.
  • Carrots are a very popular choice for rabbits, but they are high in carbohydrates and should only be offered in small amounts (only half a carrot every other day). Give a smaller portion of carrots than other vegetables.
  • Do not give foods that cause gas or bloating, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Rabbits cannot expel gas, so the build-up in the digestive system can cause serious health problems and can even be fatal.
  • Since wild rabbits are not as used to vegetables as domestic rabbits, present the options slowly. In the beginning, stick with just one type of vegetable. Start with a small amount of green leaves and look for intestinal problems such as diarrhea or loose stools.
  • Rabbits also have individual taste preferences, so if one of them doesn't seem very interested in certain vegetables, record this information and replace the vegetable in question with ones he might like better.
  • If you incorporate a new vegetable too quickly into the wild rabbit's diet, it may get diarrhea.
  • Wild rabbits love to eat clovers and watercress.
Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 5

Step 5. Offer small portions of fruit

The bunny usually eats small berries along with other parts of the plant to neutralize the high sugar content they contain. If you want to give fruit, offer varied options such as blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and blackberry.

  • Offer blackberries and raspberries along with the leaves and stems.
  • Bananas and dried fruits are very high in sugar and should be given in moderation (lesser amounts). In this case, the maximum serving should be two slices of banana with 1, 5 cm and two or three pieces of dried fruit.
  • Other possibilities are papaya, melon and plums (without pits). However, it may be better to stick only to red fruits, as the rabbit is used to eating them in the wild.

Method 2 of 2: Feeding an Orphaned Puppy

Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 6

Step 1. Find out if the bunny is really an orphan

If you find a nest with chicks and the mother is not around, or if very small bunnies are out there alone, the first thought that may cross your mind is that they are alone in the world. Most of the time, however, this is not the case - the mother may simply not be in the nest at the moment and come back later. It's best to make sure the puppies don't have a mother before trying to feed and care for them.

  • The mother rabbit breastfeeds for short periods of time during the night and early morning and then leaves the nest during the day. So it's not surprising that she isn't seen with her puppies during the day.
  • If the babies' tummy looks very full, you can be sure that the mother is taking care of them. When you examine them closely, you may see traces of milk on the puppies' fur, indicating that they are being breastfed.
  • To be absolutely sure that the mother is around, you can arrange a string of the desired shape on top of the nest. Arrange the string at dusk and in the morning check how it is. If it's messed up, it's because the mother has returned to the nest.
  • Puppies that appear to be cold, weak, dehydrated, or bruised are likely orphans. As it is very difficult to rehabilitate and care for a wild rabbit puppy, you should contact a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center ASAP.
Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 7

Step 2. Learn how to feed orphaned wild rabbit pups

If you cannot get in immediate contact with a rehabilitation center, you may need to provide at least some basic care (food and a cozy place) for the orphaned puppies. Normal goat's milk is often recommended for them. A breastmilk substitute for kittens or puppies can also be a good idea in this case.

  • Milk replacers can be found at pet stores.
  • You may find goat milk in supermarkets. Otherwise, look for a quick option on the internet.
  • Cow's milk and infant formulas are not recommended for bunny rabbits.
  • If puppies are cold before nursing, place them in a shoe box lined with a soft, clean cloth. Turn on a thermal pad at the lowest temperature, place it on a table and place half the shoe box on top of the pad. That way they can move away from the heat if the temperature gets too hot.
Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 8

Step 3. Feed the baby rabbits

Knowing "what" to give them is half the battle, but knowing how to feed them is a crucial part of babies' survival. Because they are very small, wild rabbit puppies can be fed with a syringe (1 to 3 ml), available at any pharmacy. Another good option is to use an eyedropper.

  • To eliminate harmful bacteria from milk, heat it in the microwave or boil it on the stove. Cold milk can cause fatal diarrhea in babies.
  • Feed them in a quiet place so as not to stress the puppies.
  • Carefully take one bunny at a time and hold it with a soft cloth, letting it move, but being careful not to fall over. Tilt the puppy's head so that it is higher than the rest of the body and place the syringe near the corner of the rabbit's mouth. These two measures prevent the milk from accidentally being aspirated and ending up in the lungs.
  • Not overdo the milk. When his belly gets a little rounded, it's time to stop.
  • This site (in English) shows the amount of milk and frequency of breastfeeding of puppies according to their age.
  • Don't forget to wash your hands before each session.
Feed a Wild Rabbit Step 9

Step 4. Encourage urination and defecation

Once puppies are finished nursing, it is important that they urinate and pass feces to keep their digestive and urinary systems healthy. To help them, caress the anal area with a cotton swab dampened in warm water until each pup is able to do their needs.

Tips

  • Rabbits are herbivores and like to eat a variety of plants.
  • The wild rabbit has a penchant for destroying gardens and trees. Enclose the garden with a 60 cm chicken coop screen, supported by stakes spaced 1, 80 to 2 m apart. There are protective plastic grids for encircling backyard trees that can also be purchased.
  • Keep in mind that wild rabbits can be dependent on someone else for food if you decide to go for it.

Notices

  • You can end up doing more harm than good if you don't know how to properly care for and rehabilitate orphaned puppies. Leave the care of the bunnies in the hands of the wild animal rehabilitation center as soon as possible.
  • Pesticides are toxic to wild rabbits.
  • Some vegetables (such as broccoli) can cause gas and bloating, which can be fatal for a wild rabbit.
  • Unless you have an authorization from Ibama, it is illegal to keep wild animals at home.

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