Newborn Kits - Indifferent Mother??

by Victoria

Just after I found them

Just after I found them

My bunny just gave birth to a litter of 4 kits 2 days ago, and she has absolutely no interest in them at all. She is quite young (4 or 5 months) so I think she might not understand what is happening to her body. I found the kits scattered across the floor in the morning, still bloody and one of them with a dead fetus still attached by umbilical cord. There was another dead fetus on the floor as well.

I left them for a little while, to see if mama bunny would clean them up herself, but when flies became attracted I took action! I separated the the live bun from her dead sibling and put the kits on a towel on my lap to warm up as they were very cold.

It has been two days and the mother is still yet to show any interest in her babies, let alone take care of them!

I wasnt even sure she was pregnant until I found the babies - she didnt show any of the normal signs, ie digging, gathering hay, pulling fur. She still hasnt pulled any fur to line a nest or clear way for the babies to feed. There is a small bald patch on her leg though where it seems like she tried to pull some hair out. The patch was bleeding when I saw it. Her disinterest goes as far as standing on the babies on her way to the food bowl, and using their bed as a toilet. I also found white liquid on the ground away from where the nest is.. I am assuming this is milk? But I think she didnt know what to do with it.

So my question is, what should I do? I have given the bunnies a couple of dropper fulls of special formula designed for bunnies, but they are still very tiny, with lots of extra wrinkly skin. After giving them the food they became a lot more lively which gives me hope!

Should I continue to feed them the formula regularly? Is there anyway I can encourage her to nurse her babies, or is it too late now. And if I do take care of them by hand, should I completely separate the mother?
Help me!!

(I have attached some pics of the babies)

***** Karen Sez *****
Thanks for sharing! It is unfortunate that some young mothers on their first pregnancy have no clue what's happening. So yes, at this point you may as well separate the kits from the doe, because they are at risk for being trampled, or at best ignored, if they stay with the doe.

Please check our page on feeding orphan bunnies: - this will tell you everything, including the website of the true expert - Ms. Kenyon. Please do check her website as needed.

Besides feeding your kits the bunny formula, you need Benebac, or another similar probiotic formula. As long as you manage to inoculate the bunnies' guts with the correct bacteria, they stand an excellent chance of surviving!

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Nov 05, 2017
Rabbit Mum ignoring new Kits!
by: Pauline

Just read the previous post and answers and found the answers to my own concern. Mum an 8 month old Mini Rex that kindled last night. She built a nest in a cardboard box after making a hole in the side.

I prepared her cage with extra bedding but she moved it all to the box which she obviously preferred. Went out this morning to lots of fur all over the porch floor (where my bunnies live) as well as lots of straw and hay she dropped yesterday. Found some blood in the cage and she was not in the box but in her favourite sitting place.

Checked inside the box and found three babies all snug and warm in her fur. My worry was that she was not seeming bothered about her kits. But I now know that this is normal and that they do not behave like cats who spend lots of time with the kits. Fingers crossed she will turn out to be a good mum and start nursing them.

This website has been so helpful and I have had many of my questions answered by simply reading posts. Thank you to everyone.

Jan 17, 2013
Force Feeding
by: Anonymous

I know I'm way late to this but for future reference holding the mother on her back and letting the baby nurse may let her motherly instincts kick in. Works for me ALLL the time.

Mar 09, 2012
by: Becca

Keep in mind that rabbits do not act like dogs or cats when it comes to paying attention to their kits. They feed and get out of the nestbox for 12 to 24 hrs and don't even say 'Howdee Do' to the babies in that time. They don't "nurture" like we are used to thinking.

Have you tried holding her on her back and putting the babies to her nipples ?? Don't over feed them if you do start feeding by hand. Feed naturally as the mamma would do.

Mine would feed around 8 am and/or 9 pm so I would pull the nestbox around 9 every night and by morning the mamma was quite ready to get in, feed, glare at me, and then hop out and go on her merry way to the other side of the cage. After about 4 days her hormones kicked in and she was more "motherly" but they still do NOT get in the box at all times to just nurture unless you have a very unusual doe.

READ EVERY WORD of anything you can find on the rabbit sites but just don't overfeed. They do not need to be fed every 2 hrs like puppies and kittens.


***** Karen Sez *****
'Glare at me' ... lol! Very well put, Becca. Thanks for the post.

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