How To Increase Milk Production in Rabbits
You are not alone, because I have been in the same situation myself. However, before you attempt to feed a baby rabbit including orphans, runts, or abandoned domestic or wild baby rabbit kitsyou need to make sure they really do need your intervention. I know this, because it happened to me. I lost one of gabbit orphaned baby yow from bad information.
Most people mean well. I may not be a vet, but I happen to have raised pet rabbits since before the internet was commercialized and when dial-up was king. Rabbits are my absolute favorite animal! It was really an undertaking trying to find the best practices for this emergency mission! I researched like crazy online the second I knew my rabbit kits were in trouble! I tried everything good, knowledgeable people had to offer.
Just an FYI, there is a shot your vet can give the doe to help her milk come in, but it needs to be done within the first 3 days. I contacted my local 4-H leader, posted to rabbit Facebook groups, contacted a local rabbit breeder, talked with a volunteer at the animal shelter, and did massive amounts of research online including watching YouTube videos. In my area, rabbits are considered exotics by veterinarians and they only know the basics, basically.
I really felt that I was on my own. AND, before anyone judges me for being such an irresponsible pet owner, rrabbit is a little background.
The doe that kindled the babies was a rescued feral rabbit that was captured and came home with me THREE days before she gave birth. She and her new babies were saved from a pest control issue that was likely to involve them being poisoned to death.
Bottle feeding a newborn baby rabbit can be challenging for a number of reasons, but when you are determined it is definitely possible. I had to learn through trial and error. The first thing I tried was a baby rabbit formula recipe that I found on YouTube from a rabbit breeder. It kept them alive, but they were terribly bony and were not gaining any weight. Yeah, I really messed that up, and I lost the kit that was initially the strongest of the three!
You see, rabbit milk has a really high fat and protein content. I started with three and was down to two. I was heart-broken, stressed, rabbt and forkula I was going to mess up it up for the other two, but I still kept going. Then a friend mentioned something I should have done from the start — raw goat milk. I knew all about the benefits of raw goat milk, but was too tired to how to write best man speeches my brain to see the obvious.
After a couple feedings of diluted unflavored Pedialyte, I immediately switched them over to raw goat milk and their diarrhea cleared up. Those hungry little babies were just not getting the fat and protein content their tiny bodies desperately needed.
I needed to up the fat and protein concentration, because goat milk is low in both. Being an accounting gal, I studied all the food labels and slapped all the appropriate numbers into an excel spreadsheet. I needed to find the exact amount of powder to add to the goat milk to increase the percentage of protein and fat to the closest it could be to true rabbit milk without going overboard. Let me tell you, formulla takes a lot of powdered goat milk to bring it up to that level and it looked like a thin milkshake when I was done.
I ended up erring on the side of caution and added slightly less than I needed. It was easy to make up for that with extra feedings if needed. I was pretty worried that I might hurt them, and that they might get overloaded on extra firmula and minerals.
Here is what happened: I fed it to them. They ate fabbit just fine. Then they slowly started to grow. They were totally runty at first!
It was so funny, because they looked like fuzzy little button mushrooms with legs. They seemed normal. After a feeding they would fall asleep in my hand. They were great eaters with huge appetites! Our orphaned baby rabbits got so strong and healthy eating what does a 3 phase bone scan show custom baby rabbit formula recipe, that they practically kicked my butt every time I had to feed them!
They loved to eat so much I could hardly contain them! Scrappy little Bugglets they were and still are. Said in my best Yoda voice, of course.
It is pretty darn lucky that they survived, especially considering their back story. And, it may not work for every little baby. Small kitchen scale that weighs in grams. Digital thermometer.
Miracle Nipples with syringe — get them ordered now! It will take a few days to get them. Do try your local vet first, though! Miracle Nipple Mini at least 2 nipples. Mini mixer. Infrared Laser Temperature Gun. Measure out 1 cup of how tall is toby keith into a pint canning jar.
In a separate container, measure out 56 mame of the powdered milk. Slowly blend in a little at a time until it is fully incorporated. Mixing it in a blender on low bursts would probably work just fine, too. Cover with a plastic or metal canning lid and ring. Use a permanent marker on Scotch tape to put the date mixed and date the milk expires on the lid.
I just sat my stuff on top of the kitchen table so I could sit down. You are going to want to cut formual cosmetic mil, to a point to better simulate the nipple. Plus, they have tiny sharp little teeth that can rub on it and cut it. Before you start, have your feeding area set up. This will help their digestion. To be safe, I go for degrees Fahrenheit, because it can keep getting hotter even after you take it off the heat. Heat a cup or two of water on the stove until it boils.
Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Using a small plastic cup or bowl filled with a few tablespoons of formula, how to check mark all songs in itunes it on top you may need to hold it and stir. Check the temperature often, because it can heat up rather quickly. Once it is between 98 and degrees, pull it out of the water bath and keep stirring and taking the temp until it stops getting hotter.
If you over heat it past degrees Fahrenheit, start over. I set them on the warm beanbag to dabbit them cozy. Hold the baby in one hand. The correct position is with your knuckles and the top of your hand facing the ceiling and your fingers tucked ho the kit — kind how to make face white in photoshop like how you hold a pot handle or bike handle bar.
Next, dip the pointy corner of the sponge into the formula and gently squeeze the sponge until it is slightly wet, but not saturated. Once they rabbkt the hang of it, they get really good at grabbing it with very little help. Let them suck the formula out.
They will usually hold on tight, so be careful not to tear it. Keep repeating until they are full, but not overstuffed. This is a slow process, so it is less likely that they will over-eat. When feeding newborn rabbits, the milk naturally wants to travel up their split upper lip and into their tiny nostrils. The best thing you can do is pull the sponge out and dab their nose with a clean cotton ball and let them sneeze it out.
Let them finish sneezing before you offer more milk. This totally unnerved me, but it was nearly impossible to keep it from happening — just be prepared for it! You can gradually increase the ratio of milk to premixed formula after a few feedings.
This will help prevent constipation. They will fight it at first, because they are not used to it, but keep trying. Eventually they take it and will get to a point where they suck it dry in less than a minute.
They can have digestive issues if allowed to stuff themselves. Baby rabbits normally get fed by mom once every 24 hours. It is usually at night or early in the morning. The mamma rabbits can get away with this because their milk is so rich. Once they are growing well, you can cut back to times per day. Burp them, of course….
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Oct 01, · 1 can evaporated milk equal amount of water () 1 tsp. Karo syrup. 1 tsp. baby cereal. FORMULA #3: 1 tsp. mixed baby cereal for every 3 oz. homogenized milk. 4 drops Karo syrup or 1/2 tsp. commercial canine or feline milk replacer. FORMULA #4: 1 lg. egg yolk added to enough homogenized milk to make 4 to 6 oz. of formula. All of these formulas should be stored in the . Dec 26, · First off, they strongly suggest using Esbilac Puppy Milk Replacer or KMR Kitten Milk Replacer, but this will work in a pinch until you can get some milk replacer, which it looks like you have anyways. Mix together and warm: Equal part evaporated milk and water 1 Tbsp. plain yogurt with active cultures Drop of Karo syrup.
A doe only feeds her kits 2 times a day, and each feeding session will only be a few minutes long. It may look like a doe is ignoring her litter, but this is perfectly normal. It is made possible because the milk from a rabbit is more concentrated in nutrients and calories than other types of mammal milk.
Rabbit kits drink milk from the doe twice a day. Kits will continue to drink milk from the doe up until they are fully weaned at between weeks of age. Increasing milk production in the doe to meet this demand relies on her diet. A lactating doe should have free access to water and food. This includes fresh vegetables, pellets, and grass hays. Alfalfa hay should also be offered for increased calcium and protein, which will benefit the doe and kits. Providing a secure and quiet environment for the doe to nest in will also prevent any stress-related issues in milk production.
Poor nutrition, health issues, and a lack of food can cause milk production to be lessened or ceased entirely. A female rabbit has mammary glands that produce milk for her young. This milk will be the only sustenance that rabbit kits ingest during their first fragile weeks of life.
Aside from providing nutrition and hydration, this milk is the only food rabbit kits can safely consume. These colonies aid in breaking down food. Importantly, they also prevent harmful bacteria and parasite populations from growing to dangerous levels.
The Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research notes the vital role that gut bacteria play in protecting weaned rabbits from epizootic enteropathy. This is seen in rabbit kits that are weaned too early. A doe will feed her kits twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night, usually. This will continue up until the kits are 8 weeks old. They should not be separated from the mother until after 8 weeks, even if weaned. Over the next few weeks, the kits will continue to drink from the doe while also eating pellets and food.
The colostrum will keep the gut flora colonies in check, while the kits gradually incorporate more solid foods into their diets. Kits will usually be fully weaned around weeks of age, which is also when the doe will stop producing milk.
In the event that the doe cannot adequately nurse the kits, or she has died, you will have to make rabbit kit formula. This is a bit of a process, as there is no commercial rabbit formula in the U. A rabbit will begin lactating once she has given birth. She will, however, not produce as much milk as you might expect. This works in her favor. This allows her to reduce the frequency of feedings and the amount of milk she has to produce.
In the wild, this would enable a doe to spend more time foraging for food. She should be able to produce enough to keep the kits alive. After this week, her milk production should be providing plenty of food for her kits.
Each feeding session for the kits is only a few minutes long. The main one is the state of the kits. Healthy, well-fed rabbit kits should have plump bellies, be warm to the touch, and not have wrinkly skin. Well-fed kits will also be calm and restful.
You may even be able to see their milk-filled stomachs through the semi-translucent skin over their bellies. Rabbit kits that are underfed will have shrunken bellies, wrinkled, blueish skin, and may be crawling around, seeking the doe. If the kits also try to feed every time the doe enters the nest, then they may not be getting enough milk.
It is not unusual for a doe to not produce the maximum amount of milk possible during the first few days after giving birth. Still, a doe should be able to make enough to keep the kits healthy and from starving. This is the hormone that is activated during birth and is responsible for beginning lactation. You may also have heard oxytocin referred to as the loving hormone. A dose of oxytocin will only work for up to 48 hours after the birth, which is why you need to act quickly. Large litters can pose an issue, as the doe may literally be unable to create enough milk to feed all the kits.
Domestic rabbits have an average litter size of 5 kits. However, a doe can have up to 14 kits in a single litter. Naturally, the most well-fed kits will become stronger and able to push their weaker siblings to the side. Unless the doe specifically allows all of the kits a chance to feed, some kits may become underfed.
A doe may literally be unable to lactate due to health reasons. There are many health issues that can afflict rabbits. Carefully observe the doe for any concerning symptoms, and take her to the vet if any arise. You can also verify if the doe is lactating by checking the mammary glands. They should be swollen with milk. A small amount of liquid should leak from the teat if you apply gentle pressure on either side of it. If the kits themselves are sickly, she may also reject the litter and refuse to feed them.
Sad as it is, this is the doe conserving her energy for the next litter and increasing their chances of survival. Keep the doe calm and place her in the nesting box.
Watch how she interacts with the kits, if at all, and if she is willing to nurse. The main reason why a doe may be lacking in milk production is an improper diet.
A nursing doe will eat much more than non-nursing rabbits. A lack of food will prevent the doe from producing milk. A doe will need a quiet, secure place for her nests. Ideally, this means an enclosure or sealed room where no other pets can enter. The less foot traffic in this room, the better. Ensure that she has plenty of high-quality food. A lactating doe should have free access to food and water all day, as her body is working double-time to produce milk.
Nursing does should be given fresh hay every day like normal. However, you can temporarily offer alfalfa hay as well for extra calcium and protein. Doing this ensures that the doe is getting enough calcium for both herself and her milk, which also benefits the growing kits.
Lots of grass hay also means fiber, which will keep her gastrointestinal tract moving. Fresh vegetables and herbs are also a must. Still, it is beneficial to offer extra vegetables and herbs to your rabbit on top of its usual fare. You may even try splitting the food into two separate feeds, so that the food is fresh. Obviously, the doe should always have access to clean water as well. Milk has a great deal of water content. A dehydrated doe will produce less milk, which can also lead to dehydrated kits.
As the Veterinary Nursing Journal states, stress causes rabbits to produce catecholamines, which hamper and stop gut motility. Nursing rabbits and their kits benefit greatly from high-quality food. Ideally, the food quantities that should be increased are the grass hay and the fresh vegetables and herbs.
Normally, the ratio of fresh vegetables and herbs is 9 ounces per 2 pounds of bodyweight. While nursing, you should ignore this ratio and ensure that the doe has free access to fresh food. That is, on top of lots of fresh hay, which can be cut with special alfalfa hay for more protein and calcium.
The more nutrients in her diet, the more nutrients her body can infuse into the milk. We really would not recommend making big changes at this time either. There comes a time when nothing can be done. This is when you need to make a rabbit milk replacer. That is not an easy thing to accomplish. You can supplement her milk by doing additional feedings with the formula. This keeps the kits in top shape, and also ensures that all are hydrated and fed.
At this point in time, there is no direct man-made rabbit milk formula available in the U. You will also need to source fresh pellets and cecotropes made by a healthy rabbit.
The kits will need to eat these to establish the essential gut bacteria colonies to safely make the transition from milk to solid foods. Hand-raising rabbit kits is an arduous duty, and the chances for survival are not great. One source we came across suggested finding a rabbit rescue or breeder willing to foster the kits.
They may have a mother willing to surrogate the kits, which will improve their odds of survival. You will also need to add colostrum and heavy cream to the mix.