Saving Three Wild Rabbits

by Wes
(Huntingdon, PA)

One time I hit a cottontail on the road causing her to die and have three kits on the road alive.

I raise domestic rabbits and had a doe at home that had a small litter (only three usually six to ten) the same day. I have had does adopt bunnies before, but a method I learned to prevent them from killing unfamiliar kits is to take the doe out and put the bunnies in her nest with her bunnies. Then I place a small drop of vanilla on her nose so she cannot smell the difference between the bunnies.

The vanilla wears off in about an hour. By that time the bunnies all smell the same. Even though I put them with a litter of Mini lops they grew much slower than the domestic ones and I was worried they would end up getting pushed out by the bigger bunnies. That didn't happen because they developed faster making them able to hold their own.

At three weeks when the others started eating pellets I separated them most of the day into a pen next door so they would learn to eat fresh grass and dandy lions. I would return them once every day to nurse.

At 6 weeks I put them in a wire pen on the ground that had no roof and required a four ft jump to escape. In about two weeks they jumped and escaped. They stayed close with the wild rabbits that came in and ate dropped pellets at night. In time they disappeared.

I am not sure if they left the area, were killed by local predators, or just blended in with the rest of the wild crew to not be recognized.

My point is if you are going to raise wild rabbits the best method is to leave that to the rabbits if it is at all possible. I believe this was a successful save that I would only get involved in because I couldn't stand the thought of leaving them on the road to starve.

I am not sure of the legality of this in my state, but they were released as soon as they could handle being on their own.



Great story Wes, and congratulations on saving the bunnies.

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