Help! Baby bunny question.

Wolfie

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There is a nest of baby bunnies in my yard I just discovered today. Well my dogs discovered. I tried barricading off that part of the yard but it only slowed my dogs down slightly. They aren't very big but are hopping around, just not very fast. I'm sure they're not on their own completely yet without the mom. They will hop a few steps then try to burrow back into the ground. Would it confuse the mother rabbit if I moved them outside my fence but just a few feet away from where she left them? There were three and now there are two, thanks to one of my dogs. :( I'd call one of the wildlife people around here and ask but they take forever to get back.
 

Rosie1

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Leave them be, I say this from (unfortunate) experience. Baby bunnies are terribly hard to try to care for yourself, too, so you're best bet is to leave them alone and let momma do her thing. They really don't take long at all before they end up leaving the nest. If they are hopping around and stuff, maybe a couple weeks? I think their eyes open at 10 days and then they are weaned in 3-4 weeks.

The rabbits around here LOVE nesting in our yard, I don't know why. I've been watching some of the younger rabbits hang out by our peach tree a lot. But ever since that first experience, I just leave them alone. And make sure to leash walk the dog when he's out there.

This is a good link: http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/orphan.html
 

KLS52

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Ugh...I hate when this type of stuff happens. :( I have no advice, I'm afraid. The consensus, after a quick google search, seems to be, best not to move the nest and to call a wildlife expert. If it really is just a few feet away, maybe it would be ok if it means saving them from the dogs? But if they are left unprotected outside of the fence without the safety of the burrow, that doesn't sound good either. :(
 

RabbitLuvr

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Leave them be, I say this from (unfortunate) experience. Baby bunnies are terribly hard to try to care for yourself, too, so you're best bet is to leave them alone and let momma do her thing. They really don't take long at all before they end up leaving the nest. If they are hopping around and stuff, maybe a couple weeks? I think their eyes open at 10 days and then they are weaned in 3-4 weeks.

The rabbits around here LOVE nesting in our yard, I don't know why. I've been watching some of the younger rabbits hang out by our peach tree a lot. But ever since that first experience, I just leave them alone. And make sure to leash walk the dog when he's out there.

This is a good link: http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/orphan.html

This.
If momma bunny comes back to the burrow and finds one of the babies gone, she may move the nest on her own.
However, if you move the babies they will be out in the open, and momma might not find them for their feeding.
 
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Wolfie

Wolfie

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Thanks everyone. I did get a hold of the local rabbit lady here before I checked the board again and she said the same thing you all did. She says by the sounds of it they will be off on their own in a couple days so it'd be best just to try to keep the dogs away from them. So now I go outside and see if the bunnies are roaming or in their nest. If they are in their nest, I cover it with a bucket and then put something heavy on top. Then I let the dogs out, run back and stand by the bucket, and threaten to box ears if anyone comes near the bucket. :p Then I let the dogs back inside and uncover the bunnies. If the bunnies happen to be roaming, I guess I'll take the whole crew out the front door on leashes. (One of my dogs won't poop on leash though which is a pain.) They are so freaking cute. I eventually found three, so must have been four to start with. :( I just love looking at them all snuggled up sleeping together.
 

KLS52

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Awww...glad you are working it out even though it sounds like a big inconvenience. I wasn't worried...I knew you'd figure out something! :)
 
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Wolfie

Wolfie

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Ok, so I'm not even sure momma rabbit is still coming back, but the babies all appear to be bright eyed and healthy, just spending most of their time in that nest. I need to try to call the rabbit lady again tomorrow, but I am assuming just leave them be, they don't need my help if they appear to be healthy? I marked the nest with string overnight like she said and it didn't appear to be moved by mom rabbit. And there ended up being more babies. The lady told me they usually have 6-7, and the other day I found a few more a few feet away from the nest. So there would have been a total of 7, had my dog not been bad and got one. Some of them had to have left the yard, then returned, because they weren't covered by the bucket any of the times I let the dogs out, and there's no way they went undiscovered by my dogs if they were inside the yard. I swear they've grown and gotten faster in just the last 2 days. I just wish they'd hurry and leave the yard. It's not a good place for bunnies. Though my dogs know the routine now. They will look at the bucket, look at me and slink back to the house. I make sure all the bunnies are accounted for each time before letting the dogs out and if they're not, I take the dogs out front on leash. It just worries me the mother seems to have vanished.
 
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led.boots

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I read once that the mama rabbit only nurses a few times a day, and as the buns get older, they are left by themselves most of the time.

I love the mental picture of your dogs eyeing the bucket as they slink into the house... :D
 

K-II

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Rabbits kinda suck at self defence vs pretty much anything. The mother will just drop by a few times and feed them rather than try to protect them and martyr itself. They also die pretty fast from not eating, so if the mother is gone they're likely eating on their own now anyway. Cottontails (as opposed to European rabbits which live in burrows/warrens) tend to leave babies just wandering all over once they're capable of doing so, so you end up with a heap of clueless rabbits hopping around until they get eaten or learn to be more cautious. Which is... probably why they start with so many.
 

RabbitLuvr

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Yeah, the mother bunnies only return to the nest once or twice a day (dusk/dawn) to nurse and check on the babies. If the babies appear healthy, she's been there to feed them. Since they are so active, hopping around and able to leave your yard on their own, they should leave the nest very soon.