We checked on the rabbit kits today and found that one of Ava’s looked like it hadn’t been fed in a while – it was skinny and wrinkly. In comparison to its littermates, it’s also much smaller. Ava has the litter of 11, so we moved the “runt” to Loretta’s nest box in the hope that she would foster it.
In the meantime, we ran out to the grocery store to buy goat milk and heavy whipping cream, along with bottlefeeding supplies, to try to hand feed the kit. It’s pretty much “gloom and doom” on the web regarding trying to hand feed young kits, but we wanted to give it a little help; if it doesn’t make it, it doesn’t make it. We know there may be reasons why the kit won’t make it – maybe it has some physical problem we can’t see.
The kit wasn’t very receptive to the formula. After several tries and a bottle nipple change (moved to a smaller one), we put the kit back and fervently hoped its foster mother would feed it. If it hasn’t fed by tonight, we’ll try to get a doe to feed it and, if that doesn’t work, try hand feeding again.
Despite the initial feeding setback, the kit is still lively, so we hold onto hope that it will survive. Rabbit milk is incredibly calorie-rich and difficult to simulate. It makes sense; the doe only feeds her kits once or twice a day for around five minutes, so it has to be a superfood.
With a few good feedings, the kit could catch up with its now much-larger littermates. We know the kit is in a precarious situation, and will continue to try to help. Ultimately, however, its fate is not ours to determine.