Came home on Friday night to discover 5 pink things wriggling about in one of my rabbits cages. According to Pet at Home i have 2 female rabbits but obviously not unless it was an immaculate conception! Anyway rabbits are already split up because they kept fighting or so we thought! Mother rabbit has had nothing to do with her babies at all, she hasn't fed them because I read the internet for the signs and the babies were all getting really skinny. The babies have been trying to find her in the cage and but as soon as a baby came near her she kicked it away and hopped off, eventually i held her down and kept her still so that the babies could get fed. She has quite badly scratched 2 of them. What do I do now? I am prepared to keep making her feed them but am i doing the right thing should i just let nature take its course as i have been told to do by the local animal welfare lady? I am going on holiday on Tuesday which makes it worse but my friend is willing to hold her down to let them feed. Is there anybody here who has dealt with this or knows what to do?
I would seek urgent help from the vet - holding mum down so that the kits can feed might encourage her to harm them (and I mean potentially cannibalise).
there might be someone locally who can offer rescue and bottle feed the babies.
usually mum rabbit only feeds before dawn and then around dusk - she stands over the babies and spends most of the day ignoring them (its how they ensure survival in the wild without drawing attention of predators)
I breed lionhead bunnies and our mummy bun spends very little time around her kits.
Hand rearing rabbits is very hard and not often with a good outcome, so mothers milk is definately the best for them. Mother rabbits are however as ouch says inclined to cannibalise their young if they are not happy, often due to interference. It is a hard call to know whether to leave them with mum or try and hand rear them as both have potentially bad outcomes. If you call your vet they should be able to advise on milk substitutes (don't just assume any milk will do - it will not), or perhaps ways of keeping them with mum.
Sorry didn't come back to update this we went on holiday. I phoned my vet who basically said the same just let nature run its course, put her in a quiet room and put a cover over her. She was already in our bedroom but put a cover over her cage. Later on that night had a wee look in the cage and she had fed them, they all had full tummies!! My friend was looking after them while I was on holiday and we have 4 left one died at about a week old but my friend said it just seemed to be too small it never seemed to grow like the others so was probably the runt of the litter. So we came home to 4 cute little bunnies that actually look like rabbits and not pink wriggly things! We are going to keep one and already have homes for the other 3.