Many people come across abandoned wild rabbit nests when doing yard work or taking a walk in the woods and are not sure how to care for them. While it is tempting to take baby rabbits home and raise them as pets, there is a certain way this must be accomplished. Baby rabbits are naturally wild creatures that need to be nurtured properly if they are to be taken as pets.
Make sure that the nest is truly abandoned. Mother rabbits usually do not feed unless it is late at night or early in the morning. The best thing to do would be to observe the nest and make sure the mother is not coming back to feed the babies. It is also important not to touch the babies or move the nest before establishing if the babies have actually been abandoned. While a mother rabbit will not abandon her babies if touched by a human, if a nest is significantly disturbed it will affect the health of the babies.
Examine the rabbits to establish what kind of condition they are in. If the rabbits seem dehydrated or cold, they need immediate attention. If the tummy is plump and the skin seems fleshy, the mother is nursing her babies. If the babies have been abandoned, move them to a warm, dry place where they cannot be disturbed. You should also keep the baby rabbits away from other animals that might wish to harm them, including dogs.
Draw up a feeding schedule to make sure the babies are properly fed. You can research milk formulas and sample feeding schedules online or call your local wildlife office for advice. Bottle feeding is advisable. If you do not feel confident to care for the rabbits, call a local wildlife rescue group or wildlife conservation office for assistance. As the babies grow, adjust the food accordingly.
Do not have unnecessary human contact with the baby rabbits. Although some people claim rubbing the baby rabbits calms them, it is better to minimize human contact so when they are released back into the wild they do not become overly dependent on humans. It may seem cruel, but it is ultimately better for the rabbits. The goal is to release the rabbits back into the wild once they grow up.