How Often Do I Feed A 2 Week Old Baby Baby Bunnies That Just Fade Away

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Baby Bunnies That Just Fade Away

What are “faders”? I can hear you all asking, so now I’ll try to explain them to you from my own experience. As the name suggests, the bunny that is ‘Fader’ will literally fade away until it runs out of energy and dies. We, along with many other breeders, have tried many methods in an attempt to save these little guys with only a small percentage, if any, making it past three weeks. You first notice ‘Fader’ when the chicks emerge from the nest at around 2 weeks of age.

This is the stage where babies start nibbling on anything they see their mom munching on. ‘Fader’ seems to curl up as close as possible to either mum or other siblings with his ears pressed to his head and fur fluffed up to conserve as much energy as possible. You won’t see them trying to nibble on something, running around in the cage full of energy, or sliding into feeding with their siblings while mom is feeding them. Also, their eyes seem to open later than usual around day 11 and they usually have to bathe in warm water to loosen them, not just once, but several days in a row.

We have tried a number of strategies ourselves and documented the treatments used. When the next fader comes, we’ll use the parts of the previous edits that seemed to have a positive effect on the ‘Faders’ and make them a bit better. We have been very lucky to only have six ‘Faders’ since we started raising rabbits almost five years ago. We found that the most important thing to ensure a positive outcome for ‘Fader’ was warmth and sunshine, keeping them with the family instead of isolating them as this caused them to die faster, and adding extra vitamins in the form of Penta-vite® added to their recipe. We also noticed that these little guys couldn’t suck like their siblings, but they were able to lap up warm formula when they put it on their tongues. So when Ellie gave us two of these little guys, we were determined to give them the best possible care in an effort to save them.

As soon as they came out of the nest and it was obvious that they were ‘faders’ we immediately started supplementing them with a modified formula, putting heating pads under their bedding (we placed heated bags of wheat under our cooler frames to prevent them from becoming a tasty snack for mom and other siblings) and made sure they got a few hours of sun each day (vitamin D) by placing them inside facing a window so they were in direct sunlight but kept warm and out of the draft. We weighed them before and after feeding using very accurate scales and found that they initially consumed 4g of food per feed and ended up consuming 12 to 15g when they were weaned four weeks later. The little Siamese baby Smoke, who is a buck, weighed just 82 grams, while his REW sister weighed 94 grams. Their sibling (a weaned fawn) who was a normal healthy baby weighed 146 grams so we used that as a benchmark. It took almost two weeks of three feedings a day and constant monitoring to see a positive change.

By the time they were four weeks old, these two little guys had started to behave normally and are well and truly on the mend. The REW is now a healthy 142 grams and the small Siamese smoke now weighs in at 129 grams. Their contented blond brother weighs 190 grams. When they see me coming, they get very excited, as if to say, ‘Mommy two legs coming, yay’. Their mum Ellie still cleans and looks after them so we don’t have to worry about that side of things and their little ears are starting to peel now. Mind you, their complacent blond brother is just flapping his ears too.

So it seems we’ve hit on the winning treatment to turn these little guys around. how happy are we? As you can imagine we feel great and it’s just amazing to sit there and watch the little guys running around. We will be watching REW Doe to see how she develops and also doing other studies on the track (such as if she will give birth to normal babies or faders, will her health be affected over the course of the track, etc.) and we will also be watching the little Siamese smoke , to see how it develops. We hope this information helps those of you who keep bunnies.

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