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By Joanne from Port Charlotte, FL
Our does typically start weaning their bunnies around 4 weeks and complete the process around six or seven weeks (the bunnies of course would like more!).
If you feel supplemental feeding is needed you can do so with the following formula, which is of my own devising and has worked extremely well for me on many occasions!
Get a quart of fresh goat's milk. If you live in the city this may take some searching, but don't use cow's milk! You won't be using very much at a time, so divide it up into half-cup portions and freeze most of it.
At most feed mills there is a product called Calf Manna (or something similar), meant to help fatten-up sickly calves. Buy the smallest bag they have.
Grind up (I use a mortar and pestle for this) a heaping teaspoon of the Calf Manna and mix it into 1/2 cup of the goat's milk. Warm it gently in a pan of hot water, just like you would do a baby's bottle. Make sure it's not too hot; test it on you wrist just like you would for a human baby.
Take each bunny in turn, and hold them in your hand on their backs (same position they'd be on if mama was feeding them) and using an eye-dropper, feed them until they turn their little faces away, meaning they are full. It usually takes a small amount of coaxing the first time, and it's a little messy. I usually have to refill the dropper three or four times before they are full. Be careful not to get any of the liquid into their nostrils. Once they taste the stuff, they love it, because it's sweet and very rich, just like the doe's milk.
When I have orphaned bunnies I usually feed them every 5 hours or so, until they are roughly five weeks old, and then I cut back to twice a day, making sure they have plenty of rabbit feed pellets and fresh water too.
Hope this helps. If you can't find goat milk they have commercial puppy and kitten milk replacer, but it's expensive and not as rich a mama doe's milk. This formula is the best I have found.
Note that a mother pet rabbit will not reject or kill its babies just because you touched them. If you are the owner the mother is familiar with your scent and you have to touch them to socialize them. I'd leave them alone for the first week so the mother doesn't get too stressed out, unless it's an emergency.
Does only feed (nurse) babies one or two times daily, by now babies should be eating solid foods. And no, she did not abandon them and no they do not need goats milk