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Baby bunnies

Posted by darbygirl 6KY (My Page) on
Mon, May 9, 05 at 21:22

Tonight while pulling weeds and unwanted, evasive flowers in a spot around those flowers that I am trying to keep and help to see more sunlight, I found a bunny nest. They scared me at first because I thought they were mice - so little although with hair but eyes not open yet. I quickly replaced the fur over them and covered the nest with some of the weeds that I had just pulled up because it is supposed to rain tonight and I don't want the poor little things to get drenched. I was too surprised to grab a stick to cover them back up and hope and pray that I did not leave too much of a scent to spook the mother so that she will not return to take care of her brood. What does everyone think? Please give me some encouraging words or I will worry myself to death about the wee ones


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Baby bunnies

Oh, I hope Mother Bunny comes back. It will depend to a certain degree how much you disturbed the area around them (I think). If you replaced all the nest material and did not spend much time there, she will probably come back (IMO).
Is there a wildlife rehab group near you? Perhaps there is some information here at www.waldenspuddle.org--they are a group near here with good info--have helped me a few times.
Good luck -- do keep us posted. You did the right thing by covering them back up!


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I replied on the other thread. But, you did just fine. Mama cottontails only come by the nest once or twice a day, but watch it from a distance. Don't be surprised if you never, ever see Mama bunny. That's her goal. Cottontails milk is extremely rich, so they can feed on such a limited basis. If the kits are growing, she's taking care of them. Their best chances are to leave them as you did. Mama will in all likelyhood take care of them.

Mama might re-arrange the nesting material, or she may move them, especially if too many weeds were pulled for her liking. (She picked that spot for it's cover.) She knows what she's doing, she'll take care of them. I have no doubt she was watching you the whole time. If you want to help her out, you can set up some brush piles nearby, for protective cover. Even three clay pots provide a nice little hidey spot in the middle of the triangle, especially if planted with some bushy flowers :-)

I'm not a re-habber, but have watched several litters being raised in my front yard, and have attended a few bunny classes for demestic rabbits, which are differnt, but some cottontail information was covered. If FurryCritterFan chimes in, listen to her advice. She knows what she's doing with these little ones!


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Eastern Cottontail babes open their eyes about 7-10 days. They really need mom at this point! Durt Girl and cantstopgardening provided sound advice. Contact a wildlife rehab group for extra things you can do to give those babes the best chance of survival.

If your area is expecting torrential and repeated rains, you can take some unobtrusive objects like a tri-fold woven lawn chair, garden seat, and cover the area. Leave room for mom to come in underneath and nurse. (We draped a vinyl shower curtain over the lawn chair, to deflect the pounding rains of spring 2004.) Babies will drown if the nest fills up. You can place two strings across the nest and if the string looks moved the following day, Mom is coming back to care for her babies. Your watchful eyes from a fair distance away is a good idea, and take giant footstrides away from the nest. Be on the lookout for predators. Our lab/retr dog began barking when she spotted a wandering boxer sniffing at the nest in the front yard, and I thwarted what coulda been a gulp-down dinner for someone's trespassing pooch. Cottontail babes have it extremely tough. Wishing the best for those little ones.... Rehabber in WI,


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Thanks for those encouraging words - I feel better now. Those rains we were expecting are going around us after all with a slight chance of showers this week and looks like most rain will hold off until Saturday. That will give the little ones a whole week to grow. I will continue watching "their spot" which I guess mama chose because it is in a safe spot in the middle of our yard in an area which is encircled by a small fence which keeps our 2 dogs out of her area when they go out to use the bathroom. I think that she also feels protected there from neighborhood cats which won't come in our yard because of the dogs. Another question - could this be the same rabbit that had a family in my neighbors yard earlier this spring? That family is busy eating their "salad" meals from my perennials and daylilies - but, I have plenty to share with them.They are still young also - about 6 inches long with short ears, big eyes and big appetites.


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RE: Baby bunnies

You betcha, could be the same popular girl. A female cottontail can conceive immediately after she gives birth. Lagomorphs ovulate after the mating process. She's capable of having a litter (approx.) every 28 days during the warmer months. Talk about a busy lady! ... I watched Hutch Beeler, one of the babies shown on the link below, give birth in the front yard in June 2004. From the upstairs bedroom window while I was feeding formula to a newly admitted, rescued cottontail patient. A hormonal, amorous suitor mounted her after she hopped several yards away, right after giving birth.

=:-0

Babes will need protection w/the help of your well-behaved dogs for many weeks to come. Kindly keep us posted.

... and lemme know what salad greens they're especially fond of!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cottontail babies


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RE: Baby bunnies

Beet greens are one of my bunnies favorites. I've heard radish greens are too, but I have never really grown radishes, as my family doesn't enjoy radishes. But I think I will grow some for the cottontails, and for our three domestics.

FCF, that is a beautiful picture. I've noticed you call them beelers. Is that a specific term, or just a nickname?

Also, I've alsways wondered about the white spot in the middle of the forehead. Our cottntails have that too.

Oh, by the way, FCF, in another thread you had mentioned white squirrels. It seems you town is noted for it's albino squirrel population. We don't have any up by me. But I've seen them down by you as well. Amazing!!

Cantstopgardening


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Well we got the rain this morning but it didn't last too long. I felt much better tonight. As I went out to refill my hummingbird feeders, mama bunny hopped out from the area of her nest and went to the side of the yard where she sat and groomed herself as she coyly (SP?) watched me out of the corner of her eye. So, all is well and I will keep everyone posted - especially when those little babies start moving around.


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Darbygirl, I'm so glad! Thanks for letting us know :-)


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Ditto cantstop--that's great to know! And, yeah, isn't it funny they way they'll hop off and groom themselves while watching you out of the corner of their eye? I know it's probably because they want to keep an eye out for predators--but they do look very coy! :)


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DurtGirrl, agreed. They do look coy as they groom. Please keep us posted darbygirl. Picked up Lemon Balm and the humane society's plant sale today and wondering if it'd be better to plant it in the ground or from a hanging pot near our garden gazebo. Again, some stories on cottontails shared by fellow gardening enthusiasts during the plant shopping.

I mention the giant footstrides because we observed Hutch Beeler (momma rabbit) taking larger-than-norm Leaps away from the nest, to break up a scent trail, after she'd finish nursing.

CSG, beeler is my special name for the little cottontails. My mentoring rehabber used to call them stinkers. Probably coined from the ones that took 15 min. to formula feed! I couldn't call 'em stinkers or twits or anything derogatory. Beeler fits them perfectly.

Some are born w/the white spot or blaze, others no.

Isn't it Olney, IL, that has the largest population of albino squirrels? My DH and I always wanted to visit there and check out the numbers.

Hoping those babies are growing strong and healthy!


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I really appreciate all of the comments that I have been getting - since I am new at being a "grandbunny", as they call me at work! I came home one evening this week and again was near the nest and a little one came rumming out and ran under the deck. I have seen mommy around a lot so figured that the babies were out and about by now. Yesterday I started to remove the weeds and chicken netting that I had placed for cover over the nest and when I did, a little head popped up to look at who was letting the sun in on them. It was so cute, so I covered them back up again and I am still in the waiting game as my weeds and evasive flowers take over that spot. Oh, I also figured out that the bunny that I saw running away from that spot must be one from mom's earlier bunch that she gave birth to in my neighbors yard but that have freqenting my flower beds for lunch. Just wanted to let everyone know that all is well.


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Thanks for the update. I still don't have any 'beelers' in my yard this year :-( I think it is earlier than I saw them last year, but still, I am missing them. I did see a litter of three or more out nibbling some grass as DS and I came out form the grocery store. Dear son was driving though, and wouldn't back up so I could watch them. (We were waiting at a red light, there was no one behind us. Darn contientious driver! :-P)

So, I appreciate getting to hear about your bunnies all the more, as I don't have any this year. (I am wondering if it has anything to do with the fact that I'm using coffee grounds all over the yard, as a natural fertilizer. Maybe bunnies don't like the smell? I also did a dramatic shrub removal last fall, which is more likely the cause, so I will just have to wait until the shrubs fill in the gaps.)

It sounds like you are a good Grandbunny!!


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Bunny update - Didn't check to see the little ones today - a little afraid that if I bother them too much it will give them bad luck. But, I worked in the yard all day, planting and mulching. Later in the afternoon I noticed Mommy bunny coming around, yet staying outside the fence and in the neighbors yard. I figured that it was time for a feeding so I finished what I was doing for the day and went inside as I didn't think that she would come in to the yard while I was out there. Will continue to keep everyone posted - Mary


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I re-read my last post, and realized Sr. Herminegeld would be horrified if she saw my inventive spelling!! My son would be a conscientious driver, not contentious!!


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This morning when I walked out on the deck I was so excited to see not only one but 2 little bunnies scouting out the daylilies that I had planted Sunday afternoon. Up to this point I had only seen one at a time and was hoping that nothing had harmed any of them - now these are the bunnies from what I will call "Batch 1". Batch 2 is still in the nest - I think. Mom came around yesterday while I was planting, came home too late tonight to check on them closer or to look for her. Now I have a question - Is there anything that I can put out to supplement the food that "Batch 1" is looking for? I have put out a pan of water for them among my daylilies for the hot, dry days.


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CSG, waiting for beeler babes in our yard too! Is that Sr. for Sister? Like Sister Theophane, my 1st-grade parochial school teacher?

Darbygirl, such terrific news. Have you got some nutritious scrumptious-tasting weeds in your daylily/deck area like dandelions, white and red clover, plantain, wide blade grasses? You can offer some old-fashioned oat flakes, but better to go with the *natural* items. They may/may not partake of the water dish. !How thoughtful of you! Usually they nibble early in the A.M, and get their moisture from dew-laden grasses. (we might have more dew and coolness up here in WI. ** wink) Only once did I see a cottontail drink from a water dish. KY gets a lot hotter than WI.

Your bunny batch 1 update brought smiles. :-) :-) :-)

May they live long and prosper. As CSG wrote, they've got a wonderful Grand~Mommee to be watchin' out for them.


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FCF, yes, third grade teacher. At least a hundred years old, when I was in third grade. Probably still living to her next hundred years. ;-)

Darbygirl, I like the suggestion of using the natural (planted) items too. I enjoy seeing cottontails, but don't want them to lose that fear of humans. I think fear of humans is a good thing in a cottontail. (Unless it is actually a domestic breed of bunny turned/gotten loose. Those should be recaptured, IMO. Colors other than agouti don't do well in the wild. And domestic bunnies are different animals than our native cottontails, not solitary creatures, like our cottontails.)

I am trying to get dear husband to ease up on the chemicals he uses on the lawn. He does at least use less now, timing it to when it is most effective. But he did spray all the clover in the front yard this spring. grrr....I may just have to grow some in containers, sunk in the ground ;-) Next spring, I'm going to push him to try CornGluten Meal as a pre-emergent herbicide/fertilizer. We'll see if he'll try it once. Less harmful to any small critters.


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You did the right thing!! Mama's most likely close by and will come to her babies when you leave. Thank God, you didn't do what a young couple did, in the same situation. The best thing to do is leave them be! This young couple found a baby bunny, didn't bother to wait to see if Mama would come back. I saw them with the baby bunny in the Wal-Mart - I kid you not. They carried that poor baby all over hte Wal-Mart showing him off, until management threw them out. I did tell them who to contact. They were so ignorant, I doubt they bothered. They were feeding it cow's milk, which won't do. It was old enough for greens. I didn't give that baby much chance of surviving those two. Just leave wild babies in the wild, let mama come back for them. Take them to wildlife rehab only if you see that the mother is dead!

You did fine! Wish everyone had that much sense! The Wal-Mart incident really upset me. Upset me more than it should have, I guess.
Michal


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More news from Grandbunny-
When I came home from work tonight I had baby bunnies running around my backyard! Well really, not all over the yard. One bunny from "batch one" was being very brave and in and out of a patch of clover not far from the security of my daylilies whenever he was startled by a noise. And also, the babies from "batch 2" were being brave and running in and out of the security of their home in my circle of flowers by the deck. A little later I was able to see 3 of them huddled together above their nest waiting for us to go back inside. We were grilling out and making too much noise for them I guess. The dogs weren't happy that they had to stay inside also. Mama was keeping her distance by the gate but I could tell that she wanted to be with her babies and after supper when I looked out she came closer and I guess she was going to coax them out and show them where to find tasty things to eat, such as the clover. I'm so glad that they are venturing out so that I can finally weed that flower bed but now as a nervous grandbunny I hope that they keep under the security of all of the plants in the yard. Sorry this has been so long but I really wanted to share my excitement.


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Thanks for the update. I am enjoying all the details. This is becoming the first thing I check on the forum. :-)

I know what you mean about the dogs. I have a fenced back yard, so any bunnies have to live in the front. When a baby bunny does squeeze in through the fence, doggies have to stay inside until bunny is coaxed back out. They are never happy about it.


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Grandbunny Darby, Can I come over to visit? What can I bring? Seeing batches 1 and 2 in your yard, in person, - and Mom cottontail - is like the Best Outdoor Observation I can dream of!

:-)
Such a heavenly place for innocent herbivore creatures.

CSG: darby, durtgrrl, yours, and everyone's postings on this thread are treasured. [go ahead, add another smiley]

michal: Thanx for sharing too. The Wal-Mart incident is sickening. I've heard two cases of humans keeping cottontails as pets. My husband observed a man w/a cottontail in his lap at a car show. Another pet-supply Store Owner said a customer was keeping a wild bunny confined as a pet. You keep them past a certain age, and they'll go nuts trying to escape or simply die. That's what my rehab teacher told me. IF you're truly committed to having a rabbit for a pet, go to your local humane society. Hundreds of unwanted homeless animals get euthanized every day.

Yesterday while volunteering for bunny socialization at the humane society, a wildlife rehabber (with 30 years of squirrel experience) captured and surrendered a gorgeous lean Harlequin-mix domestic rabbit. Which someone dumped in the wild. People (or should I say, some) are outright irresponsible, uneducated and uncaring when it comes to wildlife And pets. Pets, conveniently disposed of as objects. Hopefully Harley, the skinny young domestic, will have a chance of being adopted. And didn't become scared to death or prey for a fox, hawk, owl, dog, cat, or hit by a car.

Last summer I was gettin' out of my car at the shelter when a mom and two small children were carrying in two baby cottontails. Named tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, cuddling them like soft dolls and petting their heads. GRRRRRR. I took them as wildlife rehab patients, but they didn't survive.

A rare case of getting fed cow's milk (which you should not do) involved the last batch I released in August '04. Seven babes were kept for approx. 5 days by humans who found them in tall grass in their backyard. Were fed cow's milk by eyedropper. I turned down the batch on Friday when the wildlife center called because I had enough patients at the time...and after hearing they got cow's milk the chances of survival seemed slim. Well, those young ones hung in there, and I ended up taking the batch of seven the following Monday or Tuesday when the exec. director called and pleaded for me to work w/them. All survived. Somewhat imprinted, but I worked w/getting them "wilded up." The seven were set free in our multiple Brush Pile yard. [One of those hung around, and he's the cottontail we call Nacho Beeler.]

Your descriptive updates, Grandbunny, will keep me inspired ~ (about that visit?)


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Yesterday morning was one to remember. I had finished my morning routine of getting ready to go to work and then it was time to spend a few minutes outside enjoying nature before I headed out the door. I walked the flower beds and you know how you can tell something is there by seeing movement out of the corner of your eye? Well, as I was walking past my daylily beds - "scoot...scoot...scoot" - I'm sure it was the 3 "batch 2" bunnies or "Scootlebugs" as I now call them. Then as I was climbing up the deck steps I tuned and called my dog and saw my first hummingbird of the season take 3 short drinks from the feeder, land on the shepherds hook to rest a minute and then fly off again. It was small and scrawny and probably making its return trip north for the summer. Such excitement - I was beside myself and couldn't stop babbling about it when I got to work! Last night we had a huge thunder,lightening and rain storm so couldn't get on line to tell you all about it. This morning the babies were back amongst the daylilies and scooting around - stopping to shake off the raindrops now and then. Also saw a chipmunk - couldn't figure out if it was chasing baby or if baby was chasing it. Oh, FCF, would glad to have you for a visit but it's a long trip from Wisc to KY. Where are you in Wisc? - I am originally from northern Wisc but have lived down here for 30+ years. Still go back north every summer for about a month to enjoy those mosquitoes - LOL! More later - Mary


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You don't have mosquitoes in Kentucky??? Oh, I'll send you some, so you don't get homesick!! lol!!

Scootlebugs, another good name for them :-)


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I love those little bunnies. Everytime I go out and weed in my flower beds there is one sitting munching and looking up at me. I have been talking to them since they were in the nest so I think that they recognize my voice and only scamper off if I make a sudden move which scares them. BUT.... they are beginning to have ferocious appetites and nibblig on flowers that I didn't think that rabbits would like - today one was eating on my spiderwoart and watching me watch it, without a care in the world. I guess that I will have to go out and put pots around a few of those tender plants that I want them to leave alone! But, I still love to watch them because they are so small and cute.


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Oh my, I have 3 pairs of "flower shears!" At least now that I know what they like to eat, I can protect the plants that the little rascals haven't gotten to yet. Next spring I will also protect those plants as they start coming up. Tonight I watched the "kids" try to venture from one side of the yard to the other. They would come out a couple of feet and then hop back to their security under the daylilies. They did this multiple times until they got brave enough and made it all the way across the yard. I didn't know that they had made it but found them on the other side when I was watering my plants. Boy, did they scoot out from under the water hose in a hurry!


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They do a nice job of 'pruning' don't they?? *grin*

I protect young plants with chicken wire cages, until the plants are large enough to handle some bunny munching. It worked well on serviceberry, spicebush, and others. I do let them have some tulips, and other tasty treats.

Fur kids make nice grandkids. ;-)


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I'm new here at Gardenweb, and just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your bunnytales!! Thanks for sharing! I could just picture those little cute furballs hopping across your lawn and peeking out at you. How sweet! :)

Heather


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Haven't been able to check in due to other busy matters, But boy oh boy, am I glad to see the new Rabbit Grandma stories. The first thread I come searching for!!

darby, my rehabbed cottontails or the two (socially grateful beelers) that wintered in our safe haven brush piles became very tuned-into my voice.
Same with Beeler J's mom, Hutch Beeler, until she relinquished our territory for the neighbor's nicer yard w/cover, unchemicalized lawn, and spilt bird seed. BLR J and Nacho stay alert & wary but recognize my human voice. Maybe your scootlebugs are learning to do the same. Good protective instinct.

Vegetation trimmers? Pruners? :-) At the vet office yesterday Dr. W was explaining how little cottontails like to trim his tulips and young trees also. I just smiled. CSG or I will have to tell him about the chicken wire and rabbit netting. I forgot to ask Dr. W if he maintains any weeds they love to eat? I put 3-4 petunias in a pot by the garden gazebo and was delighted to see the wild herbivores enjoyed the tasty pink flowers.

One of my domestic fosters succumbed yesterday in surgery. Using CSG's donated cranberry viburnum babes, I will plant a memorial garden in the spot where we buried him.

Please keep sharing,


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FCF, sorry to hear about the loss of your foster bunny - it is so sad to hear of anything so small and defenseless dying. A co-worker told me that she had a black domestic bunny around her area that had mated with a wild bunny and the wild bunny had a litter of black and brown babies but she abandoned them in the nest soon after birth. I was told too late and they had died in the nest or I would have asked if there was a place that they could have been taken for care. If anyone knows of a place in Louisville, Ky. that takes care of baby bunnies or what I could have done, please let me know although I hope that I won't have to use that information in the future.
Now on a lighter note - The "Scootlebugs", aka baby bunnies, have decided that they like my red verbina and have given it a summer haircut. Since it is a sprawling plant, I will have to be pretty creative in figuring out a way to save what little they left behind! They have yet to bother my purple verbena but hope that they are partial to red and will leave it alone as it is my favorite. I guess that I will have to go out this weekend and buy some more plants to feed my little darlings. lol! Tonight when I was out watering my flowers, the "kids" were only a scoot awhead of me and one turned and sat quivering and looked up at me with those little brown eyes and I had to reassure it that I wouldn't hurt it and then I turned around and watered the other way. They are just too cute and really make my day begine with a smile.


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Everyone is hungry this morning! All 3 Scooterbugs, aka, baby bunnies are out in the yard nibbling on grass, weeds and clover, but, thankfully not my flowers! Last evening when I threw bread out for the birds, one of them discovered it and was nibbling on that also. I hope that they will llke the bread like the bunny we had last summer did. Big brother/sister from "batch" one is still hanging around also, bunnysitting, I guess after mom weaned these little ones. How long will it be before they grow? They are still so little. Saw mom next door again last night so she may have another group of babies hopping around before the summer is over - oh,my poor flowers!


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This morning I must have looked like a wild woman out in my yard! Why, you ask? When I got up and I let the dogs out for their morning constitutional, I looked out over the yard and there rummaging through my daylilies was a big, white cat! Now, the daylily area is bunnyland and I shot out there like the true grandbunny I am to protect my little ones. I clapped my hands, hollered at that cat and ran after it. The poor thing didn't know where to go or what to do since my 2 dogs had gotten to the only exit point that it could see. When they also started wondering what I was hollering about, it gave the cat an edge and it quickly climbed the fence and hightailed across the alley - never, I hope, to be seen again! When I was going through the daylilies myself, I saw the movement of daylilies and then knew that at least 2 of the 3 were OK but I worried about them all day. I didn't get home until later in the afternoon so went out and called for them and sat on my swing and waited. Slowly they appeared - 1, 2, 3 - they were all safe and I was so relieved. Now, would you call me a wild woman?!?


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I'd call you a hero.


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That cat will be back. Be on the lookout.

Your scootlebug GrandmaBunny stories have helped me cope with the loss of my Beep-a-Lou foster boy. It's been rough... Thank you for your heartfelt concern and condolences.

Please keep adding pages as time allows. And rest assured that white cat will be around to sniff out baby cottontails any chance it can get. Have you got some prickly brushy fortress spots where a killer prowler can't get into? This morning a vagrant orange cat was trolling thru our back yard. ##@%*&#*!

My wildlife rehab teacher said the sperm of a wild one will not unite/or fertilize the egg of a domestic. I forget what the biological lingo is for all this. Cottontails and domestics cannot produce offspring. Is this 100% true?? (dunno.) The agouti coloring of certain domestic rabbits may confuse individuals into thinking they are wild brethren. The kennel mgr. at the humane society said she once observed some white dutch-mix facial markings on a cottontail and wondered if domestics and wild rabbits could mate?
We haven't seen our two backyard rabbits, Nacho and BLR J, recently. dearly hoping they are still with us. Neighbor across the street was saying how the rabbit and 13-liner population is diminished this year.

A hero is right! I'll check in every few days,


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My daughter's bunny has the agouti coloring, along with the white around the neck and face from her Dutch Mama. But she has the size of her French Lop Papa (oops!!)

Agouti coloring, by-the-way, is when the hair shaft has three colors on it. To see this, blow (gently) on the coat, and three distinct circles of color can be seen. (Well, you won't be able to do this on a wild bunny ;-) I believe it is gray at the base, brown on the mid-section of the hair shaft, and light at the tip. I'll have to go and blow on Cherry to see for sure ;-) Our U.S. native cottontails have this coloring. But is also one of the color varieties in the domestic rabbit breeds, which are descendents of rabbits native to Spain, and probably other European nations, but I don't remember what book I read about where domestic bunnies started out. (Probably Stories Rabbits Tell.)

The domestic bunnies are a social creature, living in group warrens, whereas our native cottontails are solitary creatures. (But, I certainly do see the Cotton-tail young-uns playing together.) The social nature of the domestics is what makes them so well suited to being pets- they are very happy to live 'in commune' with us humans in our 'warrens.' And its also why pet bunnies do best in close contact with other bunnies(spayed/neutered, and bonded, preferably) and humans, not out back alone in a hutch.

I wonder about the possibility of the US cottontails and European domestics to interbreed. Any one know for sure?


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Today I walked the length of my flower beds several times calling for the bunny babies but to no avail until later in the afternoon when I was finally able to catch a glimpse of one. That cat may have been back this morning because I found a small resin bench with 2 resin birds on it that had been upset - maybe in a cat, bunny chase?!? When my neigbor and I talked over the fence, he had seen 2 of them so now I know that at least 2 are safe.They were not out tonight as usual, grazing in the clover but chose rather to stay safe amongst the daylilies. I wasn't out in the yard much this evening so they may not have felt that it was safe to venture out. Tomorrow I hope to spend more time in the yard and hope that they will be out again. I will continue to watch for that cat - hopefully between myself and the dogs, we put a scare into it and it won't be back!


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I am new to this forum but i need some advice. Two days ago i was sitting outside in my front yard and i noticed a rabbit on my front lawn near the side walk. she was plucking fur from her belly and she looked like she was making a nest. when she went away, i walked over to see what she had been doing. it turns out that i found a nest of baby bunnies, which really freaked me out at first because i wasn't expecting it. Well, I quickly covered them up and left them alone. Today, when i woke up, I looked out my window and saw my cat by the bunny nest. He had unfortunately gotten one of the babies, and killed it:( . There are still more babies in the nest but now I am extremely worried about them. I am keeping my cats inside now until I know for sure that the babies are ok, but on top of the cats I have had to scare off crows and i noticed a few hawks circling the area. Does anyone know what I can do?? The nest is so close to the street, and i am afraid that the mother wont come back to feed them because they are located in such an exposed area. Please someone write back and let me know what I can do to help them survive. Thank you


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RE: Baby bunnies

I rehabbed eastern cottontails for two years before my hands got disabled (from picking weeds/dandelion greens for 3 hrs. a day). Those babes have a slim chance UNLESS you keep the d*mn predators away. Keep your cats inside for the entire year, next year, and the next 18 years beyond. If you care about baby rabbits and letting wildlife have a habitat to grow up in - without introduced UNnatural predators - you'll keep your cats indoors. Cats will gobble down, tease, torment and mutilate baby bunnies. By instinct, they're jungle hunters. Have seen many cases of cat-bite, cat-caught baby rabbits. Just returned from humane society and the outdoor cat problem is a real dilemna.

Yeah, if mom just set up that nest and gave birth, those 1 to 2-day old buns won't have a prayer. Crows and hawks will tear those babies apart. Last week a predator-caught or garden-equipment injured 3-day old cottontail came into shelter; I suggested they euthanize poor little one due to the gouge in it's hindquarters. Rarely can rehabbers save unfurred, eyes-closed infants. Humans need to get them to rehabbers when they've been nursed and taken care of by Mom Cottontail for at least 6-7 days.

Good lord, those babies are in desparate need of Mom. Once the crows and hawks have spied a nest, those babies won't have a chance in the open air environment.

Contact your local rehabilitator. I'll find the other thread that discusses new found nest advice.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Thank you for responding, you have no idea how worried I am about the little ones. I have been watching the nest all day today and the cats will remain inside for as long as they need to be. I contacted the environmental center nearby but they didnt give me much advice. It is so unfortunate that the nest is in such a wide open location. I bought chicken wire to put around the nest, but im not sure if that will do more harm than good. i just want to see these babies survive.. any help i can get is greatly appreciated.


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RE: Baby bunnies (needing Extra Help)

Naturelover, check my post from Monday, May 9th, near the top of this thread. Lotsa good input on this thread from concerned folks who desire to give the innocent prey babies a chance. Mom needs enough room to sneak in underneath a turned-over clothesbasket w/rock weight on top, or anything you can fashion to deter hawks and crows from swooping down to take a baby bunny. Create a natural gardenny-like decorative setting. Gotta step stool? Place some gardening pots around it... with just enough room for mom to sneak in. Got some old low slung benches. Near the road is an extra challenging position. :\ (Raccoons may come around at night to devour the nest of helpless infants. Not what you wanted to hear either, i'm afraid). Keep the grass tall around the nest. Mom will be able to smell them if they're still alive and they'll silently communicate in rabbit whispers. They need at least a week or 10 days. Create some formidable cover they can scamper to once they've got leg mobility.

At 13 days Hutch Beeler, who gave birth in our front yard, told her six babies to dash like racecars for the brush pile/arborvitae cove fortress approx. 12-15 ft. away. They could barely leap. My hubby and I watched as each babe made the attempt. Momma will do what she can (as long as she survives), plus she doesn't want to attract predators to her infants either. A little human help will be gratefully appreciated!! Good luck. Keep us posted. I'll be thinking of you and them... my hugs to you for trying.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Naturelover - just some words of encouragement since I have also recently been through the stress of watching and "caring for baby bunnies. Thanks to the encouraging words from all the fellow bunny lovers on this site I now have 3 healthy bunnies running around my yard - or so I think I do. As of tonight, I have only seen one that still comes around when I am in the yard talking. FCF had some wonderful ideas on ways to protect the little ones from predators. I put chicken wire over and around "my nest" except for one side which was protected by taller plants and that is where mom entered and left. Over the wire I put the weeds that I had pulled so that no one or nothing could see the nest. Don't be surprised (I was told) if you don't see mom around because her milk is very rich and she only needs to feed the babies 2-3 times a day. Watch for her at dusk - she may be in a neighbor's yard watching over the little ones. Good luck - I was surprised at how fast they grew and were able to leave the nest although they will then still need to have a place in brush or flowers to hide. Please keep us all posted.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Good news!! Today around 4 I put chicken wire around and over the bunny nest. I cut a hole in the side big enough for the mom to get into and hoped that she would return to feed the babies. Sure enough around 6 pm i saw her by the nest! she hopped around the outside of the wire for a while then decided to attempt to enter inside.. she made it through where she fed her babies! it was so great to watch and i am so glad she came back for them given the environment the nest is in.. tomorrow I think i am going to secure the chicken wire, and put a few flower pots around it so the nest is hidden.. thank you for the help, i really appreciate it since i have been a nervous wreck the past few days.. I don't like to see anyone or anything hurt.. especially cute little bunnies! i'll keep updating with the news, and please if you have any more advice i'd love to hear it.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Yay!! Good to hear.


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RE: Baby bunnies

I think that I am finally ready to "let go" of my baby bunnies. I was worried when I only kept seeing 2 of them in the yard when we had started out with 3. But, late this afternoon as I drove up the alley and was about 2 houses down, the 3rd little fellow was nibbling grass on the side of the alley and scampered out of the way of the car. He has decided to move on to "greener pastures". The one that I feel was the runt of the litter is still my baby. It doesn't appear to be afraid of me at all as I can be standing right over it and talking to it without it running away. In fact, I had to scold it tonight when I saw it bite off some of my coreopsis plant right before my eyes and just it just looked up at me as if to say "this tastes rather good". The little rascal! This one is still smaller than its siblings and I am glad that it is staying in the yard although being a little destructive to my plants. Glad that I can give a good report on their progress. BTW - mother bunny still is being seen on the other side of the yard next door so I am still waiting for her litter to come hopping over in to my yard.


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RE: Baby bunnies

naturelover, let us know how mom and babes are doing when you get a minute. Hope the chicken wire afforded the little ones some extra protection.

Darby, I'm starting to let go a wee bit (too) in watching over the 2 or 3 rabbits in our yard. I've gotten so busy w/education events, bunny dates at the shelter and caring for my foster crew, I'm trusting the cottontails in our yard won't mind (that gol'darn pesty) Momma Human giving them a bit more space. Blr J came up to sniff my sock this past weekend. Boy, I was glowing w/pride. Baby beeler and resident toadie are seen hopping alongside the house. I got so excited last week about toadie, I grabbed the digital and snapped 6 pictures. Baby beeler (about 6 wks. old?) scooted thru some black drain pipe underneath our deck last week. Sunday nite his/her head just cleared the tall grass in back by the deck, as she nibbled plain ole grass and looked very content. Those twin gray peaks of ears were comical to see. Glad you didn't mow the lawn too short, DH. Keeping the faith that Nacho Beeler (dad), Beeler J (mom) and Baby Beeler will hang around and seek haven in the protective brush piles and pallets. They can help themselves to anything in the yard!

A fellow humane society friend has an envious patch of lush purple clover. Yesterday I put a few clover flowers and stems in the garden gazebo, along with newly sprouted blackberry leaves. [Garden gazebo, a/k/a Beeler Family's winter cottage.] Always a fantastic feeling to see it's gone in the morning. Or see lone baby beeler run into the gazebo lattice panel sides when he spots the "humans."

Darby, CSG, naturelover, Heather, and all you nutty rabbit-loving wildlife friends; take care of your yard babies and adults as best you can. Pictures and stories always cheer my heart and inspire. Hug them from a far.

Stay protected,


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RE: Baby bunnies

It will be a restless night for me tonight as I wait for the wee hours of the morning so that I can go out to see if my baby bunnies are in the yard. Tonight when DH and I were eating supper out on the deck, we saw mommy bunny leaping franticly across the neighbors yard - the biggest bunny leaps I had ever seen! There strolling after her was the big black cat that I had seen before and I know that she was leading it away from her nest. It followed her out to the alley and that is where I took over. When I got to the alley gate the cat was running and at first I thought it was because I was chasing it and clapping my hands BUT as it ran further away I THINK that it may have been chasing one of my babies. My eyesight is not good for distances but I thought that I saw a small white tail running ahead of it. Now I am hoping that baby bunny is either safe in my backyard tomorrow morning or that it is safe in another yard - of course my hope is the first and that I will see it in the morning. I will let everyone know what tomorrow brings.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Whewwww....I did do a lot of hugging from afar this morning! Went out on the deck early (rabbit time) and Mommy bunny is still on guard. I am sure that she is uneasy and in fear that the cat may be back. She may stay close to the nest now that she has seen him around, especially since I think that her babies should now be old enough to leave the nest and she may be wanting to help them make the move. Also saw "baby bunny" (aka-the runt) and its older sibling which I call "Junior".They were outside the fence, in the neighbors yard and venturing across the alley - but, that's OK, at least they are safe. I cut down a lot of the flowering clover heads last night when I mowed so either they haven't returned yet or they are looking for "greener pastures". The last few days "baby bunny" has been spending his nights in the flower bed where he was born and I am wondering if he is claiming his "bed" back - it should still be snug with the fur that mommy lined it with. Today holds more adventures on the bunny trail as they keep hopping.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Had to hop (pun) right back on line to let my bunny friends know that my smart mommy bunny has already helped her little ones make their move in to my back yard. I was sitting on the deck and there was a new "scottlebug" moving along my flower bed - a little later I observed him scooting back and forth among my daylilies and when I went a little closer saw the little one nibbling on a spent daylily that I had pinched off this morning. Learned from my other bunnies that they like the flowers of the daylilies after they fall to the ground - as long as they leave those on the scales alone, we will be fine! I am hoping that there will be more sightings of the "scootlebugs" as my back yard has once again turned in to a bunny nursery. With so many flowers to hide under, I think that it is a safe place for the little ones as they grow and again.....I will share.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Darby, after your June 15th posting I wanted to add ... *&#@%&# those outdoor pets turned killers. &#$@#. Or the humans who don't give a darn where they wander or what they kill.

I'll be hugging them from a far right with you.

Will keep checking in to see how your scootles are.


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RE: Baby bunnies

What a grand day - Spent time out in the yard and was so pleased to see my bunnies there. As I sat in the swing, Junior came quite close as he was eating - this surprised me as he is usually not as brave as Baby bunny who doesn't even scamper off until my dog is quite close to it. I think that it senses that she is blind and can't see it nor will chase the little bunnies. Also saw the new babies as they scooted back and forth amongst the day lilies. They aren't very brave yet and don't come out in the yard very often - I think mainly in the evenings once it gets dark and quiet. Saw several of my favorite plants that were snipped off today so had to do some scolding as I put pots around them. Sliced a carrot up and threw out in the yard - the bunnies didn't touch it when I just broke the carrot in pieces, wonder if they will touch it once it is cut in slices? Maybe too much human scent on it. More to come.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Tonight my husband and I walked to the back of our property where a box elder had blown down, and saw a domestic black cat with collar run from the thick weed patches and undergrowth. People don't give a d*mn where their pets or animals roam. Makes me despise those kinds of pet owners.
Cats will kill and take their toll on baby bunnies and wildlife.

~ hugging your scootlebugs from WI,

humane society volunteer FCF


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RE: Baby bunnies

Another great day - spent lots of time outside enjoying the bunnies - oh, and the beautiful weather and my flower beds. Observed mama bunny back again - in the same area where she had her last batch of babies so I am wondering if she has done it again. When Junior got too close to her, she chased him all over the yard, round and round in circles. It was comical to see and I wonder if again she is protecting a new nest of babies. My favorite, "Baby Bunny" is still a friendly little creature - not afraid to be around people. One of the "Scootlebugs" is just as friendly as he is and appears to like being around me - probably since I talk to it. I sliced up another carrot today so will be curious to see if it is gone tomorrow. Going to WISC tomorrow for a week so hope all my baby bunnies do fine without Granbunny around to look after them.


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RE: Baby bunnies

  • Posted by MorZ8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 21, 05 at 23:51

Granbunny, my resident wild rabbit never did touch a carrot, but waited for his apple wedge every day. Not tart apple, that was completely ignored...but sweet apple slices were greatly appreciated :) I had to shop especially for bunny, preferring tart apples for myself.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Finally saw a baby bunny in my yard!! He is living in the sideyard, under the neighbor's privet hedges. With this dry weather, I need to make sure I keep the pans of water out for the critters, especially the little 'beelers.'


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RE: Baby bunnies

What a sweet thread. :)


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RE: Baby bunnies

MorZ8: fuji, gala, mac', or delicious apples would be gobbled up by my baby cottontail patients. Apple stories bring a smile.

Guys, I'm in cottontail-lonesome land. Major withdrawals. We hardly see them anymore. Please keep my lonely heart goin' and let me know you've got some by you. Thankyou CSG. [[hug]] That's awesome a baby beeler is gracing your yard. p.s. Can you send pictures???

Maybe our special few will return...


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RE: Baby bunnies

My husband mowed near a baby bunny nest and two bunnies jumped out. One remained inside. They are full of fur, eyes are opened, they are warm. The white diamond on their heads: two have no sign and one has a little remaining. What should I do. We put them in our yard in a large basket. Covered them with the original nesting material and are trying to keep them warm. Should I put them back in their nest? What should I do?


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RE: Baby bunnies

Put them back in the nest and cover it with the original material. The mother will not visit them in a basket, but raccoons might!


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RE: Baby bunnies

Ok my dad found 5 babby rabbits and the mom was gone. He had aciddently destroyed the den they where in at his work place, so him, his boss, and a friend took some home. So i have two babby bunnies and im not sure if puppy milk suppliment is good for them D: i need help with the bunnies. They have there eyes open and about 4 to 5 inches in lenght when streached. An can i feed them solid food? plz help me


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RE: Baby bunnies

My Mom raised a few when we were kids. It is tough, not many (if any) will survive. I am sorry, but that is true. I doubt that puppy formula will do it. If they have their eyes open, they might be close to fledged. Rabbits don't stay with their young very long. I am not a rehabber, however, so I can't help you much at all (if any).


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RE: Baby bunnies

chelsea16,

Please contact a wildlife rehabber. Maybe the rehabber will even take the rabbits (which I realize you might not be happy about since I'm sure the bunnies are adorable, but this is probably best for them), or at least should have information about how you can best take care of the rabbits.

I hope it all goes well. I'm giving you a link I took off this site's Bird Watching Forum's FAQ page to help you find a rehabber to call.

Here is a link that might be useful: How To Locate a Wildlife Rehabilitator


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RE: Baby bunnies

I had a nest of baby bunnies in my front yard, near the street & beside our driveway. We discovered it a few days ago while raking. We saw the mama come to feed them the next night, and last night, she came and they all popped out of the nest and hopped across the street while she took off in another direction. The nest was empty all day, but the mama was back at the nest tonight. Is she looking for the babies? Should they have come back?


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RE: Baby bunnies

Hello all. Thanks for this thread. I found a brand new bunny nest today. I know it just appeared today as I was in that area of the yard yesterday. As much as I hate their parents for munching my tulips, I hope the babies make it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of nest


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RE: Baby bunnies

I need some advise concerning a baby bunny. The baby is an orphan (mom killed by cat and it is unknown where the cat lives). The baby about 4 inches, seems to have full coat, ears stand up, and has a white diamond patch on his head. I currently have him in a large shoe box with lots of grass. He seems to be sleeping peacefully and buries himself under the grass. If I return him where I found him the cat could get him? I tried talking to the wild life expert but they were not very helpful. It does seem to have a small sore on his side where the cat could of bit him. I am not sure if he needs solid food or puppy milk. I live in a rural area and there is not the option for an emergency vet at this hour. Any advise is GREATLY appreciated!!!!!


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RE: Baby bunnies

I believe a rabbit is building her nest in one of my flower beds.

I don't have a problem with that, but the bed will have to be watered once a week. Is this going to be a problem for her and the babies? I'm hoping she picked a drier spot (I use a soaker hose).

Any thoughts?


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RE: Baby bunnies

As to the original question about whether the mother would return. I can only offer this incident. in mid-may I was working in the back yard. My neighbor was mowing inside a chain link fence in their back yard. He stopped his mower and called me over then showed me a rabbit nest built into a depression with 4 small bunnies, they had fur and looked to be the same size as some I have seen in the yard. The mower had pulled all the covering off of then and they all crouched unmoving on a layer of loose fur. we both commented on the fact that none of them had been sucked up into the mower. In the end, he covered them with a little of the fur sucked off the top of their nest and left them alone. The next day he checked. The mother had obviously been back as the nest was repaired and more loose fur was in place.


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RE: Baby bunnies & Rain!

Hi All....I am up at 1:45 am, reading this thread and any others I can find. We found our babies 5 day ago, and everything has been great. Well...tonight it started to rain pretty hard and I am trying to figure out what to do. I went out and checked on the nest, just visually, and felt the ground around it and it does not seem to be too saturated or flooded, but of course I am still frantic and worried my babies are going to drown. I would just pluck them out but it is the middle of the night and I am afraid mama will come soon and if her babies are gone she won't come back. I am trying to thing fast about what I can put over the area. I just may go upstairs and tear down my plastic shower curtain from the guest room and place our patio table over the nest and drape the shower curtain. The rain is not a downpour, but very steady. I noticed that mama made the nest deeper and packed more dead grass on top. I wish I knew for sure what to do.....I will not get any sleep tonight .....I could always just stand over the nest with my umbrella.


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RE: Baby bunnies

Yesterday while cutting the grass I managed to suck the fur and grass covering off a baby rabbit nest. I could not believe they survived the ordeal but there they were. Right in the middle of the yard! How my Pug did not find them I'll never know. What was I to do? I ran to the shed and grabbed a basket, placed an old T shirt in the bottom and carefully placed the bunnies in it. At first I thought there were four but soon discovered there were six! I recovered as much fur and nesting materials as possible and covered the babes in the basket. I brought them in the house and proceeded to do some research on line. My wife and I held the little cuties for a while and then put them to rest in the laundry room. We debated hand feeding but decided to put them back in the nest at dusk and see if the Mom returned. I watched that nest up until 10:00PM. From my Son's bedroom window I could see the nest which was not more than 10' away. Mama did not show up so I went to bed. I woke up at 3:00AM. When I looked out the window and shined my flashlight on the nest area I could not find it! I assumed she had moved it. Just to make sure I went outside and to my surprise Mom had recovered the nest so well I had a hard time finding it. My son also told me that during the night he had heard some low "Dove like" sounds outside the window. After reading up on the subject we can only assume it was Mom calling the babes. When my wife and I held the babies they also made a tiny grunting sound.
The little buggers are so cute! It truly is the Easter Season!
I've included a photo of our new family members!!

This post was edited by Geoff123 on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 10:15


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RE: Baby bunnies

This photo shows the nest as Mom left it last night. When I returned the babies to the nest I covered them with mostly fur. Mama rabbit was not satisfied with my job and used grass to hide the nest even more.


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