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Baby rabbits are fed by their mother only once or  twice a day—at dawn and dusk and only if she feels safe in doing so. It’s almost always certain that  baby rabbits found alone in a nest are not true orphans. The mother does not remain on the nest, in order to keep her scent off the babies and to keep predators away from them.  If the nest has been disrupted, just cover the babies back up with the same dried grass that originally covered them.  Do a simple test to see if the mom is returning to feed  them, place several small twigs in a criss cross pattern over the nest, don’t use thread or string, they can become tangled in it. 


After 24 hrs if the twigs are disturbed, that means their mom is still around and still providing care for them.  Once they are 3-4 inches tall with their eyes open and ears up, they are on their own, they may stay together for a few days but they will disperse on their own. Eastern Cottontail rabbits are independent and on their own at three to four weeks of age. 


Orphaned rabbits have a very high mortality rate in care due to the stress of being in captivity.


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Last modified: 09/23/16 08:17 PM