Orphaned Squirrel
Orphaned Chipmunk
Orphaned Raccoon
Orphaned Skunk
Orphaned Rabbit/Hare
Orphaned Woodchuck

HAVE I FOUND A RABBIT OR A HARE?Although similar in appearance, rabbits and hares are distinguished by differences in their anatomy and behaviour. Hares tend to be larger than rabbits with longer legs and feet.  They turn white in the wintertime and are found more typically in rural areas. Hares are born at a more advanced stage than rabbits as well, being covered with fur and having their eyes open. A hare will have her babies in long grasses, fields, or under a bush.

Rabbits on the other hand are born without fur and their eyes do not open until a number of days after birth. A rabbit's nest consists of a shallow hole covered with natural materials and fur, commonly found in a garden or against a building typically in an urban setting. 


IS THE RABBIT/HARE TRULY ORPHANED?    Once the young have their eyes open it is very common for them to come away from the nest a bit to explore. If you have found a baby rabbit or hare just sitting in your backyard chances are it is not orphaned. It will make its way back to its nest in the evening. If however the rabbit or hare has been in the same spot for the past two days and is easy to catch then it likely is orphaned and needs help.  It is typical never to see mom tending to her babies, she comes usually once or twice a day to feed either late at night or early morning.  This way she avoids luring predators back to the nest. If you are uncertain and perhaps something has happened to mom there are a few tricks you can try to determine if mom is still coming. Sprinkle baking flour around the nest. If there are footprints in the flour in the morning then mom is coming.  You can also place a string in the shape of an X over the nest. If in the morning the X is disturbed then again mom is coming and leave alone.  If there has been no signs of disturbance to the X or flour after a couple of days then they will need to be rescued.


AGING THE RABBIT/HARE: In order to properly care for the baby you have found, it is important to know its age. Consult the chart on the back to assess age.


FEEDING:  Orphans that have been without their mother will be suffering from chill and dehydration. They must be thoroughly warmed first, and then offered warmed rehydration solution. Pedialyte is a rehydration solution that is available in drug stores- it should be heated to body temperature and offered every couple hours for the first several feedings. Formula should be a powdered esbilac, which is a puppy milk replacer that can be purchased at a vet clinic or pet store. Mix only enough for 24hrs and keep it refrigerated. Cow's milk, human baby formulas, and most pet products (except Esbilac) are not suitable and will likely cause death.  Ensure formula is well heated and kept warm throughout the feeding as cold formula will cause diarrhea which can lead to death.  Feed with a 1ml oral syringe ensuring that the feeding routine and environment is kept totally quiet.  Please do not have more than one person as a caregiver and do not allow the animals to be handled by any other person.  See chart for feeding schedule.  Once feeding is finished, wash its face well with a damp face cloth, as formula dries quickly and causes fur loss.

* Rabbits and hares are slow and difficult to feed, so take your time and be patient, as it is essential for them to get the required amount.


HOUSING:   See chart.


RELEASE:  Should occur late in afternoon in appropriate area (where there is suitable habitat for either hare or rabbits) and where there would not likely be domestic predators such as dogs or cats.  Hares should be at least 300 grams at release and becoming wild and hard to catch. While rabbits, should be around 200 grams and displaying similar behaviour. 


*In some jurisdictions it is illegal to care for wildlife and you should consult your government wildlife agency.


INTERNET SITES: There is some good information on the Internet, but other sites give advice that will kill the animals you are trying to help please be very careful.















20 grams


2 mls Formula

4 times per day.




- stimulate genital area

 before and after feeding

 to induce elimination.

- use a q-tip or fingertip dipped in hot water

-keep indoors in a cardboard box or pet carrier filled with soft, ravel free blankets.

-heating pad outside the bottom of the box on lowest setting, heavy towel inside bottom of box to maintain only a slight warmth.  If caring for more than one rabbit the heating pad is not necessary

- wrap rabbit in a soft blanket when removed

   from box, to protect from drafts.

 - watch for signs of diarrhea. If diarrhea develops, use an unflavoured pedialyte instead of formula for 24 hours, then gradually reintroduce the formula.




1 week


40 grams

3 mls. Formula

3 times per day

- same as above



-same as above

- wrap in blanket or towel while feeding.


2 weeks


60 grams

4-6 mls. Formula

3 times per day




- same as above

- may begin to eliminate

 on its own. If not, continue as above.

- same as above

 - same as above


3 weeks


80 grams

8  mls. Formula

2 times per day



- stimulation should no longer be necesary

- place rabbits in enclosed plastic cat carrier & place towel over carrier to protect from light and offer security

- introduce small dish of large flake raw oats & a little pile of freshly picked clover

- Offer a small dish of water or drinking bottle


4 weeks


100 grams

10 mls. Formula

1 time per day - wean fully in 4th week


-the rabbits are becoming more active and will require more space

-find a quiet area of the house to section off a 4ft x 4ft area, include their carrier in this space

-should be eating pellets and natural foods like freshly picked clover and small tender dandelion leaves (will keep in plastic bag in fridge for a few days). Make sure they have not been treated with pesticides.  Always have a handful of timothy (not alfalfa) hay in cage


5 - 7 weeks



150 - 200





- continue weaned diet








0 to 1 wk

Birth weight is 65-80 grams, gaining ~9g/day

4x/day formula; 3-4 mls

Stimulate after each feed may not urinate every time

1 to 2 wks

4x/day formula; 4-5 mls

As above

2 to 3 wks

4x/day formula; 5-6 mls

As above

3 to 4 wks

3x/day formula (as much as they want. NB - should be taking at least 6-8mls/feed before reduce from 4x/day feedings to 3x/day feedings)

Introduce large flake raw oats & a small dish of water or drinking bottle

Stimulation should no longer be necessary

4 to 5 wks

2x/day formula (as much as they want. NB should be taking at least 10 mls/feed before reduce from 3x/day to 2x/day)

Continue raw oats and offer freshly picked small tender dandelion leaves and clover (no pesticides) and water

As above

5 to 6 wks

1x/day formula should self wean during this week

As above