Fostering babies is sometimes unavoidable. For various reasons, if the dam (mom) is not able to care of her babies then you will then either need to hand feed or foster it/them to another doe. Regardless if the foster-mom is a Continental Giant or not, if she is feeding a litter (as close to the same age as possible), it’s worth a try. If you see that the babies have not been fed by they time they are 12 hours old, take the babies away from their dam. Pick each one up, and rub fur from the foster-mom’s nest on these babies. This covers the babies in the foster-moms’ scent and doing so will help to prevent the foster-mom from rejecting, and possibly harming, them. Next, you will need to mark the fostering babies so you will be able to tell which babies belong to which mom. The easiest way to do this is to mark the ears with a permanent marker. This will need to be repeated regularly because the ink will fade out every day or two. Once you have placed all the fostering babies into the foster-mom’s nest, watch for a bit to be sure she doesn’t try to attack them. If she does, you will need to rub more of her fur on them. It also may help to place a very tiny amount of Vicks Vapor Rub on the top of her nose to disguise all new smells. When you see that she has accepted the new babies, then check back in 6 hours to make sure they were fed. However, if there is no other doe to foster to, then you will need to hand-feed the Conti kit.
Hand-feeding babies is not nearly as easily done as what it sounds, however it can be achieved. Please note also that if you are bottle-feeding, always allow the kit to suck out the formula on its own; do *not* squeeze the formula into the kits’ mouth. Doing so could cause the kit to die of aspiration. Otherwise, these are 3 of the safest ways to hand-feed babies: (1) a pet-nurser bottle (2) a make-up wedge sponge (3) a Q-Tip. To feed with a pet-nurser bottle, you’re going to need to cut a hole in the tip of of the nipple. If the hole is too big, the baby will likely aspirate. If the hole is too small, the baby will not get enough milk. To use a make-up wedge sponge, all you do is soak the thin, pointed edge in formula and allow the baby to suckle from it. Finally, there’s the Q-tip method. This can be done by dipping a q-tip, repeatedly, into formula and allowing baby to nurse from that. Or, you can follow our simple directions below to make your own “bunny bottle”, such as the one in the picture.
BUNNY FORMULA RECIPE
Mix together 1/2 cup Goats Milk, 1 Tablespoon Powdered Colostrum (or 10 Capsules), and 1/2 Teaspoon of Heavy Cream. In a closed-lid container, shake very well. It is best to pre-make this up to a couple of hours before feeding time, to allow all ingredients to blend together. At feeding time, heat the formula; babies don’t like chilled milk. Now, heat a bowl half-full of water to a low boil. This will be used to keep the formula warm during feeding time. To do this, simply set your container of mixed formula into the bowl of water. And as you would when fixing a human infant a bottle, always test a few drops on the inside of your wrist to ensure that the formula is at a warm temperature. Each feeding should only take a couple minutes, twice a day. The amount to feed is as follows.
0 – 1 week of age: 2 to 3cc per baby, 2x a day
1 – 2 weeks of age: 4 to 7cc per baby, 2x a day – dont allow baby to over-feed
2 – 3 weeks of age: 7 to 14cc per baby, 2x a day – start introducing hay
3 – 6 weeks of age: 14 to 17cc per baby, 2x a day – gather a cecotrope from mom and mix it into a small amount of the formula for 2-3 days consecutively; may need to syringe feed this as most kits don’t like it and may try to refuse to eat it. This is important to establish a healthy flora in the babies guts.
*NOTE: It is vital to stimulate each bunny to potty at every feeding time. Failure to do so could be fatal! To do this, wet a q-tip with warm water and gently pat the genital/rectal area until successful.
MAKE A BUNNY BOTTLE
Through trial and error, plus quite a bit of frustration, we have came up with a very simple and fully effective way to hand-feed newborn babies. All you do is get an Infant Rubber Ear-Bulb Syringe and some Q-tips. Cut the Q-tips in half(make sure they have the plastic-type stick). Fill the bulb with a small amount of warm Bunny-Formula and insert the stick-end of the Q-tip into the tip of the syringe. Push the Q-tip in until the beginning of the cotton is just inside the top of the syringe. You will want it to fit snugly, so the babies don’t pull it out while nursing from it. Next, squeeze a few drops out to get the cotton wet and you are ready to feed!
HOW TO SAVE A BABY FROM ASPIRATING
It is so easy for newborn animals to aspirate (get formula into the lungs and quickly drown from it). Until now, it was common belief that if a baby aspirated, there was nothing that could be done. However, here is a method that is tried and true! Place the baby between the palms of your hands, in the manner of cupping it. Close your hands, so that you are securely holding him. Raise your arms to chest length and swing your arms downwards, between your knees. Do this swiftly, but not harshly, and be careful to not drop or let go of the baby. This acts like using the Heimlich Maneuver, causing the fluid to be forced out, restoring your babies ability to breath.