When Do Baby Rabbits Need Water

Do baby bunnies need water? Here is the short and sweet answer.

  • If it is under three weeks old. No.
  • If it is over three weeks old. Yes.

But keep on reading for more details so you can have a better guess at how old your rabbit really is and how to give your baby rabbit water.

Before we get in too deep let me clarify that I am talking about domestic rabbits, not wild rabbits. They are completely different.

Before you can know if a baby rabbit needs water you have to do your best to figure out its age. This will help you know if you should try to give it fresh water instead of hand-feeding it kitten milk replacer.

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How to Figure Out The Baby Rabbits’ Age

Newborn baby rabbits don’t have fur when they are born and start to get peach fuzz at three days old or so.

baby rabbit that is a few days old

Their eyes start to open at 10 days and should be fully open by day 14. Even though they do walk around they are pretty shaky and don’t have the best balance. But still, be careful if you are holding them because they can shoot out of your hand like a rocket. So keep a good handle on them.

These little guys are about 12 days old where their eyes have just opened and they are still really wobbly on their feet.

A baby rabbit that is just opening its eyes

These babies are 3 almost 4 weeks old and should be fully on food and water. They still might try to sneak nursing in on momma but it’s not likely she would put up with it. So make sure they can easily access water. 

a baby rabbit drinking water

The Weaning Process

The mother rabbit will start pushing the baby rabbits away by laying down when they try to nurse. Some does will even get grumpy with their kits. The kits tend to be willing to try pellets and water because they are getting hungry.

If you catch them sneaking out of the nest box sooner than three weeks then let them. It’s totally fine if they want to try the feed early.

Around 2.5 weeks old I will start offering the kits solid food and water in a shallow dish and if they show interest then you know they are getting close to being off momma.

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If The Baby Rabbit Does Need Water Here’s What To Do

If you think your baby rabbit is at or past three weeks old and does need water then find something really small and low so they can reach over the side of the bowl. Fill it high enough so they don’t have to stretch too far to reach the water so they don’t fall in.

If the baby rabbit does not try to drink you can touch the water with your fingers and touch the rabbit’s mouth. If you got their lips wet they should lick their lips. If you do this a few times they should catch on. 

I feed my rabbits out of a bowl instead of a water bottle because water bottles tend to cause more issues than they are worth. Most bottles leak and lose all the water but more than that the bottles do not hold enough for my large breed rabbits.

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Have A Younger Rabbit Under 3 Weeks Old That Looks Dehydrated?

If you have a rabbit that is younger than three weeks old and looks dehydrated like this kit does below it does not need water it needs to be hand-fed.

A dehydrated baby rabbit that needs milk

If you need to hand-feed a baby rabbit here are my favorite supplies to do that.

Flints – these work a lot better than syringes because you can do it more slowly without pushing too much into the baby’s mouth and the ends tend to be smaller.

This milk replacer is going to be the best option to hand-feed the kit. Make sure to read this post about how to hand-feed kits.

In most cases, young rabbits transition over to clean water with no problems.

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