If you discover a bunny nest in your yard, please do one of the following.
If the nest is undisturbed, you should leave it alone. You should avoid the immediate area and keep pets and kids away. Pets will need to be closely monitored and the area may have to be mowed around until the babies leave. The mom bunny only comes to feed the babies for short periods of time at night so she does not draw attention to the nest. The bunnies will be up and gone at about 5 weeks of age. They are about as large as a small doubled fist when they are on their own. The mother bunny generally drives them from the territory once they are out of the nest and thriving.
If the nest has been disturbed you should reassemble it as best as possible, tuck any loose bunnies back in and follow the steps above. The nest is a very shallow depression filled with fur and dried grasses. The mother will still take care of them even if there is “human scent” on them. If you want to be certain the mom is coming to feed you can lay a light lattice of tiny twigs over the nest to see if it is disturbed the next day. If the lattice is undisturbed overnight then the mother is not returning and you should call Animal Control for further advice. If you have to chase the bunnies to catch them then they don’t need to be caught and will do well on their own.
If the bunnies appear sickly or injured or if you find any single baby away from a known nest you should scoop them into a box and contact Animal Control for further advice. You may be asked to bring them into the shelter for assessment as we field so many of these calls in the spring and summer. If you live in the City of La Crosse or the City of Onalaska you may ask to have them picked up if you can’t bring them in to the shelter. We are unable pick them up in the Villages or Townships. After business hours you may contact Animal Control and then leave the bunnies in a covered box by our garage door. Animal Control will then come in and take care of them. Animal Control can’t meet people at the shelter during non-open hours for security/safety reasons.
We do not have resources available to attempt to rehabilitate tiny bunnies. If we have no other option, we do humanely euthanize bunnies to prevent suffering. People may wish to contact the Coulee Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Chaseburg to discuss options beyond what we can offer. The phone number there is 608 483-2610. A State DNR wildlife rehabilitation license is required to keep the bunnies or any wildlife.
We do not move nests. People should also be discouraged from moving the nest so as to not disturb the nesting process. Our goal is to leave baby bunny rearing to mama bunnies because they are good at it. There may be a period of a few weeks that you have to modify your normal routines to allow the nesting process to be completed. It is a shared earth after all.