Scamp’s Birthday – Baby Pics

As near as I can estimate today or tomorrow is Scamp’s third birthday. As I haven’t posted it before, I thought I would tell you Scamp’s ‘gotcha’ story. There are some happy bits and some very sad bits and lots of baby photos.

I got a call in the beginning of May in 2007. My vets had given my number to a lady whose husband was working on a building site and uncovered some baby rabbits and they needed someone to take them. They babies were supposedly 3-4 weeks old, so I agreed expecting they’d be ready to pass on to a wildlife rescue for release.

When she arrived with the babies, I opened the box to find five almost hairless bundles with their eyes still closed, closer to a week old than three. It transpired that a digger had scooped up a load of sand and along with it the nest.  There was 3″ of sand in the bottom of the box to corroborate the story. The whole site was being cleared so they couldn’t be left and the foreman had suggested disposing of the babies (!). The ladies husband had refused and taken them to keep safe.


That evening involved a mad call around to find somewhere still open with replacement milk in stock. Luckily a vet across town stayed late to let us pick some up and so began the endless feeding routine.

Baby rabbits being hand reared need feeding 3-4 times per day as the replacement milk is not as nutritious as a mummy rabbit’s milk. It needs to be done very slowly and carefully, as if too much goes in the mouth at once they can inhale it leading to respiratory infection. In between feedings everything needs to be sterilized.

A few days after arrival, and quite a lot of feeds later, they opened their eyes. By this point their fur was coming in a little more too and they look more like miniature bunnies than very plump sausages. To give you an idea of size, at this point they weighed just 80-100g each.


By two weeks old they were starting to explore and feeding time turned into a crazy bunny wrangling game. They were prone to jump in random directions with absolutely no consideration for the distance or landings.


At two and a half weeks the heart break began. One by one within hours they went from happily bouncing and feeding to passed away. The vet could offer no assistance, it’s likely they had a intestinal virus/infection or just that their gut couldn’t cope.  Substitutes are just not as good as what mum can offer.

By week three there was only a single bun left, the biggest of them all. At this point I was expecting to loose him too… there were a good few weeks before I had any certainty that he would make it. Despite my worries he started eating solids and drinking his milk from a bowl, and would snuggle up for a cuddle under my chin afterwards.

And he grew (4 weeks old) …


And grew (8 weeks old)…

Scamp aged 9 weeks

And grew (12 weeks old)….

Scamp aged 12 weeks

Now Scamp is a wild rabbit and I would normally agree that wild animals belong in the wild and that was my original intention. However by the time we knew he’d make it, he was much to tame having had too much human company after the lose of his siblings. Right or wrong there was no way he could be released. He wasn’t meant to be permanent here either, but obviously we couldn’t rehome him until we knew he whether he was a him or a her, and then not until he was neutered and by then he’d been here a year and we were all kind of smitten. Three years on, will still are.

And that is Scamp’s story.

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12 Responses to “Scamp’s Birthday – Baby Pics”

  1. D. Moll says:

    What a story, it has all the elements of a classic. Yeah, kind of smitten! and the rabbit gets to stay on, he knows how to handle humans.

  2. shell may says:

    Oh Happy Birthday Scamp! I’m sooooooooo glad you are still here with your mom. I agree with D. smitten indeed!

  3. Happy Birthday Scamp, what an amazing story.

  4. Dizzy Blonde says:

    Hi just been reading ur lovely story and wud like to let u know i am also hand-rearing a wild baby rabbit shes about 4 weeks old now and i have been feeding her kitten milk, she is growing nicely and is a very cute, energetic and bouncy little bunny. I would like to ask u wat did u start feeding scamp to get him onto solids???

    • Tamsin says:

      Hiya, Scamp started off with eating hay, which I used for bedding so he’d always have something close, he particularly like the soft end bits and the seeds. He also had dried grass, dandelion and blackberry leaves. Once he started drinking less milk I introduced rabbit pellets just one or two a day at first. Good luck with your little one 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    Happy Birthday Scamp! That is a great story. Look at the little baby in the palm of your hand!!!

    I’m so glad you kept him. It would have been too hard to let go.

  6. Charlotte says:

    What a story Tamsin, I had no idea. I had wondered about how Scamp came to be with you. I know you are right about wild animals / wild homes and agree absolutely, but in this case Scamp seems to be having an amazing life with you, it’s just lovely to read.

    Have you ever read The Private Life of the Rabbit? A study about a wild rabbit population in the ’50s. It’s really good. Some heartbreaking stuff about myxi but a real insight into rabbit behaviour.


  7. Kim says:

    Hi, I have just read your lovely story about Scamp. I have aquired a baby rabbit who has been named ‘Stitch’ who we think, judging by it’s size could be 5 weeks or more. We have been feeding kitten milk which he (or she) eagerly suckles at feeding time and I have started leaving freshly picked grass and dandelion leaves in his? cage too. I know everything advises against keeping wild rabbits as pets and I have been in a dilemma as to when to release him but am very reluctant to as firstly, although we are quite rural and regularly have bunnies on the lawn, we have a lot of cats near us, two of them I have seen with bunnies in their mouth and secondly, Stitch has a damaged back leg and I’m concerned that he may not survive when released. He (I am calling him he but it’s too early to tell what sex he is) is very happy when he’s fed to snuggle up and have a little sleep. He happily comes out of his bed when we go to see him to have a nose so again, I’m not sure he will survive in the wild and fter reading your story it is evident that given the right care Stitch could survive in captivity.


    • Tamsin says:

      Hi Kim, rabbits need to be in top condition to survive in the wild so if he has a permanent disability he’s probably not a good candidate for release. If you can’t keep him yourself you might be able to find a wildlife sanctuary with other unreleasable residents he could join. At 5 weeks he should be eating solids so grass or hay (or a mix). You might need to start reducing the milk gradually too. I watered down Scamp’s over a couple of weeks to wean him. As you’ve read Scamp can be a bit of a handful and needs a lot of space and attention but he’s certainly worth it.

  8. Bridget says:

    What a great story! Scamp is a special boy, no doubt. So sad about his siblings.
    🙁 Visit my blog sometime — we have a litter of 5 siblings that did have the benefit of their mama, but that we also helped “raise”. (she was a rescue bunny that I had NO IDEA was pregnant and it was a very big surprise, but we ended up keeping them all). Your blog has great info about bunny care.

  9. Zoe Taylor says:

    We found a litter of 4 wild rabbits under our shipping container, we raised them for 2 weeks, until one got injured, we didn’t know what to do, called Fawner, only to find…we couldn’t keep them :(, was a heafty 10K per animal…sadly we had to turn them in, but they had their own personalities, one was very cheeky and out going.

  10. Zoe Taylor says:

    Also…Happy Birthday Scamp! xox

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