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View Full Version : Releasing hand reared wildies.



halfpenny
01-07-2011, 08:05 PM
I have been wondering about Sparrow ( our wildie baby) and although I suspect he may be too tame to release if he survives, what do people generally think is best.
From the reading I have done it seems that hand reared babies tend to suffer from delicate tummies all their lives- if so, is it then fair to release an animal.
I have also wondered if the fact they have not been given proper mother's milk and therefore not a balanced diet as a baby, would it mean they are more prone to dental issues due to calcium imbalance.

What do people think?

Stator
01-07-2011, 08:10 PM
I don't think they should ever be released. Wild rabbits live a matter of months, not years. And that's the healthy ones.

Sky-O
01-07-2011, 08:10 PM
I believe I heard somewhere that those that are released spend their lives on the outskirts of warrens as opposed to being fully accepted.

Maybe like a soft release into a large, safe space, maybe with other domestics might work if you can't find others like him?

Donna's relatives place with her half wildies :D

FarplaceRescue
01-07-2011, 08:15 PM
Whenever i have released wildie babies, it has been a group of them together. I got them onto a wild-food-only diet as soon as possible after the bottle, and made sure they were used to it. I then soft-released them in a safe area. They were fully vaccinated before release as I wanted to protect them as much as I could.
I am not sure this would work for a single wild bunny.

William
01-07-2011, 08:20 PM
I don't think they should ever be released. Wild rabbits live a matter of months, not years. And that's the healthy ones.

This is my opinion too.

Tamsin
01-07-2011, 08:31 PM
I don't think they should ever be released. Wild rabbits live a matter of months, not years. And that's the healthy ones.

I think if you follow that through though, we should round up all the wild ones to keep them safe.


I'd suggest seeing if there is a wildlife rescue that has a group they plan to release it can join. Often they'd do a soft release so they'd live in a run in a semi wild area where they can get used to the sounds/smells etc. and eat grass and then be released from there.

halfpenny
01-07-2011, 08:38 PM
I'm not really worried about releasing him, had 2 wildies previously so know what to expect and there is one wildlife rescue here but they had babies about 2 months ago so they will be long gone before Sparrow is ready.

I can see both sides, certainly if a 'clutch' of babies ais handed in every year you can't keep them all because they are so much harder to rehome, but at the same time I worry we release animals assumed to be fit but an un-natural start must affect general health down the line- i am talking about all wild animals here.

halfpenny
01-07-2011, 09:47 PM
Any other opinions?

Minimallow
01-07-2011, 10:02 PM
If it were me, I don't think i would be happy to release a single bun. I know I'd feel worried the whole time but wouldn't worry as much if a whole group were being released. Thats just me though :)

halfpenny
01-07-2011, 10:04 PM
I did mean that Sparrow will be staying here.:oops::D

I just wondered what other people thought.:)

parsnipbun
01-07-2011, 10:38 PM
We will not be releasing Pippin - I simply don't think he would survive in the wild - and he is very very bonded to my OH.

I would no more release Pippin than I would release one of our accident (domestic) 'babies'.

I understand that he will need a lot of space etc but he will get that.

However he does not have any tummy issues at all!!

emjrabbitwolf
01-07-2011, 10:38 PM
Rag was a wildie found as a babe of about 5 weeks old. She remained domesticated as a very loving pet.
With the right care wildies can be kept as domestics, after all aren't all our pet rabbits decended form those wild rabbits originally kept by monestaries? (I've been reading rabbit books again!)

If an animal has been hand reared and is bonded to a human its potentially deadly to try to release them. They can end up coming up to humans looking for attention or not understand the "rules" of the wild as it were.

If only Sparrow were a girl or there was another wildie looking for a home... Ben needs a companion and I miss Rag so much. Maybe one day I'll get another wildie to care for.

DemiS
01-07-2011, 10:45 PM
I think it depends on what kind of set up you could give him?

If you were to keep him in a hutch, I think he'd be better off in the wild, if you could have him in some large enclosure with tunnels and lots of space, I think he'd be best staying with you.

abbymarysmokey
01-07-2011, 10:54 PM
I think your farm would be ideal for doing a soft-release, but on the other hand, I'm not sure how a single baby rabbit (with no experience of meeting other rabbits) would cope. At least a whole litter of wildies would be able to create a new colony.

I haven't found that any of my hand-reared babies (5 in total) have had any digestive issues at all...in fact they are amongst my most robust rabbits. If you're going to release him, you'll need to start feeding grass earlier than you'd like in a ideal world....which obviously carries some element of risk, especially around the 4-8 week mark.

Candiflare
01-07-2011, 11:04 PM
keep him ;););););)

emjrabbitwolf
01-07-2011, 11:11 PM
keep him ;););););)

sorta agree here... give very big and SECURE enclosure, either on slabs/concrete etc or with a layer of mesh on the base. Rag was very happy having her 6ft hutch and a daily run around our garden for a few hours or coming into the house.
Smudge my Tan was more destructive than she was!

halfpenny
01-07-2011, 11:19 PM
Our first ever rabbit was a wildie- Benji.
I agree that it might have been different if there were a group of babies to release, at least they would have each other and could be kept in an enclosure until fully adapted. With one it would be very hard to intergrate into a group.
I am worried about the weaning period, but if he survives its good to know he isn't definately going to have gut issues.

Stator
01-07-2011, 11:21 PM
I think if you follow that through though, we should round up all the wild ones to keep them safe.

If it were possible I would. But you have a higher duty of care to any animals you do care for, even if they are/were wild.

Kermit
01-07-2011, 11:29 PM
I don't think i would release a single hand reared bun into the wild.

I am sure that you will be able to give Sparrow a great enclosure and life at the farm :)

antigone
02-07-2011, 12:09 AM
I don't think i would release a single hand reared bun into the wild.

I am sure that you will be able to give Sparrow a great enclosure and life at the farm :)

^^^^This! :wave:

Tamsin
02-07-2011, 12:46 AM
Sorry, I thought you meant how to release him :)

You'd need to judge on a case by case basis whether a bun is a candidate for release. I think it depends on what age they were abandoned and how much handling they have had. I would say a single bun is less likely to be suitable as it will have looked to humans for companionship more that rabbits kept in a group. I haven't noticed any issues with diet/health, I should think the main problem is whether they have been kept in too domestic an environment during the period when they would usually do a lot of their social learning.

Jack's-Jane
02-07-2011, 06:42 AM
I think I would want to try everything possible to make a release viable. If not totally into the wild then at least into a secure Wildlife Sanctuary Environment.

However, in practice I know I would find it very hard to 'let go'. But I hope I might be able to try as I do think that in general Wild Rabbits belong in the wild.

I guess its yet again that each individual case needs to be dealt with on its own merit :)

i-love-bunnies
02-07-2011, 07:50 AM
Why do wild rabbits only live months?

Hoppla
02-07-2011, 08:17 AM
If we look at how difficult it is to bond domestic rabbits, then it must be impossible for a hand reared wildie to be accepted into a group of wild bunnies.

Also life in the wild is already very dangerous for a 100% healthy wild bunny who has had mummies milk and learned from his wild group how to survive.

As said above wild bunnies very rarely live past their 1st year and that is the healthy ones living with their group.

I think releasing a hand reared wildie on its own into the wild is a death sentence.

Have there been any studies done into the chances of survivel of hand reared groups?

Jack's-Jane
02-07-2011, 08:28 AM
Why do wild rabbits only live months?

They fall prey to predators mostly :cry: That or Myxomatosis :cry:

halfpenny
02-07-2011, 08:34 AM
They fall prey to predators mostly :cry: That or Myxomatosis :cry:

So playing the devil's advocate here- is it even worth hand rearing wildies if the plan is to release them, would it be better to have them PTS humanely rather than go through the effort and heart ache of trying to raise them and then release them, for most of them then to potentially be snaffled by a predator within days?

Jack's-Jane
02-07-2011, 08:53 AM
So playing the devil's advocate here- is it even worth hand rearing wildies if the plan is to release them, would it be better to have them PTS humanely rather than go through the effort and heart ache of trying to raise them and then release them, for most of them then to potentially be snaffled by a predator within days?

I dont know !!

I do know of a case whereby a group of hand reared wildies were released into a secure enclosed but 'wild' environment. They were never kept in hutches/runs and could lead as near a 'normal' wild Rabbit life as is possible. The exception being that they were safe from predators. I guess that would be the ideal, but I doubt that such facilities are readily available nationwide.

I do know that some Vets will not treat Wild Rabbits for the exact reason that they do not believe it to be ethical to try to domesticate a Wild Animal. They would PTS.

i-love-bunnies
02-07-2011, 08:53 AM
I thought wild bunnies were a bit more predator aware than domestics. I would have thought a hand reared one would be easy pickings for predators.

happybun
02-07-2011, 11:08 AM
why not do what they sometimes do with elephants and gradually move him to the edge of your area giving him shelter but access to the outside and see if anybun comes to collect him? when he's bigger, obviously.

it may be that a short life of freedom is more valuable than a long life in captivity :( but that would be hard for you now that you know him.

incidentally, if someone leaves an elephant with you, don't rely on my scheme to find him a home in the wild. i don't think it applies in scotland :oops::lol:

Jenova
02-07-2011, 09:50 PM
Can you release him into your 'garden'? Like into a barn a first and then let him have permanent free range but still feed him?

esupi
02-07-2011, 10:00 PM
Can you release him into your 'garden'? Like into a barn a first and then let him have permanent free range but still feed him?

We were out walking a couple of weeks ago and came across what I can only assume must have been something like this, but it was not a wild bun. We were passing through a farm on a public path, and in the field next to the barn were a few sheep and a rabbit happily nibbling away on the grass. The rabbit was tame and let me go right up to it, so obviously used to people, but it wasn't enclosed at all - I can only assume it had a hutch/shelter of some description in the barn.

halfpenny
02-07-2011, 10:28 PM
We have resident foxes, badgers, stoats and weasels here.
I do not think he will be released into the wild, he is too trusting already, and having had 2 'pet' wildies in the past I know I can give facilities where they can be happy.
BUT I have alway questioned releasing hand reared wild animals and whether the success rate is great, and it seemed time to ask it here!:)