There is nothing yummier than drinking a tall glass of chocolate milk on a hot summer’s day. Have you ever wondered why there’s a happy bunny holding a glass of flavored milk instead of a cow on the Nestle Nesquik bottle? Do humans want to drink rabbit milk, and are there any benefits to consuming rabbit milk?
Humans can drink rabbit milk; however, it doesn’t contain much nutritional value (way less value than cow’s milk). A rabbit’s milk has a creamy white appearance similar to cow’s milk, but a bunny’s milk has a salty taste. It isn’t easy to milk a rabbit, and a bunny only produces enough milk for its kits.
If you have been considering drinking rabbit milk, you’ll learn everything you need to know in this guide about rabbit milk, and if it’s worth the trouble.
What Is Rabbit Milk Used For?
Let’s look at some of the uses for rabbit milk:
Nutrition for Kits
Once a rabbit has had their litter of kits, the lactating mother (or doe) nurses her babies with her milk. The milk helps the baby rabbits to develop and grow.
The mother rabbit’s rich milk can sustain the kit for almost 24 hours. Baby rabbits only nurse for about 3 weeks, and then they start eating small amounts of solid food while still drinking their mother’s milk.
Until they are fully weaned at around 6 weeks of age, the kits are also given special pellets that have a high protein content as they start weaning off the doe’s milk.
From 3 weeks old rabbits start nibbling at solid food and are getting ready to leave the nest. They will start to explore and run about the cage, playing with their littermates and trying any foods that are offered.
Treatment for Hemophilia
According to a report published in the Telegram of Worcester, a rabbit’s milk may be used to help find a cure for hemophilia in human patients.
By raising rabbits and using their milk, companies (such as LFB USA Inc) are able to produce a blood-clotting agent that assists people with hemophilia.
Initially, the companies used goat milk, but rabbits produce an essential protein with certain sugars needed for the best results.
Is Rabbit Milk Nutritious?
Rabbit milk is nutritious for their own litter as it has a higher level of fat, protein, and energy, which stimulates growth in a rabbit’s young. It has a protein content level 4 times higher than goats or cow’s milk but a far lower level of sugar and lactose.
Cow’s milk is far more nutritious for human consumption as it contains calcium and various other nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iodine.
These nutrients are essential for muscle function and the healthy development of bones.
How Hard Is It to Milk Rabbits?
Milking a rabbit is no easy feat. Unlike a cow or goat, which will generally stand still and not be too bothered with a person pulling on their teats for milk, a rabbit will wriggle and squirm when you attempt to milk them.
Rabbits will also kick a person to protect themselves, making collecting the milk very difficult. A lactating mother rabbit doesn’t appreciate it when they are disturbed while nursing.
By upsetting the mother rabbit, she might become nervous and stop lactating for a while, which means you will not be able to get any milk from her, leaving her young malnourished
Rabbits only produce about 7 ounces of milk per day, and they only lactate for about 3 weeks at the most.
Benefits of Rabbit Milk
Unfortunately, rabbit milk doesn’t provide any benefits to the development or protection of a human child or adult’s body. The milk has an insufficient amount of nutrients in comparison to what people need.
Rabbit milk, however, is beneficial for their babies.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of rabbit milk for kits:
Rich in Nutrients
When it comes to kits, their mother’s milk is very beneficial.
Compared to cow’s milk, rabbit milk has a higher fat, protein, and energy concentration. These higher levels make it possible for kits to go without nursing for 72 hours.
Rabbit milk has an increased, stimulating effect that causes rapid growth and development in their kit’s body. The mother rabbit only needs to feed her litter twice (sometimes only once) a day for about 5 minutes.
These short nursing sessions are enough to sustain the growth of the litter, making them ready to be weaned by about 6 weeks of age.
By this age, the rabbits are considered to be fully grown. Their weight is about 3 pounds, and they are about 12 to 20 inches long.
Low Levels of Lactose
The colostrum in rabbit milk contains almost no lactose (1.4-2.6%), which would greatly benefit human consumption, especially for people with lactose or dairy intolerance.
The low level of lactose in rabbit milk is replaced with a higher content of sodium, which is far higher than in cow’s milk and gives rabbit’s milk its salty taste.
What Other Animal Milk Can Humans Drink?
Humans have been consuming human and animal milk, such as cow milk, for centuries, but there are many more animals that can provide a source of dairy for humans.
Here is a list of animal milk that humans can drink:
- Cow milk, including A2 cow milk (the A2 mutation makes the milk easier to digest)
- Camel milk (closest to human mother’s milk)
- Goat milk (easier to digest than cow’s milk)
- Yak milk (contains high levels of protein)
- Buffalo milk (has more fat content than cows milk)
- Horse milk (hypoallergenic qualities)
- Donkey milk (hypoallergenic qualities)
- Zebu milk
- Sheep milk (greater concentration of amino acids)
- Reindeer milk (fat content similar to cows milk)
- Giraffe milk
- Llama milk
My Last Bunny Thoughts
While the idea of drinking bunny milk sounds lovely, it just isn’t practical. Firstly, it’s not a great-tasting or nutritious milk for human consumption, and the milking process for rabbits is not as easy as with other animals.
To obtain enough rabbit milk to make it worthwhile, you would need to keep hundreds of lactating rabbits.
With all the different types of animal and plant-based milk available on the market today, maybe it would be best to leave the consumption of rabbit milk to the little bunnies who need it.