Finally More Kits

         Over the past 4 months, I have had some terrible luck with the rabbits.  I first lost a litter for my proven doe due to her scratching through the cardboard bottom.  I came out the next day to find them all chilled and deceased.  I kind of shrugged it off and rebred her a week later.  She lost that one too.  I waited two weeks and then that litter died too.  It had gotten so bad I was questioning whether I should continue with the rabbits.  I tried everything, including moving her cage, giving more and better straw for bedding, even disinfecting everything.  Nothing seemed to work.  So, I am giving her a month off and them will try and rebreed her.
           At the same time, I was dealing with a new mother who had her first litter on the wire.  She completely forgot to use the nest box and even though I put all of the rabbits in the next box, she never pulled any fur.  They died the next day.  Her next litter was born in the nest box, she pulled a ton of fur, but they still died.  I figured I would give her one more chance.  She had another litter and they died as well.  I couldn’t believe it.  I decided that she was just a bad mother and culled her. 
             Now, here I was with no production over the course of about 4 months.  I was frustrated and all my resources did not help in finding a problem.  Tularemia was not the cause as all of the butchered rabbits livers looked fine.  I felt around the proven doe for mastitis and didn’t feel anything.  She didn’t have any noticeable discomfort when pressing on her belly.  I figured I would wait a month and then rebreed her.  Maybe she was just too tired from the past year of breeding.
             In the meantime, I had a new doe that I had been raising.  I decided to try one last time before I gave up.  This would be a first time mom.  I decided to bring her indoors three days before her due date just to ensure that the kits did not get chilled.  I went downstairs  at night to check on her and the first couple of days there was no activity.  On her 30th day, she was still being lazy.  Then, I went down that evening and she was pulling fur and placing it in her nest box.  I was hopeful, but didn’t want to count my kits before they grew.  The next morning, there was movement in the fluffball with lots of warmth.  I quickly checked for any stillborns, but found none.  In total, there were 11 kits.  Each day, I kept checking them and mom.  On the third night, I went downstairs and caught her nursing the kits.  I was extremely happy.  A couple of the kits died from holding on to a teat and being pulled out.  They got chilled on the wire and died.  One also got stepped on by mom, so I lost a total of 3 kits.  I was so happy that they made it.  On their two week birthday, I moved them all back outside.  The weather was going to be warm for a couple days and they had plenty of fur.  It’s now 3 weeks from their birthday and they are all still doing well.  (Although one is a little guy, he seems to still be getting time with mom since he is still alive.
               I am extremely happy that everything turned out OK.  From now on, I’ll be bringing the does inside to kindle in case there are any problems.  This will hopefully give the moms a chance to figure things out without only giving the kits a few minutes to get into the warmth of the nest.  My next rabbit is due in a week, so she will be coming inside as well.