Finally More Kits
- Published: Sunday, 19 April 2015 13:01
- Written by David DeCiero
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.