Found 7 'dead' babies this morning.... - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 04/06/11, 12:49 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Northern Saskatchewan
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Found 7 'dead' babies this morning....

Mom had her babies on the wire. Had a box and straw but didn't make a nest. A couple babies looked like they might be moving a tiny bit. Took them all in and warmed them with a blow dryer on low. ALL of them are alive! I have them on a towel with a hot water bottle and sitting in the sun. Trying to get them stabilized a bit so they can eat. Right now they get cold right away if I take them away from the hot water bottle.

Now what to do with them? Their mother is very aggressive and isn't a great candidate for forcing her to feed them (I have hand raised bunnies using their own mother twice before in the past.) One rabbit I have had 4 babies last night all alive and well, another mother had 6 a couple days ago.

Could they each raise 8 or 9? All are first time moms. Mini rex has 4 and mini lop has 6. These 7 are mini lops. I have another doe due any moment, but she is very nervous and has made a mess of nest building. I am not counting on her to raise an extra one for me.

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  #2  
Old 04/06/11, 01:10 PM
 
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Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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I'd give the fostering a try, Jackie, if you can't get the birth mother to feed them. With the other does having kindled so recently, their milk supply should adjust to the increased demand. Worth a shot, IMO.

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  #3  
Old 04/06/11, 01:17 PM
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Amazing that you were able to keep them all alive! Wishing you alot of luck! Hope you will keep us posted.

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  #4  
Old 04/06/11, 05:36 PM
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Location: Huron County, Ontario
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couple options you have.

divide them up and stick them in with other kits.

OR make a lovely nest for them and then use the two does to help feed them. One in the mid-morning, the other mid-evening. Or even alternating every other day. I'd be inclined to remove nest boxes and just do switcheroos. (mind this from a rabbitry where most does feed their kits twice a day)

But overall whichever method you use the kits will probably do just fine.

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  #5  
Old 04/06/11, 08:38 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Northern Saskatchewan
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I put them in with the other does. One has 9 and one has 8. Still waiting for doe number 4 to finally give me babies. She pulled fur 3 days ago. See what she has and try to give everyone and even number.

I pulled the boxes from the cages rather than pull the does and stress them. I put the babies in the boxes for about 20 minutes to make sure they smelled like the new ones and then I put vanilla on the does noses. Put the nest boxes back in the cages. One never even looked, but the other doe jumped in and I could see her looking them over real good....and then sorta shrugged it off and jumped back out. Later in the day I peeked and I could see that the other doe fed hers and the new ones. One of her original ones looked like it might have missed the meal, so I'll check it again tonight. The other doe hasn't fed yet. If the odd baby misses a meal its nothing to grab the doe and make sure that ones eats. So far I have saved every runt I have ever had by doing that.

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  #6  
Old 04/07/11, 09:02 AM
 
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With large litters keep a good watch. If the little ones don't get fed they will quickly fall behind and as the others get bigger they will push the little ones out of the way.

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  #7  
Old 04/07/11, 05:13 PM
 
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Ok so last night I checked them and one runt that is actually missing an ear....didn't get anything to eat. So I held his new mommy and he got a belly full. I checked the other box and the babies were all feeling a little less than really warm and two were chilled. I brought the whole box into the house and rewarmed the two chilled bunnies. One of the chilled bunnies has some injuries but this morning they were all warm and well. Took them back outside and this afternoon the injured bunny is cold again. Well....its nice and warm out so I am thinking that one just isn't going to make it.

Okay and my other doe that was due had hers, but i had another disaster. I saw this morning that she had built a really nice nest....in the corner of her cage on the wire. I reached in to check and found a dang HOLE rusted in the wire below her nest. Not big at all and I totally didn't even know it was there. Found 7 babies in the manure below her cage. ICE cold and soaking wet! Gah! I ran them into the house and brought 6 of the 7 back to life, but a few hours later i lost two of those ones. So I have 4 doing well and back into a proper nest with their mother. The weird thing is, the three big ones that got fed before they fell through the wire were the ones that died. THe four little runty ones are still alive.

So now i can divide them up and give each mom 7 babies. Easy to tell who the foster bunnies are. They are the only broken ones and they were all broken. So thats good.

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  #8  
Old 04/07/11, 08:35 PM
 
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I don't know for certain, but I think perhaps the three big ones could not digest the milk they had taken because they got chilled. I'm thinking that may have been worse for them than the empty bellies of the four runty ones, in this particular case.

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  #9  
Old 04/07/11, 10:38 PM
 
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bah. THe runty ones had a drink, got chilled and died. It was warm out so I have no idea how they got cold. Tried warming them again but this time as soon as they got warm they died. Also lost the injured one. But the rest of them are doing just fine. Now i have another mommy to let some of the extras eat. I am not going to give her any. Just hold her so some that miss a meal can get a good one.

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  #10  
Old 04/07/11, 10:44 PM
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I am sorry to hear you lost the runty ones. I was hoping for a better outcome.

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  #11  
Old 04/09/11, 09:04 PM
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sometimes, rewarming a cold baby too fast is the culprit.

I have an egg incubator on standby right now,just in case-- a gentle way of rewarming, and keeping kits warm... also has the added benefit of humidity...

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  #12  
Old 04/13/11, 11:12 PM
 
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Bah!!!! This isn't going so well. FIrst the mini rex lost two of her own babies. I think they got cold. Other litter was doing really good. I have been bringing the mini rexs babies in to the house at night and leaving them outside all day.

Then the mini lop had 6 of her own and 3 fosters. Well...yesterday they were doing ok. THe runt with the missing ear looked like it might have missed a meal so I made sure it ate. All fat and happy. This morning two of the foster babies were just about dead and they did die when I tried to warm them. The babies were all about the same size until a couple days ago....and now the original babies are at least twice as big as the fosters. I have no idea what happened. Sad. So one foster is left in that box and doing ok but I am going to keep a VERY close eye on it.


So the mini rex currently has two of her own babies and three fosters and the mini lop has 6 of her own babies and one foster. I can't give the other foster to the mini rex because she seems to barely have enough milk for the babies she has. Hers aren't nearly as big as the mini lop babies....but those ones are monsters!

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  #13  
Old 04/15/11, 07:36 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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Sorry it hasn't been going so well, Jackie. I wonder if covered nest boxes would help prevent the chilling problems. In your climate you may need them except in the warmest months. My rabbits are in floor pens now with nest tunnels (three foot long box with a flip-up lid) and I've been surprised at the low temperatures the kits have been surviving. Just an idea...

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  #14  
Old 04/15/11, 09:10 AM
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I've got the same setup as Maggie - and I only had problems with the two first time moms not knowing to get the kits into the nest right away.

Two newbie does kindled when it was ten below, and they each lost all but two kits. I gave them all to one doe as it was going to get even colder. Rebred the second doe and she had 7 and tucked them all in and they are doing fine.

We've had a very cold start to the year (and it's snowing out right now - yuck!).

With the cold temps we have, I'd be afraid to try to raise rabbits off the ground in individual cages because it can get so cold, and stay that way (like barely getting above zero F for several days).

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  #15  
Old 04/15/11, 02:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieJ View Post
Sorry it hasn't been going so well, Jackie. I wonder if covered nest boxes would help prevent the chilling problems. In your climate you may need them except in the warmest months. My rabbits are in floor pens now with nest tunnels (three foot long box with a flip-up lid) and I've been surprised at the low temperatures the kits have been surviving. Just an idea...
The boxes they have are wooden boxes with tops so the mom can sit on top and get away from them. I also have a heat lamp shining on the box. Not much but I think it does take the chill off in the shed. The rabbits are in wire cages in a tin shed and it has a tarp for a door. The tarp is thin and lets in light during the day. I think maybe I need to have the light somehow shining on the bottom of the nest boxes. Its the floor in them that is cold. But another week or two and we should be into spring for good I hope. Snowed last night and looks like the snow is going to stick for the weekend. I don't have any more litters due for about 3 weeks so we should be just fine. Every unfortunate mistake teaches me another lesson and the next litter is better off. No more hidden holes in cages!
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  #16  
Old 04/15/11, 02:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macybaby View Post
I've got the same setup as Maggie - and I only had problems with the two first time moms not knowing to get the kits into the nest right away.

Two newbie does kindled when it was ten below, and they each lost all but two kits. I gave them all to one doe as it was going to get even colder. Rebred the second doe and she had 7 and tucked them all in and they are doing fine.

We've had a very cold start to the year (and it's snowing out right now - yuck!).

With the cold temps we have, I'd be afraid to try to raise rabbits off the ground in individual cages because it can get so cold, and stay that way (like barely getting above zero F for several days).



During the day here it had been really warm. Like warm enough to wear shorts, and just hovering around freezing at night.

I would love to have a set up like you! Someday maybe. I really do think colony pens are the way to go. Right now I live in town and have a small backyard with close neighbors. I have one small tin shed that i have the momma rabbits in. I will move them outside as soon as it starts to get hot. It gets too hot in the shed in the summer, thats for sure. The rest of my rabbits are all outside with just tarps over their cages. i can't really put another building in my back yard, and a large wire pen would just attract the packs of wild dogs we have roaming in town. Right now an electric fence keeps them away and the dogs don't really notice them under the tarps. We have put an offer in on a house that has a yard that is 150 feet X 165 feet. Whole yard is fenced. I'll be able to give my rabbits dream accommodations if we move. place comes with 6 wooden sheds that I have been told I can have for the rabbits if HE gets the garage. DEAL!
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