Babies dying one by one - HELP!!

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Milk n' Honey, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    What am I doing wrong? I had a nice big litter of baby bunnies and they've slowly been dying off. I've seen the Mom feeding them and she is very protective. I know she has been caring for them. Since they've started coming out of the nesting box, they've been dying. It is almost as if they are getting cold or not getting fed or something. We have been putting them back into the box when we see them out but the other morning, I found four babies out of the box and dead. One problem is that the holes in the bottom are too big (the rectangle holes instead of the square ones). I don't like that anyway but after that incident, I put hay all the way around the edge and just left the middle open for Mom to poop through. They babies are still jumping out of the box but seem to walk across just fine now. This morning, we have one dead and one dying which leaves one healthy baby out of about 10-11 originally. Now, I suppose it will die b/c it has now way to keep warm with other babies. What am I doing wrong? This just didn't work at all and is very disheartening as it was a large and beautiful litter. They were growing really well. The problem started when they started leaving the box. What can I do? I have another litter that will no doubt be jumping out soon too!! I really don't want to repeat this episode if I can help it. Thanks so much for any help!!
     
  2. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    can they get back inside the box on their own? are they outside where its drafty? where are you located? are you up north where its cold?
    what are the symptoms of them dieing, do they act sick for a time thin die or do they freeze? can they reach food and water?

    if they cant get back into the box where its warm and they are freezing turn the box on its side so they can just walk in rather than haveing to figure out how to jumb back in the hole,
    other than that i am not sure
     

  3. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Cut one open and see if the lungs are bright red. I lost 66 in two weeks, due to a nasty viral disease, that came to France by way of hares from China. We have to immunize all of them, now, or they die. Ask your vet if the disease is in your area.

    It also might be that there are too many babies, and they are going hungry. One of my does gave me 15, twice in a row. Half the nest was okay, the other half was puny and starved, before I realized.

    You can bottle-feed baby rabbits, but you must rub them during feeding, with a warm, damp washcloth....simulating their mother licking them, so that they'll pee. If not, they hold the pee til their bladders pop, and die with a terrible shriek of agony.

    If you're lucky, it's just the size of the litter, and not this viral thing. To stop that, you might want to keep the litters down to eight, maximum. Any more than that, and they take too long to get up to table size. To avoid large litters, just breed the doe once, and take her out of the buck's cage. That's why my lovely grey doe had 15...I'd read that to have large litters, the trick was to put them in for breeding, and to put them back, for a second round, 24 hours later....I can tell you, it works!
     
  4. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    I saw a couple of them get back in on their own. They are in the barn, in cages. We shut the door at night. We are in Indiana. It was probably in the 50's last night and today it is about 70 degrees. These babies were 2 wks old on Tuesday. Wouldn't they still be just nursing off Mom? BTW, the others are dead now too. They seemed to get separated and when I'd find them, they's be spread out in different locations in the cage, cold and dead or dying. I saw the babies that were left nursing on Mom so I know they were eating. Just got too cold maybe? Should I spread hay in the whole cage? I thought about sitting them down in a big empty water trough for less drafts and something under them besides air. What can I do? I just really don't get it. This was a first litter I believe but the bunnies were really growing and really healthy until they all started jumping out of the box.
     
  5. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Was there something in the box, that made them jump? Fleas? A heat source? Red ants?
     
  6. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Cut a dead one open and have a look at the lungs....just in case.
     
  7. awfulestes

    awfulestes Well-Known Member

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    What is in the nestbox? I change the material at about 10 days(or when its real dirty). Nasty stuff can grow in there such as mold. The babies will nibble on bad hay or something else they shouldn't.I also clean it with dish soap and water then dry it. Oh and the mother maybe didn't make enough milk for them all. Were they real skinny with flat tummies when they died?
     
  8. wilded

    wilded Well-Known Member

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    Is the wire on the floor larger than 1/2 by 1 inch?
     
  9. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Did you check the lungs?
     
  10. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The fact that you found the bunnies dead or dying outside the nestbox sgeests to me that the bunnies got chilled. It is usually easier for them to get out of the box than back in. They can become confused and unable to find their way back. And once their numbers were reduced they would not have been able to generate enough heat to keep themselves warm. We've been getting very frosty nights here in Southern Ontario and lovely sunshine most days. Your nighttime lows may have been lower than you realize. KSALguy gave you a good suggestion about turning the box on its side once they begin to leave the nest.
     
  11. t-bird

    t-bird Member

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    I used to have the same problem so I have scraper bars on the front open area of the nest boxes so when mom hops out she doesn't drag out any bunnies still nursing. It also helps keeps the small bunnies in the box if they are too small to get in and out by them selves. How old where the bunnies when this happened?
     
  12. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Off topic, susieM, are you speaking of Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (VHD, RHD, VRHD)? Thankfully, while we've had a couple of outbreaks in the US, they were squelched, and the disease is not widespread. :) For more info on VHD in the US, go to www.prma.org.
     
  13. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    That's the one, yes. It sure took a bite out of the rabbit market on this side. The prices have almost doubled, since, for meat, because of the cost of a double jab of immunizations. Several people that I know have given up rabbits altogether. My vet told me that this disease arrived in France with imported hares, from China.

    From the sounds of what's happening with those babies, I'm concerned that it might be this problem. I know it's not nice to do an autopsy...but that's the advice that my vet gave me....he even showed me how to do it, and what to look for. Or maybe one of the dead/dying babies can be taken into the vet's?
     
  14. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    OK, new update on the bunnies. All are dead now as I posted before. However, now Mom is acting really sick. She won't eat, won't drink and she has at least one crusty eye. She is just sitting in one spot swaying a bit and has her eyes kind of squinted. She is obviously sick. She also looks thin. What do you think is wrong with her? Could this be some sort of infection that also killed her babies? What can I do?