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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a doe who's had 5 litters for me; Satin.....first two litters normal, 8-9 kits each, and mom only hopped in to nurse young. The last three littters have been awful...she spends so much time in the box that she has overheated one litter (kindled in hot weather and then her body heat), and seemingly SQUISHED two or three kits in the past two litters. Kits were fine when checked, then dead two days later. Only 3 kits survived on this last litter of 5...any suggestions on what I can do to keep her out of the box when she's not feeding them? I've got a board for her tootsies to rest on, plenty of feed and water so not sure where I'm going wrong.
 

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Is something different that might be scaring her?
I've red on a few web sites that you can take the box out during the day and give it back at night.
 

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Yes, in a case like this one, I'd remove the box and keep it and the kits in the house. Just return them in the box morning and evening so she can nurse them. I used to have a doe that would jump in and out of the box when she was agitated... once she stepped on the babies so hard that they squeaked for several minutes. Fortunately, none was seriously injured.

We eventually sent that doe to freezer camp. She had huge litters but she was just too jittery and her young grew up nervous too. She was always in attack mode for two weeks after the kits were born and we finally decided that she was just not worth the hassle.
 

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Enjoying Polish Rabbits
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I agree with MaggieJ - give the doe the next box for about 10-15 minutes twice a day - however long it takes her to feed them.

You may not have to do this for very long - sometimes just a couple of days, or until their eyes are open and they see her coming and can get out of the way. I have had to do this with several different does, for various reasons. The first time was because it was so cold they would have frozen if I left them out there, one was becase the doe had the kits on the wire, and after I put them in the box she was in and out constantly, another had a case of 'scatterbrains' and behaved like yours. As I said, some straightened out after a couple of days, all by the time the eyes opened.

This is common practise in some rabbitries with drop nest boxes. They have the 'lid' on timers with buzzers. Buzzer goes off, doors open, does hop in to nurse, does hop back out (buzzer goes again before door closes to warn any stragglers), and then the doors lock. I forget where I read about that, but it's just a wee bit too structured for me!!
 

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Is she using the nest box to lounge in or is she simply landing on the kits when she jumps in to nurse? Healthy does who lounge in their nest are culled here. If they are lounging because of sore feet, then they are treated and given another chance. Does who have ongoing problems with their feet/hocks are culled as are bucks.

We have found that during the summer, the kits will spread out in the nest box/basket to cool off. We have more kits stepped on, during the summer, because of this. That is one reason we have gone to the drop basket. With the drop basket, the kits are cooler and we can more easily see when they have spread out too far and place them back into the nest proper (depression/bowl). Quite often we see kits that have crawled between the side of the basket and the nesting material, when we walk by, and fish them out and place them back into the nest proper. With a solid nest box, we would not be able to see this. With a solid box, we would have to reach in and check with our hands each time. This is more time consuming and stresses some does.

FYI: Our drop baskets are home made and do not have lids. They stay open all the time. When there is no nest in the basket, the rabbits like to lay in them to stay cool. The baskets hang from the bottom of the cage and are therefore closer to the ground and are cooler than in the cage.

Hope this is helpfull,

MikeL
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, being a returnee to rabbits, I'd never heard of drop baskets...marvelous! However, with such a small rabbitry(only four does and two bucks right now), I wonder if drop baskets would be worth our while? Are they difficult to construct? I may just cull this doe...her feet SEEM fine, no sores, etc. and she does have a nice large cage and a nice large board to rest on.
 

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"Are they difficult to construct?"

Anyone who can make a cage can make a drop basket. Make a basket the size you need, cut out a hole in the cage bottom and then attach the basket. We install basket on all the cages we build now. Even the bucks like to lay in them.

MikeL
 

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Apparently another advantage of the drop box is that if a kit gets hauled out of the box while still attached to the doe, as it crawls around it will eventually find its way back to the nest and fall in. Not what happens with raised boxes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Any good pics/photos or websites of them? I'd like to try a few cages with them to experiment. Thanks
 
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