Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Crazy Dog Lady
Joined
·
3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had one litter born yesterday evening and the other two does kindled this morning :banana02: One of the does is a first time mom, she actually had 11 babies but four of them were at the front of the nestbox frozen this morning, (looks like she delivered them there) so she's left with 7. My standard rex doe has 6 little black otter popples, and my Californian doe has 7.

My californian doe pulled a bunch of fur, her nestboxes have been the best :rock: My other two does pulled some fur, but things are getting down into the 20's at night and I'm not sure there is enough there to keep the kits toasty.

I took some of the fur out of the Californian's nest and donated it to the rex, who built the worst nest of the bunch - she didn't make a hole in the hay, just dug a little dent in the back. To her credit, the first timer build a nice nest, she just didn't pull enough fur to line it properly.

I don't want to take too much from the californian's nest, her kits need to be warm too after all.... I have read that you can use "unscented" dryer lint in place of fur in nestboxes. Does it have to be lint produced without the use of a dryer sheet or what? I didn't think dryer lint was scented in the first place! I'm doing laundry today so if dryer lint produced in a regular dryer (with bounce dryer sheets) is acceptable, I'll use that.

So....anybody have any experience with using dryer lint??
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,103 Posts
Okay, I think I may be the guilty party about pushing for "unscented" dryer lint. Some of the detergents and dryer sheets are so strongly perfumed that I find them obnoxious... and I'm sure the rabbits, with their sensitive noses, must find them equally strong on the lint. But it is not going to kill them... so use it if that is what you have. Better a stuffy nose than frozen kits.

Feathers (from a pillow) also work well. I use the small body feathers from a mean gander we had to cull a couple of years ago. He's kept many a litter toasty warm!

Don't rob your Cal doe, but she will probably pull more fur to make up for what you take. If she does, you may be able to take a little more. You can also gently pluck a bit from the other does. It should be pretty loose on their dewlap and tummy right now. Sometimes the manual plucking of just a little will stimulate them to pull more... or so they say.
 

·
Crazy Dog Lady
Joined
·
3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Regarding the scented dryer lint thing, I don't think its just you, MaggieJ... I know I read that when I was first reseaching rabbits, because its in my notes, and that was months before I found this forum. I'm going to go through the house and see if I can find a pillow that's actually made with feathers!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,103 Posts
Regarding the scented dryer lint thing, I don't think its just you, MaggieJ... I know I read that when I was first reseaching rabbits, because its in my notes, and that was months before I found this forum. I'm going to go through the house and see if I can find a pillow that's actually made with feathers!!
It's not as easy to find one of those as it used to be, is it? Just to get them through one cold night, you could fill a wine or liquor bottle with a good screw cap with hot water, put it in a sock and lay it along one side of the nest box. This would allow the kits to gravitate to the warmth or away. It's not a cure-all, but it might take the edge off and shorten the cold hours. Almost anything could be placed over the nests late at night, as long as it is small enough for the doe to move. A little hand towel or large facecloth... something like that just to add some insulation. Seven or more kits in a nest generate an incredible amount of heat... but they need help retaining it.

Your other possibility is to pull the nest boxes and take them into the house for the night. This is more trouble, but probably safest.
 

·
Crazy Dog Lady
Joined
·
3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Apparently I shamed the rex doe into pulling more fur - she must have taken the borrowed hair from the other doe as an insult! When I went back out last night, she had pulled a bunch of fur and added it to her kits, and they all did fine. The first-timer decided to do a better job too, she must have seen the rex in the cage next to her pulling fur because she did the same.

Looks like I don't need to worry this time around. I'm still going to try to find an old goose down pillow or buy some of the litter saver that KW cages carries, just in case I'm not so lucky next time!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,103 Posts
There you go! Does often pull more fur after the fact. If they could just get it through their heads that the kits need warmth immediately, we wouldn't have so many grey hairs.

You don't need an expensive goose down pillow. Try at discount stores or even Wal-Mart for cheap, chicken feather pillows. Last time I priced them they were under five dollars. Mind you, that was maybe three years ago or so.

Glad your does came through for you... and that the popples kept toasty warm.
 

·
Carpe Vinum
Joined
·
1,735 Posts
I use dryer lint all the time, I do not use the fabric softener sheets in the dryer though. Also most of the 'lint' is sheltie fur, and its mighty warm, I throw it out for the birds to use for their nests when I'm brushing dogs. I do not usually place it on top of the babies, I scoop the babies and any fur out, line the bottom and sides of the nest well with the lint, drop the babies in and then cover them with whatever mothers fur she pulled. Some does do not like the lint on top of their babies and will pull it off. As for detergents and fabric softeners I really don't feel its that big of a deal, their eyes are tightly shut, they fur out quickly so I don't feel that it'll bother their skin, and their outside getting lots of fresh air, and we are for the most part talking about meat rabbits that will have a limited life span. When it comes to kitcicles versus using dryer lint and running the slight chance of maybe having a reaction its just a non-issue for me. I do also save clean pulled fur and have a few bags of satin angora fur as a back-up, just always remember when using angora to cut the fur into half inch pieces before using it. Congrats on the new kits.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,103 Posts
I have several rabbits awaiting freezer camp, including a mature doe. (Tuppence, the one that has refused to breed for over a year, has run out of excuses.) I'm wondering if I could harvest some of the fur, particularly from the belly and dewlap of the doe so as to have a supply in hand for winter kits. Anyone ever done this? What is the best way to get it off? Scissors, clippers?
 

·
Crazy Dog Lady
Joined
·
3,436 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
MaggieJ, the person I got my first rabbits from told me that she uses fur off of hides of freezer camp buns that are too thin to tan. Apparently she removes the skins during the butchering process, lets them sit for 10 or 15 minutes (somehow sitting helps the fur loosen from the hide), then pulls the fur off with her fingers. She swears if you do it right, the fur peels right off. I haven't tried that yet, but it counds like it would be the easiest way to do it!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,103 Posts
Great, thanks, Bluemoonluck! The goose feathers work well, but it is a finite supply, just the one mean mutt gander. My other geese (Pilgrims, the sweet ones) have wormed their way into my heart and graduated to pet status. :angel: :angel: :angel: If they produce goslings, I might be able to bring myself to slaughter some of those. I hope so, because I just love roast goose and I have all kinds of uses in mind for the down, goose grease etc.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top