HELP! Orphaned babies 1 week old

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Bernadette, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    When I checked the rabbits first thing this morning Momma Goldie was fine. I would expect she fed the babies this morning because she has been an excellent momma. Second trip down at about 8:30 she was having problems breathing. None of her favorite tidbits tempted her through the day. As a precaution I had a friend pick up a tin of KMR for me, and I have some new small syringes. I've checked about every hour all day, and Momma just got progressively worse. I just checked now, and Momma is dead. I have brought the nest box to the house. So, should I attempt to feed the babies tonight, or wait until morning? Some reading I've done says that after the babies eyes are open you don't have to 'potty' them? Their eyes aren't open, but the fur has come in. My husband thinks I'm absolutely nuts trying to save them - if Momma was sick the babies will be sick is his way of thinking. I think I'm nuts because there are NINE of them! Any advice, suggestions, warnings - anything is appreciated.
     
  2. dunroven

    dunroven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bernadette

    Well, someone with better knowledge may come along but until they do, you got me! I really hate to say this, but we have never been able to save little babies hand feeding them. For some reason, rabbits are just not easy to deal with, partly, I think, because you can't be sure when you are feeding them, unless you know how to put a tube in them correctly, that the milk is going into their stomachs and not their lungs. They aspirate very easily. Also, they get milk in their nose and that will suffocate them. You do have to potty them until they at least have their eyes open, but I believe it would be longer. Mamma does that for at least a couple of weeks, I have seen.

    I hate to say it, but I think your husband is right in this case. I have been very heart sick because of losing babies, but I am learning that if nature says no, usually no is the answer.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     

  3. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    Dunroven, I know you're probably right - but I have to try - at least this first time. My worry with trying to feed them is that I'll do something wrong that kills them, and that's kinda stupid when I think about it because if I do nothing - they'll die for sure. I have one can of KMR - 236ml - with nine babies I'll be lucky if that lasts me until Monday morning! I do have access to fresh goats milk (which some of the internet info also recommended) but I can't get that until tomorrow afternoon. Ahhhh! :shrug: Why can't life ever be easy?
     
  4. dunroven

    dunroven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know, its really hard. I just had a momma who had 11 babies the other day. She has been slowing losing 1 daily, until this morning. She lost 3. Tonight she has 5 left and looked like she was just giving up on them too. She had plenty of milk. All the other mothers had fed their babies but not her. So I think she was just going to let them go. However, I arrived on the scene and saw they hadn't been fed yet (you can tell cause they look like fat little toads after they have eaten), so I got her in the nest box with them, and just literally held my hands over the front of the box so she couldn't get out and the babies just nearly attacked her. However, they are all fat and happy and fed tonight. I'm going back out in the morning. If I can keep this up twice a day for the next 5 days, they have a good chance of surviving.

    She has always been a good mamma so I don't know what the problem is, but like you, I can't give up without trying. Found a baby robin in the yard on my way out to them tonight. Big old wide mouth just a shrieking "don't step on me!" So I saw it and calmly moved it to another spot. It fell out of a nest way too high for us to reach, so I'm hopeful that the mother will feed it on the ground. If it is gone in the morning, we'll know nature's answer, but I also know if I had brought it in, it would have died for sure, so I'd rather let nature do it than me.

    Good luck. I hate giving up too.
     
  5. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    I've just spent the last two hours attempting to feed the little darlings. Hmm. A couple did OK, some were sneezing, some very squirmy - and I'm not a good potty momma because I couldn't get even one of them to go. So, I'm thinking their chances are not very good. My sister-in-law is picking up a couple of tiny pet baby bottles for me tomorrow - I was trying this with a syringe and there's just not enough control. Well, if they die, it won't be for lack of trying.
     
  6. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Okay-- wildlife rehabber here!!!

    Use a warm, moist cotton ball to stimulate the waste elimination process you rub gently, the whole genital area-- urine is sometimes hard to spot, but poopies are ususally noticeable...

    when feeding, keep the baby in an "upright" position!! DO NOT lay the baby on its back like we do with our people babies!!! Formula needs to be "body temperature-- so, when you put drops of it on your wrist-- you should not notice any temperature difference.( it should be rabbit body temp-- that will be hard to exactly duplicate)

    goats milk is almost considered the "universal replacer" KMR is not balanced for bunnies--- There IS a company called " Fox Valley" that supplies more appropiate Milk Replacer for different species--
     
  7. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    All nine are still alive this morning, and have been fed. Only about 2cc each, very carefully - took 2 hours again! When I checked on them about 1/2 hour after feeding last night, some had little tiny poopies on their butts. Cleaned those up. And I know I got some of them to pee this morning - saw bubbles as I was wiping. I'm off to farmers market shortly, and will have tiny baby bottles and goat milk when I come home. So I'll try another feeding then. Hubby still thinks I'm nuts, but this this bunch of six does and two bucks and whatever offspring they produce are our 'learning rabbits' and I intend to learn to the fullest. In a large rabbitry (what we hope to have after ALL the mistakes have been made :) it won't be feasible to hand feed. So, now's my chance.
     
  8. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    2cc's seems to be n awfull lot for a domestic baby-- any idea how muchthey weigh each, before feeding? Or weigh them all topgether, and do the dividion... but then-- if they are all taking the formula of their won accord.. just make sure they dont get overly tight in the tummy
     
  9. Kshobbit

    Kshobbit Well-Known Member

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    I raised 4 bunnies on goats milk after their mother died. I had the itty bitty bottles and wiped their tiny bottoms and had 3 babies survive. You have to at least try to save them don't you?
     
  10. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    They are all still alive, frisky, and probably hungry. I'm just waiting for my sister-in-law to get home from the city with my baby bottles.

    Terry W, I just weighed a couple of the babies - one was 3.8 oz, the other was 3.2. Don't forget they are a week old today. Some directions I found online at VeterinaryPartner.com indicates newborn to one week 2-2.5cc each feeding, two feedings per day, 1-2 weeks 5-7cc, 2-3 weeks 7-13 and 3-6 weeks 13-15cc. I'm not sure how much they actually ate - at least equal amounts ended up on my hands, and down their chins in my efforts to ensure that they didn't get a lot of milk up their noses - one drop at a time is why nine babies took two hours to feed! They weren't overly tight in the tummy - I wasn't sure I'd fed enough!

    So, I have on hand KMR, a 2L jar of fresh unpasturized goats milk, a bottle of pedialite, 35% whipping cream, (and whatever else may be in the cupboard - I've read egg yolk, and corn syrup in some recipes). I did not buy acidopholus as I read somewhere that at 1 week old they should have the proper flora established. If not, I also read that I could use the cecotrophs from other rabbits.

    When my bottles get here, I'll feed again. I'm undecided whether to just carry on with the KMR, or freeze what's left of that can for emergencies and proceed with goats milk with some whipping cream added. Kshobbit, I'm leaning toward the goat milk given your results. I'm going to freeze some of the goats milk because it will spoil before I get that whole 2L into these little things. And I bought some larger cotton balls to make the potty business easier too. And I'm stitting on pins and needles waiting for my bottles!

    I sincerely appreciate the input and support from the people here - where else can you find such a wide variety of experience. Someone's at my door!
     
  11. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Start by mixing the KMR in with Goats milk-- and get them over to the goats milk-- make the switch over a period of about 4 days, so that they don't get upset tummies. And yeah-- larger cotton balls are REAL nice--
     
  12. glidergurl03

    glidergurl03 Well-Known Member

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    Mix whatever milk you have in the house w/ an egg yolk and a little bit of karo syrup. If you don't have a kitten bottle, you can buy one at wal-mart or use an eye dropper. KMR is best, but the milk/egg/karo is good in emergency situations. Good luck :)