Kits on the wire

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by cowboy joe, May 3, 2004.

  1. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    The newborns have become more energetic with each passing day leading to a few of the more rambunctious kits to find their way to the wire. We were fortunate to find two of the kits on Saturday morning shortly after their journey began. Both were returned directly to the nest box, still warm and wiggly, where they snuggled their way back into the company of their brothers and sisters.

    The third was not so lucky. We found the kit on the wire during last night’s feeding. The kit’s body temperature had fallen enough that it was cool to the touch. We brought the little one into the house where it was placed it on a warm, hot water bottle and covered with a small towel. My daughters took turns holding the homemade bed while whispering encouragement into the kit’s diminutive ears. Several hours passed and the kit appeared to make a decent recovery.

    Warm and wiggly once again, I opted to bring in the doe to see if the kit would nurse in the hopes that some warm milk would fend off remnants of any remaining chill. The doe was very cooperative and quite receptive but to no avail as the little guy showed little, if any, interest whatsoever. We rewarded the doe with some pieces of apples then returned her to the hutch. The kit was returned to the company of its’ siblings a short time later.

    I checked the nest box this morning. All of the kits were warm to the touch. Five of the six were nicely rounded, appearing as if they just filled their bellies on mama’s milk. The last one, I suspect the kit from yesterday’s adventure, was as warm as the others but somewhat wrinkled in appearance. I’m concerned that this little guy didn’t eat this morning.

    I’ve been told that the kits can only last 36 – 48 hours without nursing. Is this true? If so, should I intercede and see if the kit will nurse? The doe is a seasoned mom and is typically very cooperative.

    My second question concerns kits on the wire. It appears that some litters / does are prone to this behavior. I read, somewhere that kits are sometimes pulled from the nest box when they attempt to continue nursing when the doe leaves the nest. This may be due to either an impatient doe or insufficient milk …whatever the cause, the kits hold on because they aren’t done feeding yet, only to end up on the wire with no way to get back to the nest. I’ve learned not go near the hutches too early in the morning because of this as a nursing doe may ‘jump’ out of the nest box if she thinks it’s feeding time. Are there any other situations to be aware of which may contribute to the kits ending up on the wire?
     
  2. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    This is fairly common and is one of the reasons I check the rabbits so often.

    One way to reduce the number of occurrences is to make sure the front of the nest box is 6" - 7" tall. This tends to scrape the kit from the does teat as she leaves the box. It does not always work, but it helps. We are currently using this method.

    Another thing is to use nest boxes that hang under the cage floor. A rectangular hole is cut in the floor wire and a wire basket is suspended from it. The basket can be lined or a nest box can be inserted. According to people who have been using these, the kits tend to find their way back into the nest if they get dragged out. One more kit per litter per year average survival, is being reported. We plan to install drop type nests when we build our next cages. Then we will be able to compare and choose the better system.

    Check out the pictures at this site: http://www.angelfire.com/pro/wasteland/
    Click the buttons under the tractor. Rabbits and cages will appear after a few other scenes.

    Good luck,

    Mike
     

  3. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Thanks for the suggestions Mike. The hanging nest box is a novel idea. The dropping trays hang under my hutches so I couldn't use the idea straight away. Might be something to consider for the some new cages which are on the drawing board at this time.

    As an fyi...the little guy from the other day is doing well. His belly was nice and full by the time I got home last night. My daughters were very excited that he survived and I gave them a big hug for their efforts!
     
  4. mommabear

    mommabear Member

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    I too have heard of the drop box method and was told by a breeder who has this system the kits wiggle their way back in the next box so as I am building my cages as such. I am making a basket sort of thing from the cage wire to drop a nest box into. This way the nest box is not just hanging but is supported and also no other critters can lift it up from below.
     
  5. kathy H

    kathy H kathyh

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    The drop nest boxs are great! I used them when I raised angoras. If you have cages with drop pans you can use a bottom cage and just leave off the drop pan, you can run a tupperware tub with worms under part were nest box isnt.