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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I've been breeding for a about a year now and have had two successful litters before inexplicably hitting a wall.

I have two does, one purchased from a very well known Breeder along with a paired buck from the same Breeder. Aside from them I have two other bucks.

Doe 1 has been bred to Buck 1 twice resulting in the two successful litters. I lost one baby out of 8 between the two litters.

Doe 1 was bred to Buck 2 and the litter appeared healthy until about 5/6 weeks when all of them died off within 24hrs. Very active the day before, no signs of illness or weakness

Doe 2 was bred to Buck 3 about 6 weeks ago and I had 3 healthy little does born in the litter. She was a first time mom but did great, no issues with feeding, nesting, kindling etc.
I lost one baby three days ago, and the other two died sometime this morning.
We had all three out the day before one died and they were active, eating, drinking. After the first died I considered a possible genetic issue, since this first baby had eyes open on day 4. I was able to keep them clean and around day 11 they opened fully and with no clouding of the lens.
The other two were doing just fine for the last few days and had their hutch cleaned and new food and water refreshed at about 10 p last night (by my mother, we have actually been in and out of the hospital with my son for covid related complications for the last week and a half)
We got discharged this AM and I went immediately to check on them, both dead at about 11am. My mother was shocked, then were both active and hopping around the night before and she watched them eat and drink when she refreshed their food and water.

It does look like a case of weaning enteritis may have hit, because there was wet droppings but I'm absolutely stumped as to what could've caused this. With the previous litter I lost, I had been free feeding pellets and decided that perhaps they had causes some dysbiosis and decided to forgo pellets after the first 2 weeks (so as not to have them eating pellets while leading up to weaning period). They did fine with the pellets for the first two weeks. By this age, about 6 weeks, babies and mama (still together) were getting unlimited Timothy and water, nothing else. My first two litters did well on this diet also.

My mother mentioned that she'd tried to feed Doe 2 some pellets but then had worried about the babies (I told her my concerns about previous litter), so she didn't allow the babies any pellets and scooped the rest out after Doe 2 had a few bites. Doe 2 is alive and well, and although I had to give her a bottom cleaning thanks to all the muck it doesn't appear that any of it was hers, as she was passing regular stools when I had her running about in her pen while I thoroughly cleaned her house.

Sorry for the insanely long lead up, but any idea what is happening here? I was initially concerned about carbohydrate overbalance from pellets, but now I'm not at all sure. It has been very hot, but my rabbits are all acclimated to this weather and none were showing signs of distress or even any interest in frozen water bottles. I don't understand what could be causing these otherwise active, healty-seeming babies to suddenly develop enteritis and pass away within a matter of hours. They are all litter trained, but I even removed the litter boxes out of fear that this was somehow contributing to the situation. Any thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated, I'm just miserable over losing another litter--especially considering I was planning to keep one of the three this time.

Ps. They are housed outside on an already-shady concrete pad under UV shade for extra protection, just in case that's relevant.

Thanks a bunch :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for replying, even that helps. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something glaringly obvious. It is this doe's first litter (I know plenty of people more or less write off the first), so I suppose it could be just coincidence having lost the other one
 

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Some first time mothers fail to care for their litters or don't build proper nests to keep the kits warm. That is not the same as losing weanlings to enteritis.

Are you sure there wasn't a predator roaming around their cages about the time the kits died? It's another possibility. Rabbits can die of fright if something is trying to get to them.

When you said you had the babies out, did you mean you had them out of the cage and on the grass?
 

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I'm so sorry about your son, and pray God's blessings for quick, complete healing.

As for the rabbits, what's the weather in your area? We've had extreme heat here, and I've lost rabbits to heat in the past, despite my best precautions.

I'm so sorry you lost the litters, and hope that you all will be well in subsequent breedings.
 
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