New kits!!!! Need help

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Back2Basix, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    So day 33 yesterday and my one doe who hadn't even build a nest yet, burrowed a little hole around 7pm and went into labor around 8:30pm (talk about last minute!!!). I think i counted 6 kits total this morning

    Was wondering a few things i can't find a definitive answer on:

    1. Feed bin full 24/7?? Some sites say yes while others give measurements based on the size of rabbit breed

    2. Alfalfa mixed hay now instead of grass/timothy hay?? Some sites say yes, some say limited quantity...

    3. Cleaning nest boxes, should this be done daily, every other day, weekly?? I noticed some bloody straw this AM and was thinking about changing out the straw for fresh

    UPDATE!!!! Wife just said the other doe went into labor and she found a headless kit!!!! They are not underfed by any means and aren't first time mothers, what would cause this??
     
  2. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    Feed bin full 24/7. What is your alfalfa mix? How much alfalfa? If it's less than half and you feed hay as their primary diet, go for the alfalfa for sure. Otherwise, mix the two. You never wanna give more than 50% alfalfa or clover, too much calcium and fat.

    Cleaning out the nest boxes can be done whenever they are messy as long as you know your does. If you are worried about them because you just got them, dab a drop of vanilla on their nose and on your hands. By the time the doe can smell anything other than vanilla again she won't be able to smell you were there. If you've owned this doe for a few months it shouldn't make a difference.

    If it's just the one, I wouldn't worry about it. That happens sometimes when does feel stressed while cleaning their kits and has nothing to do with how well fed they are. Kit cleaning is almost an automatic process, so the does lick the blood off of them if they taste blood or zone out they keep going. If they're having a rough time, sometimes they nick the kit with their teeth, then there's blood there and they just keep cleaning away the blood. Which happens to be the kit's insides. Or they just loose track of themselves. There's not a strong reason why. If it's just the one and this is an isolated incident I wouldn't worry about it unless it becomes a habit. Does that eat their kits outside of isolated incidents should be culled.
     

  3. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    No idea on the alfalfa mix but I'm guessing it's more than 50% with other grasses mixed in. With that said, I've been giving them a small amount of the alfalfa and as much regular hay as they want.

    As for the cannibalism, my wife was incorrect. It was a still born kit covered in blood\afterbirth and the head was just tucked under. So far 0 deaths with the first litter and 2 still born with the second. I think I've counted 6 live kits each but it's tough because i don't want to handle them right now and I'm just fishing through fur
     
  4. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    Also, 1 nest has very little fur whereas the other looks like a rabbit massacre. What's the rules o.j. swapping fur so the other babies stay warm?
     
  5. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    Here's pictures that show the fur difference
     

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  6. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    If it's been several hours since they stopped giving birth it should be fine to handle them (I try not to bother does in labor or they might have later kits on the floor).
    When I got started I was really paranoid about handling them, being nervous about mom doing something to hurt them. I wish I had someone tell me to just chill out and stick my hands in the nest all I want, just to move deliberately and quietly. If your does hurt their own kits because you handle them that's a problem with them, not you. It's not normal for does to hurt their own kits just because you touched them.

    Those first kits look like they need more fur. I would either go ahead and transfer some fur over or you can even pluck loose fur off of mom rabbit to line the nest more. The fur on her dewlap especially should be very loose and should pull out with ease and it shouldn't hurt her either as her pregnancy hormones make her fur extra loose.
     
  7. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I moved them around and counted 6 in one nest and 5 in the other, would have been 7 but 2 were dead. Is 6 about a normal size litter??

    I tried plucking fur but it wasn't happening, so i gathered some excess and rub it all over the other doe, then placed it in her nest. Hopefully the scent rubbed off enough not to worry her. I'm a little less worried now because i just remembered both does lived together and kindled together about 2.5 months ago where i got them
     
  8. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    6-8 is typical, 8-10 is better. Most people consider more than that too much for the doe to handle, but I've had up to 13 before. I wouldn't keep a rabbit that regularly produced less than 6. (Bear in mind, this can also be the fault of the buck.)

    The doe won't mind the fur. It'll be fine. :)
     
  9. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    Cool!! I'm not to upset with 5-6 per litter. I figure that gives my wife and I 10-12 bunnies to freezer camp every 2.5/3 months which would be about 40-60lbs of rabbit (>150lbs/yr). Plenty for the 2 of us, plus the occasional food drop to granny.
     
  10. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    The more you leave them alone the better off you will be.
    If you start trying to make things "better" you may ruin it all.
     
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  11. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    Oh also, i noticed 1 nest was getting a little direct sun in the morning so i shaded it, but the kits keep crawling towards the front, is that normal?? I figured they'd stay snuggled in their little nest but they're squirming around like a bunch of rugrats
     

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  12. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    They do have a tendency to crawl around sometimes. I like to tuck them back together if it's not stupid warm. If it's 90's I'll let them spread out, but most times I tuck them back in together. It's warmer weather right now, so there's more room for hands-off error than if it's freezing cold and they split and can't keep warm.
     
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  13. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I never tried "straw hay" as a nesting material---looks so ruff, I always use a much softer Bermuda(grass) hay. I guess the straw works ok?? The two in the back looks so much smaller. Good Luck
     
  14. Marinea

    Marinea Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the wise Fire-man, the two in the back might not make it. I would check them daily in case they don't, so you can remove them from the nest.

    I clean my nest boxes after kindling, removing anything that needs it. My does generally don't foul their boxes, so no big cleaning after that. Just as the kits are scheduled to open their eyes, around day 10, I completely change out all the nest materials and put in fresh.

    Congratulations on the kits!
     
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  15. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    I did notice a few were smaller and yes the weather is 90f during the day and low 70s at night.

    So far all seem to be doing well but I'll keep an eye on them and change all material around day 10.

    I read straw is good insulator which is why i used it but I'll switch to hay, got plenty of both
     
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  16. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    Is it normal to have different sized kits?? 1 in one litter is at least twice the size of the others

    I feel so bad it's been 90F+ the last few days
     
  17. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes it happens. Some times the small one gets knocked away from getting its milk----you just hope it gets enough to survive.
     
  18. rickfrosty

    rickfrosty RF in Western Mtns.of ME Supporter

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    Had bunnies for awhile, but don't profess to know everything. As to nest material I will save old pillows and give mothers some of that fiber for nesting .
    Also my buck had to live alone last winter and I gave him a whole pillow to tear up and make a warm nest out of .
     
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  19. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    That can be a really terrible idea, especially these days with poly fibers. The fibers can become tangled in the rabbit's intestines and cause a severe blockage. Rabbits that eat stringy fibers like that can die. Not even towels are OK. Nothing beats nature with dried grasses. They have plenty of their own fur to use for nesting, they don't build nets out of soft things they find like mice or rats or birds. I'm pretty surprised your rabbits have survived that. They must be very non inquisitive. Mine would have died immediately. They chew everything.
     
  20. Back2Basix

    Back2Basix Well-Known Member

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    Farmer just baled my hay Sunday, so I've got nice fresh sweet hay that I'll put in there on day 10.

    My co-workers mother raises thousands and she said to just wait till day 10 to swap bedding out. Its been so darn hot and dry that she thinks I'd be safe waiting till then
     
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