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Hi, all - new to rabbits kindling (had them as pets many times, but now we're raising them for meat) - our one doe had one just smack dab in the middle of the outside run and was running in circles around it. The nest box had been in with her for nearly 10 days, but she never even went inside.

Anyway, she had the one kit about 5pm today (1 Sept in New Zealand), and it's now nearly 10pm, and nothing anymore. The kit is getting weaker and colder, in spite of our attempts to give it some kitten (as in cat) milk replacer and keep it warm in our hands. It's back with the mum, but she's busy scratching a new nest in the box we have her in in the house. I can feel several more kits moving around inside...

We're beginning to doubt whether the first one will make it...

Is this usual? I've read that a good scare will kind of freak out the expecting doe, and she'll do things like the above. We had a tremendously loud windstorm last night - might that have had something to do with it? Do we see how she does with the rest of the kittens and then give her another chance at rearing a litter?

Thanks for any advice. ?

Andrea
NZ
 

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Sometimes does kindle more kits up to 24 hours later or more. Give it a bit of time and see what happens. You can usually put the nestbox in around 3 days before they are due (around day 26 or so). Any longer and they may use as a litter box. Does usually only nurse 1 or 2 times a day so you probably won't see her nursing the kit. As long as it's belly looks full and it's not sunken in, it should be fine. See how she does with the rest of the litter before you make any decisions on re-mating her. Has she pulled any fur for the nestbox yet? It sounds like she's going to kindle again pretty soon. Just keep putting the kit back in the box and keep it covered if it's a bit cool outside. Hopefully, she will kindle and start taking care of all of them. Let me know how you make out. Donna
 

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Thanks, Donna -- the first kit died by morning. cry The doe had had it covered in nesting material, but it was stone cold. She's still busily rearranging her nest, and hopefully will kindle with the rest of the kits - which I can feel squirming around inside! Would a doe normally cover up a kit like she did? The kit had been trying to keep warm by crawling under the doe, but she was too busy remaking her nest....

I will post when the rest have arrived! )

Andrea
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Andrea

There may be a reason it was kindled first and neglected. Maybe it was the runt and she will put her energy into feeding the others that are obviously coming. Most give birth early morning so you should see a bunch of little heads popping up tomorrow morning. I just had one in July that was the same way - doe had her covered but she didn't make it. She was very small and I think they instinctually know which ones aren't gonna make it. Let us know if she kindles tomorrow - what day are you on (28-31)? It could even be the following day, but she sounds like she's ready to go soon. Donna
 

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Hi, Donna - she as madly building a new nest when we went to bed last night (which was 2 Sept), and this morning (3 Sept), there's a beautiful little fur-lined nest and 5 kits! And, what you say makes perfect sense about a runt, but the "runt" was HUGE in comparison to the rest of the kits. Very interesting! Thanks very much for 'hanging in' with me! D

Andrea
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Andrea

Great news! There was obviously something wrong with the first kit who popped out. Hopefully she will take care of the 5 kits. Good luck! Donna
 

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HI, again, Donna -- after a closer inspection of her nest, there are EIGHT kits in it, and they all look quite healthy and active and moving around and sleeping off and on. The doe is taking quite good care of them, carefully recovering them after they feed, head-butting my hand when it goes in to replenish her food and water... and I've given her a little milk-soaked whole grain bread that she's enjoyed. I have never seen newborn rabbits before! They are beautiful. Many thanks, Donna!
)

Andrea
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Sounds like all is okay. If the doe has had greens before, you can distract her with some treats so you can inspect the kits. (parsley, banana, romaine/kale). As long as they are bopping around and their bellies look full, they'll be fine. Glad it all worked out! Good luck. Donna
 
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