One of my NZWs had 6 babies...

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by southrngardngal, May 7, 2006.

  1. southrngardngal

    southrngardngal Well-Known Member

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    She didn't pull any fur at all. One was dead when we checked on her. Now all six have died. We borrowed fur from another rabbit (My gray rabbit had two babies about a week and half ago) and put on the babies. Hubby rubbed the fur on the doe before putting it on her babies thinking that way maybe she wouldn't reject them. I don't know what happened. The other 5 died last night.

    We have two more does that should be kindling in the next day or two. If they don't deliver or if their babies don't live, I am giving up on the NZWs and moving on to some other breed.

    All I wanted to do was make a little money from the rabbits to help with their feed, etc. :Bawling:

    Jan
     
  2. awfulestes

    awfulestes Well-Known Member

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    Did you get all your rabbits from the same place?
     

  3. southrngardngal

    southrngardngal Well-Known Member

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    All the NZWs I got from the same man. Drove for three hours one way to buy them too. Think I was taken? I do? Hubby does too!

    Someone suggested maybe they had been inbred into infertility. But since this one and one more have had babies they are fertile. Doesn't do any good though since none of the babies have lived so far.

    Of course they have been bred three times each. Not too fertile are they? :rolleyes:
     
  4. awfulestes

    awfulestes Well-Known Member

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    You were taken and I feel for you. Take a deep breath and relaxe. There could be some simple solution to your problem that you just don't see yet. I would like to know more. Where are the rabbits located? Maybe they need some privacy? ok here is a crazy storey for ya. This old red new Zealand doe I recently got went crazy and chewed through the chicken wire in her all open view cage 1 week before kindle. I had to put her in the ugliest ,oldest , most used cage my dad built like 4 years ago. It is half enclosed by wood. She was then very happy and the babies are 1 week old. This doe has an attitude problem so I don't bother her much. If I had repaired the other cage and left her in it she probably would have killed the babies or something wierd.
    I keep the bucks far away and don't let the kids make noises back where they are. The does I have like the cage covered some with tarps right before they kindle and up until 3 weeks after.
     
  5. awfulestes

    awfulestes Well-Known Member

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    Oh and maybe get a buck from somewhere else ( even a mix breed or something) . Any medium sized boy will do since they are to eat . Maybe the babies were not healthy to begin with if its a genetic problem from inbreeding?
     
  6. southrngardngal

    southrngardngal Well-Known Member

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    The rabbits are under a shed. It is built onto our storage house. Closed in on the west side, open on the south side, half closed on the northside and opened on the east side. They are in wire hanging cages. Children aren't allowed to play around them. They do sometimes go look at the rabbits but it is very seldom that children are around them. We haven't covered any of the cages before kindling. Maybe we should do that for the two that we expect to kindle in the next couple of days. We can see if it works for them.

    Thank you for the suggestions.

    Jan
     
  7. awfulestes

    awfulestes Well-Known Member

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    Don't rabbits feel the urge to burrow in the ground? I think they like a dark quiet place that they believe is secret. I think you may have seen the old timey rabbit hutch with the house on the end. There was a hole that could be blocked off so you could inspect the nestbox. I need one of those. They have total privacy in that. I'm pretty sure I remember those cages from MIssissippi .I have one doe that sees people coming she will jump in and out of the box. Good thing she knows where the pile of kits are. I also free feed my does pellets and water all the time(they are not fat). I don't do anything fancey. My 7 year old daughter raised her white new zealand doe and man she is spoiled and really great. She has even escaped before and came when called. But of course every rabbit is different.
     
  8. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    Hey there's a Philadelphia in Miss? Cool!!! Since I don't know everything about your rabbits situation I'll ask-

    How old are the does?
    Is this her/their first litter?
    How long have you had them?
    Are they related?
    Can predaters get near their cages at night?
    How high are the sides of their nestboxes?
    Do they have a nervous or calm temperament?
    Have they lost litters previously?
    You said they were bred three times, did you get any babies?

    I agree with the person who said try another buck, the buck could be closely related. Also if you haven't had them long they may need time to settle in. Predaters scaring them at night could be causing a lot of stress, rabbits can be 'frightened' to death by the presence of predaters. Lousy mothering skills are inheritable, but first time mothers often do not take care of their litter, but do better a second or third time. I would not keep a doe that lost more than 3 litters, or keep a doe for breeding from that doe. The key to saving as many babies as possible is having a good foster mother, they can be worth their weight in gold. Try to breed an experienced doe at the same time as a first timer, so you can foster the babies over if need be. Right now I have 5 does raising 7 litters, two of those does don't even have any of their own kits. One, a mini-rex, is raising a runty Flemish Giant kit, I couldn't cull the little booger. Rabbits can tolerate a lot of inbreeding before showing a decline an fertility and viability, someone did a study and bred siblings for 18 generations before starting to have problems, so that could be it but may not be.
     
  9. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Ditto Honorine, if the does came from a poor-producing line, then yes, that could be a genetic trait. How old were the does when you got them? Maybe they're just fat???

    Have you discussed your problems with the person you purchased your rabbits from? A conscientious breeder would want to know so they can help you correct the problem (either advice or refund/replacement). I know I would certainly want to know if one of my breeding stock customers had problems. It could be a honest mistake too: the person's management style could be so different from yours that makes a big difference in how the rabbits produce. It does sound like you ended up with some lousy mothers though...

    But don't give up on the New Zealand breed as a whole...there's bad family lines in every breed, and actually New Zealands are the most respected breed for large-scale commercial meat production. You just may need to start over with better stock...and ask for references this time!

    Or if you're totally fed up with them, what about a rare breed? I've heard good things about Silver Foxes, American Chinchillas, and Creme D'Argents. There's other breeds out there too.
     
  10. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    Been hearing some really good things about silver foxes as to growth weight and dress-out percentage, thats a good suggestion Rabbitgal. NZW's are so popular partly due to their white color, processors often won't take colored rabbits, but for home use a colored breed would be just fine. Silver Foxes are supposed to have a very unique fur type too, hope I'll see some at the May 20th show, I'd like to know a bit more about them.
     
  11. Dian

    Dian Well-Known Member

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    Jan, This maybe a stupid question-but, do you have nest boxes? I was reciently talking to a young man that said he had given up on breeding his rabbits. That everytime they had babies the mothers looked like they were taking care of them but a couple of days later they would find the babies scattered all over the cage dead. I ask what kind of nest boxes he had-none-the rabbits were just in wire cages. I explained that if the babies scattered, and they will, the mother probably wasn't feeding them and even though they had them in the house newborns can get cold and die. He said he had no idea they needed something to have the babies in-said he might try again.
    Dian
     
  12. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    Good point Dian, most people don't know that rabbits don't mother like dogs and cats, they will not pick up a baby and return it to the nest, they won't gather in a wandering baby and make certain it eats, and they will not sit on the babies when its cold and keep them warm, some won't even make a nest before kindling, most of mine do it right before. Nothing, and then all of a sudden there's fur and babies everywhere. With the Flemish I have a big problem with the babies getting stepped on and killed, rabbits don't even have the sense to get off of a screaming baby. Thats why I watch my girls like hawk, I make the nest, collect the fur, line the nest, make certain all the babies are in one spot so they keep each other warm, and add dryer lint when I feel the fur isn't enough. I check them every day, keep them together, to make certain their all eating, move babies around to fosters if some aren't doing as well. I also make certain that their all in their nests at night when their just getting to open their eyes and jump out of the nest, on a cold night a 2-3 week old baby can still die. A 'good' rabbit mother will make a nest, pull enough fur, have all the babies in the nest in the same spot, feed them on a regular basis, lick and groom them a bit when their really small to get them to eliminate. She'll continue to feed them, and she'll accept any fosters up to three weeks old, I only switch them around up to 2 weeks. Can anyone think of anything esle?
     
  13. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Yep Dian ,, That does happen ,, hub came home from work asked me what he could tell a guy he worked with what to do about his does that were 'letting' the babbies die after giving birth ,,

    ,, :shrug: had him ask the guy what kind of cages he had and what type of nesting boxes he was useing and about feed , water etc ,, if he was leaving the buck in the cages ,,?? (which he was)

    he came home said the guy had them in 'big' old style hutches that had wire floors ,, (which in my opinion was ok enough) but didn't use nest boxes ,, he told hub he 'thought' the doe just used her fur to make the nest - said they made nice fur nests but within a week all the babies would all be dead :rolleyes: ,, (hub 'thought' he said he had 2 big hutches with 2 does and 1 buck in each hutch)

    this person didn't speak english well ,, and hub said he wasn't sure what the guy was feeding the rabbits due to the language barrier ,,

    I ran off a few sheets on amounts of feed needed (pellets) ,, watering methods ,, nesting boxes ,, useing hay for additional feed ,, with the useual warnings about not feeding too many fresh vegatables ,,, different types of cages that could be used ,, giving the does straw filled nesting boxes a few days before they would be due ,, even ran a sheet off for knowing when the babies would be due from the day they were bred ,,

    Hub took the pages to work ,, the guy said he appreciated it ,, (hub said the guy has kids in school so I knew the kids could read the information for him) ,,

    .. the next month he came to work all excited :) ,, told hub all 4 does he had - had babies ,, nice size litters - in the nests ,, and they were doing great ,, he laughed and told hub that now he had to build growout cages since they were doing soo well ,, :p he had already made more cages to keep the bucks seperated from the does ,,,

    Sometimes its just a matter of explaining to someone that its not just as simple as throwing rabbits together and expecting them to breed like rabbits ,,,