Orphan Babies Update

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Bernadette, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    Well, here it is Sunday night and all nine are still alive. I'm surprised. Nine is a challenge, but three groups of three is much easier to handle! There are three little white guys - they are group one. There are two blacks and a silver chinchilla colour - they are group two. And then there are three brown chinchilla colour - group three. This morning (6am) without thinking I tried feeding goats milk with some whipping cream - they were not happy, and didn't eat well. (yes Terry, I know better, even without you telling me - just a stupid-head this morning I guess). There were no chubby tummies, and were pretty lethargic. So, I fed again about noon, and mixed the goat milk cream mixture half and half with KMR. There were several Turbo Suckers! I filled a 5cc syringe three times, and put that in my tiny baby bottle, marking the bottle with permanent marker for each 'dose'. I'm weighing them before and after feeding, and keeping track of who potties and who doesn't. They are nine days old tomorrow, and it will be nice when their eyes open. Thank goodness this will only go on for a few weeks - not like bottle baby goats! Hubby still thinks I'm nuts, but with them being a whole week old, and chubby and healthy - I just couldn't just leave them to die. (But why couldn't my 'learning' litter be 4 or 5 instead of NINE!)
     
  2. Al. Countryboy

    Al. Countryboy Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me that they just might make it now at this age. I have only had rabbits this time for about 6 months with no major problems so far, but wondering how the whipping cream makes the difference? I also have dairy goats and had planned to give goat's milk if I had a problem. I have noticed and read where babies lay on their backs to nurse. Are you having to flip them over,do they turn over on their on or do they take the bottle up right? I was planning to put them on their back to nurse if I had to hand feed. Are you having to stimulate their little bottoms to potty or had they already started going on there on? Thanks for your help just incase and good luck.
     

  3. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bernadette, just wanted to say how much I admire your dedication. It sounds to me as though you are doing great with those motherless bunnykins.
     
  4. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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  5. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    All nine still alive. They seem to be gaining weight - the tiniest white one 'Scrawny' weighed 2.7oz before feeding last night, and 2.9 after, and didn't potty. This morning he weighed 2.9 before feeding, 3.0 after, and he pottied fine. I can get them to pee. They seem to be poo-ing on their own -some have had little poopoo balls there when I've picked them up. I'm being as gentle as I can and still get some stimulation, but their little 'parts' are getting very pink (and probably sore) - so as soon as they pee I quit. I've discovered the best place to potty them is at the bathroom sink - about five steps from the chair where I feed. Warm running water, container of cotton balls, and as soon as we're finished the feeding regimen out comes the spray bottle of disinfectant cleaner, swish, swish and we're all cleaned up. My bathroom sink has never been so clean!

    Al. Countryboy, apparently neither the KMR or the goat milk are as rich as rabbit milk, so adding a bit of whipping cream to the formula increases butterfat. I imagine egg yolk would do the same. I'd say what I'm using right now is 1/2 cup KMR, 1/2 cup goat milk, and 1 1/2tbsp 35% whipping cream.

    I was having trouble at first with the KMR trying to warm it, it would get scummy and sticky in an open dish - but the baby bottle and doing things in three sets helps. I just put the three measured doses in the baby bottle, set the bottle in a cup of very hot water (I bring the kettle almost to a boil). If the first two are pokey, sometimes I have to reheat the milk for the third rabbit. But, being in the enclosed bottle it doesn't start to evaporate and get sticky. Then I wash the bottle and nipple, and start over for the next set of three.

    I've also found the most comfortable chair to sit in, and no I don't feed them upside down. I read that it's just too easy to get it into their lungs that way. I wrap them in a face cloth so their little feet have something to grip, but their paws quit knocking the bottle out of their mouths. My thumb and pointer finger around their neck so they quit turning their heads so frantically looking for the milk, lean back, put my feet up on the desk, get their little faces looking right at me, and in goes the nipple - right in front of my nose - so I can see whether they're actually getting the milk or if it's all running down their chin. The hardest part is dealing with my bi-focals if they wiggle their way too close! A couple of them have got the 'turbo suck' down pat - love those time savers!

    I won't be weighing as I feed tonight for several reasons. 1. I have to go to a meeting tonight, and 2. I have to work tomorrow and we leave at 7:30. So, I'll be testing my time tonight to see how fast it can be done, so I know how early I have to get up tomorrow morning to get everything done before work - or maybe I'll decide to get my girlfriend next door to come and feed.

    Terry W - exactly. Even though everything seems to be going well, I'm taking absolutely nothing for granted. I notice a couple of them seem to be a bit blue around the lips - but I don't know whether or not they've always been that way. Oxygen issues perhaps?

    MaggieJ - thanks. I didn't feel that I had a lot of choice in the matter seeing they were a week old and all very healthy to start. I doubt I'd have tried it with absolute newborns. Now, however, if I'm able to succeed with at least some of this batch, I just might try newborns if I had to. Quite honestly I think this is actually better than my experience with bottle baby goats and milk replacer earlier this spring. And maybe I had the goat experience to prepare me for the bunnies?

    Hubby still insists I'm crazy. These are supposed to be meat rabbits. The next litters can be meat rabbits. If I succeed in hand raising these little darlings, seems to me they would make ideal pets - for someone else that is. And I can probably sell a hand raised pet for more than a meat rabbit anyway. And I wouldn't mind keeping a doe or two for replacement breeders.

    I've been up since 4:30 this morning, hubby's gone to work, bunnies are all snuggled down, chickens are fed, other rabbits fed, all I have to do is turn the eggs in my incubator and I'm heading for a nap! Have a great day everyone!
     
  6. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bernadette, when you mentioned how red the bunnykins' skin is getting from pottying them, it occurred to me that warm oil on the cotton swab might work just as well as warm water. It would also help heal and protect that delicate skin. I would think any good vegetable oil would work... olive oil might give the most protection.
     
  7. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Vitamin E oild would be even better--
     
  8. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    I have to hand it to you (and my daughter whom is feeding 3 right now) - you all are real troopers! I have tried before and I just do not have the "touch" - daughter and you must have what it takes to get them to eat. Way to go! I'd love to see photos of a Chinchilla colored - ours are all white... I have to share this though - I have an older doe that I know very well, she had her babies right after a new mom had three and dropped them all over the cage and floor - The new mom had no idea what to do with them - my daughter took them, warmed them up, fed them, and when my older doe had hers (a half a day later) I petted her all over, rubbed my hand over the three orphaned ones, and slipped them right in with her 6 - she is such a good mom, went right in, fed them all, and pulled her wool over all 9 of her "new" litter.... That's how I like to raise orphans!
     
  9. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    So, they're still all hanging in there. All seem to be gaining weight, and a couple of eyes are open. I work tomorrow, and will pick up some Vitamin E Terry W. Pasotami, perhaps 'the touch', perhaps letting the rabbits teach you how! Anyway, it's exactly that concept that has me thinking if I don't get them all fed before time to go to work tomorrow, they're coming with me, and I'll feed them on my coffee break and lunch - rather than ask my friend to feed when she hasn't done it before.

    I'm working on pictures.

    This doe was one that came home to us bred. She is half New Zealand, half Champagne d'Argent. The father is a Giant Chinchilla. I'm still not sure why she died - some kind of respiratory distress. She had her teeth barred, laboured breathing with head tilted way back. It wasn't hot that day. I think she got a draft the couple of hot days prior when I had the fan turned up full - even though it draws air out I think it drew the air throught the eves and down across her cage.

    The rest of our does we're breeding two at a time - for fostering if necessary.

    The eyes started to open today and I think that the biggest black one told me quite clearly that it's had enough of the potty stuff. Little bugger bit me when I was attempting the potty routine! Feisty little stinker!

    I'm tired. The bigger they get the more milk they take, but the longer it takes to get it into them. It is getting easier, just taking longer. I'd better get to bed - 4:30am is going to come awful early!
     
  10. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hang in there, Bernadette! You must be exhausted, but in just a few more days they will begin to nibble the rabbit pellets and bits of hay if you provide them. They'll still need milk, but once they are eating solids they are well on their way to independence.