Pregnant doe refusing pellets

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MaggieJ, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a nine-month-old doe who was bred for the first time on August 23. She was somewhat resistant to the buck but eventually he did manage to complete the act and fall over. So she is due in just under two weeks - if she is pregnant.

    About a week or ten days ago I noticed she was shedding a fair bit of fur. She has a "normal coat" although there appears to be a bit of Angora in the family.

    Yesterday morning, I noticed that her food dish was still almost full. This happens sometimes... I don't think she is very impressed with pellets. She ate the greens with her normal enthusiasm.

    In the evening, when I did my rounds, the pellets were still uneaten. She was active, bright-eyed and demanding (for greens) as usual. But I noticed that there did not seem to be many new bunny berries under her cage. She has been drinking water normally.

    Same story this morning. I dumped out the old pellets and gave her just a good handful of fresh ones. I just went down to check on her again. She has eaten or spilled a few - they were disarranged in the dish as though she had poked her nose in - but not many.

    So what could be happening? Is she just resistant because she wants other food? Could she have a fur ball? Do pregnant rabbits sometimes just go off their food?

    I gave her some grass hay, thinking that perhaps she could use the extra fibre and also a bit fresh grass. She was very enthusiastic. I'll be going back down to do my usual rounds and will spread newspaper under her cage to see if she is pooping normally.

    Should I add pineapple juice to her water or offer her a few chunks? I was reluctant to make changes to her diet without getting advice because she is probably pregnant. So I'll wait a bit and hope for some feedback.

    My thanks in advance,
    Maggie
     
  2. CountryDreams

    CountryDreams Well-Known Member

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    My first thought is wool block. Especially if you say she might have a bit of angora in her background. I would treat her for the wool block. You can give her a syringe full of pineapple juice-straight into her mouth. A chunk or two of pineapple couldn't hurt her. As a preventative for wool block I give my angora rabbits a piece of banana or apple every day.

    Pregnant does will sometimes go "off feed" for a day or two but I'm thinking there is more going on than her just being pregnant.

    Good luck with her and keep us posted.
     

  3. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pregnant does usually do not go "off feed" until right near the end of the pregnancy. Unless the droppings have decreased in *size* as well as quantity, I would not suspect wool block. Rabbits can be stubborn... she's holding out for her "treats"... I've had this happen. She has to be eating in order to produce droppings, so the lesser quantity is due to her not eating. Lay off the treats and by the third day she should give up and resort to eating the pelleted food, again. She's just telling you what she prefers for food... like a kid who prefers candy over nutritional meals.

    Preventative maintenance for wool block is always a good idea and especially for the longer haired/wooled rabbits. It it's not an emergency, PetroMalt should take care of it, then.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
    Chairperson, ARBA Commercial Department Committee
     
  4. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks very much, Dianna and Pat, for your speedy replies. I'll see what turns up under her cage in the morning in the way of pellets. My gut feeling is that it "should not" be wool block. I feed my rabbits a good handful of healthy mixed greens twice daily. They also get grass hay (dried long grass clippings) whenever it is available. One would think that much fibre should keep things moving on through... Still, I will treat for wool block because I don't want to take the chance... My concern was what to use because she is pregnant.

    I rather think you might be right, Pat, and that she is being stubborn. She is a very opinionated young rabbit! And she is so bright-eyed, active and sassy that it is hard to believe she is ailing in any way.

    I'll keep a close eye on her and will have more confidence in my ability to analyse the situation, thanks to you both!
     
  5. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    :) I always tell people that rabbits are "masters of intimidation"... and the more spoiled they are, the more they try to intimidate! Sounds like she thinks she has you wrapped around her dew claw, heheheh.

    Let us know what you find on Monday.

    Pat Lamar
     
  6. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wrapped around her little dewclaw, indeed! The little manipulator, trying to take advantage of me. She is one of my favourite does. She is white with black ears, black spots and a streak down her spine. She also has two penny-sized spots on either side of her nose, hence her name. Very cute and full of personality.

    She was bouncing around her cage as usual, as soon as she saw me coming. Her ears are up and her eyes are bright. She looks the picture of health.

    The evidence under the cage showed perhaps a dozen large "bunny berries" - well formed but slightly wet - enough to stain the newspaper. No sign of wool in the droppings or of diminished size. She had eaten a small amount of the pellets overnight - prehaps a tablespoon or two.

    She was pretty annoyed at not getting her usual handful of dandelions etc. this morning. I gave her a small amount of grass hay and a few raspberry leaves since they are supposed to be good for pregnant does and are also supposed to help with wet stools. And a dish of fresh pellets.
     
  7. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Since you are continuing to feed grass hay and raspberry leaves, she could wind up holding out longer than 3 days. I know you're worried about the unborn kits, but they will continue to receive their nourishment from the doe's body, the same as human babies do. 3 days is not long enough to cause any serious damage, and especially when the pelleted feed is still available. Think of it this way.... what will she eat during the winter when grass hay, raspberry leaves and dandelions may not be readily available?

    The "wetness" of the droppings could even be caused by too many greens. Droppings don't normally come out dry... they just air dry very quickly, but if it's wet enough to *noticeably* stain the newspaper, then, yes... that's a tad bit too wet.

    Pat Lamar
     
  8. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with you, Pat, that I need to cut off the greens and hay and bring her to her senses. It's pellets from here on... The raspberry leaves were to dry her droppings up a bit and the hay was just a small amount, by way of a transition back to pellets. I always worry about sudden changes in diet.

    Actually, my rabbits get some greens all winter long. I dig up some dandelion and plantain and clover and grow them in washbasins on top of the cages. I also plant basins of wheat, oats or rye and give them the fresh grass. I plan to buy some hay for winter use and then there are the plants I dry such as alfalfa, timothy and raspberry leaves.

    I guess my rabbts are spoiled. But their "treats" are all nutritious ones and my rabbits do well on them. I know such practices are problematic in a commercial setting, but I have just three working does, two bucks and the two "woolies" from the last litter who are permanent residents.

    The woolies (you may recall I posted about their fur texture recently) are doing great, by the way, looking much like French Angoras now that they are getting older. They are seven weeks old today and much bigger and heavier than their littermates. I must get around to weighing them.

    I am enthusiastic about the idea of breeding them later on. If I can get a good meat rabbit that also has good wool, it will be super. Linebreeding shows up some interesting characteristics, doesn't it?
     
  9. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    Could she have had a false pregnancy?
     
  10. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    BearCreekFarm, I'm not quite sure what you mean. She is not due for another two weeks. No reason to suspect a false pregnancy that I can see.
     
  11. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi ,, when you said she shed a lot of fur ,, about what day into the pregnancy would she have 'been' ,,,,

    the one time I had 2 does have a false pregnancy ,, on day 17 both pulled their hay out and pulled fur and made nests ,, :rolleyes: (nice nests too)

    since I can't palipate I waited till day 36 to rebreed but by their lack of gaining girth size ,, I suspected by the end of the 3rd week that there wasn't going to be babies ,, :grump:

    the times I have had 'misses' nothing happened ,, no gaining size ,, no fur pulling ,, no nestmaking activities ,, no babies by day 36 :Bawling:

    *****

    I agree with Pat the inventive creatures know how to 'get' to your heartstrings ,, lol (my Cal buck) Buddy has always been antisocial but carrots got him to 'allow' my petting him ,, he will come to the door to greet me now ,, if I try giving him comfrey he will turn up his nose and go to the other end of his hutch ..

    He is the wierd rabbit that loves straw and don't care much at all for meadow hay and even ignores alfalfa hay mostly ,, and he barely eats 5 oz of pellets a day ,, sometimes I think he lives on air :p



    my 2 does adore alfalfa hay .. meadow hay they are soo about and straw is for nibbling / playing / and nestbuilding with ,,, the does act like they are starving if they don't get 7-8 oz of pellets a day ( 1 & 1/2 tuna fish can) ,, if I give them 1 can their feeders are empty the next day ...

    and they will allow all kinds of familiarity for carrots or comfrey or fresh greens :)
    ..


    the little actors :angel:


    Tammy
     
  12. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks, Tammy, for clarifying the connection for me. The shedding started about a week or so after she was bred. It was generalized shedding, not fur-pulling like a doe about to kindle. It seems to have levelled off now.

    I'm following Pat's advice and am only giving her pellets and water. She was quite outraged this evening when she saw and smelled the greens I was giving to the others. Although it was probably harder on me than on her!
     
  13. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Tomorrow, when she realizes you aren't going to give her any greens, she'll literally "turn her back" on you. That's how rabbits "ignore" their caretakers when they're ticked off at them. :rolleyes:

    Once she starts eating the pelleted feed, again, you can start giving her very SMALL amounts of greens, but I suggest you don't make it a daily habit or she'll go right back to refusing her pelleted food, again. I know it doesn't seem fair to have to single her out, but it's just like limiting the pelleted feed... some rabbits are pigs and will over eat, while others tend to set their own limits. We just have to treat each one individually according to their individual needs.

    Pat Lamar
     
  14. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When they turn their back on you, that's what my dd calls the "cold butt". And if they don't get their way or you forget to pet one, that is what you get.
     
  15. vulcan

    vulcan Well-Known Member

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    I feed my rabbits grass at least once a week, they are doing well and they know they are going to get grass, sooner or later, I dont pay too much attention if they are ignoring their pellets, also I supplement with bread, apples, even carrots, with all the different things they receive, they dont play game with me. They used to hold for the grass, but soon as they started receiving it on regular basis, they forgot about it. Also I did have a doe, she was very hard to deal with, mainly she only wanted to mate with one buck, and nobody else. My son told me she was used to this one, because he was close to her, I mean the cage was close to her cage. So we didnt bother to try to bread her with any other buck. That was her "husband" she was happy and I kept getting food for the table, She is dead now. But we still have some of her offspring.
    With Rabbit remember feed them variety, and you are going to be happy. And they are going to be happy too. Pellets can't provide all the nutrition needed. Pellets are like fast food for us. VUlCAN
     
  16. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    I was looking at the posts about the doe refusing pellets and about making one's own dried grasses and forage--

    Currently, my 4 rabbits are outdoors in wire cages-- protected from severe weather extremes by a tarp, plywood laid across the run's roof, a nice thick, thorny hawthorn tree, lattice on one side of the run to break up wind--

    I recently bought a 50 pound bag of Dumor rabbit feed-- as I could not readily get the Buckeye feed I had been using. the rabbits are not as enthusiastic about the Dumor brand as the Buckeye brand. Is there a big difference that anyone knows of in quality?
    I cut fresh greens-- grass, goldenrod, asters, sedges, wild strawberries and blackberries,-- basically anything that is growing up out the ground- every day-- I like to give them about the equivalent of 1.5 inches diameter (tightly packed) each-- Today, with rainy weather, they also each got a huge amount of hay to nibble and burrow in as they please--
    I plan to move them to their new indoor area in about two weeks- the two doe youngsters are about 3.5-4 months old now- and the buck is very 'interested' in procreating with them!
    With winter coming, I will need to feed more pellets, less fresh stuff- the hay I have is a mixed grass hay- produced by a dairy farmer from down the road- will the pellet brand make a big difference? the Dumor is more readily acquired if I cannot get to my "city" elevator- there is less waste and more enthusiasm with the Buckeye brand pellets-Everyone is healthy- gaining weight where needed, active, etc--but will sticking with the Dumor hurt in any other way other than feed waste? the buck and doe youngsters are mini-rex-- I am still looking for Californians and American Chinchillas- sigh-

    Terry
     
  17. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Tuppence is still not eating the pellets. She knocked her dish over during the night and I gave her some more pellets this morning.... They are still there. Boy, is she stubborn!

    She didn't actually shun me today... I think she still thinks it just some dreadful mistake. But I saw a perfect example of "cold butt" recently. My sister's guy had made a pet of our Tao but when they opened their new restaurant they were unable to keep him. The agreement was that he could come back here if this happened. When they came to visit, Tao would have absolutely nothing to do with him. I don't know who I felt more sorry for! Next day, once they had left, Tao returned to his usual good-natured, friendly self. He had made his point!

    Vulcan - I don't normally stress about rabbits ignoring their pellets on occasion (I know they don't really like them) but in this case the doe is pregnant and was shedding. I was concerned for the unborn young and also worried about the possibility of a hair blockage.

    Terry W - I can't answer your question regarding pellets, as I am not familiar with the brands. I feed Purina Rabbit Chow because the rabbits showed a preference for it. I suggest you contact the two companies, get the ingredients and nutritional breakdown (i.e. % of protein) and then make your decision. Something I need to do myself!
     
  18. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try mixing a bit of dry rolled oats (oatmeal) into her pellets. This works one one stubborn doe I have. She'll sometimes refuse her food until I add the oatmeal. I agree with you on obsessing about this one, if they don't eat they die. If she is pg and doesn't get enough nourishment the kits might die, or weaken her so much that she never recovers. I'ld also start giving her hay again. She needs to eat and I know you'ld rather have her eat hay than starve her to make a point. I don't know if rabbits will purposefully starve themselves to death but after 4 days of eating almost nothing I would be feeding her whatever she wanted just to keep from losing her and worry about her eating pellets after she kindles.

    Is she still pooping ok?

    Terry W, I used to feed Dumore until they changed their formula suddenly. Now I feed TizWhiz which has more corn than most breeders advise but my rabbits eat it willingly.
     
  19. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    Hey Terry! Like dog food brand name rabbit pellets can vary, some are better than others, Tractor Supply carries Dumor don't they? Think they also carry Manna-Pro rabbit pellets, 16% and 18%, that might be better than the Dumor. I have heard of folks losing rabbits from bad batches of Manna-Pro in the past but many others swear by it. Try to stick with one food that you can get easily, stay with it and see how they do, you don't like the results then find a better food. I realize availability is an issue for you, but switching foods too often isn't a good idea. Unfortunately consistant quality is an issue with any food, I feed Purina show formula, usually its a dustless, dark green. Last two bags I got were lighter green, very dusty, lots of fines, had a mix of tan unidentifiable pellets in them, and what looked like chunks of corn cob. I'll be having a talk with my distributer this week. Just another thought, go with the food that shows more consistant quality.
     
  20. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    Honorine, thanks for the observation--yeah, quality is the thing I need to be sure of-- and the buckeye has always been consistent, and is even produced here in Ohio-
    yeah, I got the Dumor at TSC-- the sheep seem okay with the sheep feed--but I cannot feed the the leftover rabbit due to the copper content--A neighbor told me yesterday thatthe local feed mill (actually, I think they just order everything in) can get me any brand I wish- so i will check later this week and see what would be needed volume wise for the Buckeye to be made available for me- i am only feeding 4 rabbits right now- so a 50 pound bag lasts a pretty long time....
    - And feeding a high corn based food to these guys-- probably not a good idea-- though I am toying with the idea of feeding them what is left of some deer feed!!! Never heard of Tizwhiz--I'll check it out-- just to see what it has to offer-- but I think Dumor is gonna be history with the rabbits--as far as the sheep go-- well, it is a temporary measure as I am drylotting until I can get the foot rot my wether has cleared up--THAT is a whole nother issue!!!