Retarded Doe

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by turtlehead, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Well one of my does kindled last night or very early this morning. She didn't dig a burrow or anything, but she did build a nest under one of the dog crate halves. She piled up straw in a back corner of the crate, then fur, then kits, then more fur.

    It was 22F when I went out there this morning and while I didn't "open up" the nest and dig around in it, I did give it a good long stare and saw the fur wiggling so at least one of the kits was alive. Seems awfully harsh conditions to be having a nest on the ground like that, even if it is protected from wind and rain.

    I got a shovel and piled a little dirt around the outside edges of the crate so wind and rain won't get in where the edges of the crate aren't flush with the ground. I also put some loose fluffy straw around the outside corner of the crate where the nest is.

    I'm skeptical about how smart it was of this doe to do this, but on the other hand if hutch rabbits have their kits in boxes I don't see how this is much different as long as the kits don't get wet or have drafts on them.

    I'll keep y'all posted.
     
  2. the mama

    the mama loves all critters Supporter

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    My florida white kindled this am, 5 fat babies. They were cold and still wet when I found them. I brought them in to warm. Made a nest out of hay, put fur and kits back in. Checked a hour ago, kits still warm. I'm in florida and tonight will be in the 40s. I wonder if I should bring them inside? This is my best doe, so if any rabbit can raise kits, she will. I think it might bother her more to be moved. She did not like me taking the kits to warm, but she has been in the nest box with them.
     

  3. Hilda

    Hilda Well-Known Member

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    Yes, please do keep us updated!

    Your post is just what I needed today. When I read your "Retarded Doe" title, I thought, "Oh geez, some rabbit fell on its head and now has mental trauma." (hey, I've got a cold so I'm not running on all cylinders hence the thought process is just slightly off). Then I read the post, and I laughed out loud. Thanks, I needed that.

    I hope everything goes well for you, doe & kits.
     
  4. Hilda

    Hilda Well-Known Member

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    Congrats! I'm glad you found them and warmed them up!
     
  5. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Id say your doe is actually intelligent rather than retarded. I had a doe not dig a burrow once. Instead she just let them drop out of her as she hopped around. I found them within the hour and she wanted nothing to do with them.
     
  6. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Lonelyfarmgirl, I did have a doe drop her kits all over the ground a while back. She cleaned up after most of them but they were scattered and blue when I found them. It was pretty upsetting.

    I peeked in under the crate this morning and while I didn't see any little movements the fur was rearranged a little bit.

    We have 34F now with light flurries and the low tonight is supposed to be 20. I figure if they made it through the last 24 hours they have a pretty good chance. I'm not positive they're alive, but I suspect they are.

    On a very bright note, two kits from another litter made their first appearance yesterday! I expect we'll have five or six tiny ones wreaking havoc in the colony by the end of next week. :)
     
  7. Hilda

    Hilda Well-Known Member

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    How's she and her kits doing? Update, please when you have a chance.
     
  8. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for asking, Hilda.

    I haven't seen the fur on the nest moving the last couple of days, but it's been snowing and I haven't spent a long time out there on my knees either!

    The fur is still piled up in the corner of the dog crate half, no kits have been pulled out (or crept out) of the nest and died, and the nest gets "messed with" every once in a while because it's slightly rearranged each day when I look at it.

    So far, so good, despite some pretty cold weather. Honestly, though, I think they'd do better in cold than in pouring rain, so I'm glad it has been cold.
     
  9. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Well it got down to 13F last night and we've had lots of snow to boot. I crouched down and peered into the dog crate this morning and I saw one "big" eye and set of ears from a 4 or 5 week old puffball sized rabbit looking at me from in the nest, plus I'm pretty sure I also saw two pairs of teensy tinsy rabbit ears and they belonged to living kits. So I believe at least two of them are alive. I don't know if the presence of the older kit helps or hurts but I figure there's no point in me messing with things. I'm just going to watch and learn.
     
  10. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    One of the best learning methods, that is for sure!
     
  11. Hilda

    Hilda Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking may-be the older kit is helping to keep the younger ones warmer? He's probably there to keep warm himself - or he's hoping to get in on feeding time!

    Like Terry, I think what you're doing is obviously the right thing way.
     
  12. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    I think you're right, Hilda. The older kit is probably there for a warm snuggly place and maybe a free lunch.

    I am not sure if his hopping in and out will leave the tiny kits uncovered, or if his stealing some milk will leave them hungry. I sure understand why does usually dig a burrow and seal it off after kindling, though!

    I do think the older kit is probably helping keep the tiny ones warm. I'm kind of surprised the doe hasn't killed the older kit or refused to nurse the tiny ones; does are so touchy.