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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have decided to start culling my runts. The last 2 litters they have made it till they are 6 weeks old and start shriveling up. They eat good and act Ok, but there is just nothing to them. Not even worth feeding to the dogs.
I have one I need to cull today, but I cann't leave the house long enough to do it. The washing machine repairman is supposed to show up. if I miss him it will be another week with no washer.
I feel bad for the little guy. enough is enough for runts.
 

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We lost the runt from Polly's litter this afternoon. I had thought he was doing better, but I guess not. He was eleven days old which is kind of an unusual time to lose one. The other four are big and plump, but don't seem as active as litters usually are. Their eyes are just beginning to open, so maybe they will get more active from here on. Could just be my imagination too.
 

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Ya, runts can be annoying at times, but then you have to feel bad for them to, its not there falt they were born that way.

We lost the runt from Polly's litter this afternoon. I had thought he was doing better, but I guess not. He was eleven days old which is kind of an unusual time to lose one. The other four are big and plump, but don't seem as active as litters usually are. Their eyes are just beginning to open, so maybe they will get more active from here on. Could just be my imagination too.
MaggieJ, could it be they are using up more energy to stay warm?? You said you usually have spring summer babies, meaby in the winters they are not as active as other seasons because of the cold and needing to stay warm. This is just a thought.
 

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I've no experience raising litters; however, everything I've read regarding raising rabbits commercially says to cull the runts right away. Logic being if I understand correctly is it leaves more for the rest of the litter.

Maggie is this the first litter you've raised in your living room? The kits that came with Heidi seem to be more active every day. This weekend they will be four weeks old. Having only the one batch in the house I spend a lot of time observing them. I couldn't tell you if they have grown any.

How does one identify a runt?
 

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Skip, I raised a couple of litters in my front porch (semi-heated) the first year I had rabbits. Since then, the porch has been in use for other things and the rabbits have wintered (without breeding) in the goose house, which is snug, semi-insulated but not heated. I didn't intend to bring this litter in but I knew I wouldn't sleep if I left them out there. Simple self-preservation. :p

I do realize I will have to acclimatize Polly and her litter to colder temperatures when they do go back out. I'll put them in the mudroom during a mild spell for a few days and then on out to the rabbitry after that. It will be a royal pain, but better than losing sleep. Please understand I know that rabbits can take a lot of cold if given the materials they need. I'm the one that can't take it. :eek:

I think if the litter is large, culling the runts makes sense. They are a drain on total milk supply and with so much competition they probably won't make it anyway. But if the litter has fewer than eight kits, they often do quite well. I've never been able to bring myself to cull them as long as they seem healthy.

This one was very tiny but seemed to make some progress. I don't think it got chilled, although I found it out of the nest. Polly was a little agitated last night because I moved them into a larger cage in the laundry room and it may have got stepped on. It looked pretty flat.

At eleven days it was only a bit more than half the size of the others. So it may simply not have been strong enough. Hard to tell and I try just to accept it as nature's way. I think you'll recognize a runt when you see one. Much like a premature baby: tiny, a bit frail-looking and thin.
 

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My understanding is that peanuts are runts but runts are not necessarily peanuts. Peanuts are found sometimes in the litters of dwarf breeds and I think the phenomena is caused by a genetic problem. Runts in standard meat breeds are usually just tiny babies that have a tough time surviving. Any I have seen have been perfectly formed, just tiny and frail.
 

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runts are also call peanuts, due to their oversized heads in realtionship to their bodies. They also have small defromed legs, and small deformed ears. Many people suggest culling them, immediatley , which is what I will do if my does have any. So far my does litter were all correct size.

A kit (dwarf breeds) that receives two dwarf genes will be a peanut.

Californians and New Zealands have runts instead of peanuts.
As stated, they are not deformed. They are just smaller and *often*
will fail to thrive especially with competition for the teats by
larger kits.
 

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Peanuts only occur in dwarf breeds. Some breeds that have them are Holland lops, Netherland dwarf and Jersey Woolies. A peanut receives 2 dwarf genes. This is always lethal. They usually live 1-4 days, but always die. They are born much smaller, have a bulge on their head, their ears are tiny and set farther back on their head.

If you have a dwarf breed rabbit and use a large "brood" doe - this is a rabbit that carries NO dwarf genes - then she will never have peanuts because she doesn't have any dwarf genes to give. If you use a regular size doe, along with a regular size buck, then they will give I think approximately 25% peanuts.

It's sad to see those peanuts in a litter.....
 

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I understand the concept of culling the runts to give the others a better chance, makes total sense but my concern would be that if I culled a runt or two from a litter and lost a couple of the others to natural causes/stepped on/predators, etc. I wouldn't have the runts to step up to take their place. I have had a couple of runts who, in the first couple of weeks, were half the size of the others and by the time they were about six weeks or so old, I couldn't tell one from the other. I guess culling a litter so there was one kit per nipple would be ideal but you would lose a lot of good kits.

I would prefer to let nature take it's course and decide who survives. If they are still scrawny and unhealthy at six weeks or time of weaning then maybe it's not worth the cost of feed and they would be culled.

Just my thoughts....subject to correction!:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It would be OK if they were just smaller, but these are sickly looking. They hanch up and hop funny. belly is distended and no meat on the back bone at all. Rhe cold weather has made it worse.
I expected him to be dead this morning, but he is still out there hopping around, eating and drinking. The rest of the litter is fine.
 

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That does sound rather as though there is more of a problem than just size. I wonder if he is having trouble metabolizing the solid foods. It might be worth your while, if you cull him, to open him up and take a look. It's possible there will be some clue as to what the problem is that could help you to head it off in future.
 

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I have culled runts/peanuts in the past, but I hate doing so. I used to make my DH do it, but then felt guilty and started doing it myself, not right to ask him to kill little babies, even if he doesn't like the rabbits. If its cold I leave them for extra warmth, I've also had very small mini rex kits grow up into perfectly tiny less than 2 lb adults, so I hesitate to cull them unless they clearly have the bulbous head and withered hindquarters. I normally give runts a fighting chance, moving them to smaller litters to be fostered. But I sell mostly as pets, so if their smaller as adults its a good thing.
 

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Have you treated for Cocci lately? I thought that one of the signs was loss of condition and distended belly, but it could be worms, or genetics too.

I don't cull the runts until its time to cull the litter, usually they make it just fine, although sometimes they don't make 5 pounds when the rest of the batch does. Sometimes I think of them more as delayed than runts. I know some people who will cull down large litters, or mismarks. I just can't seem to bring myself to cull them when they're small.
 
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