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Can today get any WORSE?

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Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Maleficent » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:33 am


Long story short, I have a Dutch that was due today, my first litter with potentially quality stock to start my showing career especially after the disappointment that was my blue female dutch that would never take. I ended up terminally culling her and glad I did as it turned out she had what looked like a tiny calcified fetus in one of her horns affecting fertility.

Anyways, back to the Dutch due today, she had seven babies... ate one, over groomed the rest and some have GORGEOUS markings too! The remaining six all have some combination of missing ears, feet, and/or tails. :cry:

She didn't even pull fur but it was thanks to some of the advice I read here and else where that helped me to revive the six over groomed kits. I must have found them just in time too. They are looking much better after being warmed up and placed into a nest with the first I pulled from their mom. Her milk hasn't come in yet so I'm going to grab one of my does with an older litter that is still lactating to get these guys started. Hopefully their own mother's milk comes in soon.

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:03 am


That's really disappointing, Maleficent . . . I don't blame you for being upset. If your doe is a first-timer, don't blame her too much. Rabbit mothering skills are a combination of instinct and experience, and first-timers have only instinct to go on. She'll likely do much better next time.

Loss of an ear or tail isn't too serious for the kits (a limb much more so) so perhaps one or two of those beautifully marked kits will produce beautiful offspring down the road a bit. Rabbit generations are fortunately measured in months, not years.

I'm not brushing off your feelings . . . It is upsetting to see kits in that condition. At least you were able to rescue them before they were fatally chilled. :goodjob:

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Maleficent » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:11 am


Unfortunately they are starting to get chilly again even with the fur I pulled from their mom. I'm there with you Maggie, I think the doe was bred to soon so I don't think she had much instinct to go on. She was born around the 5th or 6th month of this year I think? I'll have to check her pedigree as she could be younger then that for all I know.

I have one bunny with fantastic mothering skills though! She has a litter of 4wk old kits both her own and fosters. When presented with this batch of new born she was all over them grooming and trying to help warm them up. She even tried to convince them to try nursing from her even though I think her own kits suckered her dry already..

She was even trying to groom me. If this litter doesn't make it should I try breeding them mom again right away or give her a break and then try again? She came to me bred (she was about 2 maybe 3 weeks along when I got her?) and I have her mom who is due the 25th. Her mom is already nesting and being a downright witch which she never was.

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:28 am


Normally, I would say breed her right away, but in this case there would be real advantages to waiting until you breed the doe that has the four-week-olds and is such a good mother. That way, the two litters should arrive at about the same time, which maximizes your chances for fostering. For instance, if the inexperienced doe has a kit that is particularly promising, you could mark it with a drop of food colouring and give it to the good mom to raise. You can also even up the litters if one is much larger than the other.

I know you're in Iowa, and I get the feeling your winters are fairly severe. You may want to think about ways to keep the kindling does and their kits a bit warmer. This depends, of course, on your current set-up. I once had a doe kindle in deep winter and because of the buck's interference (colony set-up) only one kit made it. Mom and kit spent the next while in the house. But it was worth it. That kit was the best meat mutt I ever bred and he became our herd sire.

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Marinea » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:35 am


If it were me, I would wait until the doe with the four week old kits is ready to be bred again and I would breed them both. That way, in case the Dutch just isn't a good mom, you still have a doe to feed both litters.

Well, Maggie beat me to it.

Are you able/willing to bring in nest boxes? If it is really cold here, I bring in the boxes for the first two weeks, and take them out twice a day to nurse. Just a thought.
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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Maleficent » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:19 am


I have the littles inside right now. They have been inside all night since it turned out mom did attempt to make a dip that was supposed to be her nest. She just never pulled fur. Mom's bits also look pretty puffy and swollen. Not prolapsed just puffy and swollen and painful looking.

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:42 am


If her "parts" are looking puffy and swollen, I would definitely postpone breeding her. It sounds like she had a rough time, which might account for the deficiencies of her mothering.

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Maleficent » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:49 am


I made a hard decision just now, I got to checking on the babies and one was seizing and the others looked like they were fading fast as well. Sluggish, chilling, and gasping for breath. So I just put them down to end their suffering. There must have just been to much trauma from birth for them to come back. Maybe not physical but internal where it could not be seen.

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:35 pm


It was probably for the best, although hard to do. An apparently difficult birth, overgrooming, chilling . . . rather too much for them, I think.

Hope your doe is okay and that her parts return to normal soon, but I would hold off breeding her until you are breeding the good mom as well.

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Re: Can today get any WORSE?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby akane » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:06 am


If the doe isn't feeding them right away getting chilled can lead to continued decline because they have to be warm to digest milk and they need milk to be warm so fixing the cycle gets difficult fast. They sometimes never get back to balanced so they can stay warm and start growing normal. If you can't mix a few established kits in or move them to another doe you can rotate some bottles of hot water or the trick of filling something like a sock with dry rice and microwaving it. Fur doesn't produce body heat. It only keeps it there and kits without milk can't expend the energy on heat. They will only waste what they have trying to stay alive until they can't digest milk to recover.

I haven't found age matters that much in how good or bad a first time doe is except that it's only negative to wait in most cases. It can be a lot harder to get an older first time doe pregnant than a younger one that recently started hormone production. If the hormones are there to trigger breeding they are there to trigger caring for kits and if they need practice to kick in the proper instincts or are going to have a hard birth it seems to happen either way with most breeds. If they are fed properly they always reached the same average senior weight as any relatives that weren't bred as early. I did find a benefit in not breeding asap for Netherland Dwarf because they mature so early but with shape and dwarf genes factoring in they can have trouble passing normal kits until final adult size. Generally though all that happened when I didn't breed them soon after they were capable was that they aren't as eager to breed either with a delay to start or after breaks from breeding and caged rabbits get fat easy once they even slow down growth despite feed changes. Most of the fat starts around the internal organs where you can't see it but it impacts fertility.
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