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Doe won't breed and seems to be wasting away

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Doe won't breed and seems to be wasting away

Post Number:#1  Unread postby MidwestMatthew » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:03 am


Our NZW doe bred like a pro for what I believe was her first time earlier this year. Had a litter and took great care of them. Since then she's refused to breed and seems to be shrinking. Her body condition still seems good (at least, her spine doesn't feel sharp) but she's getting visibly smaller.

Every time we put her in the buck's cage to breed, she just runs to the corner, sticks her tail into it and stays there, growling if he comes anywhere near. We've left them together for plenty of time for her to settle down and it just doesn't happen.

I've checked her genitals for color every other day for the past couple of weeks and she's always been very, very pale pink - no changes at all as far as I can tell.

Recently she's stopped eating BOSS, which used to be a huge favorite for her. She's eating pellets OK, not as much as before she was pregnant though. Droppings seem normal, though fewer than before.

There's obviously something wrong with her, but I'm trying to figure out if it is something fixable or if she's due to be culled. She was a great mother so I hate to give up too soon, but it's been at least two months that we've been trying to breed her again and she just won't. And we don't have room for a rabbit that won't produce...

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Re: Doe won't breed and seems to be wasting away

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:41 am


I suggest you stop trying to breed her -- or any doe -- that is not in tip-top condition. I can't tell from your post what her problem is, but decreased appetite and fewer droppings suggests to me some kind of GI problem.

Does she get lots of hay? Grass hay is the best thing to ensure GI health.

More detail about what and how you feed them may help members suggest possible treatment.

Edited to add:
In your other thread about housing does together, you mention lack of cage space. Is this one of the does you were trying to put together?
Would culling her ease your space situation until you are able to accommodate more cages?

It is far better and more productive to have a small rabbitry with ample cage space than to overcrowd, combine or compromise accommodations.
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Re: Doe won't breed and seems to be wasting away

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MidwestMatthew » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:05 pm


She gets almost no hay, actually. She's never seemed to like it much; usually takes a nibble or two then scatters it into a mess. I can try offering her more today, though. Her normal diet has been pellets supplemented with a few fresh greens and BOSS, although she's quit eating that lately.

Our cages are 2' x 3' which is bigger than other sizes I've seen recommended for a single rabbit. Yes, she was the one I tried to put with the other doe, but only last night and just for a few seconds. (Yeah, it was dumb....I know does can be territorial but had just read about what social creatures rabbits are and thought the ailing bunny might like some company. It was a newbie mistake that won't happen again.)

The only reason to cull this rabbit is because space is at a premium for us and I don't want to take up a valuable cage with a doe who won't breed (or who is sick if there's not a good chance for recovery). She was such a good mother that I hate to give up too quickly, but I have no other attachment to her and hate to miss out on other potential litters in the meantime.

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Re: Doe won't breed and seems to be wasting away

Post Number:#4  Unread postby akane » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:48 pm


If she's not eating well get plain oatmeal or rolled oats (same thing just not screened for particles and in a large bag at the feed store for a whole lot less cost) to try to get some good energy down her that is easy on the digestive tract and offer hay but anything she will eat is a good thing. Just don't overdo high sugar fruits and vegetables if she will eat anything else. Yard forages and older grass with more fiber are better. They go downhill very fast with GI problems and once they hit not really wanting to eat you need to start taking major action. If you don't keep their intestines moving they will bloat, go into GI stasis, and possibly have their intestines turn necrotic before they die. A lot people don't know enough or have enough time to learn how to save their first rabbit that goes into serious bloat or stasis so act now to get things back to normal. Since this is an ongoing problem I would consider deworming but that can cause minor GI problems as is so while it's not usually a problem in a healthy animal the risks have to be weighed with animals that have already declined. Of course if you don't want to put in the effort and you lack cage space you can just cull rather than trying to solve what the issue is while you try to keep the rabbit eating normal. Some would prefer not to mess with rabbits who can't thrive on their basic setup anyway.
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Re: Doe won't breed and seems to be wasting away

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Dwc77 » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:37 pm


Did your rabbit go through a molt? I notice when mine do they don't eat as many pellets and seem to lose some weight. I try to pull some hair off them so they don't eat as much while grooming there selves. Plus give a little extra hay. My rabbits are kinda picky when it comes to hay so I always square bale some 2nd cutting red clover and grass mix hay for them. They eat better than my cow's and they actually make me some money :lol: Anyway I don't know your rabbits but I don't bother trying to breed mine when they aren't eating well. Maybe try some better hay because my rabbits look foward to there handful every night. Or just pull the plug on her they make new rabbits every day ;)

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