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First time mom is awful! Please help! *Update*

Addressing the special needs of the breeding doe and her kits. Includes nutrition, gestation, nest boxes and materials, and tips to ensure survival of the young.
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First time mom is awful! Please help! *Update*

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:16 pm


This morning I went out to find 9 frozen babies, mom pulled no fur, and she dug majority of the bedding out. I've manages to save 5 of the 9 kits but am having a pretty hard time keeping them warm. Mom has no interest in them and doesn't seem to have much for milk. I tried to hold her over the babies and they all ate a little but not nearly enough. I still plan to nurse them from her as much as possible but will it make them sick if I feed them a goat milk+ light karo syrup+ egg yolk mix to help fill their tummies? Also what's the best way to make sure they go potty? How often do I need to feed them and how much do o need to feed them? Remember any advice is good advice
Last edited by ButtonsPalace on Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SableSteel » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:08 pm


When bottle raising, I fed 3 times/day for the first week or so, then went down to twice/day. They never pee for me, so I stopped trying and nothing changed. The formula I used for bottle raising was different though - goat milk (fresh - finding a friend with a dairy goat helps A LOT), powdered KMR, and heavy whipping cream.

Trying to supplement them with milk substitute and let the mother raise them has never worked for me though. Sometimes it takes a day or two for the mother to realize that she has kits and she needs to take care of them, and to develop enough milk to do so. So keep trying them on the doe.
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:56 pm


Would condensed goats milk, with kmr and heavy whipping cream work? I'll keep trying with mom but I want to be prepared just in case
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby alforddm » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:10 pm


She may not have her milk come in for up to 48 hrs. I wouldn't actually try to start supplementing until 36 hrs after birth. They really need the colostrum from mom so if you can get her to feed them that is the way to go, even if it only looks like they are getting a tiny bit (which is normal if her milk hasn't come in) that is better than anything you can give them.

The best way in my experience, is to hold the doe in the nestbox inside her cage. I've done that a couple of times and they have figured it out after one or two feedings. Of course, there is no guarantee but I think it's more natural to do it that way if at all possible. Try everything you can to get those babies fed from the doe before you try to supplement. The outlook for hand raised kits is poor.

The old standby recipe
1/2 Cup canned evaporated goat's milk, undiluted
1/2 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 Egg yolk

or from Homer's thread

1/2 cup evaporated goat's milk (undiluted)
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon powered colostrum supplement for newborn animals
1/8 teaspoon Bene Bac probiotic powder (my addition to get their guts working better)

formula-feeding-baby-bunnies-pics-vids-t3691.html
updated-hand-feeding-formula-t27372.html

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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:50 pm


I've fed them from her twice and it's very obvious the lack of milk is causing her discomfort. Little did I know she apparently has ear mites. So I'm shelving the kits and will be feeding them first thing in the morning from mom. I've heard a 3 hour schedule is the way to go but tbh have not been doing so. I fed them this morning at about 12-1 and just now again at 6 pm. Should I feed them every 3 hrs? If so I'll alternate between mom and formula and use strictly formula over night when going outside isn't as easy.

-- January 8th, 2017, 8:50 pm --

So the only kind of corn syrup there was had vanilla in it... The ingredients read, corn syrup, salt, vanilla. Is this ok for the babies or will it make them sick? What can I do instead?
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#6  Unread postby macksmom98 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:16 pm


That recipe is good, not sure about the vanilla. YouIMHO, you should try to feed from mom first. You can assist in this by following what the above post has suggested. Some will try to flip the doe over and stick the kits on her belly, but you can risk serious injury if she protests as she can send them flying. You won't get much warning or be able to control the doe and catch the babies, so that's why the first suggestion works well. They only need to nurse twice daily. Others may suggest more if you are trying to help her milk come in, but as far as normal kits go they only eat once or twice a day. If you see they aren't getting fed, then I would foster them or supplement with the milk replacer recipe and an eye dropper. A kitten bottle won't work. It's really tough to try and feed them that way, so Ben aware it will be a struggle and the success rate isn't good. But I would try as a last resort too. Best of luck!

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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#7  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:41 am


Well I fed them twice from her today but it's obvious that it hurts because her feet will twitch then she'll try to stomp. I fed them a few drops tonight before bed so they'd have full tummies. In the morning I plan to bring in mom and nurse them from her again. How much longer should I expect her to bleed? She's making a huge mess when she pees
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#8  Unread postby macksmom98 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:42 am


Not having milk should not be painful, you may be looking at mastitis or clogged ducts or something. I guess it's possible she could be frustrated by it, but I don't think it should be painful like that, normally.

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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#9  Unread postby alforddm » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:26 am


She may be stomping just because it's a new sensation and because you are holding her. I agree with macksmom, not having milk shouldn't be painful but if your sure it's pain, then your looking at another issue.

How long has it been since she kindled?

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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:35 pm


There was no more twitching today. I suppose it was the new sensation because she also was trying to look back but she couldn't quite reach them. I've tried leaving them with her inside to see if she'd have anything to do with them, she dug and I heard one screaming so that kinda ended that. I'm gonna continue bringing her in at least twice daily to feed. I give them about 2-3 drops of formula middle of the day when they start getting wrinkly.. Umm, is there anything I can do to help with the bleeding on moms part. She's peed every time she's been inside and the blood is really hard to clean off the couch.
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#11  Unread postby BlueHaven » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:11 pm


This is jmo but you can hold a doe over kits, but that does not mean her milk is dropping, and it probably won't if she is the least bit agitated. Also, many does show little mammary enlargement. Best bet is to leave them alone until the third day. If they are wrinkled up then, you can TRY to bottle feed, but usually it does not work. I have my does under cameras and I have caught 1 doe 1 time nursing kits out of dozens of litters. About all you can do it put them back in the nest area and hope for the best. I know its hard to trust a rabbit but what will be, will be. Interference rarely helps and often just makes things worse.

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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#12  Unread postby AnnClaire » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:28 am


Well, for a first time mom, this is not unheard of ... sometimes they don't get it all in the right order ... some dontveven pull the fur until 2-3 days after kindling.

IMHO anything you can do to help her be a successful mom this time makes for a better mom next time.

The bleeding would be more concerning for me as it may indicate a retained kit which could be deadly to the doe or prevent her from breeding in the future. Other than veterinarian intervention, I have no suggestions that might help.

As for the babies, I have successfully supplemented several runts by flipping the doe. To start, place the doe on your lap in a quiet area. I started out with a towel on my lap. I also put the babies in a small basket at my side.

Stroke the doe from the tip of her nose up and over between her ears. This should be a smooth, gentle rhythmic motion. Watch the does eyes and look for them to relax and seem to unfocused.

Once the doe has relaxed, turn her onto her back in your lap and trance her again. Soon, you will be able to start with her on her back. I also like her head on my knees and her back feet in my middle.

Now that she is trances, take one kit and place it on a teat. You will want to keep your hand on it until it latches on. Next is to see if the doe is going to let her milk down. Keeping the kit moving between the nipples is common to how they feed normally, so even if the kit doesn't get a lot of milk from any one teat, it can still get a good enough portion. Cycle through the kits and the doe should relax enough to let her milk down.

As for seeing a doe nurse her kits in the cage, well, no, she doesn't want you to see her babies LOL keeping them hidden in the wild is how they stay safe. But she can get used to you handling the kits, so start out how you want them to tolerate :D
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help!

Post Number:#13  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:50 pm


They appear to be failure to thrive, all of them.
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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help! *Update*

Post Number:#14  Unread postby macksmom98 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:00 pm


Maybe something was wrong with them as well as her milk production. It's hard to pinpoint while failure to thrive happens....

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Re: First time mom is awful! Please help! *Update*

Post Number:#15  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:24 pm


A lot of the kits were dying of seizures and chronic diarrhea, the last one that passed was very obviously Fail to thrive because he slowly started getting less and less active. Amari is the little lilac doe left, she's eating well and pooping and I got her to pee today, it was a brownish yellowish color. She's still wrinkly however has gotten longer and a bit pudgier, I'm working towards getting some raw goats milk for her but am currently using formula. Lets hope she don't start fading as well. Thankfully I've learned not to emotionally attach myself to most of my new rabbits.
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