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late summer litter questions

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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late summer litter questions

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Rainey » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:29 pm


Garland was due Tuesday, Sept. 4, and we'd about given up, thinking that either our buck was heat sterile after this miserable summer or that she'd put on weight and hadn't taken when bred. This morning when we went to clean the rabbit cages, she was in the nest box and had pulled fur so we left her alone and figured the cleaning could wait. This afternoon we brought in the nest box and found in it a single kit, no mess or dead kits. The single weighed 3.5 oz while our newborns usually are right around 2 oz.
I've read here that lavender can be helpful for an overdue doe and have plenty in the herb garden so have given her some. We've never had a doe kindle fewer than 5 before, never had one this big. Could she still have unborn kits several hours after the first emerged? Any advice about what we should be doing or watching for or how much lavender to give would be appreciated.

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Re: late summer litter questions

Post Number:#2  Unread postby a7736100 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:49 pm


When I had singletons they developed into butterballs hardly able to move because they ate enough milk for 4 or 5 kits.

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Re: late summer litter questions

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:24 pm


I have never used lavender for that [so I can't help] -- but have used raspberry leaves, and blackberry leaves.
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Re: late summer litter questions

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Rainey » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:33 pm


michaels4gardens wrote:I have never used lavender for that [so I can't help] -- but have used raspberry leaves, and blackberry leaves.


We give raspberry leaves to all does (rabbit and goat) as they near their dates to kindle or kid. Never used the lavender before, but she ate what she was given this afternoon, lavender and raspberry. Not sure whether to give her more.

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Re: late summer litter questions

Post Number:#5  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:20 pm


is she OK?
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Re: late summer litter questions

Post Number:#6  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:44 pm


Sorry I missed this until now.

I think you can give her more lavender. If you have the flower buds give her those. (I know, it's late, but sometimes when you harvest you get a smaller late flowering.) I've never actually used lavender for this purpose, but reliable websites for rabbit natural remedies recommend it. In my experience, rabbits who eat a variety of greens regularly seem to know what they need . . . and I once saw a cottontails apparently self-medicating on milkweed, which is supposed to be poisonous. It ate half a leaf eagerly and then hopped away. My thinking is that lavender is not considered toxic per se, so giving some more won't hurt.

Could be the buck's sperm count was low due to the heat or that the doe has accumulated late summer fat, although naturally-fed rabbits are not as subject to it as pellet-fed, unless they get too much grain. I'd try rebreeding her (maybe to a different buck?) when the weather has been cooler for a while.
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Re: late summer litter questions

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Rainey » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:12 pm


Thanks for the replies. Both doe and the single kit seem to be ok. We didn't give her the added feed we usually do after kindling to boost milk production. So far the kit is fed and has survived without nest mates. (Never had a single before but know it is supposed to be hard for them to keep warm enough and after too long of too warm, it is suddenly cool the last couple days)
Looking back at my records I see that Garland had 9 kits when she kindled the first time last May and 8 next time in July but only 5 when she kindled last September. This spring she kindled 9 in April and just the 1 in September. We've decided not to rebreed as we don't want grow outs too late in the season. Wish we had bred Casco again, our 'old faithful' who has produced 11 litters always with 7-9 kits. We also bred Jay who had her first litter (6 kits) in the spring, but were doubtful whether that breeding was successful. We'll know in a week--she's due Friday if that breeding 'took'. Have saved 2 does from Casco's June litter to breed next year and probably won't keep Garland once this kit is weaned.

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