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Need advice again

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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Need advice again

Post Number:#1  Unread postby bunny love » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:39 pm


My French lop recently had a litter of 12. I lost two. They are 3 days old. 2 of the remaining kits are not getting fed much. They are thinner and smaller than the rest. They are still quite active so I think they are at least getting a little. I have been flipping my doe and letting them nurse once a day but they never get those little fat milk bellies. They frantically go from teet to teet and act like the aren't getting anything. Is it possible that she's not letting her milk down for them? Is that even possible? the other kits have pudgy little bellies and I can feel milk in her teets when I flip her. Should I feed them formula or just keep flipping her and hope they get enough? Thanks in advance.

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Re: Need advice again

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:47 am


yes, does will retain milk if they are uncomfortable. i have never been able to get a good feed by flipping a doe - mine just aren't comfortable enough with being handled that way.

i had a doe that has large litters and one or two runts need help. what i do and have had good success with is, is taking the box away except to bring it to her in the morning for feedings. when i give it to her initially, the only kits i leave in the box are the ones that struggle, so that they have a few minutes of unimpeded access to the milk bar. as long as they are able to nurse, they should be able to get nice full bellies with no competition. if your doe will let you, you can lift her up after a few minutes and check the bellies. if they're full, or after about five minutes or so, i pop the rest of the litter in so they can eat as well. usually after a couple of days of this the weaker kits will have gained enough strength to keep up with competition and they don't need my help anymore :)
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Re: Need advice again

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:31 am


Most does don't have 10 teats,- so the weaker ones will get pushed aside by the bigger ones-- some does will nurse 2 or even 3 times a day -those does give the weaker kits a better chance of getting on a teat at least once a day.
--- I have noticed.. that the does I have had, that consistently weaned large litters [10 to 12 kits] always nursed the litter several times a day.
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Re: Need advice again

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Preitler » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:39 pm


Hm, I just let the fatter third of the litter miss one out of 4 meals, doesn't hurt them and one or two meals with less competition can help weak kits a lot. I put the fatties in an extra nest box well before feeding time and return them when the doe is done. That doiesn't disturb the feeding routine.
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Re: Need advice again

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:51 pm


If some kits are getting full then it's unlikely there is an issue with her releasing milk. If the doe is stressed sometimes the kits will have trouble getting milk out but that should impact all kits because it's not like the doe can shut it off only where those are drinking or when they drink. More likely they aren't getting some while the teats are full and the others are sucking it all out first. Some people cull all litters down to 8 to avoid that or you can just remove the plump ones for a day. If they have been getting well fed and the doe shows no sign of slowing down they will be fine missing a meal here or there. Sometimes it only takes a few meals before the smaller ones can compete again equally but people have just split large litters into 2 identical nest boxes and swap them once or twice a day depending how often the doe feeds. Each set of kits gets fed every other time. They probably don't grow as fast as a culled litter to the amount of milk available at one feeding but they frequently all survive to weaning that way.
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Re: Need advice again

Post Number:#6  Unread postby bunny love » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:37 pm


Thanks everyone who responded. A little update. yesterday when I got up and checked the babies the doe had put 2 kits into a separate little nest within her nest box. Her nest box is quite large, about 2 1/2 feet long x 2 feet wide. I thought maybe the kits got separated on their own so I put them back with the others. Then when I checked them this morning there were 3 kits in the separate little nest. They all had fat little tummies, even the little runt that I was concerned about. Do you think this doe separated them on her own so they would all have a chance to nurse? If so I think that's amazing. ;)

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Re: Need advice again

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:00 pm


bunny love wrote:Thanks everyone who responded. A little update. yesterday when I got up and checked the babies the doe had put 2 kits into a separate little nest within her nest box. Her nest box is quite large, about 2 1/2 feet long x 2 feet wide. I thought maybe the kits got separated on their own so I put them back with the others. Then when I checked them this morning there were 3 kits in the separate little nest. They all had fat little tummies, even the little runt that I was concerned about. Do you think this doe separated them on her own so they would all have a chance to nurse? If so I think that's amazing. ;)

animals are much smarter than humans give them credit for-- it is possible she had a plan...
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Re: Need advice again

Post Number:#8  Unread postby SixGun » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:41 pm


Its possible, but I find in the heat they tend to break into smaller groups to more easily regulate their body temp. I always try to put them back together too, worrying that some may be missed during a feeding. But, they almost always are split the next time I go out there.

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