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New mother not covering babies.

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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New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Opalcreek » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:14 pm


I have a Netherlands Dwarf who just kindled her first litter. The first couple of days she covered them up, but now she isn't. It has been pretty cold in the garage and my space heater is not enough for this new issue. Temps during the day are ranging from 11-27 and night is sub zero to about 8 degrees. I work so I can't constantly be out there to make sure the babies stay covered. I have never had this problem, and I am not sure what to do about it. Please help!!!
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Re: New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#2  Unread postby a7736100 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:21 pm


Bring the nest box indoors. Also the doe doesn't cover the kits but just build the nest and provide fur. The kits themselves fluff up the fur to provide a cover or uncover to release heat.

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Re: New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#3  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:54 am


Add a whole bunch of shredded cotton balls.... Looks like the fur is long gone....
Add more straw/hay

The kits will burrow in the loose material, but they also pack it down as they get older.
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Re: New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#4  Unread postby shazza » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:02 am


i have a doe that went into moult earlier this year and i groomed probably another whole rabbit from her and put the fur in a jar. it proved quite valuable when one of my other does didn't really pull much fur after kindling and the weather took a dip overnight. they don't really seem to care that it's not their fur as long as the babies stay warm. try grooming one or two of your other rabbits and see if you get enough loose fur to cover the kits up. you can also try to pluck the fur from around the mom's belly, if she'll let you.
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Re: New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#5  Unread postby macksmom98 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:42 am


Bring the nest and babies inside. They are small enough they wont move around or make much of a mess yet, and mom will most likely feed them willingly when you bring them to her twice a day.

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Re: New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#6  Unread postby AnnClaire » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:51 am


Yeah, mom just puts the fur in the nest box and the kits migrate up and down in it.

It looks like the fur is all matted in the bottom of the box so you might just try fluffing it up for them.

However, it looks like the babies are well furred, so they might not want a lot of fluff on top. I would suggest that you hold your hand above the babies to see how warm they are. They are definitely too young to regulate their own, individual temperatures, however, as a pile, they can generate a good deal of warmth.

FYI: there was a study that indicated that an individual, adult rabbit generates something on the order of 1.5 BTU of thermal warmth ... This was posted in a Yahoo group about 10 years ago LOL
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Re: New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Preitler » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:12 am


As said before, the kits are good at finding their goldilock zone in the pile of fur (or whatever) and hay, the pile just needs to be big and fluffy enough. Imho it's easier for them if the floor of the nestbox is somewhat insulated.

AnnClaire wrote:FYI: there was a study that indicated that an individual, adult rabbit generates something on the order of 1.5 BTU of thermal warmth ... This was posted in a Yahoo group about 10 years ago LOL


I really struggle with those imperial units :oops: , in what time do they produce that heat, as far as I can tell that would be very, very little (would estimate something like this for a mouse) if it is per hour - less then 0.5 Watts, if it's per minute it would be a more realistic 18 Watts, supposing BTU means "british thermal unit" :)
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Re: New mother not covering babies.

Post Number:#8  Unread postby AnnClaire » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:06 pm


Yeah, they don't really generate a lot, individually, but when you have 10 or so, it can make a difference in an enclosed room. This came up when a group member lost power during that nasty storm that hit the east coast about 10 years ago. The group member moved a dozen of her adult buns into her bed room and another dozen into her living room. She said it never got really warm, but it did take the edge off of the çold enough for her to sleep at night and she çould write in the living room without gloves on her hands.

Of course, she was buying oil lamps the next time her budget could afford it!!!!
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