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lots in sacks with placentas

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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lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Zinnia » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:01 pm


Hello from the Midwest. It's been a really long time since I've posted.

First time mama (angora) just had a litter of 12 kits. I was nearby and saw her make a great nest and get into the box. I felt she was taking a bit more time than average as I peeked in on her numerous times. Finally she hopped out and I assessed her litter. Total time in the box was less than a half hour. She kindled on her due date (31 days).

12 kits, 7 fine, some of those were well nursed. An additional live one was wiggly but placenta attached, so I snipped the placenta and we'll see how it goes. So 8 live. The last 4 were still in their sacks with placentas attached and dead. They looked just fine; full term, not too big or bruised or anything.

I've never seen a doe with a litter that had so many in the sack with placentas before. This doe's dam wasn't the greatest first time mom, but went on to be a good dam. So I rather expected this doe to be iffy to start too. But this is just something I've not seen, what appears to be poor mothering... not terribly swift with cleaning them after kindling. Is this all it was? Is that common? I have dozens of litters per year from several does and I just don't see this. We usually have big litters of cleaned kits and an occasional DOA in a litter. Never more than 2, though and usually none. Oh, also she defecated a soft stool in the box while kindling which I'd never seen in any other doe before. She did have perfectly normal stool earlier today. Sign of stress?

My guess is poor first time mothering (which I can deal with). I'd be concerned if it was anything else. Nothing environmental. Another doe kindled today with 10 vibrant kits and we've had 3 other litters in the past month with no problems...

What do you think?

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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#2  Unread postby houston » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:35 pm


My Silver Fox doe usually pops a couple under developed babies in the sack every litter. She is otherwise an excellent mother. I'm not sure what causes it-- maybe abortion midway through, and she just hasn't reabsorbed them? I might would keep an eye on her come kindling time, but otherwise I wouldn't stress too much.
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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#3  Unread postby shazza » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:58 pm


if the kits were to term and just not removed from the sack i would count that as a strike against her. they could have been DOA, but even my DOAs the doe at least cleaned them up before giving up on reviving them. if she just didn't feel like taking care of the sack and the kits suffocated after birth...that's poor mothering. it's not uncommon for first time does to be a little scatterbrained, but i would definitely keep and eye out for that next time you breed her. it's not really acceptable to me for a doe to get tired of cleaning her kits off during birth and letting them die that way.

the poop is pretty normal though. i have two does that have soft poops the day or so after kindling but it always clears up. the stress of birth kinda makes things go a bit weird, but as long as she doesn't keep having soft poop or any other signs of illness i wouldn't worry about it.
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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:50 pm


Nice to see you back, Zinnia! :)

First time momma, big litter . . . I would think she is just inexperienced and didn't finish her job. But hey, you've got 8 healthy kits and that's not so bad, is it?

One other thought (and it may be completely wrong) is that you looking in on her may have made her nervous enough to leave the job unfinished. It is her first time and instinct only carries a doe so far. If she raises the 8 without further issues, I'd expect she will do just fine with future litters.

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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Zinnia » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:18 pm


Thanks everyone.

These were definitely full term kits. And they didn't have that washed out appearance I've seen in DOAs.

MaggieJ, she couldn't see me at all from where I was watching and peeking in on her. I'm pretty sure she had no clue I was there.

I've been thinking about this all day because it seems so odd to me and I think I may have figured it out!

This doe had a nose injury when she was young and it's scarred over. I know when we feed her, she doesn't appear to have a great sense of smell. And with that scarring, I bet she doesn't have that sensitive of touch either. Knowing that does rely greatly on both touch and smell to instinctively clean them, I bet she was compromised enough to affect her ability to clean them. I feel sorry for her. :( I can see she made a fabulous nest and is nursing the kits well. I thought if I tried her once again after this litter we'll see. Then I thought about what I'd do to clean the kits that she missed quickly enough and that's where it would get tricky. I know I'd be messing with her hormones if I reached into her litter while she was kindling and I think I would not be able to wait until she was done to save kits in sacks. So... hmmm. Not sure what I'll do if I try her again. :x

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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#6  Unread postby SixGun » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:23 pm


Depending on your relationship with your doe, you should be able to be in there with her. I know that my Angora does don't mind one bit that I'm there.

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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#7  Unread postby AmberRae » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:54 pm


My does have no problem with me being there while they are giving birth. Just keep a good record of when she is due and make sure you're there. I don't think she would mind the help. I have a California doe that always gives birth on the wire. She seems so panicked when the are squirming around everywhere. When I come and put them in the nest box she seems so relieved and immediately jumps in and feeds them. She is the most amazing mom but just needs a little help getting them in the box.

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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Zinnia » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:56 pm


I'm present much more often than not with my does. I'm a light sleeper and set my alarm every two hours starting at 2 AM on their expected date. :countsheep: It's just that with a new doe and a litter I need, I really dread interrupting the kindling process if I can help it. The last thing I need is for her to be confused further. But she's a very affectionate doe and has not been too hormonal (and maybe that's part of the problem!). So she'd probably let me help during kindling. I hate to intervene. MUCH easier letting them do their own thing. As I posted earlier, I do think it is related to lost touch and smell from her nose injury. Today I took care to observe her while I gave treats and she was not nearly as quick to notice what I had as the rest of the herd.

Anyone happen to know how much time I have from birth to death in sack? I cannot see interrupting during kindling (don't need anymore complications if she stalls), but immediately after and while she's cleaning... Certainly won't wait the 20-some minutes she was in there this time. That was too long for those kits. :(

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Re: lots in sacks with placentas

Post Number:#9  Unread postby shazza » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:28 pm


you don't really have that long to at least remove the sack from around their face so they can breathe. maybe a couple minutes. it's best to get their heads out asap if you can. you'll have to weigh the risk of disturbing her versus saving the kits she forgets to clean up.
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