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Nest Box Culling

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Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#1  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed May 17, 2017 2:42 pm


This is a sensitive subject for some people.
I posted it in the meat rabbits section for this reason.

I believe that I'm going to need to start nest box culling, because my rabbits are having litters of 11-12 or more!!
The poor mamas putting so much into raising their kits that , even with supplements, they are very thin at weaning.

I breed Magpie Harlequin, so by day 2, I can tell who would stay and who definitely will go.
Out of a nest of 11 I might have 3-4 that I would consider keeping for breeding/showing, the rest will be eaten when they grow big enough.

Not wanting to be wasteful:

I called a local wildlife rehabilitation centre to see if they would take the kits. I explained that my rabbits were overly prolific and felt (especially a litter I have right now) that mama will suffer with 11 kits and very likely not all will live anyway... so, she says to bring in the dead kits.... and I ask her, you don't need them live for raptors? (I know nothing... admitted it too)... she starts to get offended; explained that there is a moral issue now; if I am going to kill kits to bring them in for feeding ..... What does she think the big companies do? The baby animals (mice, rabbits etc) aren't just born in frozen blocks and big companies aren't just shipping the kits that don't make it!!??? :evil: :shock:

I explained we are talking about a domesticated prey animal here.... they kits dies as a kit (either not enough food or by my hand) or it grows up and I kill it to eat... no matter how you look at it...the rabbit is going to die.... of all the people to understand this... you would think a wildlife rehab person would understand.

So, those of you that choose this route, what do you do with the kits?
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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#2  Unread postby KenoshaRabbits » Wed May 17, 2017 3:50 pm


Personally, I leave it up to chance. My meat does have had large litters and I just try giving them enough time between litters to recover. If I have to wait an extra month for a doe to get back into good condition, so be it. Now that I have some French Angoras, I plan on breeding my meat does and my fur does at the same time. Currently I am unsure of the mothering abilities of the FA's; so I plan on switching out the FA kits with the meat kits since my meat does are excellent mothers.

I do have a few rabbit friends who will cull large litters. I believe the kits are fed to the dogs. And were I to ever cull like that I have a neighbor who is into falconry and would probably take them. That could be an option for you, people with snakes, raw feeders, large reptiles, birds of prey.

***edit***
And for whatever it's worth I agree that it is a moral issue; this is totally a classic trolley problem!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem
Last edited by KenoshaRabbits on Wed May 17, 2017 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#3  Unread postby AprilW » Wed May 17, 2017 3:56 pm


When I raised Netherland Dwarf bunnies, I would feed the peanuts (kits that would die regardless of what I did) to my dogs.
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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#4  Unread postby SableSteel » Wed May 17, 2017 4:07 pm


Find snake people ; ) Quite a few harlequin people cull the ones without face splits or that have dutch markings in the nestbox to give a better chance to marked ones, but a lot of those feed the babies to their dogs or cats.
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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed May 17, 2017 6:32 pm


I imagine that the wildlife rehab person was obliged to be politically correct about live feeding. They may have worries about AR activities.

As to culling infant kits, I can't see it as a terrible thing as long as they are put to a use. I never did this, but I did once cull an overly productive doe who always had litters of 11 or 12. There were always some runts and the growth rate was uneven and they were messy because even in a 30"x36" cage they were overcrowded. No thanks.

After that, I preferred does who produced 6-8 and raised them well.

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#6  Unread postby alforddm » Wed May 17, 2017 9:33 pm


I'm facing this with my meat mutts as well. I just had a first time mom have a litter of 12. They are a week old and 9 are doing good. I culled 2 when I saw they were doing poorly and lost another that I thought might make it. Two of my main does have each had a litter of 14 and two others have had a litters of 12. I'm seriously considering trying to find a buck line that doesn't produce such large litters to try to even things out a bit.

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#7  Unread postby AmberRae » Thu May 18, 2017 10:04 am


I had a first time mom that had 11 kits. I could tell she was not getting enough milk to the two smallest ones. I just supplemented their milk with a syringe twice a day. I only had to do it for about a week and they grew up strong and healthy. I do understand why people cull the smallest of large litters but I just can't do it. I know in nature the kits would be subjected to survival of the fittest. My rabbits are not wild animals though and depend on me to take care of them. I sometimes wish I wasn't such a softy about it though.
I haven't had the issues of my does getting skinny though. I have the issue with them being too chunky, even after a large litter. My girls love to eat! They also get extra treats when pregnant and nursing.

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Dood » Thu May 18, 2017 1:07 pm


I've been culling litters down to 8 to 10 for several years now

I dispatch the kits and feed them to my pets

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#9  Unread postby shazza » Thu May 18, 2017 1:26 pm


i've never needed to yet...i only have one doe that kindles more than 7 or 8 so i just plan when i breed her so that i don't get overwhelmed. generally i find failure to thrives already dead. i have had some mild interest in younger kits for snake food, so i'm thinking about the technicality for if i end up with another doe that overproduces in the future. for the most part i prefer to let kits grow up and feed ME, but if i need to cull them anyway...

a question though is how do you guys go about dispatch? i've found it very difficult to euthanize smaller rabbits for some reason - even though they're more fragile i have a hard time breaking their necks. it takes way more strength than my older rabbits. i know some people just whack em on a desk or something but that's a little too violent for me and has too big of a margin of error.
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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ladysown » Thu May 18, 2017 1:38 pm


culling babies for the sake of the doe... totally doable. Mine go to a raptor rescue and to a lady with cats. (depends on who gets to me first).

How to cull?

I have a concrete block that I use with kits older than two weeks. Other than that a quick HARD toss down on the ground (Like you are trying to make a hole in the ground from your force) culls the rest.
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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#11  Unread postby alforddm » Thu May 18, 2017 2:52 pm


I take them by the hind legs and swing them hard into something hard. A t-post or metal fence post both work really well. It sounds gruesome but it is very fast. In order to avoid pain and suffering though you can't hesitate, but that is true for any dispatch.

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#12  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Fri May 19, 2017 9:05 am


Well.... I did it....
Her litter is now down to 6

Have to say, not a fan.... but I put on my big girl pants.... reviewed my goals .... and did it....
:(

I know I won't feel as shitty when the kits get older and I realize how much easier this is on the mama bunny.
(another doe in the cage below only has 5 and she seems to be enjoying the 3 week old kits... vs the mama doe with 10 that I rescued from her hord at 4weeks... that mama looks rough around the edges and is seriously happy to be free in her own condo)
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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Dwc77 » Fri May 19, 2017 11:37 am


I've culled bunnies before so don't anybody think I'm a big softy but if my does can't raise large litters then I'll be getting new does! My does have raised litters of up to 13 without problems. My culls are kits that aren't doing well or sickly but some kits won't thrive in a litter of 6 either. As far as a mother rabbit enjoying one litter more than another I find that hard to believe. Rabbits in the wild leave there kits around 3 to 4 weeks and never look back! And tho I could care less as to why people cull anything from rabbits to rhinos it seems rude to talk about culling kits because of a marking on its face when so many post on here having such a hard time getting a litter! :bdh:

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#14  Unread postby AmberRae » Fri May 19, 2017 2:17 pm


I have never been able to cull anything but I try hard not to judge anyone who does for any reason. I know a lot of serious breeders cull for any reason that doesn't further the breed. It's hard for me to wrap my emotional head around it but my realistic one understands completely. I only truly take offensive if the animal is treated cruelly or wasted. Even a kit buried in the ground is going back to the earth and is our circle of life. I am so thankful I have my husband to do the culling. One time I had a quail born with its leg bone sticking out of its skin. As much as I like to fix stuff I knew there was nothing that could be done for this guy. My husband was at work and I needed to cull this bird and quick as it was in pain. I couldn't do it. I held it in my hand for 20mins crying like a baby. I had to drive the chick to my husbands work and have him do it. It was horrible of me to pro long the suffering and put my husband in that position at work. I promised myself I would have to step up next time in that position, hopefully I will. Moral of the story if I can not judge someone for culling then none of us should. With that being said you guys are welcomed to bring me all your mis marked kits and extra kits and I will nurture them :)-

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Re: Nest Box Culling

Post Number:#15  Unread postby GBov » Thu May 25, 2017 4:11 pm


I use a pair of slightly blunt secateurs and just snip right behind the head. With them being blunt the skin doesn't tear but the neck bones part giving me a clean kill. I did find though that kits tended to move for longer than adult rabbits once dispatched. No idea why, just an oddness.

Good for you being able to do it but have to second the find better does, all of mine could raise litters of 11 without undue wear and tear.

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