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Orphaned baby emergency!!!

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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Orphaned baby emergency!!!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby pixie22 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:23 pm


I have a few Holland Lop does, and I was letting them play in their run earlier. I came out later and saw my chickens holding something. Turned out to be a kit. The baby has a few cuts, but nothing too bad. None of my does were due, but when I contacted my pet sitter who had been watching them last month, she told me she put my buck in with them. Oh well. There was no nest, and I have no idea who the mother is.
Any ideas on how to find the mother? Not sure if any of the others are pregnant now too.
And about formula, I just want to make sure I get a good recipe to help this baby survive. I have kitten milk replacement made for kittens 0-6 weeks of age. It says its enriched with colostrum, so I guess I don't need to add this in? Is there anything else I should add in it? I tried using a wet cotton ball around her bum, but nothing came out. I would appreciate any advice you can give! Thanks!

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Re: Orphaned baby emergency!!!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:05 pm


Double check three times to make sure you got all the kits. You may find another or two. A singleton is going to be even more difficult to hand rear versus 3 or 4. Keeping the body heat is just so difficult.
Kitten milk, goat milk, these can be replacements, but not having them aspirate the milk from the eye dropper or sponge is difficult as well.
How many does were in the enclosure? If you can look them all over right away, you may find one that has some blood yet near the vulva. You may also find one that has some missing fur, or you can give each doe a nestbox and see who makes a nest. If the buck was in with them, you may have more litters on the way. If you do have a doe that gives birth, foster that kit in right away to the new litter.

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Re: Orphaned baby emergency!!!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:11 pm


There are several stickies with tons of information about formula feeding kits. Most important at the moment is making sure the kit is thoroughly warm. It cannot digest anything if it is not good and warm.

Second, flip your does and check their vents. There may be some traces of blood or mucus that will help you to identify mom. She will probably kindle others tonight, so if you can identify her and give her a nest box, it will give any other kits the best chance of survival.

I'd hold off on formula feeding until morning. If a doe kindles, put the kit in with its siblings. Mother's milk is far superior to any formula.
Good luck! :clover:
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: Orphaned baby emergency!!!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby pixie22 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:46 pm


I think ive figured out who the mother is. I have two pure black does, who I cannot tell apart. Earlier i remember seeing one of them trying to mount the other does and pulling out their fur (very unusual), so i'm pretty sure its one of them. The only thing thats throwing me is that shes black and the father is brown, yet the baby is pink (so likely to be white). I have a white doe in there, would it be more likely to be her? I tried putting both in with the baby and neither seemed interested. Is there a way to force her to feed her baby? Neither have had litters before, so they might not know what they're doing.

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Re: Orphaned baby emergency!!!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:57 pm


A brown and a black could produce a white.
If you can find out which doe it is, you can flip her over onto her back and let the kit nurse, but honestly many does are too upset to do this and release their milk.
It is possible that they dont know what they're doing. Absolutely, and on a first time doe, they may never show any sort of milk production or mammary enlargement. I would seperate all the does and give them each a nest box. Like Maggie says, they could give birth to more overnight, and then you'll have someone to feed the baby, and you'll know who belongs to whom.

In a colony situation, I had one buck with 4 does. All 4 does kindled 31 days later, so, if he bred one, he likely bred the others as well, and so you will likely have more babies tonight.

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