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Is my doe really this smart?

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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Is my doe really this smart?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby bunny love » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:13 pm


So I've been concerned about 2 runts in my litter of ten kits as they were really skinny and obviously not getting fed much. When I checked them yesterday 2 kits were separate from the others in a little nest within her nest box, about a foot away from the original nest. I figured they somehow just got separated from the rest and I put them back in the original nest with the rest of the kits. Well this morning when I checked them there were 3 kits in the smaller nest. All Of the kits had little fat bellies, including the runts :) Could she really be smart enough to separate her kits so they all have a chance to eat? If so that's amazing! has anyone ever had this happen? I hope she's not planning on just feeding the kits in one nest and planning to neglect the others. I'll check them again tomorrow, and if they all have fat bellies, I'll be amazed!! and happy. :D

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Re: Is my doe really this smart?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:24 am


cool, keep us informed
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Re: Is my doe really this smart?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Ghost » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:22 pm


Humm, that is in interesting hypothesis. I think you will need to observer your rabbit to get more information. I have never heard of any mammal/bird that has split a singlet nest into two and cared for both. The reason for this behavior is to make it user to raise a larger number of offspring in condition of abundance. Usually when creatures are in a time of abundance, nest building mammals/birds usually just reproduce with larger litters or more times per session. More often than not the animal must cut her losses in a time of scarcity, by removing offspring form the nest so that she can concentrate on a smaller number. If you rabbit actually cares for both nest that will defiantly be a new and interesting thing.
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Re: Is my doe really this smart?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby SableSteel » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:48 pm


I have heard of rabbits separating litters into two nests and caring for both (nests right next to each other), but thats usually when they have very large healthy litters and make two relatively equal nests. In this case I think its one of three options:
1. they, being smallest, didnt get a chance to finish nursing and were still latched on when the mother started leaving the nest, falling off a bit later then finding each other for warmth and curling up together. I see this happen pretty often- the most voracious of the kits I often find at the front of the nestbox. The strongest of these make their way back to the group but the runts often just stay there.
2. the reason they're separate is because they have health problems. Mothers can sometimes tell when theres something wrong with the kits, and they dont want to leave dead or sick kits in with the rest
3. the whole group of kits got moved to the front and when they headed back, these two didnt follow, either because they were too weak to travel back, too weak to push themselves to fit into the other nest or got confused and headed for the warmth of the other sibling instead of the nest.
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Re: Is my doe really this smart?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:13 pm


I would think it more likely they are just ending up there for some reason. She enters or leaves that way and they are crawling to the front or getting left at the front. I've had litters in boxes without a doe that kept having 2 or 3 end up as a separate group. Usually they are divided by size or how well they have been feeding and most often when I am trying to provide supplemental heating to a litter not doing well or being hand fed indoors. Some are not generating as much heat from not eating enough so they stay closer to a heat source or they are too weak to move if the temp is not ideal where the litter started and get left behind.
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Re: Is my doe really this smart?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby bunny love » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:10 pm


O.K. So I'm pretty sure that the kits are moving themselves around. The three in the separate nest yesterday didn't appear fed this morning, so I placed them in the original nest. When I checked them around 5 they were in several little piles around the nest box, so I put them all back together (my nest box is about 2 and 1/2 feet long x 2 feet wide). Checked them again about 20 min. later and 2 were back in the little nest. Mom was in the run eating grass so I know she didn't move them. My theory now is that it's heat related. It's been above 100 all week, today it was 103. I have misters and a fan on them which helps but it's still pretty warm. So my plan is to rotate 2 of the biggest kits and put them in the little nest at night so the runt will be able to continue getting a meal. I'm pretty sure she's only feeding them once a day because I only see big bellies early in the morning. Will this be O.K? The runt has been getting a good meal each night with only eight kits in the nest, but he's still quite a bit smaller than the others.

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