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**Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

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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**Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Homer » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:20 am


Sorry this is kind of long guys but I think it's worth the outcome. ;)

This very well could be a game changer for those of us that get forced into the hand feeding of kits for various reasons. Off and on over the last few years I've read many papers on hand feeding. All seemed to have one thing in common, mortality. And then I came across a paper at the University of Miami.
Interestingly enough it contained Miss M's three ingredients of 1/2 cup of goat's milk, one egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon of corn syrup. But it also contained 1 teaspoon of powered colostrum supplement. (Big R) But wait a minute, I'm getting ahead of myself.
4 weeks ago I had a Flemish Giant Doe give birth to 5 Lt. Gray babies on a Thursday morning. Friday morning I went to check on them and she was in the bunny bedroom with them. I didn't think much of it and went about lighting the stove for the day and feeding the others. When I got to her hutch she was still in the bedroom so I had a look in the inspection door. WHAT! Now there are 10 of the little buggers! They were scattered everywhere and some quite cold. I reached in and started gathering babies and thought this is strange. She isn't moving but let me gather up the kits. Into the house to warm the babies and then went back to check her. Still not moving. <hum> An hour later she finally tried to move but...somehow she managed to break her back!! NO movement in the back legs at all when she drug herself into the main part of the hutch. She didn't act like she was in pain so I left her for another hour and got the babies tucked away in the house in a basket from the garden.

When I went back out to the hutches she was still in the same place. When she did finally try moving all hell broke loose. She started screaming like crazy and then involuntary leg spasms started like you've never seen before. I did what had to be done. RIP Agnes. :cry:

Great, what to do with 10 wigglers? Calls started to everyone I knew in town looking for a wet Doe. Nothing! Then I remembered our very own PSF Angoras from here on R/T. She had a wet Doe and so did her MIL. So I loaded up Saturday morning and hit the road, she lives 50 mile from me. They all got something to eat but it isn't all roses my friends. Two were lost to bloat after the first feeding and one would pass the next day, (that one had a split lip and wasn't able to nurse). Two were taken to her MIL's to foster and are still doing great!

All was trying to settle in but PSF was fighting a bloat problem with the 5 she still had. We talked and she started giving a probiotic and fennel tea mixture (a natural gas-x). Things were settling down at last. There was one runt but isn't there always? ...Then PSF wrote on a Saturday two weeks ago, "I think my Doe is drying up". Really? This litter is getting to be a pain. Sunday she called and said they didn't get fed but I was ready for her. <eviil Grin here> I remembered the study I had read from the U of Miami. I had everything ready including the colostrum supplement. When I brought them home they were pretty skinny and the runt didn't look good at all.
Almost two weeks later and they love this formula. It's a game changer folks. If you ever have to hand feed give this a try.

1/2 cup evaporated goat's milk (undiluted)
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon powered colostrum supplement for newborn animals
1/8 teaspoon Bene Bac probiotic powder (my addition to get their guts working better)

**DO NOT microwave to heat or you will kill the colostrum**
Heat in warm water so they can digest the formula and watch them grow!

3 weeks old.
3 weeks_a.jpg
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Same bunny at 4 weeks today.
4 weeks_a.jpg
4 weeks_a.jpg (177.27 KiB) Viewed 2125 times

And a brother...
4 weeks_b.jpg
4 weeks_b.jpg (156 KiB) Viewed 2125 times


To be continued in the next post. It will not allow anymore attachments...

-- Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:19 am --

continued...

PSF's hubby holding one at his mom's house.
Gray Doe_b small.jpg
Gray Doe_b small.jpg (228.58 KiB) Viewed 2124 times

And now one of PSF's Does, (French Angora), has dried up and she is hand feeding a litter of 8 this formula. So far it has a 100% survival rate if you get them on it soon enough.
Kirby_small.jpg
Kirby_small.jpg (383.1 KiB) Viewed 2124 times

So there you have my contribution to the rabbit hole for 2016. Hope all goes well with all of you and your rabbits.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:11 pm


So glad you posted about this, Homer! Talk about turning tragedy into triumph! :goodjob:

Nice to have news of PSF Angoras, too! I know she still logs in, but it's been quite a while since she posted. :)

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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Homer » Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:47 pm


I truly believe the addition of the colostrum and probiotic powders to the formula is a true game changer to their survival rate. It doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. The colostrum sup. was only $11.99 for a pound and the Bene Bac Plus is $12.99 at Dr. Fosters for 1 pound. Both are lifetime supplies. :lol:

I've been grinding on PSF to come visit but she has a lot of irons in the fire right now with the greenhouses starting up where she works, hunting and feeding her 8 monsters twice a day. :)
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Miss M » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:20 pm


Wow! :P This is great!

Homer wrote:Off and on over the last few years I've read many papers on hand feeding. All seemed to have one thing in common, mortality.

Yes, that's what I was coming across, too!

Homer wrote:And then I came across a paper at the University of Miami. Interestingly enough it contained Miss M's three ingredients of 1/2 cup of goat's milk, one egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon of corn syrup.

I was using 1/2 Tablespoon of corn syrup, because I was modifying another recipe I found several places online. It's good to know the formula is successful with much less syrup! Do you have a link to the paper?

The addition of the colostrum and probiotics may very well make this formula a very dependable substitute for doe's milk, perhaps even for newborns!
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Homer » Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:07 am


Miss M wrote:...Do you have a link to the paper?

The addition of the colostrum and probiotics may very well make this formula a very dependable substitute for doe's milk, perhaps even for newborns!

There is a link to my reference at the very bottom of my first post Miss M.

So far the youngest we have tried it on is 8 day old kits of PSF Angoras.
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Marinea » Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:38 am


Great post, Homer! So glad it worked for your wee ones!

And it comes from my alma mater. Go Canes!
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Homer » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:26 pm


Thanks Marinea. So far everybunny is doing well. PSF's babies are 18 days old now and still doing well as far as I know. Didn't hear from her today. hint-hint :pokeeye:

Marinea wrote:And it comes from my alma mater. Go Canes!
I have a little problem with this young lady. Why would anyone leave there to go be in the cold! :P
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Stephanie » Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:24 pm


Thank you for this info, Homer. We don't have a Big R in my area. But, I did find colostrum powder on TS's website. I'll be adding it to my shopping list for my next trip. I've already stored away a couple tins of goat milk powder, which I got from Walmart. Of course, my hope is I'll never need any of it. But, better safe than sorry.

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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Miss M » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:33 pm


Homer wrote:
Miss M wrote:...Do you have a link to the paper?

The addition of the colostrum and probiotics may very well make this formula a very dependable substitute for doe's milk, perhaps even for newborns!

There is a link to my reference at the very bottom of my first post Miss M.

Ah! It kinda ran into your signature for me, I guess. :lol:

-- Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:33 pm --

I don't know if you've noticed, Homer, but your thread has been made a Sticky! :hooray:
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Homer » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:46 am


Stephanie wrote:...I've already stored away a couple tins of goat milk powder, which I got from Walmart. Of course, my hope is I'll never need any of it. But, better safe than sorry.
I don't know how the dried milk will do Stephanie. We are both using canned evaporated milk. Usually where you find condensed etc. in the grocery store. It's a little pricey here at $3.38 a can but will feed three days.

When I open a can I take a 1/2 cup for the days feeding in one glass and put the rest in another glass, cover it and pop it in the frig. The colostrum does state not to mix more than you will use in 24 hours. Right now a 1/2 cup just gets me through a days feeding with them eating 11cc twice a day. I maybe pitch 2 tablespoons down the drain after the nights feeding.

Miss M wrote: I don't know if you've noticed, Homer, but your thread has been made a Sticky! :hooray:
Thank you! :cowboy: I just hope others that get forced into hand feeding have the results we are. We're still at a 100% survival rate. (knock on wood)
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Miss M » Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:16 pm


Homer wrote:
Stephanie wrote:...I've already stored away a couple tins of goat milk powder, which I got from Walmart. Of course, my hope is I'll never need any of it. But, better safe than sorry.
I don't know how the dried milk will do Stephanie. We are both using canned evaporated milk.

I think goat's milk powder would be fine, as long as it is mixed double strength. If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup water and 1/8 cup milk powder, mix 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup milk powder. The evaporated milk is double strength. :)

Homer wrote: Thank you! :cowboy: I just hope others that get forced into hand feeding have the results we are. We're still at a 100% survival rate. (knock on wood)

Me, too! :)

We have a very good survival rate on the other recipe, one lost to overfeeding and the others we lost I think would have died no matter what (couldn't figure out how to feed, metabolic abnormality, etc.). I think it's still a good recipe in a pinch, when you don't have everything on hand -- I even did just egg yolk and corn syrup once, when I was out of goat's milk.

The addition of these other two ingredients, though, would go a long way to helping them thrive. And it just might put saving newborns well within reach, when up to now it's been nearly impossible to do.

I am very interested to see what comes of more members trying your recipe. :)
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Stephanie » Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:45 pm


The goat milk powder I have was on the shelf right next to the canned evaporated. And, it's the same brand, Meyenberg. It is whole milk, not the fat free stuff, with added vitamin D3 and folic acid. The evaporated milk is fortified with vitamins A and D and folic acid. As Miss M posted, I do mix it double strength, or nearly so. When I was shopping for it, I was looking for the evaporated kind. But, when I saw the powdered and compared the labels I realized that it would be much more convenient, and likely less wasteful, than the evaporated kind.

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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#13  Unread postby powellanimals » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:24 pm


Does it matter what type of colostrum supplement? Tractor Supply here had some for goats, another one for pigs, and another one for calves. Nothing marketed for multi-species. I grabbed the one for goats since I figured they're also getting goat milk. Anyone know if it makes a difference? Not feeding any kits right now but I wanted to have it in stock in case I had to.
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Miss M » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:38 am


Stephanie wrote:It is whole milk, not the fat free stuff, with added vitamin D3 and folic acid. The evaporated milk is fortified with vitamins A and D and folic acid.

Sounds good! I have thought about trying it, and definitely want to make sure to get the whole milk. Even the powdered whole milk won't have as long a shelf life as powdered skim would, though, because of the fat. If it says it can be refrigerated or frozen, it would probably be good to keep the powder that way long-term.

powellanimals wrote:Does it matter what type of colostrum supplement? Tractor Supply here had some for goats, another one for pigs, and another one for calves. Nothing marketed for multi-species. I grabbed the one for goats since I figured they're also getting goat milk. Anyone know if it makes a difference? Not feeding any kits right now but I wanted to have it in stock in case I had to.

The one for goats is likely from goats. The one for calves is likely from cows. The one for pigs may be based on cow colostrum. You just want to be sure what your getting is from goats, not cows. I'm not sure if it makes a lot of difference with colostrum, but with milk, the cow's milk is harder for bunnies to digest. Goat's milk is much easier, and less likely to cause problems like diarrhea.
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Re: **Updated Hand Feeding Formula**

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Homer » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:19 am


To be clear I and PSF Angoras have both been using Bovine Colostrum in our formulas.

The product I use is Ultra Start Multi. You can read about all the ingredients here; https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_library_info.html?product=b6751969-b6cf-4e27-998f-ec833e0e3f50&showText=1 I don't know what brand PSF is using.

More support for the use of colostrum can be found here but it gets kind of technical.
http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJAR/article-full-text-pdf/972DCEF38249 A very interesting study though done on rabbits.

edit: Oh and by the way, all rabbits are still kicking and doing well. The ones I've been hand feeding have been weaned and place with their two sisters that were fostered to a Doe at PSF's MIL. There is no doubt that the two girls are about 30% larger having been raised on mother's milk but...the formula has given the others a chance.

My recommendation would be, if you don't HAVE to hand feed don't! Try and find a foster mom if at all possible.
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