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Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

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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Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#1  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:33 pm


Last night when I checked on my rabbits after a late day in town, there was quite a lot of blood on the dropping board below a doe who was due to kindle. I thought she had delivered her kits on the wire and eaten them. She had not prepared her nest in any way.

This morning she had pulled fur, so I palpated her and felt that she still had kits inside her. About an hour later, I checked her again, and she had delivered.

Three kits were large and DOA. Five were average in size and alive, but due to the difficult delivery, it looks like two or three may have hindquarter paralysis. There were also four very small fetuses.

I think the four may have been from one horn, while the others developed in the other.

This doe was only bred on one day, so there is no chance of the fabled pregnancy with kits of different gestational age... but I think that when people see this type of thing, they automatically assume that the doe must have been carrying two different litters.

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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#2  Unread postby ek.blair » Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:38 pm


WOW!! This is neat, but sad at the same time :( How much "oversized" were the large DOA kits? It does boggle the mind that they could all be from the same breeding with such varied development :shock:
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:39 pm


Thanks for posting this, MSD. It clears up why many people believe that a doe can carry two litters of different ages at the same time. I always wondered how that idea got started, and now I know.

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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm


These pictures are excellent. Thank you for posting them. We might not know what exactly caused it in this case, but now we have confirmation that this is indeed possible, and that isn't isn't necessarily caused my carrying two different litters.

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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Marinea » Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:45 pm


Those pics sure tell the story, I just have no idea what the story is.

Based on the one time breeding, I guess the first thing that pops into my head is to question whether rabbits are able to "store" sperm and release it later. I have no clue.

I do thank you for posting the pics, however sad I am that you had them to post.
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#6  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:49 pm


ek.blair wrote:How much "oversized" were the large DOA kits?


They were probably about a head length larger than the others. This was her first litter- an experienced doe probably would have delivered them without issues.

I found the idea of getting a pic of the live ones with the dead distasteful, even though they were all in the nest together just moments before. :oops: The cats already ate them, so no chance of it now, either, lol.

MaggieJ wrote:Thanks for posting this, MSD. It clears up why many people believe that a doe can carry two litters of different ages at the same time. I always wondered how that idea got started, and now I know.


Yes- I think it happens more frequently than we realize, and the does just clean up the evidence along with the placentas before we see it. I have seen this once or twice before... but I am usually in the nest very soon after they are kindled, often catching them in the act of delivery. If the does had more time they would likely finish the cleanup before the owner found them.
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#7  Unread postby mystang89 » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:52 pm


Thanks for posting. Neat stuff but sorry you lost the kits.

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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#8  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:04 pm


I'm sorry about the full term kits, but the fetal kits don't really sadden me- I just think they are an interesting anomaly. Neither I or the doe killed them on purpose, after all. They just stopped growing. Oddly enough, they didn't smell rotten or anything.

I do wonder what caused the arrested development... maybe since the weather is warm it was a way to keep the doe from overheating? :thinking:

I can't remember what the weather was like last time this happened, but I will take note if I see this again.
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#9  Unread postby ladysown » Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:50 pm


i had that explained to me once by an old-timer rabbit guy as a the doe reabsorbing her kits.

I just figured...pregnancy gone wrong...
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Miss M » Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:59 am


Wow, MSD, what amazing pictures! You can definitely see how the double pregnancy theory got started!
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Wheels » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:59 am


I too wonder if this may be stress induced. I had an experienced doe deliver a litter all DOA in various states of development (not as extreme as yours) during our abnormal harsh winter. Only one looked fully developed. chalked it up to a fluke but maybe the stress of the weather disrupted her/the developing kits.

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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Jessykah » Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:12 pm


Thanks for sharing MSD!! ....the one in the placenta had its eyes open! Whoa

-- Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:12 pm --

...As sad as it is that it happened, I am thankful for the very good quality pictures to learn from. :) I teach a raising rabbits for meat course...Do you mind if I use this picture to show students?

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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#13  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:38 pm


Good news! The popples are well fed, and not paralyzed! Glad I didn't just cull them immediately. :)

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Here is mama bun having some papaya, since she is passing some fur (note all the dark stuff on the dropping boards- that is blood!):

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-- Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:38 pm --

Jessykah wrote:I am thankful for the very good quality pictures to learn from. :) I teach a raising rabbits for meat course...Do you mind if I use this picture to show students?


Glad to be of help! Yes, you can share the pictures- just credit them to Victory Garden Rabbits, and don't forget to steer them in the direction of RT! :P
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Miss M » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:21 am


MamaSheepdog wrote:Good news! The popples are well fed, and not paralyzed! Glad I didn't just cull them immediately. :)


That's wonderful!! I was hoping they were just a little bruised, and it would clear up! :)
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Re: Fetal kits and full term in one litter. GRAPHIC pics.

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Rabbitdog » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:46 am


WOW!
The exact same thing happened to my NZW doe yesterday. I didn't take pics but they would look almost exactly like those above. However, I had no live buns and only one that was normal birth size (found outside of the nest box dead). The weather has not been extreme. There has been no unusual stress or changes in feed in the life of the mother doe. She delivered exactly 30 days from breeding but pulled no fur nor attempted to build a nest. However, I found it strange that her nest box was HEAVILY soiled the day before delivery. It was so wet (w/ urine, I assume) that I had to remove it, clean it and replace with new hay. I've never had to do this for her or any other doe previously. Then, yesterday when I found the disaster, it was again HEAVILY soiled. It was so wet that I looked around to see if something was leaking somewhere above her cage but as expected, found nothing.
In her last litter, she birthed 10 on the wire rather than in the nest box. 7 died. She did not even pull fur until 2 days after the kits were born. From that point forward, she did great. I even gave her 3 other kits from another large litter and she fostered them without any problems/issues. Prior to these last 2 problem plagued litters, she has been an excellent and dependable doe. She is the only doe that I don't have an exact age on. I would guess she is around 3 or 4. So here's the questions: Should I cull now or give her one more chance? What is going on (causes)? Is some illness/disease possible? I definitely don't want it running through my breeders!
I don't have enough space to tie up and waste time with a doe that can't produce. I can get a decent young replacement without much effort/investment. I'm leaning towards this. She's been a great doe but this is intolerable to me. Suggestions?

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