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First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

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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First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Newrabbit » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:39 pm


Kindled yesterday early morning 10 in litter 2 doa. Doe pulls a lot of hair and checks on them alot. How often should we take them out of nest to check them. Any other advice would be great..should we give them any other supplements.

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Re: First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:49 pm


I personally... like to check them within a few hours after birth and remove any dead kits, then leave them alone for a couple of days, then go through the box again checking for dead kits and make sure bellies are full., then I check once a week after that [unless there are problems ] I give no supplements ..
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Re: First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#3  Unread postby SableSteel » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:39 am


I check the kits every day. I give my nursing does the same feed as every other rabbit (but unlimited amount, instead of 1/3 cup I normally feed)
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Re: First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Preitler » Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:06 am


Sounds like your doe is doing fine, after initially checking for dead kits I look for full bellys or strugglers after 2-3 days, then about twice a week, just peek and feel if the nest is dry and comfy, and everyone alive and not somehow off.

Since normally I feed mostly forage and pellets just as treats they don't get unlimited pellets, but a small handful twice a day and, depending on litter size, also some oatmeal.

I breed my does only once a year, so my problem is keeping them from getting fat, they don't lose much condition during nursing.
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Re: First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Newrabbit » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:20 am


Checked them this morning down to 7, and 2 are not looking good is there anything I can do to help. The other 5 look great full bellies

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Re: First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#6  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:25 am


In my opinion... it is a risk either way-
option one -leave them alone and hope the mom and kits sort it out -- option two- take the full ones out until after the mom nurses the skinny ones, then put the full ones back in the nest. do that every other day until all look full.
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Re: First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Newrabbit » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:45 am


Seems like doe is seperating and eating the weakest. Will this stop. There will always be a weak kit

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Re: First time litter for doe and owner, advice on care

Post Number:#8  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:25 am


No, there will not always be a weak kit. Usually you get one or two weaklings at most. If kits that were healthy and fed at Day 2 or 3 are weakening now, there may be something else wrong.

A doe eating dead kits to clean up the nest is normal, and the protein boost may even help her milk supply. Nature's way is not always pretty.

However, a doe that eats living kits or kills and eats them is another matter. This is rare. I never saw it in ten years of raising rabbits.

In your place, I would remove the nest box altogether and put it in a safe place such as an empty cage. Just return it to her morning and night and observe (without hovering) while she feeds the kits. This will keep them safe while you try to figure out what is happening.

Don't be discouraged. Many a doe that does poorly with her first litter gets it all right after that. My best doe ever lost her whole first litter, but went on to become an enthusiastic and capable mom.
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