Our Doe died sometimes this morning giving birth to her second litter. She had three kits about a month and half ago and today she gave birth to 4 more and bleed to death. Poor girl we was heart broken to find her gone.
Now we don't know what to do to help these little baby kits survive. We have two other male/female pairs in other cages waiting to see if they have successfully made it and will have babies or not. So can we put the babies in with those females. Or has anybody had luck bottle feeding and raising kits from birth like this and they survive. If so how do we do it and what are we use for the milk and how often do we give them milk from this point on. Any help will be much appreciated thank you and God bless. Oh these are baby mixed Californian with New Zealand in them.
Rabbits tend to take fosters quite well, so if your other does have babies that would be my first choice, no doubt about it. I can go into details about fostering in a different post if you'd like.
But first you have to keep the babies alive while waiting to foster them. If they're indoors and warm, they can make it up to 24 hrs without being fed, but their chances of making it go down pretty dramatically after that.
It was quite a bit of work and never 100% successful, but we've raised bottle bunnies. The best results we had were with goat's milk and/or Goat's Milk Esbilac for Puppies. You should be able to find it at pet or feed stores.
The mother rabbit only feeds her babies once or twice a day, but we found that ours did better when we fed them more often (3-5 times a day).
Any bottle I've ever seen is way too big for newborn kits, so I always end up using a 1ml syringe (no needle, of course), which you can usually get in bulk at a drugstore or pharmacy.
It doesn't absolutely have to be a 1ml, any size will do, but the smaller are easier to handle in the beginning. It's also useful to have a graduated syringe to keep track of how much formula the kits are taking in.
Make tiny amounts of formula at a time so you can keep it warm, about the temperature at which you cannot feel it if you drop it on your own wrist.
We pick the kit up, hold it on its back (that's how it would nurse anyway) and very slowly drip tiny bits of milk into its mouth. Don't put more in until you see the baby swallow it. It might take a little bit for it to realize it's food or to want to eat, but it will. The real key seems to be keeping the kit from aspirating the milk - be super careful about letting it get into the nose. Go slowly, and blot up any milk that might end up outside its mouth so it doesn't funnel itself down into the nostrils.
We feed the bunnies until their bellies start to look full, or until the baby acts like it's had enough - don't force it, as that's when it seems like you'll end up getting it down their nose. (Also, rabbits are obligate nose-breathers, so again, be careful not to full their nostrils with milk.) They almost never look as full from our feeding them, as they do when a doe feeds them, at least at the beginning; this is one of the reasons we feed them several times a day. We feed them again when they are starting to get restless, "popping" around looking for food.
I'm not sure it's absolutely necessary, but after feeding we usually try to clean the baby's vent very gently with a warm cloth to stimulate urination and defecation. The doe often licks them clean this way, so we try to imitate what she would do.
After a week or so, we usually start adding Nutridrops to the milk or formula.
If you end up feeding them instead of fostering, after a week or so, put some of the mother rabbit's poo balls into the nest box. (If you foster them, the doe will do it herself.) The kits will nibble on them and they will get some of her gut fauna to jump-start their own in their intestines and cecum. I always keep hay in the nest boxes all the time; they'll start eating it when they're ready.
Good luck and God bless. Best case, your other does will have babies and you can let them take over!