How active should they be?

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lindsy5317

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Hello everyone. First, I'd like to say thank you to everyone on this forum. What a wealth of knowledge!!! I have spent hours reading old posts! I am so grateful!

This is my first litter as well as the does. She is a dutch and the buck is a lionhead. I acquired these guys when their owners wanted them to be re-homed. I have always loved rabbits, but I have never done any breeding.

Our situation is a little different than most. The rabbits live in the house. The doe has free range of her own room (the buck is in a different room). So far, she has been perfect and done everything by the book. She kindled in her nest box. I have a webcam on the nest, so I was able to catch her in the act. She had 6 kits that are now 6 days old. I was able to catch her nursing the kits on the camera a few times, but I have not actually seen her nursing the past few days. The kits seem to switch off who has a round belly and who looks less round. I have been feeding her unlimited Oxbow Young Essentials Pellets (it said for young and pregnant/nursing) as well as unlimited timothy hay and some alfalfa hay. Sorry for all the talking, now for the questions.

The kits seem very active. They squirm around a lot and can also be noisy. I have been reading that this could be because they are hungry. Could she not be feeding them enough or have enough milk? I was thinking it was the time of day possibly. However, I have been obsessively watching them, and they seem to be squirmy at all times.

My second concern, if they keep squirming to the top of the nest box. They are still in a pile together, but they are not very covered on the top. I tried to cover them back up, but they keep popping back to the top. Could be this them looking to nurse? Or could they be too warm? The house is set to 72* but their room is colder than the rest of the house. I don't want them too cold, but I also do not want them too warm.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Sorry for being wordy, trying to give some background I love they little guys already, but they really worry me. I don't know how you guys do this! I just keep waiting for them to pass away. If they will make it, I will have more questions, I'm sure! Especially when they leave the nest with their room set-up.
 

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hotzcatz

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At six days old, they should be pretty sturdy. If she wasn't feeding them, they'd not be there anymore.

Since they're inside and not in a draft or anything, they probably don't need a lot of hay over the top of them and if they are near the top of the nest, they are able to nurse easier.

The heaviest load on the doe is around the fourth week. At that time, the kits are pretty big and yet they are only nursing and not nibbling on anything else. If she were here, she'd be free fed pellets until the babies are fully weaned (about week five or six). The babies are then free fed pellets until they're about six months old. We use an 18% protein rabbit pellet since the buns here are angoras, but any good feed should be okay. Check the mum bun and make sure she's not losing weight. If she is getting skinny, then a little bit of a higher nutritional food such as dry oatmeal or black oil sunflower seeds could be added in.

As for how active, most of the time babies sleep in a pile with some wiggling. When mum bun comes near, they will pop up out of the nest and make little noises. Quite active and almost violently fast.

I'm pretty sure that on a first generation lionhead x dutch cross you won't see any manes on any of the offspring unless the dutch doe had some lionhead in her background.
 

lindsy5317

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Thank you so much for your reply.

They must think I am momma coming to nurse them when I check on them because they go crazy, loud and can even jump pretty high already.

Since they are not covered in the hay or moms fur (more open hole with stuff around them), I can see them pretty well in the webcam. I may be watching and worrying way too much. They squirm and slide around each other most the day, but do have times they are still the more I watch them.

I'm really not sure how they will turn out, but they will be much loved pets. I'm sure this is not an intelligent pairing, but the first time doe got in with the first time buck and they managed to get the deed done quickly. The previous owners didn't want to deal with it, so they came here.
 

Rainey

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Welcome to RT. Glad you're finding helpful information.

Our rabbits are in cages in an outbuilding, and we bring the nest box in to check the kits each day until their eyes open at about 10 days. They react to a hand the way they would to the doe, jumping up to the top of the nest looking for milk I guess. Some litters the kits seem evenly fed and sometimes one or two are bulging one day and different ones the next. If any are persistently looking less fed, we take a few full ones out and put them in a temporary 'nest' over one feeding and that usually lets the thinner ones catch up and all is well. (Our does generally nurse the kits twice a day, around dawn and dusk)
By the end of two weeks our kits are usually out of the nest box and nibbling on the same food the doe is eating. (We don't feed pellets so this feed varies with the season and includes willow, foraged weeds, garden trimmings, fodder in winter, hay, etc.) The kits are still nursing at this stage but are weaned at 4 to 5 weeks.
 

ladysown

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one of the joys of raising rabbits is everyone does things a bit differently.

1. you need to get used to the jumpiness of kits, they are always eager to eat! :)

2. they look fed to me.

3. if kits are cold they burrow down, if they are warm and content they stay put.

4. weaning happens any time after 4 weeks old. There is no need to rush the process. Momma might act annoyed with them at the 3-4 week age, but that's just her teaching the kits she feeds them at HER time, not theirs.

5. When it's time to move them into new homes charge something for them. Do not just give them away. If keeping any, note that generally speaking boys will fight with boys, girls will fight with girls. Breeding happens anytime after 10 weeks of age. (though not normally that early). being related makes no difference if they are all family or not. :)
 
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