How many chances?

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Joined
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Apache Junction, AZ
I'll get right into it:
How many chances should a rabbit get to be a good birther?

Sunny has had one litter already. She delivered that litter on the wire, didn't pull fur until almost 24h after the birth. I was able to warm up all the kits and they all survived, her mothering instinct kicked in just a little on the late side.

Today: second litter, also born all on the wire. She DID pull fur this time but I still found most/all the kits on the wire (I got them in the nest with her fast and didn't check to see if any were actually in there or if ALL were on the wire). When I went in to do chores I found her in the nest but the kits were all spread out on the wire, and cold, but not dead. So I put them in the nest box with her and put a hot water bottle in the box too, and we’ll see what happens.

I’m still fairly new to breeding (this is my 5th litter) and I'm wondering if she is just dumb and I should take her out of the lineup of breeders, or if a third chance is warranted. I have to be out of town starting this afternoon, and while my husband is here, if she'd waited and had them after I was gone the kits would have all died - Husband is very hands-off with the rabbits and would have no idea what to do, assuming he even found them in time. I don't want high-maintenance birthers! Not that I plan to routinely miss births or anything but it would be nice to not have to be concerned about if I don't catch the birth with enough time to save kits from a dumb mom.
 
I give Does three chances in a row and if she isn't able to raise any Kits in them then I stop breeding her
 
I give Does three chances in a row and if she isn't able to raise any Kits in them then I stop breeding her
Three seems pretty reasonable. She raised the last ones fine and when I peeked in earlier she was in the nest presumably feeding them. We’ll see how things go this time. Thanks for the input!
 
I'll get right into it:
How many chances should a rabbit get to be a good birther?

Sunny has had one litter already. She delivered that litter on the wire, didn't pull fur until almost 24h after the birth. I was able to warm up all the kits and they all survived, her mothering instinct kicked in just a little on the late side.

Today: second litter, also born all on the wire. She DID pull fur this time but I still found most/all the kits on the wire (I got them in the nest with her fast and didn't check to see if any were actually in there or if ALL were on the wire). When I went in to do chores I found her in the nest but the kits were all spread out on the wire, and cold, but not dead. So I put them in the nest box with her and put a hot water bottle in the box too, and we’ll see what happens.

I’m still fairly new to breeding (this is my 5th litter) and I'm wondering if she is just dumb and I should take her out of the lineup of breeders, or if a third chance is warranted. I have to be out of town starting this afternoon, and while my husband is here, if she'd waited and had them after I was gone the kits would have all died - Husband is very hands-off with the rabbits and would have no idea what to do, assuming he even found them in time. I don't want high-maintenance birthers! Not that I plan to routinely miss births or anything but it would be nice to not have to be concerned about if I don't catch the birth with enough time to save kits from a dumb mom.
I think it does take some more time than others. I always expect issues with a first timer. One doe I had actually ate the foot off of one of her kits. I guess she didn't know what it was. Another doe had her kits on the wire and then laid on them and smothered them. Both of them turned out to be good mothers second time around. However, I agree that it's three strikes and you're out. You put too much money and time into a doe for them to not pay their way.
 
How many chances?

Speaking of chances. Let's say mom has two strikes, but on the third try and thereafter she's a great mom and does everything right. I'm curious about the probability of her does also having issues as first-time moms. Are we breeding future problems into the rabbitry, not an issue, or . . . ?
 
Speaking of chances. Let's say mom has two strikes, but on the third try and thereafter she's a great mom and does everything right. I'm curious about the probability of her does also having issues as first-time moms. Are we breeding future problems into the rabbitry, not an issue, or . . . ?
I've had all of my first-time Does have unsuccessful first litters up until recently
 
Speaking of chances. Let's say mom has two strikes, but on the third try and thereafter she's a great mom and does everything right. I'm curious about the probability of her does also having issues as first-time moms. Are we breeding future problems into the rabbitry, not an issue, or . . . ?
I think if you have does that are great first timers, lucky you. I expect first time moms to be problematic. Second time, maybe some issues. After that, not acceptable and I might consider that a genetic issue that I wouldn't want to keep in my rabbitry.
 
I select for mothering instinct from the very beginning, but most breeders use the “3 strikes” rule. Here’s my history and criteria:

I started with unproven bucks and proven does nearing the end of their productive life. I grew out the best two doelings from each doe’s first litter with me and trial bred them. Barring exceptional events, to stay in my rabbitry, a doe has to kindle at least 8 in her first litter and wean at least 6. In successive litters, she must kindle at least 10 and wean at least 8.

Immediate reasons I cull a doe include poor temperament, difficulty breeding or kindling, excessive territoriality, poor mothering ability, inadequate milk production, small litter size, poor litter growth rate prior to weaning, litters born on wire, and inadequate nesting.

I never grow out a doeling from a problematic litter. I know both genetics and example affect a doe’s mothering capability but I can’t say definitively how much impact each has so I don’t risk it.

After about 5 years of breeding, my first time mamas kindle an average of 9.6 kits and wean an average of 8.4. My proven does average 12.3 kindled and 11.9 weaned. It’s been several years since I’ve had a litter born outside the box, does are eager to breed, and I generally have a no drama rabbitry.

If I had to start over with unproven does, I’d try to buy from a breeder with similar standards. If I couldn’t find that, I’d settle for kits from good-sized litters born inside nest boxes with few or no losses.
 
I found here that as long as i had a nestbox in there (in the right place, so keep an eye out for nesting elsewhere) i could lose a kit to getting out around a week old and not getting back in (2 total from different litters and does), but no losses for any other reason including first time mothers.
I also heard from another breeder that any problem first timers she kept breeding does from(later litters, first ones all died) did the same thing consistently. So no apart from losses that where my fault i would cull at first screwup. Mothering ability needs to be insinct i.e. inborn not learned later. Now i do breed at 6 months or older and mine are rex dwarf, middle or standard sizes i'd breed older at up to 9 months minimum (but before a year old preferably). It means that now 2nd and 3rd generation i can pop in a nestbox at day 28 farthest away from the potty corner and doe does the rest, first timer or experienced. Yes sometimes i need to place the nestbox elsewhere afterall, but the doe will tell me where she wants it.
 
I select for mothering instinct from the very beginning, but most breeders use the “3 strikes” rule. Here’s my history and criteria:

I started with unproven bucks and proven does nearing the end of their productive life. I grew out the best two doelings from each doe’s first litter with me and trial bred them. Barring exceptional events, to stay in my rabbitry, a doe has to kindle at least 8 in her first litter and wean at least 6. In successive litters, she must kindle at least 10 and wean at least 8.

Immediate reasons I cull a doe include poor temperament, difficulty breeding or kindling, excessive territoriality, poor mothering ability, inadequate milk production, small litter size, poor litter growth rate prior to weaning, litters born on wire, and inadequate nesting.

I never grow out a doeling from a problematic litter. I know both genetics and example affect a doe’s mothering capability but I can’t say definitively how much impact each has so I don’t risk it.

After about 5 years of breeding, my first time mamas kindle an average of 9.6 kits and wean an average of 8.4. My proven does average 12.3 kindled and 11.9 weaned. It’s been several years since I’ve had a litter born outside the box, does are eager to breed, and I generally have a no drama rabbitry.

If I had to start over with unproven does, I’d try to buy from a breeder with similar standards. If I couldn’t find that, I’d settle for kits from good-sized litters born inside nest boxes with few or no losses.
I'd like to introduce Nuit. She's my super mom and looking a little raggy for it. I have family groups , each with group housing and free run to their yard. We had a really bad week. Thunderstorms and crow attack. Nuit's sister Cinder was found dead in the yard. They both had full nests under 2 weeks old. Thought all would be lost. But Nuit has kept 18 kits alive and growing for 3 weeks now! I also have Nutmeg in the other family who I have watched nurse other's kits along with her own. Unfortunately she was not in a position to foster at this time. Both these does are on the thin side but were kept because they were sweet hearts. If I was selecting just for "meat shape" they may not have been first choice to keep. What they bring to their families is worth so much more than wide hips! Their kits always have nice shapes. I suspect they are a little thin because they give so much of themselves.IMG_20240616_102044824.jpg
 
Does your nestbox have a good, high barrier on the open side? Kits hang on pretty tightly when mom is trying to hop out of the nest box and can be dragged out.
About 4 inches. I use plastic Sterilite baskets with holes drilled in bottom (I’m in AZ, heat/ventilation is our issue - even with AC full blast in their shed it gets to 80 in there in summer. This was def not a case of them getting dragged out though, all 7 kits were on the wire, kind of all over.
 

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