Kits are vanishing.

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I have a question. I know sometimes Does eat the young. I have two Silver Fox does. One doe had her first litter about 4 wks. ago. The other doe had her 1st litter 2 days later. One had 9 kits and the other had 5. They both appeared to be excellent mothers. I noticed one kit laying dead in the cage about a week ago. No sign of why. All the kits from both does seemed to be very healthy and happy. Then I noticed a kit missing from both moms here and there over the next few days. Last night, one mom had 4 kits missing. Other than few bits of fur and flesh under the cages, no sign of anything. Long story short, out of 14 kits combined I'm down to six. Both cages are store bought 36x36 wire cages, still tight as a drum. All are fed very well with hay and pellets. (16%) I can't understand how one mom could eat 4 1month old kits n one night and no sign of it. Has anybody had anythig like this happen? I mean, other than a few bits of fur under the cages, no bones, nothing.
 

MaggieJ

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I have a question. I know sometimes Does eat the young. I have two Silver Fox does. One doe had her first litter about 4 wks. ago. The other doe had her 1st litter 2 days later. One had 9 kits and the other had 5. They both appeared to be excellent mothers. I noticed one kit laying dead in the cage about a week ago. No sign of why. All the kits from both does seemed to be very healthy and happy. Then I noticed a kit missing from both moms here and there over the next few days. Last night, one mom had 4 kits missing. Other than few bits of fur and flesh under the cages, no sign of anything. Long story short, out of 14 kits combined I'm down to six. Both cages are store bought 36x36 wire cages, still tight as a drum. All are fed very well with hay and pellets. (16%) I can't understand how one mom could eat 4 1month old kits n one night and no sign of it. Has anybody had anythig like this happen? I mean, other than a few bits of fur under the cages, no bones, nothing.
I doubt very much it was the does that ate the kits. You have a predator.

How large are the openings in the wire? If anything larger than 1" x1" it could be weasels, mink, raccoons or rats. Rats are unlikely in this case because a four week old kit would be a bit much for it to handle. My guess would be raccoons. Their young are out foraging with Mama and their appetites are insatiable. You may not believe that raccoons could get a kit out of the cage, but they are very resourceful.

All they need to do is stick in a hand and wiggle their fingers. The kits are curious and approach. The raccoon grabs one and pulls it to the wire and eats it through the wire a bit at a time. Gruesome.

A live trap with something yummy may work. But you will need to take protective measures too. When my rabbits were outdoors, I kept the cages inside a chain link structure much like a dog kennel. I made sure the cages were several inches from the chain link.
 
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I doubt very much it was the does that ate the kits. You have a predator.

How large are the openings in the wire? If anything larger than 1" x1" it could be weasels, mink, raccoons or rats. Rats are unlikely in this case because a four week old kit would be a bit much for it to handle. My guess would be raccoons. Their young are out foraging with Mama and their appetites are insatiable. You may not believe that raccoons could get a kit out of the cage, but they are very resourceful.

All they need to do is stick in a hand and wiggle their fingers. The kits are curious and approach. The raccoon grabs one and pulls it to the wire and eats it through the wire a bit at a time. Gruesome.

A live trap with something yummy may work. But you will need to take protective measures too. When my rabbits were outdoors, I kept the cages inside a chain link structure much like a dog kennel. I made sure the cages were several inches from the chain link.
Thank you very much. The largest openings are 1" x 2". The top and sides. I will be trying my best to remedy the problem.
 

MaggieJ

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Ted, 1" x 2" inch wire will let far too many predators have access. Maybe you could wire 1/2 inch hardware cloth over the current wire. If you use J-feeders, fit them with rat-proof tops.

I do think you should identify what kind of predator you are dealing with. Exclusion is by far the best option, but it helps to know who the enemy is. Meanwhile, if you can leave a radio on near the cages, preferably tuned to a talk-radio station, that will probably buy you a few days to get the protective measures finished. Or bring the kits indoors overnight.

Caution: Wear a mask and disposable gloves if you have to clean up raccoon droppings. Raccoons can carry a particularly nasty parasite that is transmittable to humans.
 
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Ted, 1" x 2" inch wire will let far too many predators have access. Maybe you could wire 1/2 inch hardware cloth over the current wire. If you use J-feeders, fit them with rat-proof tops.

I do think you should identify what kind of predator you are dealing with. Exclusion is by far the best option, but it helps to know who the enemy is. Meanwhile, if you can leave a radio on near the cages, preferably tuned to a talk-radio station, that will probably buy you a few days to get the protective measures finished. Or bring the kits indoors overnight.

Caution: Wear a mask and disposable gloves if you have to clean up raccoon droppings. Raccoons can carry a particularly nasty parasite that is transmittable to humans.
All great advice. Leaving to get materials now. Thank you very much.
 

george8211

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I have a question. I know sometimes Does eat the young. I have two Silver Fox does. One doe had her first litter about 4 wks. ago. The other doe had her 1st litter 2 days later. One had 9 kits and the other had 5. They both appeared to be excellent mothers. I noticed one kit laying dead in the cage about a week ago. No sign of why. All the kits from both does seemed to be very healthy and happy. Then I noticed a kit missing from both moms here and there over the next few days. Last night, one mom had 4 kits missing. Other than few bits of fur and flesh under the cages, no sign of anything. Long story short, out of 14 kits combined I'm down to six. Both cages are store bought 36x36 wire cages, still tight as a drum. All are fed very well with hay and pellets. (16%) I can't understand how one mom could eat 4 1month old kits n one night and no sign of it. Has anybody had anythig like this happen? I mean, other than a few bits of fur under the cages, no bones, nothing.
hmmm... do you have snakes around your area? They can swallow them whole.
 

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I have a question. I know sometimes Does eat the young. I have two Silver Fox does. One doe had her first litter about 4 wks. ago. The other doe had her 1st litter 2 days later. One had 9 kits and the other had 5. They both appeared to be excellent mothers. I noticed one kit laying dead in the cage about a week ago. No sign of why. All the kits from both does seemed to be very healthy and happy. Then I noticed a kit missing from both moms here and there over the next few days. Last night, one mom had 4 kits missing. Other than few bits of fur and flesh under the cages, no sign of anything. Long story short, out of 14 kits combined I'm down to six. Both cages are store bought 36x36 wire cages, still tight as a drum. All are fed very well with hay and pellets. (16%) I can't understand how one mom could eat 4 1month old kits n one night and no sign of it. Has anybody had anythig like this happen? I mean, other than a few bits of fur under the cages, no bones, nothing.
Hi Ted. You’ve gotten some great advice. I’m sorry predators got at your kits. Hopefully, your hutch will be more secure soon. BTW, I’m also in PA, southwestern, and raise silver fox. Approximately where are you located? You’re the first person I’ve seen on here from PA.
 

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I have doubts about it being a snake. I had a snake get in the house and go after my pet doves. It ate a few but could not fit back through the bars to escape. If a snake ate a month-old kit it would be trapped.
 

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Thank you very much. The largest openings are 1" x 2". The top and sides. I will be trying my best to remedy the problem.
I have the same type of cages! Whether or not your predators are grabbing within the cage, if they can walk they will walk out. The first litters I ever bred, about a week after kindle, I saw a body part in a kitten's mouth and rushed to the cage door which was closed tight. "HOW?!?" I cried. Then I noticed 2 more waddling around under the cage. "HOW?!?" I cried again. I stooped over to pick up the wanderers and while there I saw one stick it's head through the bars and then not be able to pull it back in. "Oh," muttered. Now all nurseries have smaller wire as a bumper around the bottom at least 3 inches tall.
 
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Hi Ted. You’ve gotten some great advice. I’m sorry predators got at your kits. Hopefully, your hutch will be more secure soon. BTW, I’m also in PA, southwestern, and raise silver fox. Approximately where are you located? You’re the first person I’ve seen on here from PA.
I have a New Zealand buck, A NZ doe and a California doe. They are all getting older. I recently bought a Silver Fox breeding trio. All SF are first time breeders. The kits I lost were all SF. I'm actually glad the problem was a predator vs. the moms eating them, because for 1st timers, they both seem like really good moms.
 

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I have a New Zealand buck, A NZ doe and a California doe. They are all getting older. I recently bought a Silver Fox breeding trio. All SF are first time breeders. The kits I lost were all SF. I'm actually glad the problem was a predator vs. the moms eating them, because for 1st timers, they both seem like really good moms.
I’m located in southwestern Pennsylvania. What part of PA are you from?
 

Nibbles

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All SF are first time breeders. The kits I lost were all SF. I'm actually glad the problem was a predator vs. the moms eating them, because for 1st timers, they both seem like really good moms.
Ted, how are your kits now?
 

KelleyBee

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N.W. Pa. Kenerdell It's a little village along the Allegheny River, although I live back in the woods up on a hill. I love it. It's a mile to my maibox. lol
Your place sounds divine. i am south of you in Westmoreland County. My husband knows your area well. As a kid, his family had a camp in tionesta they visited yearly and often. He spent many idealic days floating down the Allegheny on inner tubes.
 
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Your place sounds divine. i am south of you in Westmoreland County. My husband knows your area well. As a kid, his family had a camp in tionesta they visited yearly and often. He spent many idealic days floating down the Allegheny on inner tubes.
Cool. Yeah, it's a really pretty area. I moved hear 7 years ago. I spent most of my life living a little North of Conneaut Lake, in Crawford County. Lost my wife and my kids are grown, so I moved down here in to the woods. My house was too big for just me, so I moved to this little cabin in the woods.
 
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Cool. Yeah, it's a really pretty area. I moved hear 7 years ago. I spent most of my life living a little North of Conneaut Lake, in Crawford County. Lost my wife and my kids are grown, so I moved down here in to the woods. My house was too big for just me, so I moved to this little cabin in the woods.
Hi.
Cool. Yeah, it's a really pretty area. I moved hear 7 years ago. I spent most of my life living a little North of Conneaut Lake, in Crawford County. Lost my wife and my kids are grown, so I moved down here in to the woods. My house was too big for just me, so I moved to this little cabin in the woods.
Hi KelleyBee. I finally got the pedigree papers from the lady. I'm just trying to figure out how to send the pics of them now. Lol
 

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