Meat rabbit kits loses stumped.. Any suggestions/help apprec

Help Support RabbitTalk:

Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Okay so a quick background
Breeders
3 does - satin/Flemish (one will be culled not a good mom)(theses are a standard flem cross not the bigger type. Think around a size of a yokish)
2 does - lop/satin (right no arent being used and maybe culled one goes too early given 2 chances and the other only allows the buck to catch once and nver produces any kits)
2 bucks - muts (I call them hines57 lol but we dont know what they are. One maybe a call mix and the other a harlequin) bun bun and Hershey.

Our males and the 3 does we will prob be culling are the only ones in a hutch or rabbit tractor.

Our 2 good moms Ceylon and Blue (flemish/satin) are in a colony setup (solid floor not ground)

Ofter our first 2 tries where everyone was in hutches or tractors including does and kits. We lost every single litter. Either at 2 wks slowly, 4 wks slowly, or barely after 5 wks (these ones we slowly weaned).

Our 3rd try was with blue in the colony. First litter she had 3 one died (I thought she originally only had 2 but the 3rd must have gotten squashed so I changed up how the nest boxes were and that fixed that issue). The 2 did amazing. So we rebred her when it came time and allowed her to wean those 2 herself (wanted to test as I was told kits can go through shock of being weaned and die). Her second litter she had 6.

All goes well up till this last week. And here are the only changes that occured in the last mo:
1. We built a colony shed like that is plenty of room for blue the grow outs and Ceylon. We could techn house 5 does and grow outs in it. So they we moved into this.
2. In Ohio we have transitioned over into some pretty warm weather which is typical.
3. We had a pretty decent storm with strong winds etc 2 days ago (dont know if that spooking them could do anything)

What hasnt changed
1. We naturally feed with:
Grasses (I make sure more plankton and dandelion greens in it when they are coming out of the nest and nibbling with mom instead of the broader normal mix mom gets)
Safe tree limbs
Scrabs (all safe and never feed things like bananas carrots etc too often)
Alfalfa pellets
Hay (mixed hay as in alfalfa prairie grasses etc but good quality as come from the inlaws and we help at baling time)
Mineral treats (horse treats) we give maybe once a week and never more then 1 a rabbit (even tho not everyone gets to nibble on just one lol) (ingred is all safe and at levels for rabbits did a lot of research before doing this)
Fresh water (we use the chicken type waters where is has a lip on it. They do better with it, stays cleaner, and it provides them more water then the bottles can give it seems)
Acv in the water
It is a clean colony. Thankfully they arent messy themselves but outside of deep litter in the summer they get cleaned out frequently at least once or twice a week (any heaver spots more) I'm very picky when it comes to this so no issues (something I picked up from 4h when I did rabbits yrs ago)
During warm weather we put frozen bottles in flatish tote with a lid (you can feel the coolness through it nicely) so they can lay against but not chew the plastic and I'll even five them frozen ice cubes as many like to lick and eat them.

Oh and their hay is stuffed inside small clothes baskets and flipped upside down for them to pull out (I clipped some spots away to make this easier) only the small bunnies can really fit through these areas and even then I havent seen poop there. So outside of them eating their deep litter (which I have never seen them do once) their hay they eat is clean.

This week I lost one of the 2 older kits who just broke the 15wk mark. The longer we have seen kits live.

The younger kits are at the 10ish wk Mark. We have lost 2 of them

I didnt see any issues with the organs

So what could be going on? What can we do to actually make kits last to the 16wk mark for butchering and or keeping to get a few more breeder does to replace the not so good ones?

I'm baffled as to why. As they all look healthy and can be fine one moment you check them and the next semi lethargic (ive tried saving them at this stage with no success ) no diarrhea or funky poop or anything like that and pass not too long after or within 12hrs (if I had to guess I know its less then 24 unless I'm trying to save them and then they will go maybe 2 days but still a no go)

We have barried prob a total of 18 kits now. The last 3 I may have been able to turn into dog food for our dog. But unsure to why its going on was too afraid.

Thanks for everyones help ahead of time as we are getting discouraged from every being able to do meat rabbits for our freezer and potentially some profit at livestock auctions locally (our first focus is for us and a food source) outside of our chickens ducks and geese (who are never where the rabbits are we use an electric netting and move the flock often)
 

Zass

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
6
Location
northwest PA
I would take a really really close look at how the hay and alfalfa are being stored. If either are dusty or moist at all the culprit could be mold toxins, as amounts that don't necessarily harm adults can and often do kill kits. One of the first signs of mold toxins I've noticed are adult rabbits who eat less hay than usual. Humidity from the air or ground can cause it in some locations, and it can kill kits before it visibly looks moldy.

Intestinal Coccidiosis is another very possible culprit, and it's much harder to spot than the hepatic (liver affecting) variety. it is a bit more of a concern if you have the kits on the ground or on a solid surface where they have access to waste. Even where the waste is removed regularly, the protozoa exposure can accumulate.
There are treatments that can be given (like corid, and I'm sure others could chime in.)

You didn't say where you are from, but I've noticed that people in the moister parts of the eastern US seem to have a harder time with coccidiosis exposure from rabbits being on the ground, than people in dryer western states seem to.

I have my whole herd on natural foods right now! <3 Love seeing people do the research, and it looks like you have certainly put a lot of thought and time into yours!!

Most of what you are feeding looks excellent. For unsolicited advice in that department... It may benefit your does and growing litters to feed a little more concentrated oil and/or starch during very late pregnancy and while the kits are growing. Things like black oil sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, apples etc. Too much starch can mess them up, but not enough calories at certain times can also harm them, and on a commercial pellet-free diet they can handle a lot more of those rich foods then you might think! A lot more than non breeding pets can. At least, I do encourage experimenting with it.
( The usual advice to ease them into it, and try not to ever feed weanlings anything the adults aren't already doing well on, etc/ etc.. Stuff you already know. ;) )
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Zass":2wjx6inu said:
I would take a really really close look at how the hay and alfalfa are being stored. If either are dusty or moist at all the culprit could be mold toxins, as amounts that don't necessarily harm adults can and often do kill kits. One of the first signs of mold toxins I've noticed are adult rabbits who eat less hay than usual. Humidity from the air or ground can cause it in some locations, and it can kill kits before it visibly looks moldy.

Intestinal Coccidiosis is another very possible culprit, and it's much harder to spot than the hepatic (liver affecting) variety. it is a bit more of a concern if you have the kits on the ground or on a solid surface where they have access to waste. Even where the waste is removed regularly, the protozoa exposure can accumulate.
There are treatments that can be given (like corid, and I'm sure others could chime in.)

You didn't say where you are from, but I've noticed that people in the moister parts of the eastern US seem to have a harder time with coccidiosis exposure from rabbits being on the ground, than people in dryer western states seem to.

I have my whole herd on natural foods right now! <3 Love seeing people do the research, and it looks like you have certainly put a lot of thought and time into yours!!

Most of what you are feeding looks excellent. For unsolicited advice in that department... It may benefit your does and growing litters to feed a little more concentrated oil and/or starch during very late pregnancy and while the kits are growing. Things like black oil sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, apples etc. Too much starch can mess them up, but not enough calories at certain times can also harm them, and on a commercial pellet-free diet they can handle a lot more of those rich foods then you might think! A lot more than non breeding pets can. At least, I do encourage experimenting with it.
( The usual advice to ease them into it, and try not to ever feed weanlings anything the adults aren't already doing well on, etc/ etc.. Stuff you already know. ;) )

You might have missed it but I'm in Ohio.

I feed boss and the other stuff you listed along with grains like wheat and sometimes barely. Our rabbits are weird one minute loving the wheat not to fond but will eat the barely and the next minute its the opposite lol.

Thanks for everything you said. I was honestly maybe thinking intestinal but our prior cases before going colony with all but our males they were in cages and non of our kits went beyond 5wks was the oldest ones.

The hay I check even when the kids bring it to me before giving to the rabbits in the hutches. Theres no dust and it is stored at the inlaws in a dry barn and at our place in a well ventilated dry shed we built on a shelf system that will allow air circulation.

I was thinking maybe do a round of medicated feed for 5 days (?) Off 5 days back 5 days and then repeat again later in the year and do this twice a year as a preventative. And maybe when the kits are starting to really eat feed well do a 3 on 3 off 3 on treatment with the warren as a preventave (?)

While I'm not fond of doing commercial feed I'm 99% sure I can find this in a small back at ruralking or ask our farmers exchange (feed store).

I dont know with being in a small town and area if I can find the other stuff to treat even if maybe this isnt the cause. Better proactive then not is how I'm approaching it.

I thought I read and cant remember the name of the stuff (but if I saw it in the store I would know right away lol) that is used with chickens can be used with rabbits to treat this. Or am I thinking wrong?

Our floor is solid of ply wood so we can easily replace as needed. And when I clean out the kids keep an eye on them all in a quick pop up play pen area in the yard. This way I can take our sprayer (only used for this) that I mix warm water a few drops of dawn soap (very little) and acv to spray along the walls and heavy areas really good. Along with the rest of the area lightly and then take a soft porch brush broom thing and sweep (for lack of better word) the flooring let it dry which it drys fast as I dont saturate it. Do the same with their shelving (levels) and any nest areas not in use. Then add deearth and hay layers.

Would this not work as a preventative?

Is there something I could be doing as a preventative?

Something I could be doing better with the bedding/floor ?

Again appreciate your help it has helped :)
 

Zass

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
6
Location
northwest PA
I'll show you my one and only experience with cocci. I had the hepatic (liver effecting) variety.

I had the males from a litter on the ground in a pen, and the doelings were in one of my big cages.

When the boys started to get thin and die, I culled and autopsied the remainder of them.
This is a pic of their livers.
[album]2924[/album]

The does were big and healthy, but I culled them when they came of processing age. Some with one little liver spot, some with none at all.

The difference was drastic enough that I forever stopped keeping rabbits on the ground or solid surfaces here. I never medicated for it, and I still enjoy clean liver pate from my rabbits. I guess our cottontails can carry and spread various strains, so soil contact can wreak havoc.

I'm showing you cause it's a really good visual example of how badly infected the rabbits can get from environmental contact. I wish I had taken comparison photos of their cage-kept littermates. :oops:

It's such a clean visual, it affected me and how I raise mine a lot.

The problem is the intestinal varieties are so much harder to spot on autopsy, so it's harder to know if that is what you have.

Ammonia will kill cocci ocysts, but I'm afraid not much else will do the job. If I had to keep mine on a solid surface, I think a routine ammonia cleanse to keep ocysts low is what I would try, along with routine complete bedding changes especially when kits are present in the colony. I'm not even sure how often, you'll want to research the life cyle to find that information.

I've read a lot of stories on here from people who didn't treat and just kept plugging away at it until they eventually had more or less resistant stock. It means taking a lot of losses until you get there. I couldn't do it myself, not with what I had, but not every strain is quite as nasty.

I can't vouch for or suggest any medications or medicated feeds cause I have no personal experience with them.

I also have spoken with many people who have cages and still struggle with intestinal cocci symptoms (if only it were as easy to diagnose as the liver damaging strain!)
So I know just moving rabbits to cages isn't a perfect fix for everyone. It did work for me to be able to naturally feed and not need to medicate though, and that's why I'm telling you about it.

One last thing to consider is bacterial contamination, because kits can be sensitive to fecal bacteria from chickens, other animals, or even e coli from young humans with unwashed hands!! You might check around and make sure there are no sources of exposure to anything from outside the colony.
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Zass":1t88sc78 said:
I'll show you my one and only experience with cocci. I had the hepatic (liver effecting) variety.

I had the males from a litter on the ground in a pen, and the doelings were in one of my big cages.

When the boys started to get thin and die, I culled and autopsied the remainder of them.
This is a pic of their livers. .

Thanks so much for the pic. The one we opened up looked fine nothing like that.

So got me wondering if intestinal.

Me and the hubby where talking when we got our breding stock they kept their rabbits in pens with deep litter and off the top of my head lost 5 does and a buck from those meat breeders.

All of them acted the same as our kits we are loosing.

So I'm guessing we have a contamination issue from our stock if that is possible.

As our 2 mut males came from ruralking so a diff environment.

I can get corid v from ruralking. Figured id pick some of that up and treat everyone as wouldnt hurt either way.

Which would make sense that our breeding does must be contaminated that grew out and survived for us from the person we bought them from. And is why even in the tractors or our wire hutches we had fhe kit deaths which always have the same way they go out.

Lethargic, paralasis, and then convulsions. Only the one buck we got from the people started acting depressed before doing those things. I take that back our yeti (nz) came from them too and we lost him like 3 mos ago he acted the same way before doing what the kits do.

Guess we'll try medicating. And then trying again for our Aug kits (I dont allow kits from may to end of July being born due to Ohio heat just like a no from Dec to feb due to the cold) and see how it goes.

If not then guess we gotta rethink the setup maybe or get some mut does from rk and test them out to see if we get the same results. If we dont then we know our 2 fav does who are good moms just come from bad genetics or something from their previous enviro (even if that could be a factor).

We just dont have the money right now to totally start from scratch with just muts from RK

Thanks again <br /><br /> __________ Sun Jun 14, 2020 12:25 pm __________ <br /><br />
Zass":1t88sc78 said:
I'll show you my one and only experience with cocci. I had the hepatic (liver effecting) variety.

I had the males from a litter on the ground in a pen, and the doelings were in one of my big cages.

When the boys started to get thin and die, I culled and autopsied the remainder of them.
This is a pic of their livers. .

Thanks so much for the pic. The one we opened up looked fine nothing like that.

So got me wondering if intestinal.

Me and the hubby where talking when we got our breding stock they kept their rabbits in pens with deep litter and off the top of my head lost 5 does and a buck from those meat breeders.

All of them acted the same as our kits we are loosing.

So I'm guessing we have a contamination issue from our stock if that is possible.

As our 2 mut males came from ruralking so a diff environment.

I can get corid v from ruralking. Figured id pick some of that up and treat everyone as wouldnt hurt either way.

Which would make sense that our breeding does must be contaminated that grew out and survived for us from the person we bought them from. And is why even in the tractors or our wire hutches we had fhe kit deaths which always have the same way they go out.

Lethargic, paralasis, and then convulsions. Only the one buck we got from the people started acting depressed before doing those things. I take that back our yeti (nz) came from them too and we lost him like 3 mos ago he acted the same way before doing what the kits do.

Guess we'll try medicating. And then trying again for our Aug kits (I dont allow kits from may to end of July being born due to Ohio heat just like a no from Dec to feb due to the cold) and see how it goes.

If not then guess we gotta rethink the setup maybe or get some mut does from rk and test them out to see if we get the same results. If we dont then we know our 2 fav does who are good moms just come from bad genetics or something from their previous enviro (even if that could be a factor).

We just dont have the money right now to totally start from scratch with just muts from RK

Thanks again
 
Top