Possible Enteritis killing young kits

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NY Rabbits

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Hoping someone can help me with this mortality issue. I am loosing kits at about 2 weeks old, shortly after they open there eyes and start getting out of the nest box. They are wet around the vent and seem to be constipated as the area around the vent is hard. In some instances the compaction of poop is evident. It is not doe or buck specific. This started this spring after 5 years of raising rabbits in this setup and continues as I lost 1 this morning at just under 2 weeks old. All rabbits are in cages and does get a nest box with pine shavings and straw. Water is a pumped system with nipples in each cage. Since this started I have switched from Blue Seal Hutch 17 to Poulin 18 for nursing does and growing kits. This had no effect on the mortality. I have flushed and sterilized the water system with bleach twice but the problem persists.

This current litter has only been out of the nest box for two days and they are actively nursing so I am thinking it is not the water or pellets. 4 out of 7 are wet around the vent and are at risk. The ones that survive into the third week usually do fine but I am loosing way to many kits at this point. I am a relatively small operation with only 7 breeding does.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
 

ladysown

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A few does or all of them?

Wonder if the does are not stimulating their kits?

Won't be enteritis that early... Sounds like blockage but what causes...

What happens if you stimulate them? Or wipe their bums?
 

NY Rabbits

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All does have had increased mortality. That is why I changed the food and sterilized the water system. What do you mean by stimulating them?
 

MnCanary

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I certainly don't have an answer for you, but here is a suggestion: supply water in bowls rather than through a nipple. I've seen kits just out of the box drink water from a bowl. And research shows that rabbits with bowls drink more water than rabbits with a nipple system.
 

NY Rabbits

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All of these does have had several successful litters in the past so I am guessing that they are stimulating as they should. Based on your comment though I did massage the abdomen and vent area of the four remaining kits as well as cleaned and dried them as best I could. 2 days later they are still alive and looking much better in the back end. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I have two more litters that have not yet left the nest box.
 
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The water bowl is a good suggestion. We use water bowls here with every litter when they come out of the box since we lost two to dehydration. Some rabbits will not drink from the auto water system (Edstrom water system), and the little ones may not be able to depress the stem to get water. Also, when it's hot (and it gets very hot here) they lay against the crock to stay cool, and may even dip their paws in the water to cool themselves.
 

Estrella

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The water bowl is a good suggestion. We use water bowls here with every litter when they come out of the box since we lost two to dehydration. Some rabbits will not drink from the auto water system (Edstrom water system), and the little ones may not be able to depress the stem to get water. Also, when it's hot (and it gets very hot here) they lay against the crock to stay cool, and may even dip their paws in the water to cool themselves.
Can I ask what water bowls you used? Mine typically knock into theirs or pull and push them around so spilling water all day ever day
 
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I have been blessed to get a bunch of those old-fashioned butter colored flat bottom water crocks from a friend who was moving out of state. However, we found some flat bottomed ceramic serving bowls at Dollar General, and I have seen ceramic bowls for dogs and cats in pet stores. KW cages carries the old fashioned (Rabbit Crocks - Accessories) which are my favorites.
 
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