Raise Meat Rabbits

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Hello- I am excited to join your forum. I have been raising meat rabbits for several years. I am losing weaned babies when older. I keep them with mama until 6-7 weeks old. I take mama out of the cage and leave the litter together for another 2 weeks. Then I separate them into 2-3 in a cage depending how the litter rounds out to keep siblings together. I move them to another building at this time. Anywhere between 3days to 2 weeks after some of them get sick. I give them all probiotics when moved. I give sick ones Simethicone which some make it and some do not😞 I give them free choice hay and pellets. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

eco2pia

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post weaning I would expect close to 100% survival. I suspect you have a problem with a "bug" or a contaminant--mold/mildew in the building or the water system, since I assume you are using the same food as previously. Have you ever opened one of them up to see what organs might be involved?
 
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post weaning I would expect close to 100% survival. I suspect you have a problem with a "bug" or a contaminant--mold/mildew in the building or the water system, since I assume you are using the same food as previously. Have you ever opened one of them up to see what organs might be involved?
Another thing I haven’t mentioned is I have kept some of the litters in the same building they were born in and some get sick also, but I haven’t lost any of them. It’s the same symptoms.
 

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@Preitler brings up a good point, rabbits can have parasites that can build up in the environment also. I have not had the problems you are describing with meat rabbits. I would not expect a high rate of loss and I would keep looking for contaminants, parasites, or stressors that might not yet have occured to you. An alternate idea is that you have a genetic trait that is showing up in a number of your kits that causes some kind of failure at that age--which is rabbit adolescence. If you truly cannot identify a removable cause I would start by replacing your buck with unrelated stock, since he is half your breeding program.

If it turns out to be stress related (which is what we say when we can't figure it out), then you have unusually flighty stock. You can breed away from that by choosing your calmest most mellow kits as replacement breeders--something you should do anyway. Never breed any rabbit that was even a tiny bit sick when young. If you have trouble telling them apart (mine are all the same color) you can use a sharpie inside the ear to mark the sick ones, the mark will last weeks.

I will say your weaning program is very gradual, I do not see anything obvious that you are doing wrong. I am much less careful and have no trouble.
 
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Sorry. I haven’t lost any in the same building but did lose some last year
Do a search for "weaning enteritis", can't remember the possible causes, never had that issue. Mold had been mentioned, check hay and the pellets.

Can you rule out coccidia?
2 years ago I fed the rabbits fresh grass/ alfalfa. No dry hay. Still the some of the youngster got sick. I don’t think mold or the drinking water is a problem.
I wonder if certain litters can be more prone to easily stress. I have pure New Zealand’s and also cross-breds. The youngsters from the Pure New Zealand’s do not get sick. The last 3 weaned litters I had the following:
2 die out of 6,
4 die out of 11.
 
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@Preitler brings up a good point, rabbits can have parasites that can build up in the environment also. I have not had the problems you are describing with meat rabbits. I would not expect a high rate of loss and I would keep looking for contaminants, parasites, or stressors that might not yet have occured to you. An alternate idea is that you have a genetic trait that is showing up in a number of your kits that causes some kind of failure at that age--which is rabbit adolescence. If you truly cannot identify a removable cause I would start by replacing your buck with unrelated stock, since he is half your breeding program.

If it turns out to be stress related (which is what we say when we can't figure it out), then you have unusually flighty stock. You can breed away from that by choosing your calmest most mellow kits as replacement breeders--something you should do anyway. Never breed any rabbit that was even a tiny bit sick when young. If you have trouble telling them apart (mine are all the same color) you can use a sharpie inside the ear to mark the sick ones, the mark will last weeks.

I will say your weaning program is very gradual, I do not see anything obvious that you are doing wrong. I am much less careful and have no trouble.
That was one of the reasons I have been mulling over. I am going to transition over to all pure New Zealand and keep the calmest. I didn’t realize that could be a factor for death related to sickness, but it makes sense to me now.
 

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2 years ago I fed the rabbits fresh grass/ alfalfa. No dry hay. Still the some of the youngster got sick. I don’t think mold or the drinking water is a problem.
I wonder if certain litters can be more prone to easily stress. I have pure New Zealand’s and also cross-breds. The youngsters from the Pure New Zealand’s do not get sick. The last 3 weaned litters I had the following:
2 die out of 6,
4 die out of 11.

I have had a rabbit develop what looked like diabetes and die. This is an example of something genetic that might show up at a specific age. Enteritis is also something that is often age related and at least partially genetically determined. The ratios you are listing are pretty dang close to a what you might expect for a negative recessive trait carried by both parents, but with only 2 litters to draw conclusions from I would just say that a possible genetic connection is not ruled out. The sample size is too small to say anything more.

The fact that this does not happen to your purebred NZ is pretty strong support for that possibility though.
 

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Here if they survive untill 3 weeks with eyes open and able to get back into the nestingbox for warmth they all lived untill i put them into the pot. Lost one litter due to no nest made, 2 kits due to nest to small and 1 kit from going adventuring at about a week old and not finding the nestbox again (front part to full, doe was hilling up in and around the nestbox, so kit got out easy, but couldn't get back in).
 
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here we go again. I moved a litter of 3 out of their pen they were born in and put them all together in a larger pen by themselves to grow out. Almost 3 months old. Stopped eating. I treated with Bene PAC+ 1 dose and one 2 days later and Simethcone several times a day. It can’t be a virus or worms or it should have developed before. I massaged one of the 2 left that is grinding it’s teeth in the under belly area this morning hoping to help along for relief😞
 

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Have you attempted a necropsy? This is weird enough I would consider checking with your local teaching ag university--what state are you in? In oregon it would be Oregon State Univ, Washington State Univ in Washington--there is usually one land grant college per state. Alternatively check with county extension office for resources?
 

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