To the stew pot or not…

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TroubleMakerAcres

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This is a breeding issue and question about whether to cull or not.

Margot is a 14 month old pure Rex.

Jan 23- Bred to Bill (unproven).
Feb 27- No kits. Bred to Bill again.
April 3- No kits. Bred to Terry (proven).
May 5- Three kits born.
May 22- Bred to Charlie (proven).
June 26- No kits. Bred to Charlie again.
July 27- Eight kits! Then she pulled so much fur that she killed 4 kits by overheating them.

It was hot here yesterday, it’s summer after all. My other doe Uma had a litter the day before Margot and pulled just a bit of fur and all her kits are alive.

Usually when kits die, I understand why and am not overly bothered by it. It’s sad obviously, but it comes with breeding rabbits. These 4 dead kits yesterday were devastating. They weren’t even 24 hours old. Margot has repeatedly disappointed me.

Do I send Margot to the great stew pot in the sky or giver her another chance?
 

MaggieJ

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Normally, a doe pulling a lot of fur is showing a very desirable trait. After all, you can always remove the excess to save for a doe who pulls too little fur.

Margot certainly has disappointed you but it may not be all her fault. Has Bill been proven with other does? Is heat sterility in the bucks a possible reason for her misses? I know BC's summers have been much hotter than usual last year and this.

Only you can make the final decision. Since she has four kits to raise, you will need to keep her at least until they are weaned. By then summer will be winding down. I'd be inclined to give her one more breeding with Charlie in September and then make your decision.

There are no right and wrong answers to questions like this, and the final decision has to be made by you.
 

TroubleMakerAcres

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The overheating is a setup issue, not the does fault. Their instincts are for caring for kits in an underground tunnel, not in a too hot cage. When breeding them in the heat of summer this has to be taken into account, heat can even kill the doe in labour.
What setup would you suggest?

As mentioned above my other doe kindled the day before in the exact same setup, and all her kits are alive. She pulled an appropriate amount of fur for the temperature.

BC's summers have been much hotter than usual last year and this.
When the does were bred it was still below average temperature here. We had a very cold wet spring here this year that lasted until just a couple weeks ago.

Regarding Bill, he was culled long ago, more for temperament issues. The other two bucks I’ve used on her have both sired good litters with other does. Also it’s now down to 2 kits remaining as of yesterday.
 

ladysown

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Did you remove some of the fur? If you didn't, that baby loss is on you as YOU are smarter than a doe. :)

Just because one doe didn't pull enough fur does not mean that another doe will do the same thing. That same doe, in the winter, might also barely pull enough fur.

But it sounds like you are just not happy with this doe. she has two for sure strikes against her. Breeding her back to back with an (at that time) unproven buck isn't a strike against her. Every breeder has their own standard. Only you can determine if she's meeting your standards or not.

If you are just getting into the work of raising rabbits, you may need to cut your rabbits some slack as you are learning right along with them. You tighten your requirements as you get better with your management of them.
 

TroubleMakerAcres

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that baby loss is on you as YOU
I am surprised and disappointed that someone, especially a moderator, would suggest that a does poor mothering ability and the death of the kits is somehow my fault.

I don’t provide crutches to my rabbits, same as I don’t provide crutches to my other livestock. If they cannot produce and raise kits on my schedule, they get culled. Including doing it in all weather. I want rabbits that produce for my climate, not rabbits that need to be coddled.

It sounds like we have very different systems of raising rabbits. I would consider this next time you think it’s appropriate to blame someone for the death of kits.
 

Preitler

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But you say it yourself, you do it your way and if an animal can't cope - bad luck. Your decision, not your fault, but this single aspect also not the does. Fault is not what this is about, but everything we do has consequences. This sure is one way to do it and get what you want long term by selection, but not taking into account pecularities of a spieces can make this a bumpy road or dead end. Like breeding in summer heat. You can do it, and it will work with some or under some circumstances to some degree, but it's not what rabbits evolved for.
There are ways how breeding in really hot weather works, with cooling of some sort (I have the nestbox next to a retaining wall with earth on the other side), or old fashioned with underground nestboxes (with removeable top cover).

That's not "providing crutches" but taking their nature into account, you don't say "any chicken that can't fend off a fox is lame and it's their fault being eaten, they don't need fences and a sturdy coop".

Anyway, you owe her nothing, if you don't like her, invite her for dinner. Nothing wrong with that, life is too short to waste time on animals that don't make you happy.
 

ladysown

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I am surprised and disappointed that someone, especially a moderator, would suggest that a does poor mothering ability and the death of the kits is somehow my fault.

I don’t provide crutches to my rabbits, same as I don’t provide crutches to my other livestock. If they cannot produce and raise kits on my schedule, they get culled. Including doing it in all weather. I want rabbits that produce for my climate, not rabbits that need to be coddled.

It sounds like we have very different systems of raising rabbits. I would consider this next time you think it’s appropriate to blame someone for the death of kits.
IF the doe did her job and pulled too much fur... it is YOUR job to remove that excess fur. That's like saying no animal can ever have any sort of an error. The doe might not be thinking "OH, I have to watch out for the weather, she might just be thinking, My job is to make a great nest to provide well for my babies. I'm going to do that." So if you don't help her correct her errors... that is YOUR issue NOT the does. It's not coddling. It's like if you are working with someone and you see they are making a mistake that will impact others and you mention it to them. Or you are taking the time to help your child learn a skill. They might do it right one time and then miserably fail the next.. you help them out. You help out your livestock as well.

Wouldn't you choose the best, easiest calving bull to help out your cows? Choose a buck of the right size to ensure no issues with breeding? Make sure your chickens are in for the night because there's a fox out and about? Same thing with helping out a rabbit.
 

TroubleMakerAcres

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it is YOUR job to remove that excess fur
No. My job is to provide my animals the best life possible so they can then provide for me. What you are talking about is called a crutch. If you could teach the doe to pull the right amount of fur every time, that would be helping, not propping her up so she seems better than she really is.
 

RabbitsOfTheCreek

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No. My job is to provide my animals the best life possible so they can then provide for me. What you are talking about is called a crutch. If you could teach the doe to pull the right amount of fur every time, that would be helping, not propping her up so she seems better than she really is.
You're acting like you're not allowed to help the Doe at all
 

TroubleMakerAcres

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You're acting like you're not allowed to help the Doe at all
That is just my criteria for breeders and my breeding program. Everyone has different bars they set for their rabbits to breed, to keep, to eat, to sell. If you want to help your rabbits and have the time and think it’s what is going to be beneficial your herd, then you do you.
 

Big Mac

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This is a breeding issue and question about whether to cull or not.

Margot is a 14 month old pure Rex.

Jan 23- Bred to Bill (unproven).
Feb 27- No kits. Bred to Bill again.
April 3- No kits. Bred to Terry (proven).
May 5- Three kits born.
May 22- Bred to Charlie (proven).
June 26- No kits. Bred to Charlie again.
July 27- Eight kits! Then she pulled so much fur that she killed 4 kits by overheating them.

It was hot here yesterday, it’s summer after all. My other doe Uma had a litter the day before Margot and pulled just a bit of fur and all her kits are alive.

Usually when kits die, I understand why and am not overly bothered by it. It’s sad obviously, but it comes with breeding rabbits. These 4 dead kits yesterday were devastating. They weren’t even 24 hours old. Margot has repeatedly disappointed me.

Do I send Margot to the great stew pot in the sky or giver her another chance?
You are breeding in hot weather, that comes with risks.
you are asking the group what to do with your rabbit, when they really don’t know how you manage your stock or your expectations, in this case this doe does not live up to your expectations, there are as many opinions as contributors and none of those opinions were satisfying to you. It is possible you just don’t have the right buck for her, because of some internal issues or chemistry.
if I have an animal I am disappointed with I get rid of it, period.
in this case it appears you have let this particular doe cloud your judgement. It is apparent she doesn’t fit your operation, trade, sell, or slaughter.
just some thoughts.
 

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