We lost our whole litter

Rabbit Talk  Forum

Help Support Rabbit Talk Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Sliver_fox_lover

Red_Wood_Farms
Joined
Aug 7, 2023
Messages
23
Reaction score
13
Location
Oregon
So when I first got my rabbits I bought a broken blue doe with 10 day old kits and a blue buck, once we butchered the kits we decided to rebreed her to our new buck who hasn't been bred before, Everything went perfect she pulled enough fur it covered around the nesting box, fast forward the next day I get home from work and I go to check since it was her due date and I see one kit, I leave them alone and come back a couple hours later and peek Into the nest and realize that they are full and are covered in scratches, I ended up taking out the nesting box and feeling the babies, they were freezing, I tried to revive them but no luck, we lost all 7 babies, this was while ago and I have since rebred her and she is due the 17th of April and I would like some tips on how to prevent this from happening again
 
What kind of nestbox do you use?
Could there be some stressor, like predators, or something that she percieve as one in that state? Around kindling I would even keep dogs that are totally cool around rabbits away for a few days.
One scenario could be that something scared her and she retreated to the nestbox, stomping. The reason rabbits are so secretive about it is that it is like ringing the dinner bell for predators.
They sometimes do protect the nest, but in nature this is a tunnel and they are at the entrance, away from the actual nest. I had to lock up my late Chantal when I had to dig up a litter she had in a tunnel outside.

You could shield the part of the cage with the nestbox with a tarp, plywood or whatever some days before she's due to give her more privacy, or use a different style of nestbox, like a longish closed one with a top so she can't sit upright in the nest. and the entrance hole is at the other end (2-3" off the ground)

How long are the does nails?
 
What kind of nestbox do you use?
Could there be some stressor, like predators, or something that she percieve as one in that state? Around kindling I would even keep dogs that are totally cool around rabbits away for a few days.
One scenario could be that something scared her and she retreated to the nestbox, stomping. The reason rabbits are so secretive about it is that it is like ringing the dinner bell for predators.
They sometimes do protect the nest, but in nature this is a tunnel and they are at the entrance, away from the actual nest. I had to lock up my late Chantal when I had to dig up a litter she had in a tunnel outside.

You could shield the part of the cage with the nestbox with a tarp, plywood or whatever some days before she's due to give her more privacy, or use a different style of nestbox, like a longish closed one with a top so she can't sit upright in the nest. and the entrance hole is at the other end (2-3" off the ground)

How long are the does nails?
We have doors on the hutch so animals wouldn't be able to get in, we use a wood bottom nesting box. Her nails are somewhat long but she's super hard to handle and it would be a pain to cut them, but if it ensures the litter survives then I'll try, maybe would putting like a tarp or a blanket over the cage work? Like for a couple days before
 
Tell me about your rabbit pen. How far apart are the wires? Standard cage sidewalls are 1" x 2" holes, flooring is usually 1/2" x 1". Rats, weasels, and snakes can go right through holes as small as a quarter, and they all love baby bunnies. If predators were getting into the pen, or simply something mama saw outside the pen that upset her, she surely could have gone into the nestbox to protect the babies, stomped her feet emphatically to ward the predators away, and in the process hurt the babies herself. It's more common than you'd think.

One solution is to buy a roll of 1/2" or 1/4" hardware cloth, and wrap the pen in it, making sure to stay close to the J-feeder if you have one, and cover the door and wire top, too. It's a real pain, but it can sure help.
 
FWIW, I breed 4 litters of Tamuks at a time and have them in an old garage in the back yard. Out of sight from most predators, although the garage is by far not air tight...but what I have done, and this is because we have plenty of howling coyotes in the area, is to install a stereo. This plays the oldies station 24/7. The level is a little more than background noise. Sometimes when stepping out of the back door of the house, I can just hear the base, so the bun mothers are less likely to hear anything outside.

One previous batch of kits, prior to the stereo, there was a thunder storm the night of the kindling and we lost a few because of that (I assume). You can't reason with an animal that operates on almost pure instinct. They don't know, they only react. ...and no, I am not talking politics...
 
Last edited:
FWIW, I breed 4 litters of Tamuks at a time and have them in an old garage in the back yard. Out of sight from most predators, although the garage is by far not air tight...but what I have done, and this is because we have plenty of howling coyotes in the area, is to install a stereo. This plays the oldies station 24/7. The level is a little more than background noise. Sometimes when stepping out of the back door of the house, I can just hear the base, so the bun mothers are less likely to hear anything outside.

One previous batch of kits, prior to the stereo, there was a thunder storm the night of the kindling and we lost a few because of that (I assume). You can't reason with an animal that operates on almost pure instinct. They don't know, they only react. ...and no, I am not talking politics...
Install a stereo burning kindling or like permanently? Our dogs constantly bark so that probably would help, wouldn't they get scared of the music though
 
wouldn't they get scared of the music though
Every one of our rabbit areas has a contractor's radio playing 24/7 both to desensitize the rabbits to noise but also to help deter against predators approaching. We generally keep them tuned to a country station as the music is more calming than say hard rock.
 
Every one of our rabbit areas has a contractor's radio playing 24/7 both to desensitize the rabbits to noise but also to help deter against predators approaching. We generally keep them tuned to a country station as the music is more calming than say hard rock.
That's a matter of taste and whatever Playlist they use. You'd probably love some music that makes my skin crawl, and vice versa. Perhaps a study to determine Bunny preferences.. Maybe a little pan flute...
 
That's a matter of taste and whatever Playlist they use. You'd probably love some music that makes my skin crawl, and vice versa. Perhaps a study to determine Bunny preferences.. Maybe a little pan flute...
Ooo pan flutes are nice, maybe we should all test different music genre's and see which they like best? Maybe it's different for every rabbit
 
Install a stereo burning kindling or like permanently? Our dogs constantly bark so that probably would help, wouldn't they get scared of the music though
If your dogs constantly bark, that might be the problem. My rabbits are quite used to dogs & even sit near them when they are in their play area. Not afraid at all! BUT if the dogs come into the rabbitry while I'm handling the rabbits or the kits, they freak out.

Since your doe was relatively new to your home when you bred her (3 months I'm thinking?) she may just have been freaking out from the your own dogs. She might be more used to them, and keeping them away from the rabbit area during the early weeks might help. You also said she is hard to handle, so she seems to be stressed anyway.
 
Back
Top