Fostering a kit to an older litter?

B&B Happy goats

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"Some" people think that raising domesticated rabbits and cleaning their cages is "too much work" , so they had a woodpile that they rearranged for the rabbits to hide and have kits in....no fencing , and they live out in the woods...gee, ....they started finding dead kits and abandoned kits....
Let's just say "we had a "talk" , last I heard, rabbits are now kept in hutchs above the ground and up from wild life....:confused:
 

Ridgetop

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Just saw this. Glad it is doing well so far.

The main problem with solitary kts is them getting too cold without another warm kit to snuggle with. That is why you will find dead single kits with full bellies. The doe doesn't spend any time with them except when she feeds them so they have to keep warm with each other. If the mom is feeding this one, and the other doe has several, you could try fostering one of the other kits in with this one instead of taking this one away from its mom that seems to have plenty of milk. The mom wth the single can feed 2 and they will stay warm.
 

AmberLops

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I thought about that but she's kind of strange when it comes to her kits and I haven't successfully fostered any kits to her...
 

Ridgetop

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If you don't think she will accept it, don't try. I have had a doe kick certain kits out of the nest box several times after I replaced them. I finally fostered the survivors to another doe. They were her own kits too. She was fine in subsequent litters. I have had does identify and refuse fostered kits but that is very seldom. Most does will accept kits that are the same age easily. The younger the litter the better though.

If I am worried that the doe will not accept the foster kits, I remove the nest box in the morning. I retrieve some of the doe's poop and rub it on the kits I am fostering, then place the foster kits in the nest box with the doe's own kits and take the box in the house. The doe only feeds her kits at night so separating her from the kits during the day is not a problem. I put the nest box in a safe place where the household dogs or cats can't get to it and check the kits every couple hours during the day. That evening when I feed I replace the box in the same location in the doe's cage. The doe will jump in and check her kits and feed them. She can't tell the difference between the fostered ones and her own kits because they all smell the same now after being together in the nest box all day. I have rarely had a doe refuse foster kits using this method. However, if the doe only has 1 or 2, she is more likely to refuse to foster kits. Maybe she can count?! :gig

I always tattoo a dot inside the foster kits' ears before putting them in the new mother's box. I use a tattoo needle and India ink. With NZWs and Cals they all look so much alike that unless I do this tattoo I won't know which ones belong to the doe that is raising them and which belong to the other doe. Another reason is that you can see if the foster mother is actually raising the foster kits or not. Since I breed for show I need to know their parentage for the pedigrees if they attain their championships, and for any that I will keep as breeders. The small tattooed dot will mark them long enough to wean the bunnies. At that time I sort the freezer culls from the keepers, and tattoo their personal herd number in their ears. The new tattoo covers the tiny dot.
 
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