HELP! How to care for doe and brand new kits?

dairygoatlady

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I bred my Champagne D'argent doe to her buck a month ago, and she had her babies tonight! But two were dead by the time we found out she'd had them. I think she stomped on them in her nest. There are at least three alive right now.

Do we need to do anything to make sure no more die? We pulled her out and clipped her nails, they were too long. She was already out of the nest. We fed her and she stayed out of the nest the whole time we were out there. She was eating.

Do the babies NEED her to stay in the nest to survive? Should we pick her up and put her in the nest? Or is it normal for her to not be in it? She just had them about 4 hours ago.

We are brand new to this, and every site I see about bunnies talks about NOT breeding them. But we have a rare heritage breed, that is VERY friendly and nice, too (Champagne D'Argent). So we are doing this to sell the babies (high demand) and keep the doe and buck as backup for meat if things get crazy.

Help a rabbit amateur!
 

big brown horse

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I'm sorry to hear this!! :( I am very new to breeding rabbits...but I think the first litter is the hardest for the doe.

Lemme get my pal over here to help out, he is a rabbit expert.
 

big brown horse

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Here is what my friend says...(yeah, he is down playing his expertice! ;))

I see what your talking about, but I'm no expert. lol. Ask her if this is the does first litter, often times the first litter will not live, it seems to take the mother a second litter for her good mothering instincts to pop in. And sometimes there are horrible mothers that never take care of their young.

She does not need to be on the nest all the time.
I don't often see our mothers nursing their young, they usually have the nest covered up and are off eating etc. I also had a couple does that would feed young most often at night. She could just be shy and overwhelmed by everything. If your in and out and haven't yet seen them nursing, you could check later tonight to see if the babies tummies are full, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but be sure to rub your hands in the mother's fur thouroughly to disguise your smell. As long as the nest stays dry and covered up while she is off, they should be fine.
Is the nest in the corner of the cage or an actual next box?

If the babies die, don't give up, try breeding her again.


Good Luck!
-Sally
 

miss_thenorth

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Rabbit moms only nurse one or twice a day. If there are dead kits--remove them,and make sure there is not TOO much fur for the kits to get tangled up in. Other than that--try not to interfere. They usually know what they are doing. Exceptions to that are first time moms, and a fluke where a doe is not maternal--if that happens, you either need to move the kits to another lactating doe, and cull or not breed that doe again.
 

dairygoatlady

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This is a first litter for this doe. And our first time breeding. We did remove the dead ones. There is a ton of fur in the nest now, so she's adding to the fur and covering them up well, at least.

They are in a nesting box inside a hutch, inside a stall with only other rabbits in their hutches.

How long after feeding should their tummies look full? I checked at noon and they didn't look full. But they're not crying and they are moving.

Also, it's 95 degrees here. Should I bring the whole nesting box inside during the day?

big brown horse said:
Here is what my friend says...(yeah, he is down playing his expertice! ;))

I see what your talking about, but I'm no expert. lol. Ask her if this is the does first litter, often times the first litter will not live, it seems to take the mother a second litter for her good mothering instincts to pop in. And sometimes there are horrible mothers that never take care of their young.

She does not need to be on the nest all the time.
I don't often see our mothers nursing their young, they usually have the nest covered up and are off eating etc. I also had a couple does that would feed young most often at night. She could just be shy and overwhelmed by everything. If your in and out and haven't yet seen them nursing, you could check later tonight to see if the babies tummies are full, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but be sure to rub your hands in the mother's fur thouroughly to disguise your smell. As long as the nest stays dry and covered up while she is off, they should be fine.
Is the nest in the corner of the cage or an actual next box?

If the babies die, don't give up, try breeding her again.


Good Luck!
-Sally
 

2dream

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I personally would not interfer any more than absolutely necessary. As already stated, 1st litters often die. So unless you plan on bottle feeding which in itself is stressful to the new babies try to let nature take its course. I know. Its hard to do.
Most mother rabbits feed late afternoon, eary morning or at night and then leave the den. This is a built in instinct to try to lure predators away from the den. Unlike dogs or cats or even chickens who stay with their young to keep them warm. Rabbits stay away except for one or possibly two feedings at the most.
 

big brown horse

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Thanks 2dream, what about the heat? (I am learning as I read this too.)

dairygoatlady,
I am so glad the kits made it through the night. :hugs
-Sally :)
 

miss_thenorth

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hopefully, the doe will pull the appropriate amount of fur for the season. I know with my does, if it is going to be a cold night, they will pull more. If it is hot, they will push some of the fur out of the way. they are very good at regulating the heat their kits need.

Agreed. Intervene as little as possible. there is only one time when we intervened Mom had pulled too much fur, and the kits had gotten tangled up in it, [preventing them to be able to wiggle up to nurse. After finding them tangled up and dead, we removed some of the fur. this does previous litter had frozen to death, so I think she was overcompensating for her next litter. (litter of 9 born, three survived). All following litters have been wonderful.
 

2dream

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If this is a pet rabbit and use to being handled on a regular daily basis she may not become aggitated by you constantly sticking your hand in the cage to check on the babies. If this rabbit has not been handled daily and just totally in love with being petted and handled - she may actually abandon the nest if you bother her or the babies very much. You know how us mothers are with people coming around our little ones.

Watch for signs of aggitation or stress when you approach. If she seems like it upsets her stay away other than her normal feeding time.
 

trestlecreek

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Yes, it is normal for a doe to have a few dead kits on arrival.
Moms usually feed around 2-3 times a day, but stay out of the box otherwise.
I check once a day for full tummies. For most of my 1st time does, I will go ahead and hold her upside down on my lap and let each kit nurse for a few minutes. After the 1st day, the mom is on her own here for the most part. She'll either do it or she won't.
If she is fluffy up the nest, that tells me she wants to care for them.
 

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