Looking for opinions on weird breeding experience

Miss mouse

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Okay so this is a long story with lots of weirdness
Please share your opinion about any of the events
Back ground: my boyfriend has raised meat rabbits his whole life and knows his stuff but this experience has left him confused at every turn. I only ever had 2 pet rabbits
Story:
We bought a 20lb pregnant female Flemish giant from a city 5 hours away from our house. We paid a pretty penny because the breeder said she's probably going to have 14-16 babies
I put her in my cat carrier and drove her home. She didn't like it at all and hated me for the first few days.
We expected the babies for June 1-3 ish.
About 2 weeks early she started bunching straw so my bf said the babies must be coming.
She started moving straw around but didn't build a nest in the nest box.
Next she started pulling out fur but not enough and she just kind of left it all over the cage
She gave birth to 3 babies 1 week earlier than we expected but we only found 2 initially. She had each in a different space and didn't make a nest. We found the third buried in straw with a broken back.
We tried to keep putting the babies together but for the first 2 days they could be found anywhere in the closed in portion of the cage.
Here's the first weird thing about the kits: all three were born with fur, not a light dusting of color, they had proper fur.
After a few days she built them 2 nests and covered them up with fur. The babies were rarely in the same nest each time we checked in. By the fourth day they were usually in a nest together but which nest yet would be in would change.
By the time the due date rolled around we gave up hoping she might have more (I'd read online that they could space them out when stressed).
Even though she's only got 2 she's favored one over the other. One kit has always been fed regular and the other has had a few days where mom didn't feed her. She was quick to learn to come out and find her own food as soon as she was able. The well fed kit is almost double the size of the other but my bf says the little one is the normal one and the large one is freaky. She's not fat though she just looks like she's from an older litter but they were born the same day and are about 3 weeks old now.
They opened their eyes on schedule.
So couple questions: would you give this mom another chance and see if she's a better mom with a bigger litter next time?
Why did they have fur?
All other comments or ideas of why things were weird is appreciated
 

Baymule

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My number 1 concern is that she was heavy bred when you bought her. The move, crammed in a cat carrier for 5 hours, strange new place and babies arriving soon obviously upset her. She gave birth a week earlier than what you were told, so the breeder either lied to you, or he didn't know what date she was bred, or the stress of moving caused her to give birth early. Put yourself in her place. How would you like to be taken away from your safe, comfortable home, crammed in a cage, carried off to a strange place and giving birth before you even feel safe in your new home? I am not bashing, just looking at it from her perspective.

Number 2, is this her first litter? How did the breeder know that she was going to have 14-16 babies? Has she had big litters before? Have you contacted the breeder about her litter?

I would lavish her with attention and do everything to make her feel at home and safe. Give her a treat every day and work on a relationship with her. Yes, I would breed her again, after time to recover from this litter and settle down.

What kind of cage was she in at her old home and how does it compare to the cage she is in now? As far as the fur, I don't have an answer.

I wish you the best with her, please let us know how she does. What is her name?

And welcome to the forum, this is a great place with some of the nicest people on the internet.

@AmberLops @Bunnylady @B&B Happy goats
 

B&B Happy goats

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I have to agree with @Baymule all the way, give her time to adjust to the stress of the move, be kind to her...then rebreed. My FG just had her first bunch of 9 kits, all were equal size but do grow fast ! They had a coat by a week 1, eyes opened several days later.....
Welcome to BYH.....:welcome
 

AmberLops

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Hmmm...
I have no clue about the fur. That's strange in a giant breed. I know my dwarfs can be born with fur (guard hairs) when they have the 'max-factor' gene. But that is a dwarf thing and doesn't happen in the bigger breeds.

I agree with what everyone else is saying...it was probably the stress of moving that caused all the issues.
Was it her first litter? If it was, then it's pretty normal for a first-time doe to have some kind of strange kindling issue.
Can you post pictures of the abnormally large kit compared to the other?

The best thing to do when they don't make a nest, or make it outside the box, is to put all the babies with the fur and straw in the nestbox anyway. That way they are all still together and can keep eachother warm and when it comes to feeding time, they'll all get to eat. I've had to do this a thousand times ;)
 

Miss mouse

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First of all thank you all for the amazing responses.
I have to say I whole heartedly agree that it must have been a terrible experience for her. The carrier is actually quite large because my cats like to travel together so don't worry she wasn't crammed however I doubt she'd ever been far from her cage before let alone a 5 hours drive with an odd lady looking weird vegetables at her that she'd never tasted before.
I have a strong feeling he lied to us about when she was bred. My one hypothesis about the fur is that she may have been close to kindling the day we got her and held on to them as long as she could out of stress. She had just started to adjust when she started preparing for them.
The cage she was in when we picked her up was cramped, she couldn't have stood up if she'd wanted to. She could turn around and take a few steps. Our cage has an upper floor and lower floor. Both are y'all enough for a rabbit to stand up. They each have 3 sections that are roughly 2x2. When the mom is raising her young she gets all the sections but when they need to be separated it could potentially be split into 6 cages (3 up, 3 down) and he has an overflow cage. With only three rabbits though and we suspect they're all female I think they'll be fine together for a while.
I have been their new best friend since she got here. I don't think she'd ever had anything but pellets before. I bring her the veggie scraps from our cooking, dandelions, and some garden fresh every day and she's starting to learn that there's more yummy stuff in the world.
I've checked on her and the babies every day twice a day so the babies are very comfortable with me. Their names are Lil Bit (mom), Chunky Bit (giant baby), and Itty Bit (smaller baby)
I'll try to get a good picture this morning. Unfortunately I don't have a small scale anymore to show the true difference in size.
@AmberLops @B&B Happy goats @Baymule
 

Miss mouse

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It's raining so they were all in the closed walled portion this morning. Itty bit was hiding under lil bit but I put them together for the last photo.

Also, according to the breeder she had 2 litters last summer. 8-1 for the first and 10-1 for the second. Lil bit is approximately 2 years old.
 

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GypsyG

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I have no idea about the fur, but your theory about her being further along in her pregnancy and holding onto the kits longer after a stressful move sounds good to me.

The breeder also most likely lied about the breed, because your doe is not a standard Flemish color.

The kits are large enough at this point that they would all probably be more comfortable if you removed the nestbox to give them some more room.
 

Miss mouse

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I have no idea about the fur, but your theory about her being further along in her pregnancy and holding onto the kits longer after a stressful move sounds good to me.

The breeder also most likely lied about the breed, because your doe is not a standard Flemish color.

The kits are large enough at this point that they would all probably be more comfortable if you removed the nestbox to give them some more room.
She seems like a pretty big rabbit to not be pure FG. I know the father of these kits was a compete mix though so it's not like the breeder had a one breed operation.
*Edit*
So I looked it up and there's a recognised color called sandy that looks a lot like lil bit. The kits I think are Fawn
 
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GypsyG

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She seems like a pretty big rabbit to not be pure FG. I know the father of these kits was a compete mix though so it's not like the breeder had a one breed operation.
I suppose that a Sandy crossed with a steel gray might produce a gold tipped steel... Her head shape does not look Flemish to me though. I have several Flemish crosses in my herd that are 16 lb+.
 

secuono

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Ears look right for the breed.
Is she really 20#?
Unless they show, many people don't mind odd colors showing up in a breed & continuing it, so she could be pure. I had a lot of fun colors come out of my pedigreed Silver Fox rabbits & after a lot of chatting with other breeders, I found out that they were colors that really do exist.
 
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