Silver Fox kits born last night! Need to fatten momma back up!

Sammbalina

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My doe had her (and my) first litter last night, and of course she had to have them on the night of our first hard freeze! I came home from work at 4 this morning (I work nights) and saw the squirming mass of fur in her nest box, so they were born sometime between 10 last night and probably around 3, as they were good and dry, the little I saw of them. and they were thankfully all in the nest box. When I got up this evening I counted them, and she had at least nine, possibly 10, they were so squirmy and hard to count. I didn't expect them to be so speedy so young! They were all alive, so that I am thankful for, I just hope it stays that way! I didn't take any pictures, because it is so cold right now I don't feel comfortable removing them from the nest for too long. Maybe this weekend I can use the generator and temporarily run a heater in the shed so I can get a better look at them. My mom said that momma rabbit tried to bite her this morning, but the few times I've gone in her cage she's been fine with me.

What I am concerned about is the litter size and that my doe seems to have lost a lot of weight while pregnant. Her backbone and ribs are more prominent than they were before, you can't see them, but when you run you hand down her back you can easily feel them. She had drastically slowed down eating almost a week before giving birth, had pretty much completely gone off pellets, and occasionally munched on hay. Is there anything that I can give her besides pellets and hay to help bulk her back up? Unfortunately I was never able to find a second doe to breed at the same time, so I can't graft any to another doe, and I'm concerned that the size of litter, which if I recall correctly is on the large side, and her weight loss may not make a good combo.

Edit: Her pellets are New Country Organics, and she is fed mostly Timothy hay, but also currently has access to orchard grass, which I gave her for her nesting material because usually she won't eat orchard hay, and I couldn't find any good straw near me.
 
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Baymule

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If you are offering her unlimited feed, she should be fine. I used to give mine whole oats in another feeder or a bowl. A small can such as a tuna fish can wired to the cage also works. Congratulations on the new litter. She sounds like a good momma, keeping them covered in fur. It probably isn’t necessary for a heater.
 

Sammbalina

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It is officially 9. Used a hot pad and a mobile battery my mom had to keep them warm while out of the nest. No still borns and no dead! The two adults are mom and dad the day we bred them!
 

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Beekissed

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Beautiful!!!! Nice, plump, uniform in size....great litter! I think the does produce so much better when not too fat. I agree with Bay...plenty of feed and fresh water, the whole oats for added fiber, good hay like you've been giving and I think she'll do just fine.

Some people use a little calf manna to fatten market rabbits but you have to go really low on that or it can burn out a rabbit's bowels, producing the opposite of the desired effect. I'd stick with the slow and steady approach, though.
 

AmberLops

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Congratulations on the beautiful kits!!
I have a couple of does who lose a lot of weight after kindling. With free-choice feeding she should gain weight back just fine. Like Bay said, oats are always a good thing for putting some weight on too :)
And it's normal for does to go off pellets a few days before having kits :)
 

Sammbalina

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Took some individual pictures today. Does that second one look thin or am I being paranoid? If they are, would it be safe to supplement them with formula, or will that throw momma off? I need to go get a new scale... I have one, but it is packed up somewhere, lost in our move.
 

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AmberLops

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They adorable!
They all look fine to me too. It's normal to have weight variations in litters. Some of my does will have 5 kits, 3 will be huge and fat and 2 will be scrawny and thin for a few weeks until they catch up. I never worry too much about it ;)
 

messybun

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Congratulations on your first litter!
I always give mama pumpkin seeds after birth, they help fight worms and fattening up. I’m always careful with oats because the kits can choke to death on them.
Most rabbits are fine with big litters, but if one is consistently thin and nuzzles or chirps a lot, or just isn’t getting heavier... supplement. I use powdered goat milk and probiotics and have been extremely successful. NEVER give cows milk they can’t digest it. You can wait til after mama feeds and then offer a little more, but by the time they’re furred everything is pretty much settled and working well. Good luck to ya.
 

Duckfarmerpa1

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Congratulations just like everyone else has said! I breed rabbits on my hobby farm.. purely for pleasure and we hope to sell some this spring. Anyway, I have not had trouble with my does getting too thin, but I am friends with the man who judges at the county fair and he plumps his bunnies up with dry oatmeal. Worth a try. Perhaps a few bananas. Just a few. But a few sugarery or carbohydrates might help too. If she really doesn’t gain you might need to resort to kitten replacement milk. But I’ve never heard of a doe needing it. She’ll bounce back. Remember, she just went through a lot. But she did an awesome job. As are you !!
 
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