Cold, Stiff baby rabbits.


Jan 4, 2019
South Africa
Does anyone know anything about rabbits?

I have two Californian and New Zealand White Cross. They have just had their first litter of kits. Five were born. One died within a few days. Yesterday I went out to check on them (They live in an outdoor enclosure - the doe dug a burrow - didn't want the nesting box - and had her kits in there). I found one of her babies lying outside the burrow (it has full fur and eyes are almost completely open). It was cold and stiff but still alive. I tried all the online advice on warming the kit up but sadly it died within a few hours. This morning i went out to check on them again...and found another one outside the burrow....same is cold and stiff, head tilted back but still breathing fast. I've had it in a box next to a warming pad for an hour but it's condition isn't improving.
Any advice? The weather here is comfortable at the moment...not too hot or cold. Any ideas on why this is happening to the babies. The other two that are left in the burrow seem healthy...will they survive the night with only the two of them to keep each other warm? Would appreciate any advice.

This has happened to a few of my kits as well in the past. It likely was because they were moving around and fell out of the nesting box or that they fell out from being dragged out from their mom. It really is a learning experience with kits. If there’s two babies, nesting material and their mother’s fur I think that they should be ok. I hope it all works out for you and the babies!
If you have ever watched a doe nurse, it's a quick frenzied activity that ends abruptly. Sometimes kits are still latched onto a teat when mom leaves. It's recommended to use a proper nest box, or to put a board as a lip at the entrance to the nest area so kits get scraped off and stay in the nest instead of being dragged outside where they will chill and die. Older kits can sometimes crawl back to the nest, but those young ones can't, and mom will not return them.
While newborns are frequently brought back from a nearly lifeless state (most people that have been raising rabbits for any time at all have experienced "Lazarus babies"), one is much less likely to succeed with babies that are older. I'm sorry for your loss.

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