Mini Rex Rabbits...Peanut or runt????

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by SabrinaDawn, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. SabrinaDawn

    SabrinaDawn New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2012
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    OK so I guess I posted this in the wrong place [​IMG] the first time but I was told that maybe I could get some help if I post here. So here it is, again, lol.
    Hi, I am new to BYC and to the mini farm I have seemed to get myself into...[​IMG] The latest addition was two mini rex rabbits. They were breed and we were told about when the doe would have the kits. Well long story short she finally had them...late...and only had two. One is normal size and seems fine one is about half the size of the first. I don't see any deformities like extremely big head or twisted back legs but I am still concerned. Should I intervene and bring it in and feed it and hope that it lives or should I let nature take its course and see what happens? It is starting to get cold here at night and our rabbits do stay outside. I do cover them if it is cold or bad weather but am not sure the cover will be enough for the little ones. Any advice would be great.
     
  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    [​IMG]

    I don't know how much you know about this stuff, but for those who don't know what a "peanut" is, I'm going start by doing a little explaining, is that OK?

    Mini Rex is one of the breeds that employ the dwarfing gene to get the small, compact animal described in the breed standard. One copy of the dwarfing gene gets you a rabbit with a shorter body, shorter legs, shorter ears, and a shorter and somewhat rounder head. Without the dwarfing gene (in other words, two copies of the normal growth gene) you get a rabbit with slightly longer ears, legs, back, and face. The MR that has the dwarfing gene generally weighs 1/2 pound to a pound less than the rabbit that doesn't have it. To someone who knows the breed, it's easy to see which ones have it and which don't.

    The problem with the dwarfing gene, is that it is what is known as a lethal gene. All showable animals have one copy of the dwarfing gene and one copy of the normal growth gene. Breed two of those together, and you will get some babies that get the dwarfing gene from one parent, and the normal growth gene from the other parent - those are the "true dwarfs." Some will get the normal growth gene from both parents - those are the oversized "false dwarfs". Some bunnies will get the dwarfing gene from both parents, those are called "peanuts." The peanut is roughly 1/3 smaller than the normal sized babies. The head of a peanut has a rather odd appearance - a friend of mine called them "camel babies" because to her, they look a bit like camels. The back end of a peanut looks underdeveloped . The legs aren't twisted, but they are smaller, and peanuts often seem not to be able to control their back legs. The digestive system of a peanut is incomplete, so a peanut cannot survive. They usually die within the first three days.


    So, is this a peanut or just a runt? That's a tough call, without seeing it. Two is a very small litter for a Mini Rex. If this is an older doe, she may have issues that would cause her babies to vary in size, completely separate from the dwarfing gene issue. Even people with experience don't usually have good luck at hand feeding (and no matter what you do, you will lose a peanut). If it were mine, I wouldn't make the extra effort, but that's because I've been through this sort of thing so many times. Maybe you'll be lucky, and the little guy will make it. [​IMG]
     
  3. SabrinaDawn

    SabrinaDawn New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2012
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    [​IMG]


    So this isn't a great pic but the little thing would not stay still so that I could get a good one. I will try again tomorrow and see if I can get a better pic
     
  4. SabrinaDawn

    SabrinaDawn New Egg

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    This is the larger one. The mom has had several litters before and they have all been a normal size litter as far as I know. I am pretty sure she is about 2 yrs old but I would have to look at her papers to make sure.
     
  5. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    Peanuts have been described to me when I started with MRs as those with the double dwarf gene,

    Looking at the huge head in comparison to the body, my guess would be peanut. If it is, they rarely survive and they usually persish within about 5 days. There is nothing to stop it if it is meant to die. There have been cases where some survive but they are very malformed.

    I hope I am wrong, but it comes with the territory if you are going to breed the rabbits who are prone to having these dwarfs.
     
  6. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    Oh, and it depends on what you are calling cold, but looking that you are in Ohio, I would consider taking the momma and babies inside somewhere or getting some heat. If that one is a peanut and dies during the night, it will be cold and that won't help the other one make it. Momma won't stay in to snuggle it, so you really need to have some way to keep it from getting chilled. It has such a nice broken pattern. I have had singles make it, but it is usually at a warmer time of year.
     
  7. SabrinaDawn

    SabrinaDawn New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2012
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    It is only suppose to get down to 59 tonight but like you said I don't want the larger one to get cold if the little one dies. The mom won't lie with them? If not then I will go ahead and bring them in. Also if I bring them in is the mom going to have an issue with them tomorrow or can I put them back in with her? And thanks for the help this is new territory for me.

    Oh I have the pen covered also but I don't know if that is enough.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  8. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    I would keep the babies with the mom. I don't know what she would do if you take them in the house and they have new smells on them. I would take the momma in with them if it is possible. If you can move their cage to the garage or somewhere enclosed, I would think that would be sufficient to get them through the first few days until they get some fur on their naked little bodies.
    Good luck.

    And yes, the mother doesn't go in with them, usually, except to feed them. The does usually go in very early in the morning and feed them and are out again. Just check if their bellies are full each morning and they will be fine as far as that goes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  9. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Looking at the picture, I have to agree that it does look like it is most likely a peanut. [​IMG]

    When the weather is cooler, I make a habit of bringing any litters in the house at night. I take all the nestboxes and put them in my hall closet. When I first started in rabbits, I had heard "oh, you can't touch the babies, the mother will eat them," and "if you mess with the nest, the mother will abandon them," - in 25+ years of breeding rabbits, I have had exactly one doe that deliberately savaged her litter, and maybe 2 that persistently refused to tend them (the second of those appears to have no milk, so I'm not sure she counts). Some does take a while to catch on to the procedure, but all the others have adjusted to having their babies kidnapped without issue. Rabbit does generally nurse their litters at dawn and dusk, but avoid the nest box the rest of the time. That's probably a good thing, as does that sit in their boxes usually pee in them, too. Whether you move the doe too is up to you - I have done both; I have moved expectant mothers into my greenhouse during cold weather to avoid having litters freeze as they are born. Some does do ok with this, some don't.[​IMG]
     
  10. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    Oh, I don't worry about touching them and having the doe reject them. I have never actually taken a litter for the night and put them in the house. I would take the doe with the babies though if it were me. I wish I had a greenhouse and that would be one more good use for it, to keep my mommas and babies warm. Do you use it when you have a stubborn doe too to get her bred? My daughter has been trying to get her Holland Lop doe bred and she is not cooperating. I think we are going to need to get a light on a timer to help her get in the mood. If you have any tricks or ideas you would like to share on that topic, Bunnylady, I would love to hear them. I have a friend, perhaps you know of her, Jolene Fredrickson, who said sometimes she takes the does for a ride in the car and then puts them in and it does the trick. I have never had one so reluctant for as long as this one has been. It is not the ideal time of year for breeding, but she would like to have some seniors to show next year.
     

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