My rabbit kindled!!! It's my first experience with a litter, any suggestions? *Pics coming soon*

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Simmonsfunnyfrm, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Simmonsfunnyfrm

    Simmonsfunnyfrm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My sweetest little doe, a satin/california cross, kindled today at about 1pm! I am very excited about this litter, not just because she is my favorite doe and the father (a palomino) is also a total sweetheart, but it's my first time ever with a litter! We got rabbits in February and I have had horrible luck all year trying to get does to take. After many months and many hours of research (and some wonderful help from some of you bunny people) we have finally had a success. I've never had anything have babies before, my parents never allowed it when I was a kid and now that my husband and I are together doing this homesteading thing, it's just our first experience, period. I couldn't be happier but I think I could use some guidance!! I have not looked under the fur yet to see the babies. When should I do this? What are some signs of trouble? It will be in the 30s and low 40s every night here, and about 50 or 60 during the day. They seem to have plenty of fur but are there other precautions I need to take to make sure they don't freeze during those cold nights? I will post pics soon! I've never seen this kind of cross before, no telling what they will look like! Thanks for your help!
     
  2. PoultryPower

    PoultryPower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have tried to have a couple litters outside when I first started breeding my rabbits and they never lived because it was too cold. I live in California so the weather is mild. A professional rabbit breeder helped me with my error by telling me that anything under 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the kits could die. The next litter came, I brought them inside and they all lived, so it definitely was the cold weather. I know some people keep their nest boxes in their rabbit's cages outside, but I like to be super safe and bring the boxes into the house. With them inside, I never have to worry about them being too cold or too hot. I have also found that the doe likes not having her nest box with her. In the wild the rabbit does not stay in the den with her kits, but avoids it until feeding time. Rabbits do this because if they spend too much time in or around their dens, predators can smell them and find the dens. So to calm my rabbit's natural instincts, I bring the boxes in and take the rabbits back out to their normal cages until feeding time.

    I'm surprised you haven't taken a peek at them yet, I excitedly look in my nest boxes as soon as their born and moms comfortably out of the way. You have much more self control than I do.

    This is just my method, I am interested to see what the much more experienced rabbit breeders will say. [​IMG]
     
  3. Simmonsfunnyfrm

    Simmonsfunnyfrm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply! I have snuck a couple peeks at the litter since my first post, couldn't help it either [​IMG]. I was just afraid that you weren't supposed to do that or the mommas would reject them? If I take them inside will she still nurse them if she is only with them a few hours at night? There are 7, they look like most are solid blacks but a few seem like they will be black with light bellies. I think that's called a fox pattern? Won't really know for a week or so. I have another doe due a week from today, and another one due Dec. 19 so I don't know if I could take them all inside...especially with a mischief making cat and a 50lb puppy that might think I brought in bunny nuggets...I hope there are ways of keeping them warm enough outside...
     
  4. PoultryPower

    PoultryPower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does rejecting their nests because people touch them is a myth, so you'll be fine.
    The doe is producing milk, if you put her in with her babies twice a day she will feed them.

    If would be uncomfortable for her not to.
    Do you have a room in the house you could put all the nest boxes and block it off from the dog and cat?
    I put my nest boxes in my bedroom because I have dogs and cats too.
    I have a doe in my room right now, if she's going to have kits, it will be any day now.

    It sounds like you have a full bunny schedule! [​IMG]
     
  5. Simmonsfunnyfrm

    Simmonsfunnyfrm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good to know about the myth, I have done a lot of research myself before getting into rabbits, but some things you just don't think of until you are actually there. I'm afraid this litter will have to try and fare outside, the only room the cat and dog can't get into is my husband's man cave lol. He does the homesteading with me and supports us having the animals, but gardening is where his heart really lies and he might not be quite as receptive to having a couple dozen kits in his man cave for a month [​IMG]. We found a few wild baby bunnies a couple years ago that our old dog was trying to eat. We tried to raise them ourselves in there. Not only did none survive, but they stank too, so I think that turned him off to the idea...He probably wouldn't consent without good cause, anyway. I will try to do my best to keep a warm nest box for these, and if the worst should happen, at least he will see that they need to be inside and then he will allow it.

    ETA: I went out and checked on them this morning and it was surprisingly warm in the nestbox! So far, all 7 are still healthy and momma even nursed them right in front of me. She is awesome. Here are some Pics I took :)


    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  6. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Congrats on the kits![​IMG]

    I, too, will "kitnap" the litters when the weather is cool. I pull the nestbox out of the cage, and put it in my hall closet. Every morning and evening, I take all of the boxes out of the closet and carry them out to the does. I have had a few does that had issues with this, but most have adapted without problems. Some does (particularly first-time mothers) don't seem to know that they are supposed to nurse the little wiggly things, and don't go into the box. If I know a doe hasn't nursed her litter within a few minutes of putting the box in with her, I may put the box into a carrier that is only slightly larger than it is, put the doe in the box, and close the lid. Most of the time, the doe settles down quickly, and the babies find her. I've had a few does with whom I had to repeat this procedure a few times before they "got it", but it has saved me a lot of first litters that otherwise would have died due to the mother's neglect. The boxes can get rather smelly, so when the kits get big enough to start exploring, they stay out with their moms.

    In 25+ years of breeding rabbits, I've had maybe 2 does that rejected their litters due to my interference, and only one that savaged them. It happens, but it is not that common. I wonder if this may be because rabbits are more likely to be pets these days, and we are generally breeding for friendlier, more tolerant rabbits.[​IMG]

    You had some questions about color on a previous thread, and your pictures help a lot! Your doe might possibly be what we call "booted" - a broken with just a little bit of white on the feet, chest, and maybe face, or she might be showing a bit of Dutch patterning. Either way, I'm still betting on chestnuts (agouti pattern) on the babies!.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  7. Simmonsfunnyfrm

    Simmonsfunnyfrm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This makes me feel much better about going out and getting a better look at them, especially since the mom is a good natured rabbit. I think you are right about the chestnut color; I looked online at pictures of newborn chestnut babies and they look exactly like all of Sweet Peas babies. Are there any other color possibilities in color for future breedings or will they always be chestnut? The wild pattern is actually one of my favorites, so I'm pleased with the results of this litter, but was just curious.
     
  8. PoultryPower

    PoultryPower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I am noticing when looking at your pictures in this thread is that you only have fur in the nest box.
    I would line the bottom of the nest box with thick newspaper, then shredded newspaper, then add some hay and mix the fur into it.
    This will keep them a lot warmer than being on the wooden floor.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Chestnut is agouti patterned. This occurs at the A locus, where the possibilities are agouti, self, and tan.

    A - agouti. Light ring around eye, light lacing in the ear, under the jaw, around the nose, between toes. White belly and underside of tail. Body hairs are banded, with dark at the tip, light in the middle, and medium-dark next to the skin.

    at - tan. Light eye ring, etc. like the agouti, but solid colored body hairs like a self.

    a -self. Rabbit is one solid color all over. Belly is the same color as the back, insides of ears are dark. Body hairs may be lighter next to the skin, but the color shades gradually to it rather than showing distinct rings.

    Agouti is the most dominant possibility in this series; self is the most recessive. Your doe appears to be a self black, so she has two self genes. All of her babies will get a self gene from her. The Palomino buck is an Agouti. Agouti is dominant, a rabbit with one copy of agouti and one of either tan or self will be agouti patterned.You can't be absolutely sure that an agouti patterned animal has only agouti genes, though in this case, it's probably true. The two colors that Palomino rabbits come in are both agouti colors, so in a purebred Pal, there shouldn't be anything other than agouti available. All of the babies should have gotten agouti from the sire, and self from their dam. If you kept a doe from this litter and bred her back to her sire, you'd get agoutis, but some might look like their sire/grandsire. If you kept a buck and bred him back to the doe, you'd probably get some selfs as well as agoutis.
     
  10. Simmonsfunnyfrm

    Simmonsfunnyfrm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here they are at 3 days old. All are still thriving. There seem to be 3 black (Probably selfs), 3 Chestnut, and one that looks chestnut, but it's lighter. It's the one at the top.

    [​IMG]
     
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