New litter Meat Rabbit Questions... Help Please!!!

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by WhiteMountainsRanch, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    My doe had babies Thursday morning and I am worried she isn't spending enough time in the nest box with them. I am not sure what "normal" is for a rabbit since this the first rabbit litter I have ever had. I know dogs usually spend a lot of time in the nest box nursing the babies, but I never see her in there. I know they are all alive and when I uncovered them to check on them and went back out later and she had recovered them. I just don't see her in there and I think she should be in the nursing them more? When I uncover them they look fine, all pink and warm and squirming around, but they squirm a alot like maybe they are hungry, I don't know... I'm too new!!! [​IMG] PLEASE HELP!!!!!


    Doe- Lily;

    Buck- Novi;
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
  2. imtc

    imtc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2008
    they look great. You probably won't see the doe with them at all. It's totally normal for them to leave the babies alone and only feed them once or twice a day. It's their natural instinct to leave them in a secure/warm nest to hide them from predators so won't actually be inside the nest with them at all except for feedings. Don't worry...they look like they are doing well, have plenty of hair from mama in the nest and as long as you check on them the first several days to make sure they are all warm and tummies full you're good to go. Congratulations. (I have 2 litters myself expected any day.) Have fun with them.
  3. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM

    It freaked me out at first too. I thought she was ignoring them.
  4. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Whew! Good thing that is normal, I was really starting to worry! I am used to little babies having to eat every few hours, and I haven't ever seen her in there!
  5. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    Rabbit milk is very rich ... the doe will nurse her kits at night and may do so again before first light of the morning for @ 15 minutes each time. This is nature's way to protect the young from predators.
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    They are so cute!!!

    That ignoring thing is normal as everyone says. I've read that if you know you have a bad mom, you can take pups away and give them to her or force her to feed them just twice a day and it is enough. Next to chickens, I think rabbits are nature's second snack.
  7. terri9630

    terri9630 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2009
    New Mexico
    When our first doe had babies last year that freaked me out too. I called our 4-H leader who raises rabbits and she said as long as the babies are fat and seem to be doing good not to worry. If I had known the does was bred, she was only supposed to be 1 1/2 months old, I would have asked about this stuff before the babies were due. When I first saw them I thought a rat had gotten into the cage and had babies. I almost threw them out but I realized they had long ears.
  8. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    [​IMG] Lo, well this one was definitely planned, we have been waiting a LONG time for babies! I'm glad this seems normal, I check on them at least twice a day and they seem ok so far... I've heard so many horror stories I really hope she is a good mommy!
  9. price403

    price403 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 17, 2010
    Ivydale, WV
    If you're concerned about them nursing just check their bellies. If they are round then they have been fed. Otherwise they have flat bellies like a dog does.
    It's good to handle the kits every day. It keeps them tame and easier to deal with when they're older and need to be handled. Otherwise you could get scratched when carrying or handling a rabbit. (Been there. Done that...)
  10. Country Parson

    Country Parson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2010
    Bellefontaine, OH
    Rabbit does rarely are in the nest with their newborns. They will feed them, but usually only once (maybe twice) per day...and even then this feeding is very brief. As another poster mentioned, the milk is very rich (which is why it is almost impossible to successively hand-feed rabbit babies who have been disowned or lost their mothers. Many have tried but I've never known anyone to be successful with it).

    Also, while I agree that you should handle young rabbits daily, do not do this until they are old enough to come out of the next box on their own. In the initial days, just do a quick visual inspection to remove any babies that may have died. Rule #1 is MINIMAL DISTURBANCE. Rabbits are prone to cannibalize their babies, and will do so if the nest is overly disturbed. If possible, redesign your hutch to allow you to block the doe from the nest. That way you can access the next/babies without her seeing you do it.

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