New Zealand white about to give birth?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Domd28, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Domd28

    Domd28 Out Of The Brooder

    43
    3
    26
    Oct 1, 2013
    Cabot, AR
    We have a New Zealand female rabbit that has started gathering nesting materials, we introduced the nest box and she is using it. I have in the past tried raising rabbits, but none of the litters ever survived past 2 weeks. I want to do this right and maybe this time have good results, since my son would probably be very disappointed if they all died. We moved the mother out of the cage she was in and into another cage that we put in the shed to help cut back on wind and draft, also we put a heat lamp in there, not to close to the cage. Is there anything more we can do to assist the mother to be?
    My question(s) are
    1. Besides straw/hay what (if any) other materials would be suitable for nesting?
    2. Is the heat lamp a good idea?

    Any and all reply will be very much appreciated.
     
  2. Fernie

    Fernie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is the nest box solid sides and bottom or wire? If wire sides put some cardboard between the nesting material and the wire. That will help keep in the heat. Heat lamp is a good idea, but take a thermometer out to the area and see how warm is it getting. The babies have no fur the first week. So keeping them warm is good. Mama has a full fur coat and she can over heat. Trying to keep it no more than 60 to 70 degrees.

    I have 2 does due the 14th and 1 doe due the 21st. The two due the 14th have had litters before so we are not as worried. The one due the 21st is a first timer. The nerves are always shot on a first time mother. That will continue until she has a successful litter. Good luck
     
  3. Domd28

    Domd28 Out Of The Brooder

    43
    3
    26
    Oct 1, 2013
    Cabot, AR
    The nest box is solid all around. The lamp is about 2-3 feet from the cage, we only put it on in the evenings when the temp drops. Days have been 65-70 degrees. @Fernie she has been alone in the cage for a few days, she took straw and made a nest inside the box but has yet to pull hair to apply to the nest, could she be showing us a false pregnancy? We have looked inside the box but don't see any wiggling around.
     
  4. Fernie

    Fernie Chillin' With My Peeps

    When was she due? I know our NZW is due this week I think. She has been nest building with hay for a week or so now.
     
  5. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    17,059
    1,540
    401
    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    Every doe is different, so until you know this doe's pattern, you can't be sure what she's doing.[​IMG] Most does will mess about with hay for a few days before they actually kindle, though I had one that did absolutely nothing until mere minutes before the kits started arriving. Once she got started, though, she was a whirlwind of activity, and was always a good mother.

    While playing with hay can go on for several days, serious fur pulling doesn't usually happen until kindling. Once again, you have to know the doe - some of mine have pulled a little bit beforehand, though I had one that would start fur pulling ten days before the litter was due. By the time the kits came, she was almost completely bald!

    On the matter of nesting material - I have always used hay.I know of some folks who like to put a layer of shavings in the bottom of the nest box. They say it insulates better than the hay, and is also more absorbent.
     
  6. Fernie

    Fernie Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have the NZW doe that will hay stack for weeks before she is due. We also have a NZ/FG doe that will do nothing and gives no sign until she has them. Both are good moms. The NZ/FG is laid back in her personality. Her last litter was 7 kits born and not one loss.
     
  7. Domd28

    Domd28 Out Of The Brooder

    43
    3
    26
    Oct 1, 2013
    Cabot, AR
    I'm not exactly sure when she was/is due. I didn't write down the conception date. My fault. I know what to do next time. Ours also has been gathering nesting supplies for about a week. I guess I can let her go another week or so. I'm sure she is enjoying being in the shed with a little heat since it was 25 this morning.
     
  8. Fernie

    Fernie Chillin' With My Peeps

    My DH just informed me that nest boxes go in tonight. We have two due in a few days. A week after we have another due. I told DH next round of breeding will not happen until all the kits are 8 weeks and in the grow out pens. Then we should have 4 does getting bred at once. Only one will be a first time mom, which is what I prefer.
     
  9. handyman42

    handyman42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    201
    20
    78
    Oct 17, 2013
    Sardis, AR
    My experience with kindling does is the less you do the better. As long as you've gotten the proper nesting material and conditions (I'd say the heat lamp is a good idea since it's so cold). With my does the less I interacted with them during the kindling process and the first couple of weeks after birth the better they do. Just peek in and make sure feed and water are good and then leave. Only other thing I did was check for dead kits about every 3-5 days or so just so you don't have one laying in there for too long.

    It all boils down to stress. You don't want to stress mama out or she'll be more likely to have kits die at birth or not care for them properly afterwards. So the least human, and other animal, interactions as possible is what I say. Let nature take it's course.
     
  10. Domd28

    Domd28 Out Of The Brooder

    43
    3
    26
    Oct 1, 2013
    Cabot, AR
    Thanks for all the advice. I think she had a false pregnancy, though. She had built the nest but after a almost 2 weeks still nothing. So back to the drawing board.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by