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PEASE HELP: Meat Rabbit Breeding Problems

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by kanelson92, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. kanelson92

    kanelson92 Just Hatched

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    Hi folks,

    I started trying to breed meat rabbits a couple months ago. I have two does and a buck (the does are related, the buck is not).

    The first go round was rough, Trixie didn't get pregnant and Alice did. Alice gave birth to 9 babies all on the cage floor. I had put a nesting box I had made in her cage on day 28. She loved it and starting building her nest in there on day 29. On day 31, she still gave birth on the floor. And then built a second smaller nest on the side of the nesting box and around the floor. Like she was trying to build a nest on top of the babies. Half were dead so I pulled them out, I put the other half that were still moving into the nest. Later that day they were dead too. After all the babies were gone I took the nesting box and all the nests out. The next morning she had pulled out tons of hair and started making another nest. I cleaned that up and let her settle down before re-breeding. This was her first pregnancy and everything I read says they almost always screw up the first one, so I didn't get too upset.

    The second go-round, I bred both girls again. This time I am pretty sure it took with Trixie. She has gained weight and when palpated at 2 weeks I felt little "marbles." If all goes according to plan she should be giving birth tonight. Alice, on the other hand, gave birth last night to 11 babies. BUT SHE DID THE SAME THING AS LAST TIME! She had them all on the cage floor, they were all dead by the time I saw them. She had pulled all the nesting material out of the box (which I bought this time thinking maybe there was something wrong with the one I made), and she assembled a nest on the side of the nesting box. I didn't move it because I cannot see into it this time and am not sure if there are any living babies in there. Also, when I took the dead babies out one had no front legs.

    Please help. Am I doing something wrong? Is this normal or is there something wrong with my rabbit?
     
  2. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    New mothers can be frustrating...and some simply will not use a nest box, which is why mine only kindle indoors. On the other hand, some of my first-timers have been textbook moms and have done everything exactly the way they're "supposed" to. It just depends on the individual doe.

    Did the kits die because it was too cold outside where you are? I think it's risky to hope that the doe will (1) use the nest box, (2) pull enough fur, and (3) ensure that the kits are covered properly. When my does that refuse to use the nest box kindle on the cage floor, I just scoop everyone up, along with the pulled fur, and place them in the waiting nest box and it goes like clockwork thereafter.

    Re the kit with no front legs: was it born like that?
     
  3. kanelson92

    kanelson92 Just Hatched

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    I have a shed that they are in, it is 20 degrees outside but the building they are in in the winter is totally sealed (so no drafts) and roofing (no rain or snow). I also keep a small heat lamp in there for kindling but it was still freezing. The first time they died because of the temperature. This time I have no idea, they were all dead when I got there. As for the one with the missing legs, out of all 19 babies this doe has had this is the first one I had seen like this. They were both missing from the elbows down, even marks, and did not have chew marks, blood, or other damage on it. I assume it was born that way but don't know for sure.

    I am thinking of having her next kindling due in early July. Then if she does it again I can scoop everything up and hopefully, she will get the drift. Thank you for the suggestion.
     
  4. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    I am not as nice and forgiving as a lot of people on this list. Although I am not a rabbit expert, I have raised meat rabbits and I was very successful at it. I would give a doe two chances. If a new mother had her babies on the wire I rebred her at once. If she did it again, she was dinner. Mine. I replaced any doe that after a fair trial, would not breed and wouldn't raise her litter. Does that didn't produce were a waste of my time and money.

    Good breeding stock is money well spent. If I were you, I would replace those does. But that's me.
     
    eggbert420 likes this.
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Since you're breeding meat rabbits, I would also be "less forgiving" when it comes to unproductive does that are poor mothers. First time mothers can be a little crazy, but seeing as Alice has done the same thing twice, I don't think that is a good excuse. A meat rabbit that isn't producing and sustaining live kits is a waste of money.

    With that said, many people use a "three strikes" rule when breeding does. Alice has two strikes. I would probably rebreed her now and see how her next litter goes. If it goes well and you're happy with the number/quality/growth rate of the kits, keep her. If not, cull her or send her to a pet home.
     
    eggbert420 likes this.
  6. dan26552

    dan26552 True BYC Addict

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    Waiting for epicness.
    My Coop

    X2
     
  7. DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "No front legs" says get better rabbits. If you eventually do get a good litter out of your rabbits, they will be carriers of the gene that caused the defect. Since you don't know if the gene was from the buck or the doe, you cant just get rid of one. And since both does are not proving themselves good breeders, why keep them? They may make good pets, but seem to be causing more trouble than they are worth.
    While it is normal to expect some difficulties with a first-time dam, this is beyond ridiculous. Your care isn't the problem. From what i can see, you're doing a good job. Invest in some good rabbits, and you will be much more pleased with the results.
     
    eggbert420 likes this.
  8. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    X2. The key to any livestock production is good breeding stock. Without that, nothing else matters.
     
    eggbert420 likes this.
  9. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Did the kit that had no front legs look like it was born that way, or could it have had legs that were chewed off? It isn't unusual for does to accidentally bite off ears/legs/other extremities while cleaning kits or pulling out a stuck kit while giving birth.
     
  10. kanelson92

    kanelson92 Just Hatched

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    That is good to know out of all the kits she has had this was the only one that was missing legs.
     

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