Rabbit ate her kits :(

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Rcschellman, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. Rcschellman

    Rcschellman Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi y'all! Posting here because I've read and reread every post I can everywhere about does eating their kits, but none of them "fit" with my situation.

    About a month and a half ago, my Angora doe had what I am assuming was her first litter (we adopted/rescued her the month before, and had no clue she was of age or was able). She had pulled some hair, but again, since I didn't think she was old enough I thought it was excessive grooming due to stress. So. She had no nest box, and I found her babies the next morning mostly piled neatly. There were a couple who were off by themselves. None of them were alive. [​IMG] I'm taking blame for that litter, as I'm sure they got too cold overnight (we here in MO at that time were still having some 50 and 60-ish degree temps overnight) and I suck and didn't know what was happening.

    So we rebred her (to a different buck) about a week later. She kindled late last night, and only had two kits. She ate parts of them...was an awful discovery first thing this morning. One was in the nest box and one was out on the cage floor.

    Do I rebreed, or is she just an awful mom? Other posts I've read say if the doe eats her first and second litters to give her one more chance, as she may just be inexperienced. I don't know whether to count this as her second litter or not...to be honest, I can't stand much more loss of life. Our entire flock was wiped out a few weeks back too...I think maybe by a possum. We've since caught one, and Fort Knox'd the coop and poultry yard again. Starting to think I'm not cut out for all this!! [​IMG] Any thoughts or advice or stories are much appreciated. Thank y'all!!!
     
  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    When there are only 2 kits in a litter, they are often so big and it takes so long for the doe to deliver them, they frequently don't survive the birthing process. Which is a way of saying, you can't be sure either loss should be "blamed" on the doe (or you, for that matter). But I think I should warn you; if you can't stand seeing dead babies, you do not want to breed rabbits! I've had people say they want to get a pair and let them have a litter so their kids can learn about "the natural process of birth" or some such, and I sometimes ask, "how do you feel about the kids learning about young things dying?" Even when the doe does everything right, you often wind up with one or two dead babies in an otherwise healthy, lively litter. Babies get pulled out of the nest box and die of exposure, they get stepped on; there are countless ways to lose them. I am sorry for your losses, I know, it can be disheartening and even sickening, but it does come with the territory.[​IMG]

    Better luck next time.[​IMG]
     
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  3. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The first time wasn't your fault. They may have been sick, or died at birth. Rabbits will kick dead or sick bunnies out of the nest.

    I would try breeding her again and see what happens.

    One other thing to always remember is that most rabbits are horrible mothers. They usually nurse 2 times a day for a few minutes.
     
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  4. Rcschellman

    Rcschellman Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you both!! I kinda expected/tried to prepare for SOME losses...but shwhew...a whole flock and a whole litter within a month was just awful. I'm an RVT so "used" to the life/death balance, just haven't felt like we've been balanced lately! Ai yi yi. Bunnylady, you just raised a really, really good point...these two kits were WAY bigger than the ones in the first litter. They were each about as long as my hand (maybe about seven or eight inches). I didn't even think about that!! Seeing as how this is our first breeding endeavor, I have a lot to learn yet, and sure do appreciate the guidance!! I Love Layers, thank you as well...I'm prepping myself for the concept of some babies not getting enough to eat. Perhaps on the next litter I'll find out. [​IMG] Again, thank you both!!
     
  5. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    What do you mean "most rabbits are horrible mothers"? If a doe makes a good nest and raises a healthy litter she is not a horrible mother. I think the fact that the doe spends most of the time away from her babies is a survival mechanism. By staying away, the litter is less likely to be found and eaten by predators. At least that is what I read. Makes sense to me.

    I Love Layers is right, though. Breed the doe one more time and see what happens. When I had rabbits, if a first time doe lost her litter, I bred her back. If she did it again she was dinner. Mine. But I was a lot more unforgiving than a lot of breeders.
     
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  6. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What I meant is that the fact that they only feed for a few minutes etc. Its what most people refer to those kind of behaviors since the bunnies at the bottom of the nest don't get as much etc.

    Overall there survival instinct is good but most people just refer to it as bad mothering
     
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  7. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Most people that work with animals know that it is highly inappropriate to impose some artificial human standard of behavior on animals, as is passing judgement on the instincts developed through countless generations of successful ancestors. Species evolve behaviors that help them survive - anything that allows an animal to contribute its genes to future generations is not "bad." A human that sat on her child for 3 minutes could be called a "bad mother," because such behavior is inappropriate for the species and would endanger the life of the child, but nobody would call a chicken a bad mother when she does it for 3 weeks.[​IMG]
     
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