Why did my baby bunnies die? :(

anchorsaway22

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 22, 2014
3
0
7
We started our meat rabbit adventure a couple months ago with a proven new Zealand buck and 2 young Florida white does. The first mating didn't seem to take as we had no nesting, hair pulling or babies so we bred again. 31 days later we had 6 babies from one doe and 8 from the other!

Everything seemed to be going well until one morning (4 days old) we went out and all 8 in one box and 2 from the other were dead. It had gotten colder that night (from 50s down to about 38) so we assumed they got to cold. Nothing seemed outwardly wrong. So we divided the remaining babies between the 2 moms. We also put more straw in the nest boxes and started putting a blanket over the cages at night.

Then this morning (babies are 1 week old) another was dead.

I'm so upset. Did we do something wrong? Is it just because the moms haven't had a litter before? Should we bring the kits in at night? Can the one baby survive by itself with out a litter mate to keep warm?

Ugh. I didn't think it would be this hard! Thanks for your input in advance!
 

DurhamDuck

Songster
8 Years
Mar 26, 2011
413
15
121
Durham, Connecticut
Not a rabbit expert but seems a little cold. Keep in mind that wild rabbits can burrow underground where it is warm.

I don't think separating the kits from mother is a good idea; keep them together, indoors or out.

Don't be too discouraged, just try to learn from it.
 

Dutchgirl

Not Dutch!
11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
5,034
14
266
U.S.A.
I'm sorry :( I don't know why they died, but -

One kit by itself might not survive in cold weather. Keep the (three?) that are left together, if possible. It's best not to have fewer than three kits in one nest.

And while even I don't think it's the best idea to separate the kits from their mother, we have successfully done it. One kit died of starvation (at least that's what I'm guessing) but we made absolutely sure that they were well fed in the morning and in the evening, and then brought them in in the daytime. Six kits out of eight (the first kit was dead the first day) survived and are healthy, happy, 6 1/2 week-old bunnies. :)
I wouldn't do it again if I didn't have to, but it worked.
 

anchorsaway22

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 22, 2014
3
0
7
Thanks for the responses. Will one of the does suffer if we take all the babies from her and give them to one mom? Yes you are correct, there are 3 babies left.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
10 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,533
8,176
591
Wilmington, NC
It really isn't good to have only one or two kits in a litter. Some does seem to lose their milk or just lose interest in a litter that small. That few babies have a hard time keeping warm. If the doe does continue to nurse them, the kits of such numerically small litters often grow too fast, which can result in digestive or skeletal problems. 6 is often given as the "ideal" number of kits in a large breed litter; I often put small litters together to get as close to that number as I reasonably can.

I frequently take any litters I may have in during cold weather. Some rabbits will react badly to it, but all of my does have learned to tolerate it.
 
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anchorsaway22

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 22, 2014
3
0
7
Thanks all. I moved all three remaining babies to one nest and they seem to be doing well. Starting to get a fuzzy coat now :) I hope the baby-less doe does alright and doesn't get mastitis.
 
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