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rabbits

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  • rabbits

    one of my does had her first (and MINE!) live litter today. She was earlier than "norm" and thus I was unprepared. Luckily I checked in on the gang in time to catch them before the little things chilled too badly and died. Now I have 5 kits in a nestbox in my dining room and a first time mom that I'm not entirely sure ... ok, I'm REALLY sure doesn't have a clue. Hopefully she's figure it out in the morning when I take them out for feeding... otherwise??? Advice is always welcome.
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

  • #2
    Wait, I'm confused. Did you take the kits away from momma?

    Why would you "take them out" for feeding?

    A quick google search turns up that they should not be removed from the doe and they should not be handled before they're furred.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      google's all nice and well, but I'm going on 3 different rabbit lists with advice from breeders who've been at this for several years... some as much as 40 years. I just thought that someone on here might have more ideas.

      If the doe has the kits on the wire and not in a nestbox, in fact makes no attempt whatsoever to make a nest, then it's not like you can't handle them. if you don't, they will die. Same with when it's cold out. Rabbits only feed once or twice/day... so taking the nestbox away from momma (who's out in the cold) and bringing them back to her for a couple feedings per day until of course they're furred and able to fend for themselves IS a good thing.
      ************
      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, good luck then. I'll be surprised if momma accepts her babies after having them taken away. I hope they're able to survive.

        Comment


        • #5
          GOOD LUCK!!!! We have a doe up in our attic that had two kits last week brought her in when it got down to -26 a couple days before she kindled. The little ones are doing great.
          Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

          Comment


          • #6
            No advice other then lots of peace and quiet! I know mine didn't like to be disturbed. We want pics though, bunnnies are so cute when they just get all their fur and are still tiny!!!!
            Proud Mama of a BOY rider

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh how sweet. I cannot wait to see pics!!
              Ms Robin
              Farm Websites & SEO, Low Prices, Barter available!
              ~No Horses to Slaughter clique~

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Simkie... I appreciate the concern, but seriously... you're going to condemn methods based on what you google?

                Thanks all. We're down to 4 of the original 6 this morning but theyr'e still all wiggly. I think they'll be cuter when they actually get some fuzz on them. I *think* mom is doing ok with them... she spent about 20 minutes in the box when I took it to her this morning. Have some calls in to folks to find out if she's doing things right -- I don't know and she's a first timer who gave birth on the wire... something tells me she's clueless as well. :-) Here's hoping!
                ************
                "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm completely ignorant on this subject but am intrigued. Do you raise these for meat, fur or pets?

                  Sorry if the question offends, my neighbor raises them for meat, I've eaten rabbit, but it doesn't seem to be regular American fare for some reason.


                  county - why are there rabbits in your attic? All I've got in mine are mice.
                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                  -Rudyard Kipling

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tle View Post
                    Simkie... I appreciate the concern, but seriously... you're going to condemn methods based on what you google?
                    A little touchy, aren't we?

                    I'm not condemning you at all. I am a little perplexed as to why you'd come here asking for rabbit advice when you've got such excellent rabbit resources available to you. I raise pet mice, have some excellent pet mice resources and wouldn't even think about posting here if I had problems. If you're so sure that what you're doing is right, why are you asking us for help?

                    Good luck with your bunnies.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      The primary goal is meat (for us and for the dogs) but I'm also keeping a very close eye on show and pet sales. Took one of my does and a buck to my first ARBA show on NYE and the doe won her class! The doe that has the babies now already has a Grand champion leg when she won Best of Variety at a show in November. I want to be able to have quality show stock but simply cull REALLY hard for the meat. Should provide us with meat and improve the stock quality. We've also started buying culls from other breeders... although we have 4 left from our last purchase that hubby refuses to butcher. We ended up buying 1 mini satin and a bunch of netherland dwarves and hubby is one where he doesn't mind butchering, but has to be useful/make sense. He got to the last few of the dwarves and he said he couldn't do any more that size... it no longer made sense. Anyone want a pet?

                      As for the question offending... doesn't offend me. I'm actually glad someone asked because it opens the door for me to talk about it -which I really want to do because it's an interest, not to mention all the similarities I'm finding between rabbit and horse care... it's really a lot alike. I tried on the "other" board and was massively flamed for it.

                      If anyone wants to see pictures, I have some of my breeding/show stock online at www.SerenityValleyFarmOH.com -- just click on Rabbits. Z is the one who won her class last week... Roma is the one with the kits now.... Cassie should be due late this week (although I never successfully palpated her).
                      ************
                      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Simkie... I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to come off like that. I do have excellent resources on my lists and maybe I shoudl stick with them. But I'm also of the opinion that knowledge can be found anywhere, so I figured it couldn't hurt to ask here too. I know a lot of horse people are into other animals... you are. I guess part of my instant defensiveness is from being flamed to a crisp on other boards for wanting to discuss anything with my rabbits. For taking that and applying it to your comments, I apologize.
                        ************
                        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If she had her babies early that would be why she didn't pull any fur. Rabbits that have their babies on wire don't really seem to know what to do with them until they are in a proper nestbox - luckily you got to them in time! All should be fine, if momma is going in the nextbox, she will feed the babies.

                          What breed do you have? I raise Palominos and American Chinchillas. Rabbits are fun!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Subira... thanks. I keep watching really closely and am still really hesitant to say "YAY we have kits!" in case more perish... but I'm hopeful.

                            I have New Zealands... whites, blacks and broken blacks. Wouldn't mind including reds but that may have to wait til we're on the farm and can expand. The kids want "pets" so I think they're going to end up with Mini Rex. I had standard Rex when I was in 4H in high school and really enjoyed them... but with the Minis, given the cage sizes we have, I can put both pets in 1 cage (probably the really nice outdoor hutch we got from the grandpa).

                            They are fun!
                            ************
                            "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                            "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              J Swan my wife moved this doe in the attic to kindle because it was -25 here and she was afraid they would freeze to death. She raises Silver Fox rabbits and thats what this one is shes hoping to get a really nice doe from the litter to keep for breeding. She also has a few meat type does that she raises meat rabbits from and sells. Mostly New Zealands. Back in the 70's I had over 200 rabbits and had meat contracts I sold to. Now my wife has her Silver Foxes as a hobby to breed and show.
                              Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Mini Rex are awesome little rabbits! I started with them..just be prepared if they decide to show there is tons of competition! They are very popular right now.

                                My dad used to raise new zealand reds and apparently we are getting some whites from someone. Good luck!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  How are your baby bunnies, tle? I hope they're all plump and happy

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks Simkie for thinking of us.

                                    Unfortunately they're not plump and happy at the moment although I'm trying. I tried a couple different ideas tonight... stuff like bringing mom to babies instead of taking the box into her cage, putting her in it and covering with a towel (keeping her in AND calming her to outside stimuli), even flipped her over on her back and put a kit on her teat. One of them was going gangbusters on finding and latching on. Unfortunately, he didn't get anything. I tried squeezing her myself and got nothing. I don't think she has any milk to give. I'm currently waiting for some unpasteurized goat milk (with egg yolk and honey) to cool down to try and hand feed. Several folks say that it's worked, but handfeeding doesn't work very often (VERY low chance). But... my first live litter -- have to try.

                                    I really wish my broken doe had taken when she was bred the first time. She's had 2 litters and I could have fostered the black kits to her. But she didn't take and is due later this week.
                                    ************
                                    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                                    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Oh, tle, I'm sorry about your babies I hope they take to the goat's milk...

                                      Is this sort of thing normal with rabbits? It would break my heart!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I used to raise rabbits (for the table) 30 years ago when I lived in Montana and just started again last spring here in Kentucky. I'm not as experienced as a lot of people that have bred rabbits for years and I've noticed a lot of things have changed, too, since I raised them before. (Thank goodness for the Internet and a couple of the "rabbit boards"!) I know I was always told before not to handle the kits before they were 3 or 4 days old at the earliest ... now the experienced breeders tell me that once the doe is through, they take the nest box out, check the kits to make sure there isn't a dead kit and that all the kits are healthy and normal, then put it back in. I've done that this time and have had no problems with the does.

                                        I've not had to deal with a doe that didn't pull hair when she kindled or one that didn't have milk so I'm afraid I don't have any "hands on" experience that might help. The one thing I do, which is something I've done with horses and dogs as well, is feed my does a pinch of raspberry leaves ... and a handful of good, leafy alfalfa hay. Both seem to help milk production.

                                        I have the standard Rex for meat and the pelts, plus a pair of the Velveteen Lops (a breed developed from Rex and English Lops that have the Rex coat and lop ears) as an experiment for pets/ show rabbits though I probably am not going to show much myself.

                                        Good luck ... and sorry that your first experience has been so stressful. How early was she?
                                        Kaleidoscope Farm
                                        http://www.stallionstation.com/kaleidoscopefarm

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