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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey ya'll. I'm relatively new to rabbits. We were given a breeding pair of California meat rabbits and after a few months we decided to give a go at breeding. Mom had 4 babies. It was a very textbook kindling, one didn't make it though we never found it (assuming mom ate it). The remaining 3 thrived and were processed at 4 months. We did a second round of breeding about 2 months after weaning and they were born yesterday. I think mom had some of them on the floor of the cage instead of the nesting box. One was missing a leg and bloody when we found it, one was trying to squirm out of the side of the cage, and another was just outside the nesting box. 4 more were inside the burrow in the nesting box. This morning when we checked they were all dead. I did notice there was no fur in the burrow.
I guess I am just wondering if I did something wrong, or if it was just an off batch, or if I shouldn't breed her anymore. I don't really know anyone else that breeds rabbits and saw there was a sub-forum here so I figured I'd ask!
 

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We've never had any mothers do it, but I have heard of mothers having their babies on the cage floor instead of in the nest box. She may just not be a very good mother. Did she show any signs of wanting to build her nest? i.e. cramming hay in her mouth and arranging it in the box? No fur in the burrow is basically a death sentence for babies. They need the fur to survive since they have none themselves. We have a doe that goes ridiculous with fur pulling so we always take a bit out to save for future kits that maybe don't have enough. If it were me, I'd probably give the doe one more chance at breeding and if it doesn't work out then cull her. That way you know if it was a fluke or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We've never had any mothers do it, but I have heard of mothers having their babies on the cage floor instead of in the nest box. She may just not be a very good mother. Did she show any signs of wanting to build her nest? i.e. cramming hay in her mouth and arranging it in the box? No fur in the burrow is basically a death sentence for babies. They need the fur to survive since they have none themselves. We have a doe that goes ridiculous with fur pulling so we always take a bit out to save for future kits that maybe don't have enough. If it were me, I'd probably give the doe one more chance at breeding and if it doesn't work out then cull her. That way you know if it was a fluke or not.
She did arrange the burrow, just no fur. The first time she did a great job and the babies were deep in the burrow with lots of fur. This time it was a deep burrow just not much fur. I was almost thinking maybe there was something wrong and she wasn't ready. I looked up the breeding date and she was only 1 day before her exact due date. I'll give her one more chance before we replace her. I just hated to think maybe I missed something.
 

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Thanks for tagging me!

That is odd that she would mess up with the second kindling. I have had does sometimes have the first kit on the wire before they realize that they are in labor and they need to go into the nest. I would give her another shot at it since she proved with her first litter that she can raise kits. Do your rabbits tolerate being brushed? Since you don't have another doe to steal fur from I would take up brushing your doe and collecting what you get. That way if she doesn't pull anything for the next litter you can line the nest box.

I don't recall my does ever eating kits but I have read about it. What is she getting for feed? I would imagine that behavior could be either stress or nutritional deficiency. Or she just may not be a good mom.

What is her body condition like? If she is well fleshed I would breed her now or she may get fat without having a litter to nurse. If she is thin make sure to give her some time before breeding again. I'll see if I can find a chart with body condition scoring for rabbits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you so much for all of this info! She does sort of allow us to brush her, so I can definitely do that! Could I also save the male's fur for the same purpose? He loves being handled while the doe is a little more skittish.
For feed we are doing Dumor rabbit feed, about 1/2 cup per day and unlimited alfalfa timothy rabbit hay. She rarely finishes all her pellets. We also give fresh veggie treats and they get time in the yard a few times per week. I would probably put her body condition at a 4.
 

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I would avoid fur from the buck. My does have no problem with the buck smell but without knowing her personality, I wouldn't want to take any chances with her rejecting the kits. If she is already more skittish I wouldn't risk it.

Since she is on the heavy side, I would either breed her now or restrict her diet. You want them to be at a 3. What percent protein is the DuMor? I've never used it before. It sounds like it is plenty for her though since she is at a high weight on it.

And you are welcome! 😁 I love talking about rabbits! We all love pictures here as well if you have any of your rabbits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The DuMor rabbit feed we have is 13% protein.
I will not use the buck fur. Maybe handling her more will help her be more tame with us. I need to learn how to trim her nails because there have been times we end up looking like we got in a cat fight! This picture is from when they were dropped off to us about
Hand Rabbit Ear Hare Rabbits and Hares

Rabbit Rabbits and Hares Mammal Whiskers Domestic rabbit
 

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They are adorable!

If you have ever trimmed nails on a dog/cat/bird it is the same concept. If they have white nails it is even easier because you can see the pink quick in the nail. I use my hoof trimmer because that's all I have but if you have a pet nail trimmer that would be good too. I hold the rabbit as if it's sitting in my lap with it's back to me and use one hand to hold the trimmers and one to hold each paw as I trim. It may take one person holding the rabbit and one person trimming the nails since she is skittish. Most of mine relax in my lap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok I might brave that chore over the holiday the next few days! I'm always so scared to hurt them so I'm hesitant. I was the same way with my goats lol!
 

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We raise Californians to and have had similar experiences. Sometimes even the best doe can have a bad kindling. Most often though it's on the first litter, but it can happen on subsequent litters. I have found that if I wait too late to put the nest box in the cage, then about half the time, the doe will have the babies on the wire or not take care of the ones she does have. So I make sure to put the nest box in atleast 3 days before due date. Nutrition, body condition, and age alot of times are the main factors for lost litters. Rancho Draco had some good advice as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is it bad if the nest box is in there longer? By mistake I put it in there over a week ahead of time but she was getting in it so I didn't take it out.
We found two more babies since I posted. I think my husband must have just missed them the first time. They were also both out of the nest and dead. It would have been a litter of 9! Ugh. I don't handle losses well so this one is bothering me. I feel like I should have learned way more before I took on rabbits.
 

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I usually put mine in 5-7 days ahead of time. Some does will just use it as a litter box that early so it takes a bit of trial and error to find out what each doe needs.

I totally understand. I've learned to accept losing a couple kits in the beginning but it is still hard to lose a whole litter. Sometimes all you can do is breed her and try again.
 
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