baby rabbits : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Help!I raise Angora rabbits and have been having difficulty with the mothers taking the babies. I have one mother raising nine and they are three weeks old so I do not think what I am feeding or caring for them is at fault necessarily.I do not even mind bottle feeding them because you only have to do it two times per day and they suck quickly and are done. I tried this last week and got them to a week and they died on me. I used lamb milk replacer,kept them on a low setting heating pad and stimulated them to go to the bathroom.It seems every time we have a weather change or hard rain this is when they have their babies and I believe this contributes to the dilema. Have anyone out there have had success in raising bunnies by hand?Can you give me some tips?I have much difficulty in killing or leaving kits to just die and would like to give them a chance. Thanks, Terry

-- Terry Lipe (, April 24, 2002


Terry exactly what is the problem with the mothers not taking care of the babies? How do you know they are not taking care of them? We need more info.

From what you have said so far, you may want to find goats milk. start with small amounts and work up. As I recall, but I will check my book and get back to you, rabbits milk is really rich. Are they getting anything from mom before you take over?

-- Susan in MN (, April 24, 2002.

Terry, Where are these rabbits housed? When you say not taking care of the babies what exactly do you mean? Are they kindling out of the nest box? Are they being canibilistic? Do you have any problems with mice, rats, racoons, snakes, etc? More info would help us figure out what is going on.

-- tracy (, April 24, 2002.

Terry, it is most confusing isn't it when you want to help and don't want to lose the babies. It is not unusual for the doe to NOT feed her babies for a couple of days, don't know why they do this? If it would help, check this site out, it is full of info On breeding, birthing and raising the bunnies. Good luck, LQ

-- Little Quacker (, April 24, 2002.

They are in regular rabbit cages with metal nesting boxes outdoors where there is good ventilation. I keep tarps on the tops and 3 sides for adequate protection from the weather.I think now I will raise more because of all the green especially thistle that I pull out and feed and soon to have brocoli.the rabbits either eat them or scatter them and I will find live ones on the floor.

-- Terry Lipe (, April 25, 2002.

Terry, Could it be that dogs, or stray cats or some other animals are coming nearby and scaring them? I've heard that this will cause bunnies to eat their babies or abandon them. But there are some mamas who just aren't good mama's. If they won't raise a litter after three tries I don't breed them any more. Oh yes,,,,are the little mama's in cages by themselves with the nest boxes? I have a friend who doesn't move the male out until the doe has the babies and she refused to take care of them. I've told him he needs to let mama" have a cage of her own right off the bat! best wishes!

-- Suzy in Bama (, April 25, 2002.

To get great litter yeild from does I feel you need three things. # 1 go with a drop nest box [ how many rabbits in the wild do you see jumping into trees to make a nest?]. #2 keep doe in a safe place where she wont be disturbed by cats, kids, dogs, rats ect. #3 feed a high protein pellet for pregnant and nursing does. Just my two cents.

-- kathy h (, April 25, 2002.

Here are a couple of ideas: Is there plenty of straw in the nest box? If you put the nest box in too many days in advance, the doe sometimes wets or messes in it before her maternal instincts kick in; then she doesn't consider it fit for nesting. Are these first time mothers? They often don't do it right the first time, including having babies on the cage floor and/or eating them. Be sure to give them another chance. If they take straw from the nestbox and make a nest on the cage floor, we have never had any luck putting it back in the box. They just delay having babies while they do it over again. But by waiting until the babies were born, then scooping up straw, babies and all and putting them into the nest box a few litters have been saved. It's frustrating, cause most rabbits who do that wait around until we are asleep before having the litters so we can't save them. Best of luck to you.

-- Dianne Wood (, April 25, 2002.

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