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Kits annoying mom

 
Samantha White Feather
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So my doe Rapunzle kindled on October 15. I had to remove the nest box 3 days ago because I kept finding them outside of it and I was worried that they would be cold as it appeared climbing in was too hard. I left her nest fixings as is. I just removed the box. Today the kits have started drinking and eating pellets/ hay. All good signs. Except momma is looking frustrated today. Every time I go outside there are kits under her nursing. I think they are at her constantly. Should I give her breaks? I thought about bringing the kits in the house for bit of handling (several are replacing does I don't want to keep). Or perhaps giving her some time in the rabbit run. But I wasn't sure if that was necessary. Any suggestions?

More info-
This doe did not succeed in the colony due to aggression. I plan on keeping some of her kits (Mom and dad are very docile) to replace 2 aggressive does I pulled from the colony.

What age can they be introduced from mom into the established colony?
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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forest garden hugelkultur
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I've found that the first few days out of the box can be a bit stressful for the doe. The kits constantly want to nurse, but once they start getting rejected frequently they will find the feed and water to be a good alternative. It's been my experience that the nest box should be left in place for 3 weeks during summer months and 4 weeks during winter. If the kits can get out of the box, they can get back in. Usually by day 14 I start seeing kits out of the box. It's a 10 inch jump to get back in but they quickly figure it out. It's easier for them if the box is in the corner of the cage, where they can get a little extra traction from the cage wall.
If the doe is seriously agressive towards her kits (biting/scratching), I would consider removing them and placing them with another doe that has similarly aged kits. If they are old enough to wean then you could move them to a grow out cage to fatten up a bit. As far as keeping some of them, keep in mind that aggression is a trait that the doe could have passed on to her kits. It may be easier to cull this litter at fryer weight and raise out kits from a better mother to replace the aggressive doe.

That being said, if the doe you have is just a little cranky and doesn't harm the kits, give her a chance to see it though. Intervention might be least ideal thing if you want to get this particular doe to be better behaved. She's going to have to learn how it's done without you having to intervene all the time.

I recently had to cull a doe that I really liked. She was a really nice and docile rabbit with good physical traits, but she was terrible at getting bred. It took a number of "forced" breedings to get one litter out of her. She was a great mom but after a further 3 months of failing to get rebred I had to let her go on to other jobs. Now I'm in the process of going though 20 or so kits to find a replacement.
It's hard at times but I know it's better in the long run to have animals that will do their "jobs" without too much coddling from me.

I hope this helps a bit.
 
Samantha White Feather
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She just keeps going from inside and outside the hutch. Just when she settles in one spot and they start latching on she immediately will hop away from them. I tried to tip the nest box to the side but we built it taller than the inside hutch is wide and it won't tip (next box I get my husband to make I will take that into consideration). I will try to find something similar for her. Thanks for the suggestion. How often should I handle kits I want to keep (1 porker is bigger than everybody by 2x) so that they are not terrified of me and like to be petted? I am putting a lot of hay in this cage and it is disappearing quite quickly along with the pellets. How much should a doe and her kits in the same cage be getting? I was doing a cup of pellets and unlimited timothy/alfalfa blend.

Another question:
My doe Kindled 2 days early. I had been planning on removing the buck that morning after cleaning stalls. I was not impressed to have found him mounting her immediately after kindling. He squeaked and fell off. In your experiences what are the chances this doe has been rebread. He didn't mount her after that as he was removed immediately. I plan as a whole to give them 3 weeks in between the breedings. I'm not happy with this accident. Suggestions on how long to give between if she has been breed before I breed her again.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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I can't imagine that he managed to rebreed but I would make sure she has a nest box ready in case she does have a litter 30ish day from that first breeding date. I would carry on with the regular breeding schedule as if the other one never occurred. If by chance the early breeding took then she'll be very unhappy when he tries to breed her next time. A pregnant doe isn't usually willing to breed and will often growl, kick and bite the buck if he's to amorous and she can't away from him. If she'll already 3 weeks pregnant you should be able to feel her belly and tell if there are kits.


Handling the kits is ok as long as the doe is ok with it. I try not to handle mine too much. I check the nest once a day after they are born to make sure they are all in the same place in the nest and alive. I check their bellies to make sure they are eating well too. I've been lucky to have good moms and pretty compliant kits.

On nest boxes: I use 1/2 inch X 1 inch welded wire formed in the shape of a shoe box. The dimensions are 10in tall X 10 in wide X 18in long. They leave a 6 inch gap between the cage roof and the nest box top. Even my largest does can fit easily into the box. I line with cardboard in winter and pack it full with wood chips and straw. I make a fist sized hole in one end of the nest to encourage her to line it with fur. I've had a few boxes get tipped over so I've made little wire clips that hold the next box upright by attaching ti to the side of the cage.

On feed: I give a doe with kits all the pellets they can eat plus some hay. After the kits leave the cage, the doe goes back on her regular ration until she's visibly pregnant again. From there she get's a little more than her regular ration, plus hay and a veggie scrap from time to time. I stop giving greens once the kits exit the nest box as it's easy to give little kits diarrhea with too much green stuff like lettuce or collards.

I think that it

 
Joe Camarena
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Samantha White Feather wrote:She just keeps going from inside and outside the hutch. Just when she settles in one spot and they start latching on she immediately will hop away from them. I tried to tip the nest box to the side but we built it taller than the inside hutch is wide and it won't tip (next box I get my husband to make I will take that into consideration). I will try to find something similar for her. Thanks for the suggestion. How often should I handle kits I want to keep (1 porker is bigger than everybody by 2x) so that they are not terrified of me and like to be petted? I am putting a lot of hay in this cage and it is disappearing quite quickly along with the pellets. How much should a doe and her kits in the same cage be getting? I was doing a cup of pellets and unlimited timothy/alfalfa blend.

Another question:
My doe Kindled 2 days early. I had been planning on removing the buck that morning after cleaning stalls. I was not impressed to have found him mounting her immediately after kindling. He squeaked and fell off. In your experiences what are the chances this doe has been rebread. He didn't mount her after that as he was removed immediately. I plan as a whole to give them 3 weeks in between the breedings. I'm not happy with this accident. Suggestions on how long to give between if she has been breed before I breed her again.


I would bet a dollar that she is rebred. Free feed her as much as she will eat. Most likely the doe will have a smaller litter from this breeding. Planned breedings depend on how hardy your stock is, the length of your breeding season and what you want out of your does.

I breed back three weeks after kindling, but know a lot of people that bred back two weeks after kindling. Most casual breeders will wait until the kits have been 100% weaned and moved off the doe. My breeding season is short due to the long hot summers in Central Texas. I push my does a little harder during my short breeding season and they have the summers off.

Joe
 
Samantha White Feather
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I put her in with my buck. He had no interest in mounting her. After 20 min he only attempted once. I suspect she's been re bread. How do I go about weaning her litter? Would feeding an emergency rabbit formula help them grow bigger? Any suggestions would be great.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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forest garden hugelkultur
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Some serious rabbit breeders ween at 4 weeks of age but it can be tricky. By the looks of it, you might not really have a choice. If it were me I would keep the kits with mom until 4 days before she kindles the next litter so they can get the most from her milk. Four days isn't much time for a doe to rest but It's probably all you can afford at this point. Most of my does stay with their kits until they are 6 weeks old then they have a week off from kits before they kindle the next litter. Move the kits to a well protected grow-out space and feed them as much as they will eat. There are different formulations of pellets for rabbits. Some have more protein and fat for "Show Rabbits". I would probably try that to maybe boost weight gain for the kits as well as helping the doe get ready for the next litter. Having hay available is always good too. You may also want to try oats or sunflower seeds. Once the new litter is born, keep a close eye on them to make sure she's nursing them. Even with all of that I wouldn't be too surprised if I had some losses on either side.
On the good side, any kits that survive an early weening might help boost the genetic toughness of your herd should you choose to keep and breed some of them. Also, if the doe manages to pull this off without losses GREAT! She's a keeper.

Good luck
 
Joe Camarena
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Along with the other advice I would just re-emphasize free feed the doe and kits. As far as weaning the kits at four weeks, that isn't much of an issue. Some of my does stop nursing their kits at that age on their own. Taking them off of the doe in a separate area four days before she is due, I second that opinion as well.

Joe
 
Samantha White Feather
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So my kits are getting moved into their own section today to grow a little bigger. I would eventually like to introduce the does into the colony while they are getting bigger. in the colony is 2 semi-bonded does, they tolerate each other but were from different farms. 1 doe has 13 day old kits. the other doe was bread last week. I want to keep some of the kits and to replace the 2 aggressive does I had to remove from the colony (Not bonded does that did not like being transferred from cage living to colony living). How would you go about it and at what age (4 weeks, 6 weeks, older yet)?
 
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