Force Nursing a Rabbit Kit

Today I discovered that one of Piper’s kits must not have been nursing. I didn’t check them yesterday and I wish I had. It was at the bottom of the pile of kits and I was afraid it was dead. It barely moved when I touched it and had a grey tone to its skin and it was just skin and bones. The poor little thing was 1/3 the size of the other six kits in the litter. I think it was just too weak to fight with the bigger kits for milk. I did coax it to wiggle and squirm eventually.

Fortunately this was Piper’s kit and not Sweetie Belle’s. Piper is so laid back and easy going that while I am sure she did not like being turned onto her back and cradled, she put up with it very well and didn’t fight or kick at all. It took the baby a bit to latch on it was so weak, but once it did we began to see some immediate changes. It went from grey to white and its ears pinked up and were no longer flat against the head. It actually looked like the skin was filling out as the belly filled. The little thing must have been starving. After a couple of minutes it started rooting around to find another nipple. It probably switched around five or six times. I kept one hand on it while it did.

The difference from before and after was really remarkable. I was glad the husband was here to hold Piper securely while I took charge of the kit. The son was able to snap a few photos. The first one above is when it looked the worst. And by the end it looked so much better. You can see the changes below.

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When I put it back with the other kits I made sure it was on top of the pile instead of on the bottom and covered it with fur. We are going to force nurse for the next couple of days until we are sure the kit is strong enough to do it on its own.

The rest of Piper’s kits are all fat and big. They are bigger than Sweetie Belle’s nine still, even being a day younger. But SB’s kits are all fat and healthy, too. She’s a good first time mother. And she’s still remaining very calm.

Once the excitement of the force nursing was over, we placed 3 of Lola’s kits in another cage that finally got cleaned today. They were super excited to have all that room to run around in. And Lola and the other three kits seemed relieved to not have to share such cramped quarters with the whole brood anymore.

Hopefully tomorrow we will get the rest of the cages washed out in the afternoon. We will likely slaughter on Sunday, since in the morning we are going down to the ranch we buy our beef and pork from. I am taking an extra $100 so we can get some extra meat for canning as well. I am ready to put some beef on the shelf.

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