A Time to Die and a Time to Mourn

Kalia likes the camera very much. She thinks that all photos should be close ups. She is such a sweet rabbit. I am glad we decided to keep her as a pet. She is a comforting presence. Especially today. The second baby kit succumbed to the illness. We spent a lot of time trying to get her through it. She was eating about 1/4 tsp of the Critical Care and drinking about 1/2 a tsp of water every three hours, and she was pretty active up until the last feed, but she was losing weight. She died during the night. I didn’t think she would live, but I still had a little bit of irrational hope.

There are a couple of things I am taking away from this. One is that treatment needs to be started at the first sign of diarrhea, but usually by that time it is too late. Two is that I shouldn’t give fodder to the mother during the week that the kits transition from milk to hay and pellets. I will switch to giving the mother kale or chard during that time period, or feeding her fodder when she is out of her cage.

So from two litters of a combined fourteen kits we are now down to ten, five with Phoebe and five with Andromeda. I am hoping and praying that there will be no more death for a while. All of the remaining kits are very robust and active and there are no signs of illness. Large litters are more drama than I want to deal with. I am going to limit the bucks to two successful breedings per doe from now on. I think I’d much rather have litters of six kits that survive than litters of nine kits where some don’t.

I’ve spent some time in Ecclesiastes this morning seeking comfort. The first part of Chapter 3 seems to have been written for the farmer/homesteader.

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.


5 thoughts on “A Time to Die and a Time to Mourn

  1. Sorry to read of the loss of the kits, it happens but its never a easy thing.. We all have to learn as we go..

  2. StacieAnn says:

    I relate to your blog and love your biblical reference. My dad raised rabbits, chicken, hogs and other farm animals when I was young. I did not really help much, but witnessed such things from an early age. Now I have found myself next door to my parents again and my Dad has culminated a nice little group of chickens and rabbits. In getting involved and helping to run the farm, I learned very quickly that death was a big part of farming and my sensitivities to it would have to be overcome. Thank goodness we have God to give us strength to deal with daily situations that arise.

    I really enjoy your blog and that we share common ground. I hope we can learn from one another. 🙂

  3. valbjerke says:

    How sad – as I think over all the losses we’ve had on our farm, I feel for you.
    You’re right in thinking its better to breed for smaller litters – easier on the does, better for the kits, easier on you.
    In my experience – regardless the animal – be it baby goats, a calf, whatever – once diarrhea sets in, it’s next to impossible to salvage the wee ones. I have spent hundreds on electrolytes, boluses, etc – and always came out at the end feeling like I’d done nothing more than help them die. The lesson I have finally learned – it’s simply far easier to prevent the illness than it is to treat it – and I set our to change that by spacing the breeding out, (fewer babies means I can better focus on each as they get through the first few weeks), absolutely no overcrowding – I will move animals to a different building if I have to – keeps the humidity down, the chance of bacteria and molds developing which are deadly, and I’m able to clean clean clean a less crowded space. I also find more success by trying to stick to natural breeding cycles. Our pigs do way better born in the spring, as do our goats – etc. Overcrowding in the winter months – no access to the outdoors, has never been a success on our farm. The past few years we’ve had no losses. We raise far less livestock – but the stress level had dropped considerably.
    One last thought – I have stopped trying to ‘cure’ diarrhea with anything other than (oddly enough) bananas. I’m not sure if its the potassium or what – but I have saved a very sick momma goat by feeding her bananas, and two three day old calves with severe diarrhea. A lady I know who has a goat dairy told me that – and I certainly can’t argue with the results. I’m not sure if rabbits can eat a lot of banana because of the sugar – but it might be worth a try if you find yourself in that situation again.
    Keep your chin up – my daughter put it best to me after a particularly rough year – “all you can do is the very best you can do”

  4. It can be reaaally rough. We lost seven kits from a litter of 11 recently because of an inexperienced mom. We lost all out black and copper marans chicks to cats, and we lost two egg hens due to a hawk. It sucks but it comes with the territory sometimes. I agree… 9 kits is the Max ideal litter to me, 8 is probably the best to me and 7 isn’t far behind. Six is good too. But my moms have ten or 11 and they tend to loose one or two down the road.

  5. Thanks for this…very helpful for me given a rough couple of bunny weeks. Virtual hug for you =)

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