Do you want the Bad News First?

That does, of course, imply that there is any good news…

Kit # 2, the one that was in with Kit # 3, who was visited by the magical bunny sex change fairy and turned out to be a boy, and is still quite young, gave birth to 6 kits some time last night. I had no idea she was pregnant. I thought I’d gotten them separated (due to aggressiveness on what turned out to be the boy’s part) with plenty of time to spare. It did not even occur to me, even when Kit # 2 had a fur explosion, that she could possibly be pregnant. Since all of our immature does tend to have fur explosions at this age when another doe gives birth or is about to give birth near them.

Three of them had crawled out of the cage, because it didn’t have any guards on it, because of course, she was too young to have babies. Since that was a cage on the third tier, they fell quite a ways. Three of them were still in the cage. We thought they were all dead, but one was just barely moving and so cold. I probably should have just let nature take its course and let it die, but I can’t seem to do that. I stuck it in my bra while my son ran to get a heat lamp and we fixed up a nest for it. It was so cold. We put the two other kits in there just in case they weren’t fully dead and they could be revived by the warmth. That didn’t happen. But the one kit warmed up and made noises.

Once it was warm we tried to put Mama on top of it to get her to nurse, but she didn’t want to. Then we tried to hold her and force nurse, but she got frantic on that. So then we tried to get one of the other nursing rabbits to force nurse, but it couldn’t suckle. It was too weak. I got a syringe and some goat’s milk and we managed to get one ml into it, hoping to make it strong enough to suckle. Not knowing what else to do, we fixed up a nesting box with a ton of the fur the mother had pulled and put it in the cage with her.

I know it is very unlikely that it will live. Maybe maternal instinct will kick in and she will feed it without our interference. But I don’t know how it will stay warm on its own, even with all that fur. If even one other kit had survived the odds would be much better. I know it will probably die. I wish I’d been paying more attention to the mother. But I thought they’d been separated more than a month and I thought she was too young to get pregnant.

I did think about putting it in with Andromeda’s kits, who are a week old, just to keep it warm and then syringe feeding it, but I think the size difference would be a problem and I think Andromeda might get upset. I don’t know. Does anyone know if it would work? Or would the bigger kits crush it? I’m asking just about everywhere I can to try to get info.

In other bad news, the third kit of Lola’s died yesterday afternoon. I had thought it would as it wouldn’t eat that morning.

In other, other bad news, Curious the chicken seems to have badly sprained her leg. We are keeping her in one of the outdoor rabbit coops with food and water so she can’t move about too much. She hates it. She misses the flock.

So, to try to end this on a semi-positive note, the 4th kit that was affected by diarrhea is still going strong. We are feeding it milk. It took 8 droppers at the mid-day feeding yesterday and then 8 more at the night time feeding. This morning it took 6. It takes less in the morning. It was also playing leap frog with its siblings and running around like a possessed bunny. It has gained weight. I see it eating solid food. We are keeping blue spray on its bottom. It helps with any rawness there might be because it is a topical analgesic and it also is supposed to help any poops slide off and not get mushed into the fur. It seems to be working for that.

I still refuse to get my hopes up that it will live. Everything keeps dying.

I had a momentary freak out this morning when I opened the duck coop and only counted eight ducks after they came out. I had counted nine at bedtime and I was worried one had slipped out when I’d put the hose away. But it was there when I did another head count after checking in the coop. So all ducks are alive and healthy, but man…with the way things have been going, I think I would have just sat down and cried.

The turkey poults and the chicks are doing great in their new house. They don’t seem to be able to make it up to the bottom perch though. We will have to put one more lower down for them.

We have to drive down to the feed mill today. We used the last of the 17% feed. The drive will give me something to do so that I will not sit around all day fretting about the lonely newborn kit and whether or not its mama will feed it. Well, I’ll fret, but I’ll be productive while doing it. We will check on the kit when we get back and decide then whether to foster it. Maybe by then the decision will be taken out of my hands.

8 thoughts on “Do you want the Bad News First?

  1. onedogrunning says:

    Hi there, I’ve been enjoying your candid and well-written posts for a few weeks now! Thank you! I have to say, as a fellow urban livestock raiser, I totally sympathize with hopeless feelings that occur when things seem particularly grim. Of course these are living creatures, so any loss is hard, but consider the good that they have done in their lives through teaching. It may not be much, but their suffering has not been wasted.

  2. valbjerke says:

    This might sound daft – but my dad taught it to me with piglets and I’ve done it a few times since. The trick to fostering is that they all need to smell the same – I sprinkle baby powder on the mom, all her babies, and the ones I want to foster over. Don’t know if you can use baby powder on rabbits…… but at the very least your odds are much better if one doesn’t smell like a kit that isn’t hers.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      Nope, no baby powder. I can use vanilla extract on the mother’s nose if needed. But the baby seems to be doing very well right now and has nursed twice so I am hoping the fostering won’t be necessary. it has a nice fat belly at the moment. We force nursed, but Fiona (new Mama) seems interested in the kit now so we hope she will take over.

  3. Grace Alice says:

    Dang, so sorry. As they say, when it rains, it pours. That’s almost always true when you raise rabbits. I remember one time, my rabbits had gotten fleas, mites, everyone had heat strokes, lost my only adult doe, and my only adult buck, all at the same time. It was insane. I was “done” by that time… but the obsession kept on. 😉 I love the good times too much to let all of the bad weigh down on me. For long, anyway.

    Also, before bottle-feeding something, always make sure they are warm. It can be very bad if you bottle-feed a cold baby.

    I just lost a baby I was bottle feeding one week ago. I didn’t know the mom was pregnant, and walked out to one dead kit and one kit in the nest. He was all by himself, so I built him a better nest in an actual nestbox, and tried to get her to feed him. She ended up drying up because she didn’t know he was there. So I brought him inside to bottle feed, but he didn’t make it because I was switching formulas. 😦 Not a fun experience.

    Again, my sympathies. I hope everything starts getting better for you!

    • LuckyRobin says:

      Yeah, I had a moment of done this week myself, but then I cuddled a baby and it went away. We did get it warm before we attempted to give it warm milk. The ml it took seems to have done the trick. It was strong enough to latch on later, has had two feedings, and seems to be doing very well now. I hope it lasts.

  4. Jessica says:

    I wish I had been on and reading a few days ago! So sorry you’re going through all of this.

    I am still reading to get caught up, but next time I recommend just trying to foster the kit. I’ve not had a problem fostering kits even at older ages, though the kits were usually about the same age (maybe a few days apart). The mothers accepted them, though. I’d just be worried about the size of the little kit. To me, though, they’d have a better chance being fostered (just monitor the mom) than being by themselves. It can get so, so cold.

    I hope things are improving for you.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      Yeah, things are much better now. The little kit is doing okay. We are force nursing with its mother. She is tolerating it and the baby is managing okay alone in the nesting box.

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