Bunny gave birth to one kit that died

by Georgia

So my bunny finally gave birth 6 days after she started nesting. I didn't witness her giving birth until probably 30 minutes later. I checked to feed her and there I saw a baby bunny just lying still. It wasn't even on the nest. The mother is on the nest facing the wall. I guess she didn't wanna see her dead baby. :( I looked at the baby and it was really dead.

I tried to observe what went wrong and I noticed that the bottom part of the baby (legs) are a little bloody compared to the top. I'm guessing it's premature birth...the baby also looked long compared to usual. Out was about 4 inches long and it's parents are dwarf bunnies. I'm curious why the baby is long, and why did the mother give birth to only one and why would she give birth early (if premature birth is the case). Please help :(

***** Karen Sez *****
It's hard to say if the birth was premature. Did you record the breeding date and count forward 31 days to the kindling date?

By your description I'd guess any of several other problems:

Genetically modified (GMO) feed, that is, pelleted rabbit food that is high in both soy and corn, seems to raise the risk of birthing problems, including fatal defects in the kits.

Overweight doe. Extra internal fat reduces the number of kits, including to zero or one, plus increases the difficulty of the birth itself.

Full term, excessively large kit. This happens at times with dwarf breed rabbits carrying just one or two kits. All the maternal nutrition goes to one baby only (or two), and it can get too large. The other scenarios may be true in the case of your doe, but this one is most likely the cause of the dead kit. The doe was probably in labor for quite a while, but because the kit was so big, she had trouble delivering it, and it died while inside the doe. You may be lucky the doe did not die as well.

About your doe with her back to the dead baby: It is impossible to put people-thoughts into bunny-heads. Unlike humans, rabbits have no emotional attachment to their dead offspring. Your doe's instincts in the wild would have prompted her to simply abandon the burrow and go dig another one. In the wild she would be rebred already, and she would be too busy watching her back trail to worry about a dead kit.

Here's another consideration: Are you sure your doe isn't still in labor, trying to have a second very large kit, which is dead inside of her??

Now what?
Put the doe on a diet. Check the feed and switch to a healthier feed (King Feeds in CA is a breeder recommended feed). Give lots of grass hay so she won't pork out on pellets. Try rebreeding, either immediately or within a couple weeks, giving the 'diet' a chance to help her drop a few ounces. Hopefully your doe will have several kits this time, and all will go well. And, keep good records, so you'll know exactly when to put the nestbox in the cage, when the doe is due and when problems might be ensuing.

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Apr 02, 2016
Dwarf Hotot
by: Anonymous

The same happened with my Dwarf doe. She was way past her due date, and when she gave birth to the dead kit he was also very long, and took her a long time to deliver. I re-bred her 2 days later.
Hopefully she delivers healthy kits this time.

Dec 28, 2015
Our love of bunnies!
by: Dee's Bunny Blues Rabbitry

If she is a Dwarf she should be getting a half cup of pellets a day. I have some Netherland dwarfs they are 2 - 2.5 pounds. For how much food I give a half cup pellets 16% and a fresh vegetable like a carrot with a good hand full of fresh hay once a day Pellets in am. And hay in pm. That's just how I feed mine.

I give my pregnant does and their kits 18% pellets on day 20 of pregnancy until kits are weaned at 8 weeks old.

My doe just did the same thing. She is a mini rex. Due date was Dec. 19th. She had 1 kit on the 21st; it was dead. Nothing since then... I'm planning to re-breed her on Dec. 31st.

Dec 10, 2011
Thank you so much for your help ! :)
by: Georgia

I couldn't tell when was the exact date they bred because they mate a lot..if the male flops to the side then that's the official one right?

The pellets I used is called Small World Rabbit which I get in Walmart..the doe is actually overweight probably because I supply her unlimited food and I rarely let her run around because she doesn't let me carry her out..& how much pellets and hay should I feed my bunny?

and it did take her a while to deliver the baby..i would see her just sitting on her nest for a long time and still no babies..btw since it was taking her days to give birth, I thought she was just going through false pregnancy so I tested it by putting the male bunny in her cage and she let him mate her then I took out the buck. The next day I put in the buck again and the doe just attacked him right away so I took him out. she finally gave birth after then..and i'm not sure if there is a second dead kit inside her..it's been 2 days and she hasn't taken out any kit since then...

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