Stillborn fully formed rabbit kits

by Sarah


My half Netherland dwarf had three little babies this afternoon, I think I saw them within half an hour of them being born. Unfortunately two were dead, they were fully formed however one was extremely skinny, and both looked like Mummy bunny had bitten at their bellies. Both of their eyes were open.

What do you think this could be the cause of?
The third little bunny has a huge round belly and full of movement, and I have seen Mum feed her already.

I mated Mummy bunny with another half Netherland male.

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May 04, 2011
About Stillborn Dwarfs
by: Moderator

Hmmm, you offer a big clue when you say, "their eyes were open." There's a defect called Max Factor, a recessive gene that occurs in some dwarf rabbits. The defect results in malformed extremities and eyelids, or at least - open eyes at birth, which is never normal. The defect is frequently fatal, but some kits do live.

If I were to guess, I'd say that your doe birthed two of these Max Factor babies, and they were dead at birth or before. So, she tried to get them to respond, which you saw as bites. I'd say the very skinny baby had died several days prior, and therefore it was thin and emaciated.

Your job now is to ensure that the singleton doesn't die from cold. Make sure the doe has pulled enough fur, and you could even add a bit more straw or hay to the nest box for insulation against the ambient temperature. Some does have an innate sense, and will sit in the box keeping the singleton warm with their own body heat.

If I'm right about the Max Factor, you can be sure that both the parents of the dead kits carry this recessive gene. And you'll likely see babies just like these again in the nestbox, usually at the rate of just 25% of kits.

Good luck!

May 04, 2011
RE Stillborn fully formed rabbit kits
by: Silver Desert Rabbitry

Well if it looked like the mother rabbit bit at the other two babies, she must have tried biting. But, the two babies dying is a natural thing. But it is a good thing that you got one baby to survive :)

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