What to do about a small unhealthy kit?
My rabbit had a litter of 6 babies about 5 days ago. At first, they were all very squirmy and seemed completely healthy and happy. Then I started to find one of the babies out of the nest. Not close but pretty far away. I don't know how it got there but I put it back with its siblings. It seemed to do okay. Then a few days later, I found it outside again, closer but still very out in the open. Both times, it was cold.
The second time, I noticed it was the smallest of the litter, cold and seems very unhealthy. All of its other siblings are doing very well. Is the mother not feeding it? What do I do? This is my first litter and I am at a complete loss. I don't want it to die...***** Karen Sez *****
The kit apparently gets dragged out of the nest by the doe accidentally. It is latched onto a teat, and when the doe leaves the nest, the kit comes along for the ride. The doe does not have any instincts for putting the little kit back where it belongs, so the little guy chills (literally), until you come along and put it back in the nest where it belongs. (Good job.)
You might could give it a second chance to nurse for a couple days. You can do this by turning the doe over onto her back in your lap, and placing the kit on her tummy. Let it snack at every one of the teats for about 5 min or so (total).
If that gets complicated for you, an alternative method is to remove most of the fattest kits overnight. They can afford to miss one meal. This will enable the scrawny little kit to get a belly full. It might be all he needs to get over the hump.
If perchance it dies despite your best efforts, please don't feel too bad - you'll never know whether the kit had something wrong with its guts or something. But you'll at least know you did your best to give it a good shot at life.