All kits died
I was given 2 Holland lops at 3 months old last June. We thought they were boys. Two days ago I open the top of the cage to find a mound of hair and under it 5 kits. Two were dead, they looked blue and the other 3 were pink. I didn't know what to do, so we took them out and put them in a box with the fur and hay but they all died later that night.
We have a two level cage and the buck wouldn't let the doe up. I noticed her head was down and she was in the corner. I decided to remove him and as soon as I did that, she popped up and drank some water and started eating. Was he not allowing her to go to her kits? I still have them separated but they seem kind of lonely. They were always together, cleaning each other, running together, sleeping next to each other.
So, my question is what took so long for her to get pregnant? They are almost a year old. Did the kits die because they are siblings? I guess I have to look to get him neutered. Also, being separated they are going to the bathroom in their litter boxes like good bunnies. Everything seems so much cleaner with them separated. Why is that?***** Karen Sez *****
Why did it take so long? What I suspect is that they hit adulthood during their resting phase in late autumn, right? So there was no interest in breeding for quite a while. But in the dead of winter their hormones wake up, and voila - babies in January.
I'm not sure if this will come as good or bad news, but, I think your doe might be pregnant again. Now that they're breeding, the buck may have already rebred her. You'd best mark the calendar for 28 days after the birth of the first litter, and arrange to put a nest box in the cage at that time. You can expect the litter on day 31-32 or so. Of course I might be wrong, in which case the nest box will be empty.
It is very hard to say why the kits died. The 2 may have been stillborn, or maybe they chilled. Did any of them look harmed? Some bucks will stomp the babies, but just as many will nurture them. Or, perhaps the doe simply abandoned the kits.
If you want to keep the two animals housed together, then one of them will need neutering. The buck is a logical choice.
As to their litterbox habits, I hope you'll get some opinions here from others. My guess is that the peace and quiet afforded the doe allows her to mind her manners, and the buck is no longer distracted by the wonderful smell of the doe.