An oops litter of angora kits
by Katia Janecek
(Greensboro, NC, USA)
My angora rabbit gave birth last night to four kits. We did not know she was pregnant and she has a very large metal cage that sits about 3 feet off the ground. I found all four kits extremely cold on the ground this morning. Somehow, they managed to wiggle out of the cage.
All are well, and I made a nesting box out of a plastic storage box and put angora fiber and wool fiber in it. I placed all four kits in the nest and put their mother on top. She seemed disinterested in caring for the kits. Eventually, she sat down on them, as they were "squeaking." Will the mother care for these kits? If she doesn't, what do I do?***** Karen Sez *****
First, go and cut those angora fibers in the nest to lengths of less than 2 inches. This is to avoid the kits getting strangled to death by fiber around their necks.
It sounds to me like you've made the best out of a surprising situation. The doe only feeds her kits once a day, usually in the middle of the night, so I am not too concerned about her 'disinterest' just yet.
Hopefully in the morning you'll find nice chubby tummies in the kits.
But, it'll depend on the doe whether or not she plans on caring for the kits. If, in 2-3 days the babies are getting quite thin, you'll need to decide how valuable the kits are to you. You can attempt to save the kits by bottle-feeding or by putting them on top of the doe's tummy. Or, you can simply let nature take its course.
Is this a calloused attitude? No. Animals are animals, not people. Raw nature is shockingly hard-hearted. Just watch Animal Planet and see the great white sharks snatch penguins and seals out of the water. Animals die, other animals profit by their death, and species as a whole go on living and thriving. The ecosystem, from stem to stern, is one long series of predation, from the fungi on the rainforest floor growing out of the heads and bodies of insects, to the monkeys in the canopy cannibalizing monkeys of their same species that had the misfortune to belong to a different troop.
If the kits die, bury them in the garden where they can fertilize nest year's tomatoes, and then rebreed the doe, if indeed you wish to do so.
Good luck going forward!