Can I Save These Babies???
Two of my Californian does (Clover and Dandelion) kindled for the first time 7 days ago. I check on them daily and all were fine until yesterday, Clover had eaten all her babies.
Dandelion still had all hers so I decided to check more often.
This morning when I went to check, Dandelion had started eating babies too and only had three left. I promptly removed them, made a nest for them in a bucket and brought them inside.
I am raising these rabbits for meat and I cannot afford formula for them, I was wondering if it would be possible to hold Dandelion for them to nurse once or twice a day and keep them away from her the rest of the time. Will her milk dry up if there are no babies in her cage? Please answer quickly, we had 14 kits three days ago and now we're down to 3. I don't want to lose these too. Thank you.***** Karen Sez *****
So sorry to hear that your babies are disappearing. Are you SURE the does are doing the eating?
I wonder if something else is preying on your kits? Once it (or they) polished off one litter, it started in on the next litter? I wonder, because rabbit does typically cannibalize their litter only during or shortly after kindling, and only if the circumstances surrounding the kindle threaten the doe's sense of security.
It is probably not impossible that the does harmed their own litters after the kits were already 6 days old, I just have not heard of such a thing, and it has certainly never happened in my own barn.
Your solution is a good one - remove the kits from the doe, and take them to her twice a day for nursing. She'll probably be glad to nurse them. If you have any questions about getting the doe to nurse, the book, Rabbit Raising Problem Solver
, will guide you through the process and will offer lots of tips.
Let us know if you have seen one or both of these does in the act of eating their kits, by leaving a comment to this post, okay?
Or, have there been any sudden disruptive (to a rabbit) events lately? Any intrusive pet dogs or cats near the rabbits that might be alarming them? Any loud, stray, or feral animals? Any coyotes yammering nearby? Any fireworks shows lately? Have you seen any rats or rat droppings near the rabbit cages?
If you haven't actually seen your does in the act of harming their litters, and if all has been quiet around the rabbitry, then consider carefully whether or not you have a predator in the area, a rat for example, that can gain access to the cage and raid the nest box.
Best of luck with everything going forward!