Handling Kits as Newborns
(Apache Jct., AZ)
My daughter and I have a very hands on rabbitry. One or both of us handle the kits from the day they are born, and our does have never had an issue.
They do seem to count them as we put them back when we have had them out for weighing/pictures.
My most recent doe that kindled is a barn bunny...she loves nuzzles and pets but 'DO NOT pick me up!' We were a little concerned that she might have issues with us handling the kits as she was soooo prickly herself. 31 days and 5 kits later we had 4 otters and a self in the nesting box, with the 2 lilacs surprising us.
She turned out to be a very good mom. She doesn't care that we take her babies out everyday, and has become much more friendly herself, but 'Please Don't Pick Me Up', and has to smell every kit when we return them to the nest box, I guess to make sure of 1 of 2 things, they are all there and/or they are only hers. I'm pretty sure it is the first one, though, as she was just getting ready to wean her kits when we were the surprised foster parents of 3 rescued wild cottontail baby rabbits.
Bella did her best to nurse the kits, but I don't think they liked how her milk tasted. It worked well enough till we were able to get them to a wildlife rescue across town, however.
Some does, I understand, will not care for their babies after people have touched them, but I think that is more a thing with the particular doe, as opposed to a breed-wide trait.
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