How to help the runt survive

by Sylvia
(Miami)

Hi!! I'm a first time bunny grandma. My Ruby gave birth to 4 kits. 2 of them were pretty big, one was a bit smaller, and the 4th was much much smaller. We're on day 5 and three are the same size and the runt is still tiny.


What's worse, he seems to have his leg hurt. I imagine its from the other 3 jumping on him or his mom. Will it repair itself? Also, I decided to remove him from the nest and build another nest for him. He's on his own, but with lots of hay and fur. I want to make sure his leg heals and that I can control his food intake.

I'm putting him on Ruby 4 times a day to make sure he's getting enough food, but he's still pretty scrawny.

Any advice??

***** Karen Sez *****

I admire your creative ways to help this little runt...I hope they work!

I'm concerned however for a couple reasons. First, if you separate the runt into its own nest, it no longer has littermates to snuggle with and help him keep warm. He may freeze overnight, especially being so runty.

Second, if in a litter of only 4 one is very small, I strongly suspect this bunny could actually be a double-dwarf called a 'peanut.' Read more at https://www.raising-rabbits.com/dwarf-rabbits.html. If I'm right (and I don't know that I am, since you did not say the size of the parents), then this little 'runt' will die no matter how hard you try to keep it alive.

I just want to make sure you're aware of all the possibilities. In the meantime, the best of luck to you.

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May 24, 2019
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Netherland Dwarf Runt
by: Anonymous

We are first time rabbit keepers and our Netherland Dwarf had her babies last night. One appears to be a runt and its belly isn’t full like the other. We put him back in the nest on top so when she feeds them tonight hopefully he’ll be first but should we go ahead and help the mother feed him now? Will it be too late by tonight? It’s currently 9:54 am and they were born over night. The father is also a Netherlands’s dwarf.

***** Karen Sez *****
Hmm, Anon, if the runt is "just" a runt, then waiting till the evening for the doe to feed it will be fine. The kits have enough reserves at birth for a day or two.

But, I wonder if your "runt" might actually be a lethal dwarf, known as a peanut. If so, then nothing can be done to save it, and it will die, usually before it hits 2 weeks of age.

Get more info here:
Dwarf Rabbits
Rabbit Raising Problem Solver

Jun 21, 2012
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Runt
by: Cathy Raphael

The last poster was right: It could be something you cannot control - that "peanut" thing. I had a runt in a litter of 3 - and one of the first things you need to know is that the mother only feeds them ONCE a day. In the night. I solved my little one's "runthood" by putting the fat ones in a cage overnight by themselves and leaving little guy with her mother. She porked out in one night!! Now she is fine. But if she is a LOT smaller than her litter mates - and esp with a broken leg - I don't think she will make it at all.


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