My rabbit gave birth to 3 kits but I'm worried...

by Cecilia
(Brooklyn, NY)

My rabbit just gave birth to 3 kits. One died but two are still alive. My rabbit won't get near the kits at all. I knew she was pregnant but I was waiting for her to collect hay or to let go of her fur. Is it normal for her to not to let go of her fur to make the nest before she gives birth? She won't feed them unless we help her out but she tends to get away from them. Why is my rabbit avoiding her kits? Is this normal?

****Karen Sez****
About the fur, yeah, some does wait to pull fur or make a nest until the minute they kindle. Others prepare in advance.

Hmm, I'm not sure what is implied by "avoid." Because, normally, you'd never see the doe feed the kits. The doe feeds her babies once in the evening, and it takes her like 5 minutes. Then, she ignores the kits and stays away from the nest box for another 24 hours. So, everything might be okay, and you've just misunderstood the doe.

But if by "avoid" you mean she has rejected the kits, then perhaps her maternal instincts are not strong enough. Either that, or something startled her at kindling time. (Hard for me to know from way over here...)

What to do: What if you let your doe do her thing for 24 hours? If she feeds the kits herself, they'll have fat tummies. If not, their tummies will start looking a bit thin. If the kits get thinner, then keep doing what you've been doing - helping her feed them. You can keep it up every evening until the kits are 3 1/2 weeks old. After that, they will be able to eat pellets.

Good luck,

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