What to do about a small unhealthy kit?

by Gemmy

My rabbit had a litter of 6 babies about 5 days ago. At first, they were all very squirmy and seemed completely healthy and happy. Then I started to find one of the babies out of the nest. Not close but pretty far away. I don't know how it got there but I put it back with its siblings. It seemed to do okay. Then a few days later, I found it outside again, closer but still very out in the open. Both times, it was cold.

The second time, I noticed it was the smallest of the litter, cold and seems very unhealthy. All of its other siblings are doing very well. Is the mother not feeding it? What do I do? This is my first litter and I am at a complete loss. I don't want it to die...

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

The kit apparently gets dragged out of the nest by the doe accidentally. It is latched onto a teat, and when the doe leaves the nest, the kit comes along for the ride. The doe does not have any instincts for putting the little kit back where it belongs, so the little guy chills (literally), until you come along and put it back in the nest where it belongs. (Good job.)

You might could give it a second chance to nurse for a couple days. You can do this by turning the doe over onto her back in your lap, and placing the kit on her tummy. Let it snack at every one of the teats for about 5 min or so (total).

If that gets complicated for you, an alternative method is to remove most of the fattest kits overnight. They can afford to miss one meal. This will enable the scrawny little kit to get a belly full. It might be all he needs to get over the hump.

If perchance it dies despite your best efforts, please don't feel too bad - you'll never know whether the kit had something wrong with its guts or something. But you'll at least know you did your best to give it a good shot at life.

Good luck.

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Oct 27, 2012
skinny kit
by: Cathy Raphael

Hey: I had a litter of 3 and one was a little runt. She wasn't really smaller - just thinner. Occasionally her ribs would show. ONE of the other ones was a total butterball. So someone advised me to (if I had another cage - which I did) to put the two fatter ones in the other cage overnight and leave "skinny' with her mom. I did - and it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! She porked out - and never got thin again. Just one night.

She has a happy home now with a lop earred rabbit (who she thinks is her mom - Audrey is her name) and they are very happy. Peanut is the "hearing ear rabbit" for Audrey - with Audrey's floppy ears, she doesn't hear well. But Peanut is all alert and doing fine. They snuggle a lot, too. VERY happy home.

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