Between migraine and finishing up house projects, I got back up to the “barnyard” later than I had wanted. Still, got up there in daylight, for a change.
Checked the water system; currently doing okay. Got everyone fed.
As I was coming back down, husband came out to see the animals, too. He doesn’t go up there often (partly because the roof of the coop is really too short for him to be comfortable).
While up there, we checked all the nest boxes. One doe’s litter was … far colder than it should have been, and empty stomachs. I pushed the doe in the nest box, she didn’t stay in there. Knowing she nurses after dark, I gave her a little bit after dark before I went up to check.
Three of the five (I could have sworn it was a litter of six, but maybe I miscounted in the dark) were doing better, but two … not. I held her in the nest box for about ten minutes, trying to get the two weak ones to nurse. Didn’t work.
Brought them down to the house, shoved into my shirt for warmth. I got them into a box with a moderated heating pad. SP was very anxious about “doctor, babies, oh no doctor!,” and I had to explain that yes, Mommy was trying to “doctor” the babies. We left the kits on the heating pad, and went on an emergency store run to get kitten milk replacement.
SP was very excited when we got back. “Yay, doctor! Happy!”
One was lost … probably about as soon as we left.
The other died either right before or right as I picked it up to try to get some milk into it.
I’m sitting there, with a four year old going “Happy, yay?” while I have a dead rabbit kit in my hands. I had to tell her “Not happy, very sad.” “Oh.”
Not really blaming the doe — she had struggled pretty hard with the hang on waterer freezing up quickly. But I am … distressed. That’s four kits in three days, five in the last week. I’ve never had that kind of issue before.
3 thoughts on ““Doctor, babies, oh no.””
Depending on your finances there is a material call “Pex “ that’s amazing. Doesn’t freeze but you still migh need to drain the lines in really cold weather. There’s a fitting originally designed to hook up a refrigerator ice machin that will let you attach a standard rabbit water valve to the pex. Some of my nest boxes were made with a double bottom. Cage floor wire then a piece of plywood that fitted the box (market which liner goes to which box. Straw, chemical hand warmers, liner, more straw, babies and rabbit fur. Didn’t lose many to cold but handwatering all those rabbits when the well went out, or a pipebroke(pre-pex) was a nightmare
The watering system is actually a mix of Pex and PVC. The Pex didn’t fare well under the negative conditions, either.
I configured the nest boxes with wire/mesh bottoms, and for the deep cold, I layered cardboard, pine shavings, and cardboard on top of that. Gave the does hay to make their nests. They did very well with that, and it allowed the nest boxes to be cleaned out quickly.
Actually lost that entire litter by the next morning. I think they came down ill. I had verified the kits I left in the box had full bellies and were warm and cozy.
They were all dead by morning, all exactly the same presentation. Just something off, I guess.
Doe gets another chance.
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