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Old 12-18-2016, 03:45 PM   #1
Sheva2010
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Default First time mama throwing babies out of cage!!!

I have a first time mother lionhead she had 5 beautiful babies and now over the last 2 days shoved 3 of them out onto the floor. I found them to late and don't understand. They were not dead when she did it because where they were found was under the desk her cage is on and halfway across the room. They had not been chewed on or anything. Just what looked like she had picked them up with her teeth. Please has anyone had this problem?? She is in my basement because it has been so cold here. Right now I have blocked her out of the nest and will let her in to feed them. I really need to know what I can do to stop this. Thank you for any help you can give me,


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Old 12-18-2016, 04:14 PM   #2
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I've read of this Happening before. Even when the person would put the kits back, the mother would throw them out again. This might be because they are the runt of the litter. And by runt I mean, they are smaller and will probably not survive (due to under developed digestive system). I don't know if the mother has instincts and she knows those kits won't survive and that's why she does it.
As far as what you can do to prevent it, I'm not sure. I don't know if and when you should intervene, I hope others with more experience than I can help you.


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Old 12-18-2016, 04:24 PM   #3
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Ok, keeping her from the nest except for 2 feeding times per day (mine feed at dusk and dawn) is a good idea. Many pull out the nestbox in that shedule, works ok. Stay close, you'll notice when she's done feeding.

There may have been something wrong with the kits which the doe can smell, or not, first timers can be somewhat confused. Anyway, 2 kits left are not many, see that the nest stays warm. Is enough fur there? If not, you can supplement that with, for example, dryer fluff. Or take the nest out to a warm enough place. It's important that the kits stay warm, otherwise their digestion doesn't work properly.

Imho most likely routine will settle in within a few days, give her lots of hay to work with it (natural instinct is to block the way to the nest), and just stick to your routine.

Some rabbits get awfully stressed when being moved, so that may have added to the problem, anyway, keeping up a reliable routine is imho the best thing you can do.

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Old 12-18-2016, 04:27 PM   #4
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How old is your doe? Was this a planned litter? If your doe is stressed or too young to breed, her killing her kits is quite normal. In captivity, it's not unusual for does to kill the kits when the conditions are bad. For example, a rabbit shouldn't be having kits in the middle of December. From what you said, you also moved her from where she lived. Putting a pregnant rabbit in an unfamiliar environment before she's due is the worst thing to do. If you did plan this litter, you messed up big time (and you shouldn't be breeding because you clearly don't know enough about this to do it). If you got the doe when she was already pregnant, then it's bad luck (or you really shouldn't have bought a rabbit from a petshop which you should know already if you did your homework about rabbits before buying). I kinda doubt the remaining kits will make it. It's possible, but I would steel myself for the worst.
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:43 PM   #5
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Aki, pardon me, but this doesn't help much, although you may be right. No point in rubbing it in. And nice that you know from a short post what people should or should not do.

I had accidential litters in that time of year myself, outdoors, well, it happens. Had to install electric heating to the nestbox, but no problem for the rabbits at all.

I never had a rabbit that was stressed out so much by being moved that it would cause problems, I don't consider it any problem moving one of my 2 week pregnant rabbit, ok, the last week before kindling may be most sensitive, but well, all rabbits are different.

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Old 12-18-2016, 06:37 PM   #6
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are you sure that she is throwing them out of the cage? REALLY sure?
they might be latching on and being dragged out of the nest when mom hops away after feeding them.
Occasional does will separate out their kits into two smaller nests.
The ODD doe will dig out her entire nest which results in kits being scattered around.. and then getting more scattered as they seek the warmth of the nest...kits can travel remarkable distances if they get out of the nest (like halfway across a yard).
If cage wire is about 1 inch.. kits can get through it...and even damage themselves in the process of doing so.

remedy? Help momma have a good nest by giving a her a good nestbox and if she's made a poor nest, make one for her. If all else fails...remove the nestbox and return to her twice a day for kit feedings.
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:07 PM   #7
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Default First time mama throwing babies out of the nest

I can't say 100 percent that she is doing it, but the wire is 1x2" and wouldn't think they would do it by themselves they are only 4 days today. As for not breeding her, the weather here is not usually so nasty or I wouldn't have done it. Was really concerned I would lose my other rabbits last night it was 1 here. I can't remember it getting so cold in December not even when I was a kid. She has a nest box made out of 1x10 pine boards it is a nice box and she made a fantastic nest. Never thought of them getting out on there own. Will put smaller diameter wire around the sides.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:24 PM   #8
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I would suggest you put wire that has 1/2" squares around the bottom 1-2' of the cage. As ladysown said, kits can be pulled out of the nestbox if they stay latched onto mom after nursing, and will crawl. With the small wire around it you have less chance of them getting out. I've even had 1.5 week old kits crawl a foot up the cage wire and over the baby saver wire, got through, and ended up on the floor several feet away.

December is not necessarily a bad time of year to breed either...just depends on where you live. In warm climates, you have to breed in the winter and spring. Around here we go from summer to winter with barely any fall. Also, unless you have a high strung first time mother, you can usually move a pregnant doe to another cage up to 2-4 days prior to kindling. It just depends on the doe, but we've never had a problem.

Aki, most of your post was not very helpful and not necessarily accurate either.

Last edited by majorv; 12-19-2016 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 12-24-2016, 01:18 PM   #9
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kits can EASILY get through 1 x 1 wire, so 1 x 2 wire would be even easier.


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