2 litters dead

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Jun 14, 2022
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Mother rabbits are sisters that I bought pregnant from a breeder to start a meat rabbit flock to help feed my family. They are 2 yrs old. Second litters for them first litter for me. Bred to different males from the breeder.
Big momma had 6 baby's
Biter had 8 baby's. Within hours of each other. ( Biter got her name for being very aggressive towards me when I first got her- she has now since calmed down now that she isn't pregnant or have any baby's)

Biter lived up to her name and started killing her babys. She killed two right away and bitten the third really bad. Her litter was taken away and given to big momma. Big momma was a great mom that cared for all the baby's and her litter at the same time.

However the 3rd bitten baby died soon afterwards.
Then two runts died days later ( thought they weren't getting enough to eat since such a big litter)

Weeks go by no issues.
Then I've had 2 random deaths. I thought they got stepped on since everyone looked healthy. No poopy butts. Cage has been getting cleaned. The baby's started eating pellets and hay and drinking from the water bottle but also seen them still nursing here n there. Jumping around the cage. Thought everything was good.

Then today I walk out to do feedings and I have four dead baby bunny's. One of the baby's was barley alive and was rolling around with wry neck looks like.

So out of 14 baby's... Only two are alive now. They seem fine but idk what to do. But I have low faith that they will live since all the others died.

Are my mom rabbits sick? Did they pass it to the baby's? How do you clean and treat the cages to make sure sickness doesn't spread? Will this happen again if these mom rabbits are rebred?
Will the sickness spread to other nearby cages and rabbits?

If I can't rebred these two sisters can they be eaten or would the meat get other sick? How did my rabbits get sick in the first place? How do I prevent this from ever happening again?

P. S I understand some ppl view having meat rabbits as cruel and don't agree with the lifestyle but it's a way for me to feed my family and is not going to change. So I don't care to hear comments about how eating rabbit is wrong. My rabbits are not pets. They are food. But even with that being said... I don't want them to suffer and don't want them to die before they even have a chance to live.

Advice appreciated


Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
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Sep 10, 2012
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Utah, , USA
It's hard to know. If there are no marks on them to indicate it was the mom or that a critter got into their cage/pen; and there are no signs of diarrhea, bloating, or blood coming from their orifices; then it could be the doe has mastitis and has contaminated milk, it could be a toxin in their environment, contaminated feed, or feed with insufficient or toxic levels of vitamin A. And the hyper/hypovitaminosis A can be from their previous home, as it can affect the does vit. A levels, which in turn affects the fetus development and continues on after birth, usually being fatal to the kits, even several weeks after birth, but won't be fatal to the doe.

It could also be contagious like a pathogenic bacteria, but usually you will see other symptoms like diarrhea, blood, and/or jelly/mucous in their poop if it is. And if something contagious, it will also sometimes affect the doe as well.
Jan 8, 2011
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It’s hard to know, but in a situation like this, if you lose another one you really need to get a necropsy done on the body. In the meantime I’d disinfect everything the rabbits are in contact with, and check the feed’s freshness date and it and the hay for signs of mold.