Babies born 12/23

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Hi! We live in Springfield Oregon near Eugene. Our Holland lop doe gave birth 12/23. Our temp is about 30, a low of 29. We have snow for the first time in three years!
is it warm enough out there? Doe and babies are in a hutch under our back patio roof out of the wind.We lost one baby this morning. We found the bun outside the nest box, cold. Not sure if it ventured out on its own or if something else happened.
Mom seems to be feeding the babies-tummies look full. I am just wondering if they are good out there…any thoughts?
 

BunsFurever

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I would suggest bringing your bunnies inside, at least for the winter/cold months. It will be much warmer inside, so that will give the baby bunnies a better chance at survival as well as you will be able to check up on them more frequently because you don’t have to walk outside or through the snow.
Hope this helps and good luck with your rabbits!!
 

JBun

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If mom made a good nest and pulled enough fur to keep them covered, they can usually do ok at that temperature, but there's always that chance that one will get pulled out of the nest box while staying latched onto mom when she hops out, and be exposed to the cold.

If you're concerned about this possibly happening again, then yes, keeping the nest box inside is the safest, and then bringing them back out to mom in the morning and evening to nurse. Though do be aware that though many does will accept this change of the next box only being brought to nurse, this could cause upset with some does, with the possibility of the doe rejecting the litter. But usually this won't be the case. I know of some breeders that will keep all of their nest boxes indoors in the winter, only bringing the kits out to the moms to nurse.
 
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We rarely took nestboxes in at night during the cold months. We did hang heavy tarps around our cages to keep out any wind, and occasionally put a warming light outside the cage but over the nestbox. A nest lined well with hay and the doe’s fur is a very good insulator for cold temps. I would always check nests at night for a kit who got pulled out of the nest by being latched to a doe jumping out of the box.
 
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Ok that is good to know. I wonder if that is what happened with the little one we lost-if it was latched and got pulled out. I also wondered about bringing the entire hutch into the garage but I don’t know that it is much warmer in the garage. I ended up bringing the doe and kits into my house last night. I wondered if I should just keep them all inside until the babies have their full fur.
 
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Hello all, so the babies don’t seem to be fed by my doe. I have them in my dining room. This morning the nest seemed wet. I removed all damp fur and hay and I also held my doe and put the babies on her to see if they could nurse that way. They seemed to be struggling to really latch on well but I also have never done this before, so I wasn’t sure what was normal. I hope they at least got something. I am worried and unsure if I am doing the right things.
 

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As I see it, rabbits pretty much only know what their nest and their kits are because of the location. Nests can be moved in a pinch, but it's massive meddling against instincts. Some measures need to be taken that the doe accepts the new location, like not leaving her much room to go anywhere else, showing it to her, and giving her as much quite and privacy as possible, a real boring time. Any additional stress like trying to latch the kits on or directing more attention at her than she is used is imo not good. I trust my rabbits instincts, and try to not drone those out.
In your situation right now I would restrict her space to her litter box, food and water, resting place and the nest, shield her from what is going on in your house and stay away as much as possible. Many rabbits do not feed or go near the nest while feeling watched, or when they get a little paranoid by being stressed.

I had an accidential litter on Dec. 13, here it's well below freezing, creek started to freeze over so it's about -5 to-8°C during the night. I have closed nest boxes with just one hole made out of wood, about 2cm thick. I placed an electric heating element, ca. 5W, under one corner of the nestbox, the thick wood makes sure there isn't a hot spot. A LED-lamp or any such thing with that power rating would do.
After cleaning out any soild and wet stuff I also added a huge handful of fur I saved from false pregnancies and brushing, doesn't need to be from the same rabbit.

A well insulated, closed nest box with just one entrance (that could be shielded with a curtain of fabric strips, doe needs to be shoved through 2 or three times to teach her), dry, soft hay and a lot of fur might well do without heating, I definitly might be overdoing it. Old farm style here is just very deep hay bedding.
 
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Thank you. I was worried I was meddling too much. The kits don’t look good at all though, so I felt compelled to take action this morning. I do have her restricted to her litter box, a resting place, and the nest box and her food and water. I put a towel over the cage to give privacy, and worked to keep the room quiet.

I considered bringing her usual hutch into the garage with a heater nearby-but at this point would you say changing things again would just be disruptive? If the kids haven’t been fed and look really bad should I give supplemental goat milk feedings?
 

Deludedbyreality

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Thank you. I was worried I was meddling too much. The kits don’t look good at all though, so I felt compelled to take action this morning. I do have her restricted to her litter box, a resting place, and the nest box and her food and water. I put a towel over the cage to give privacy, and worked to keep the room quiet.

I considered bringing her usual hutch into the garage with a heater nearby-but at this point would you say changing things again would just be disruptive? If the kids haven’t been fed and look really bad should I give supplemental goat milk feedings?
Yes
 

Preitler

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Hand feeding is a last resort when there is no other way. I would not just trying it to supplement, upsetting those delicate little stomachs easily does more harm than help.
If the doe stopped feeding entirely it's a different matter, nothing to lose then.

There are some threads about successful hand raising rabbits, me myself didn't have much luck with that.
 
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Hi everyone,
I have a question about alfalfa hay. I have some because I read that it is good to have for the baby buns. I also read that too much given to my doe is not good for her. However, anytime I sprinkle some in around the buns, my doe sniffs out every last bit and eats it immediately. The kits never get any! I was wondering how often I should feed the alfalfa and any tips on getting the kits some with their mama around.😀
 

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I use timothy hay pretty exclusively. Easier to supplement with an alfafa based pellet and you can blend those into their regular feed and control amounts. Alfalfa hay is sweeter so she can smell the difference. It has a higher calcium content good for young rabbits in helping build strong bones. It can lead to bladder sludge and kidney stone formation in older rabbits.
 

Preitler

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I'm going to try a wooden box with openings too small for the does. Only one of the two does in the hutch has kits, and I want to avoid overfeeding the other one. I can give the nursing doe extra rations, but not the kits (veggies and oatmeal) without the wrong one gobbling everything up.
As I said, didn't try it yet, but will tomorrow.

IMHO Alfalfa is ok for nursing does, they need the calcium and proteins for the milk.
 

Deludedbyreality

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I'm going to try a wooden box with openings too small for the does. Only one of the two does in the hutch has kits, and I want to avoid overfeeding the other one. I can give the nursing doe extra rations, but not the kits (veggies and oatmeal) without the wrong one gobbling everything up.
As I said, didn't try it yet, but will tomorrow.

IMHO Alfalfa is ok for nursing does, they need the calcium and proteins for the milk.
Yup just offering a suggestion based off my personal experience. I don't do the hay swapping as you can have issues with them not wanting to switch to timothy later on because the taste is unpalatable to them. Just depends on the bun(s). I've had several I struggled with after they matured that obstinately refused to eat the new (timothy) hay unless it was the only thing they had available. Once swapping to the pellet option that was a non issue. They'll always eat the pellets regardless. So adequate nutritional needs met and lesser problems both upfront, as well as, later on down the road.
 
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I'm going to try a wooden box with openings too small for the does. Only one of the two does in the hutch has kits, and I want to avoid overfeeding the other one. I can give the nursing doe extra rations, but not the kits (veggies and oatmeal) without the wrong one gobbling everything up.
As I said, didn't try it yet, but will tomorrow.

IMHO Alfalfa is ok for nursing does, they need the calcium and proteins for the milk.
Since she is nursing, how much alfalfa hay mixed in per day do you think is ok?
 

Deludedbyreality

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The hay itself you can blend in a couple of handfuls and it should be fine. You can also supplement with black oil sunflower seeds like a tbsp of those for nursing does. If going the pellet route I'd do the same amount additionally blended into her regular pellets. Oxbow sells a young rabbit pellet that is Alfalfa based and small enough package to not worry about waste and easy to transition off of if you're blending with your regular feed.
 

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