Baby Rabbits are dying one by one everyday!

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Sky

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Hi, my 1yr old rabbit gave birth to 7 babies, this is her 2nd time giving birth. but on the 17th day one of them started showing signs like rolling over itself like somersaulting, inabilty to walk without falling, next day it was lying down like almost dead, just breathing, with stiff straight legs and arched back head while struggling sometimes. It was also teary eyed like it was crying. And just moments before death it shook his legs and head so much. Next day we observed the same in another one with same signs and then another one on next day. This time for the 3rd one the difference was that after showing the initial signs, it seemed like it recovered and started running around very actively like any other normal rabbit but same happened on the next day but before death its lips were a bit swollen and bloody like they were burst open (Didnt bleed from the mouth).

We suspected the reason was that the mother rabbit was stepping on babies while feeding them so we took utmost care and supervision but that doesnt seem to be the case because even a 4th and 5th one are showing the same signs now. I dunno if its some disease from birth or something, if it is im worried about the safety of the parents

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I place the babies in a basket with soft clothes as base and cover the basket with cloth on top.
I only allow the babies to make contact with mother only when its feeding time (2 times a day) then put them back together once they separate from the mother cause she'll step on them if I leave them with her
Weather condition its pretty hot as its summer here and its peak temperatures this month.
Father is smaller in size than the mother, like a dwarf breed, almost the same age.
In her first litter, out of the six, one was born prematurely, 2 of them died on 7th and 9th day.
2nd litter was born after 3 months
Dunno about vaccination as there are no proper vets around except one time a doctor from the govt vet said theres are no special vaccination for rabbits, so they gave her one that was supposed to be for cats/dogs. Because pet rabbits are not as common as pet dogs and cats here
 

JBun

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It's not the mother rabbit. The rabbits are exhibiting signs of a neurological illness and hydrocephalus. The possible causes could be there is a toxin in their environment or in their food that was ingested by all of them, or if anyone that has handled them had a cold sore(herpes simplex virus), possibly toxoplasmosis if they could have been exposed to cat feces, or a vitamin A deficiency or vitamin A toxicity in the mom's diet prior to her giving birth to them and so they were born with genetic defects.
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/Micronutrient/HypovitaminosisA_rabbits.htm

Another possibility is heat stroke due to overly hot temperatures, with them being kept in an enclosed basket with little airflow and no way to spread out and cool down. If this is the case then any remaining babies need to be kept in a cooler environment with good air flow and space to spread out and cool down.
https://myhouserabbit.com/rabbit-health/recognizing-heat-stroke-in-your-pet-rabbit/

If it was a disease that rabbits need a vaccination for, then this disease would also be affecting your adult rabbits.
 

Sky

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Thanks for replying, JBun. Im positive that no one has cold sores and no exposure to cat feces has happened. Also I keep the basket theyre in very clean. Regarding the other causes, after 15 days theyve been eating grass that was meant for mother after they've been fed. So Im putting some grass in their basket and seen all of them eat it. They also eat some cabbage sometimes. Should I have not done this? Theyre 21 days old now.

Also recently, Im picking up grass from a park which has a pond like huge water body in the center, it usually smells but not very stagnant and dirty because there are some ducks and swans and little fishes living in it. Ive seen them using the same water for watering the grass. But I avoid picking from those watered parts of the grass and select a spot a bit away from the water. Could that be the "Bad" grass because of the shared "Bad water" from underneath, like "infected"? I had to turn to this park because the usual place doesnt have much grass anymore cause of summer. Also after picking up 12 - 15 days worth of grass I wash them and refrigerate them in bags.

Regarding the basket that im keeping them in, the design is highly perforated and im only placing cloth on top. Should I also turn on the ceiling fan and make sure the air doesnt hit them directly but theres constant movement of air around the basket? I tried this already considering its summer but I want to be sure if its right thing to do cause I it seems like babies need to be warm.

Is there anything I can do for the babies now? Only 3 of them are left and one of them is showing the initial signs of lethargy and no movement.
 

JBun

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The babies do need to be warm but not too warm. If they are cold at all they will usually huddle up in a pile next to each other. But when they are getting too hot they will usually spread out and not lay right next to each other to try and cool off. As long as they can do this and the temperature isn't above 85 f then that shouldn't be the problem.

So with the grass, as long as it's not sprayed with chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides then it would likely be fine. But if you don't know for sure then it possibly could be the cause. It could possibly have some sort of toxin on it. Did this happen soon after you started feeding them the grass?

The other possibility is the vitamin A deficiency/toxicity, and that is all dependent on what the mother's diet was while she was pregnant. Can you tell me what her exact diet is now and if it was the same while she was pregnant with them?
 

Sky

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I dont think they bother with spraying pesticides just for the grass and I think they dont even water the grass from the patch I picked from. It just grows on its own I think. Been feeding this grass from the park to adults after 4-5 days after the mother gave birth. The adults dont seem to be having problem eating this grass. Babies started eating this grass on 11-12th day and I started placing some in the basket since the next day. First one to show the signs was on 17th day. What seems strange to me is that not all of them show signs and die at the same time. Its one baby per day since the 17th day.


Till the 4-5th days after giving birth, we fed the mother with grass from the usual place which is the same since a year, Carrots, Cabbage, Spinach, Fenugreek leaves, red tomatoes sometimes, a bit of coriander sometimes. All the non-grass items comprise 25-30% of her diet except carrots which maybe a bit more than that.
 

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