Back to Back Litter

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Shanan

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Hi. A month ago I experienced what is called a surprise litter. The two babies are doing wonderful.

I had been suspecting a back to back pregnancy since the day the mother bun had her first litter because she was there with the buck for sometime. I had been calculating days ever since and today evening I put in a nest box in her cage to see what behaviour she exhibits. Not surprisingly, she is building a nest with all the hay sincerely. Tomorrow is Day 31st and I am expecting a second litter except for the fact that I am super scared. I know it's not good for the doe to have back to back pregnancy and it has been giving me mixed feelings. :(

The babies from the first litter have already almost weaned so that won't be a problem. But I hope the doe and the second litter will be safe and healthy. :( Meanwhile, it will be great if I get some tips about how to tackle this situation if a second litter shows up.
 

Preitler

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Hi, you'll need to keep the older kits away from the nestbox, they don't care at all what they trample and pee on, they are old enough to be weaned. Also, they would still be raiding the milk buffet (some of mine did that up to 16 weeks...). I would take them out right now to give the doe a little rest.

Back to back breeding isn't ideal, but that's how nature works, be sure that the doe gets enough calories, adding some oatmeal or BOSS to her diet.
 

Shanan

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Hi, you'll need to keep the older kits away from the nestbox, they don't care at all what they trample and pee on, they are old enough to be weaned. Also, they would still be raiding the milk buffet (some of mine did that up to 16 weeks...). I would take them out right now to give the doe a little rest.

Back to back breeding isn't ideal, but that's how nature works, be sure that the doe gets enough calories, adding some oatmeal or BOSS to her diet.

Already separated the previous kits. I hope she won't be harmed through this process. :((
 

Chillissa

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I had been suspecting a back to back pregnancy since the day the mother bun had her first litter because she was there with the buck for sometime.
Why was she there with the buck if she was already with a litter? Get the buck his own cage if you have not already done so. Each rabbit needs it's own cage and this is a prime example of why. I'm not trying to be mean or critical but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated clearly and nobody else has done so.
 

Preitler

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Sure, a buck should have his own cage, knowing that doesn't change much when bonding your two "does". Greetings from the sex change fairy, surprise, surprise.

Back to back breeding happened with one of my does 2 years ago - got home, eager to inspect the nest, let the doe out in the garden to do so and noticed mere 30 seconds later that my buck had torn off a grate from his hutch and jumped 4ft to freedom during the day. Things happen, and one sure is smarter afterwards...
 

Chillissa

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Bucks will never miss an opportunity. That could happen to anyone. As for the sex change fairy... if every rabbit has their own cage then you need never worry about that. I once kept sisters together then took one to a show but not the other. When I put the one taken to the show back into the cage with her sister she was immediately attacked. Lesson learned. The sister who was attacked did not understand and was never the same again after that. Her entire personality changed. I am a firm believer in every rabbit having their own cage after 8 weeks old. It simply solves a lot of problems before they can begin.
 

Preitler

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if every rabbit has their own cage then you need never worry about that. I once kept sisters together then took one to a show but not the other.
I keep my 4 does in pairs. For me, the positives by far outweight the negatives. Sure, there are sometimes tensions I need to watch closly, and a cage or hutch needs to be big so they can avoid one another for half a day if they feel like it, but when I see them cuddle, grazing together, sleeping in a pile, or any social interaction - I feel much better. One of my older does has runny eyes, lost most of the fur on her face, nothing worked - except pairing her up with one of her daughters - the cleaning they do helps a lot. Raising a litter also seems less stress when there are two does to be harassed by the kits.
Most rabbits are social creatures, here it's even law that you must not keep a rabbit alone except meat rabbits (which somewhat overshoots the goal and causes problems of other kinds). But I'm weary to seperate them for more then 2 days, reestablishing their hierachy can be trouble indeed when one started to think she's accomplished world dominion.

Anyway, some rabbits don't cope well with company and are happy enough alone.
My buck is my single free range housebunny, but he spends a lot of time at the fence with the does, I'm really thinking about getting him a spayed cuddlebunny, but I have too many rabbits already...
 

Preitler

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After thinking about my last post, I want to add that I don't think that my way is any better than yours. It's just different, mostly because we have different goals. I love being surrounded by rabbits hopping around the garden, but when fall comes the offspring goes into the freezer or frying pan anyway (since ARAs made it almost impossible to find new homes for the nicer ones).
Anyway, that feel-good-thing about social rabbits I so adore may come from that that those rabbits are my sole company, serving a double purpose as pets and lifestock.
 
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