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Holland Lop Stillborns :(

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Juniperjoy

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Hi All!
I am hoping someone can give me some advice I was hoping to start breeding Holland lops (not for show). I have one doe and one buck both are the friendliest bun buns you’ll ever meet!
I bred them when my female was 7 months but she got a stuck kit and the first baby took a very long time to deliver. (I actually think she might have been pregnant in both uterine horns because the first baby was SO big!). She ended up loosing the whole first litter and the delivery was very hard on her so I gave her little body some time to heal before breeding her again. I bred her three months later and she delivered MUCH easier but all the kits were stillborn...
Does anyone know why this keeps happening? Should I try again or give up? It’s so heartbreaking loosing babies!
 

SableSteel

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It's very common in holland lops. One of the reasons that I don't recommend them as a breed for somebody just getting into breeding. Their large heads, dwarf gene and small litter size makes birthing very difficult. Breeders often give the does three chances, so you could try her again.
 

Juniperjoy

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It's very common in holland lops. One of the reasons that I don't recommend them as a breed for somebody just getting into breeding. Their large heads, dwarf gene and small litter size makes birthing very difficult. Breeders often give the does three chances, so you could try her again.
Thank you for this information! Very helpful. How long would you suggest waiting from kindling her stillborns to rebreed?
I adore my bunnies and would love to have a litter from them!
 

JBun

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There's also the possibility it is health related. For does that have continuing reproductive problems, fetal reabsorption, abortion, stillbirths, malformed kits, kits that fail to thrive, have hydrocephalus or muscular dystrophy and don't live past a couple weeks old, there is the possibility it being caused by a vitamin A imbalance in the feed, and rabbit syphilis can also cause some of these problems.

I know someone that was having problems with her does getting pregnant or having kits born alive. She decided to change feeds. It took a couple months but eventually her does starting having litters that survived, but then had movement and symptoms of hydrocephalus and didn't survive past a couple weeks. But eventually the litters all stopped having these issues and started to be ok. All of the problems pointed to toxic amounts of vitamin A in her feed. So if the problem continues with your rabbit then I would be looking at the possibility of a problem with the feed or rabbit syphilis.


And just a recommendation, if you aren't a serious breeder, I would suggest considering not continuing with trying to get your doe pregnant. If it's been difficult for you to deal with these babies not being born alive, it really doesn't get easier. These problems and risks are a part of breeding, so it's something that you will continue to have to deal with if you continue.

If you aren't looking into breeding but are just wanting to have a litter or two with your current rabbits, just be aware that breeding does put your rabbits at some risk. There is always the possibility of pregnancy complications that could either result in a very expensive vet bill to try and save your doe, or even the possibility of it being fatal. So it's important to be aware of and consider these risks before proceeding further.
 

Juniperjoy

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There's also the possibility it is health related. For does that have continuing reproductive problems, fetal reabsorption, abortion, stillbirths, malformed kits, kits that fail to thrive, have hydrocephalus or muscular dystrophy and don't live past a couple weeks old, there is the possibility it being caused by a vitamin A imbalance in the feed, and rabbit syphilis can also cause some of these problems.

I know someone that was having problems with her does getting pregnant or having kits born alive. She decided to change feeds. It took a couple months but eventually her does starting having litters that survived, but then had movement and symptoms of hydrocephalus and didn't survive past a couple weeks. But eventually the litters all stopped having these issues and started to be ok. All of the problems pointed to toxic amounts of vitamin A in her feed. So if the problem continues with your rabbit then I would be looking at the possibility of a problem with the feed or rabbit syphilis.


And just a recommendation, if you aren't a serious breeder, I would suggest considering not continuing with trying to get your doe pregnant. If it's been difficult for you to deal with these babies not being born alive, it really doesn't get easier. These problems and risks are a part of breeding, so it's something that you will continue to have to deal with if you continue.

If you aren't looking into breeding but are just wanting to have a litter or two with your current rabbits, just be aware that breeding does put your rabbits at some risk. There is always the possibility of pregnancy complications that could either result in a very expensive vet bill to try and save your doe, or even the possibility of it being fatal. So it's important to be aware of and consider these risks before proceeding further.
Yes, I had also thought of health reasons and was thinking of taking her back to the vet to get checked over.
Vitamin A is really interesting I haven’t heard of that before. She is currently eating Science Selective brand along with Timothy hay and lettuce/kale for treats.
she did seem to stop being very interested in food Maybe the day or two before she kindled wich concerned me. But she always was excited for her lettuce and ate it right away.
 

JBun

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Science selective is a high quality feed, so I would be doubtful there's anything wrong with it. Have you seen any sores around her genitals, mouth, eyes, or nose?
 

majorv

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It might also be the buck & doe combination. You could give her one more chance. If she loses the 3rd litter I’d stop trying.
 

Happy Hollands

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Many breeders, like myself, follow the rule "3 strikes you're out". So I'd try her once more before giving up! The first litter always had a low survival rate, but the second one also having all stillborns could indicate a health related problem. A good break between failed litters is 2-5 weeks. And it can't be possible for her to be pregnant in both uterine horns unless she was bred at separate times (like 2 weeks apart).

How many kits were in each litter? The bigger the litter, the smaller the kits which makes labor easier on her. So maybe try keeping her with the buck for a longer amount of time (definitely more than a day).
 

Juniperjoy

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Many breeders, like myself, follow the rule "3 strikes you're out". So I'd try her once more before giving up! The first litter always had a low survival rate, but the second one also having all stillborns could indicate a health related problem. A good break between failed litters is 2-5 weeks. And it can't be possible for her to be pregnant in both uterine horns unless she was bred at separate times (like 2 weeks apart).

How many kits were in each litter? The bigger the litter, the smaller the kits which makes labor easier on her. So maybe try keeping her with the buck for a longer amount of time (definitely more than a day).
She had three kits in the first litter, four in the second litter. Thanks for the advice!!!
 

zuppa

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And just a recommendation, if you aren't a serious breeder, I would suggest considering not continuing with trying to get your doe pregnant. If it's been difficult for you to deal with these babies not being born alive, it really doesn't get easier. These problems and risks are a part of breeding, so it's something that you will continue to have to deal with if you continue.

If you aren't looking into breeding but are just wanting to have a litter or two with your current rabbits, just be aware that breeding does put your rabbits at some risk. There is always the possibility of pregnancy complications that could either result in a very expensive vet bill to try and save your doe, or even the possibility of it being fatal. So it's important to be aware of and consider these risks before proceeding further.
Totally agree with that. As you said her first and second litter were kits were SO BIG, she had stuck kit first time, when you keep breeding her you put her under risk, just imagine, giving birth is a major stress and she is under that risk that she will have big babies again.

Is your male smaller or bigger than she? Do you know if their parents or in their lines she or he had larger ancestors? It is quite possible that her kits can be bigger because of she had larger ancestors, or your male. I had this when my female was mini midi size and male was smaller than she and she had 3 very big kits, they were just much bigger than she when grew up. The other 3 were normal size for her and are same size as she is now, they are now 1 year and a half. She had problems delivering those big ones.

I know more cases when both male and female were miniature but kits were very big, bigger than both. Since both male and female were mixed breeds it is very possible that their babies inherited size from their grandparents. It is quite often than babies born from two lops have lionhead's mane or ears because of their granddad was a lionhead, I see it a lot. I don't say this happened to your girl but it is possible as well.

So just ask yourself if you really want to risk her health/life just because you want one or two litters off her. Giving birth to a very large child is a torture, if you ever had kids you should understand that. And please don't tell me that rabbits giving birth easy I've seen a few girls after giving birth they didn't look great and you can tell they were exhausted and bleeding and needer so much care after and time to recover. Rabbits keep their pain to themselves but it is not painless and having dead litter also not easy psychologically. They have feelings just like you and me, so I am against putting them under risk experimenting with breeding. And agree that 3rd time again she can have problems delivering or kits can have health problems and since you have no experience you won't know how to deal with them, you will need to seek professional help which is expensive.

When she had stuck kit did you bring her to vets or just leaved her in pain? Maybe with medical intervention her kit could survive? They'd help her with pain at least, definitely.
 

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