Mom only had one baby and is not lactating

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

gelliebean

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
103
Reaction score
70
Location
Calgary
The rabbit I'm fostering was a feral who has a healing laceration on her leg. It is also infected but getting better by the week. I've had her for 2 weeks and on the weekend she surprised me with babies. She had three underdeveloped stillborn babies and one TINY alive baby. The baby unfortunately got one ear and one leg bitten off. And just so you all know, I am going to call the vet when they open but I want other opinions from people who have experience with babies.

She is currently on antibiotics (Enrofloxacin) and I am cleaning the wound daily and applying an antibacterial ointment. She is incredibly tiny and malnourished, I suspect this is why she isn't lactating. I have been giving her unlimited adult pellets since she has given birth, alfalfa hay in addition to grass hay, more vegetables, BOSS, and lots of fresh grass since she was used to eating it from being feral. She is not the biggest fan of hay, will eat a little bit of it but mostly only wants fresh grass. The vet told me she looked about 4-5 years old, this is obviously not her first litter.

The baby is usually sleeping but is wiggly and reactive to touch or heat. Skin isn't very wrinkly unless he is curled up in a ball sleeping. This morning while I was warming him up he was crying a little and had his mouth wide open for about 20 seconds and suckled his paw for a couple seconds after. I think he's hungry.. His belly is not round at all.

A few questions:

The baby was 17g both 24hours and 48hours after birth. He is not being fed. We tried a manual feeding where we held the mama and tried to place the baby on the nipple. He would only latch for maybe 2 seconds and we realized her nipples are very small and she is not lactating.

- Will she eventually lactate? I heard it is common for vets to give oxytocin but it is not effective after 48 hours. The vet did not worry (I brought mom and the baby to the vet office the morning after the birth) but it has been 48 hours after the birth and he still isn't fed. I'm feeding her a lot, she is mostly eating pellets and fresh food. If she get's a bit healthier will she begin to produce milk?

- I am checking on baby every 4-5 hours because he's alone and gets cold without the warm of his siblings. I place warm DIY rice heat bags near him and every day I'll dip his body in warm water to avoid dehydrating him (this was instructed by the vet and the article she gave me). Is it fine that I'm interfering this much? Mama doesn't seem to mind so far. Her and I have bonded quite a bit since she has been in my care. Also, how long can a baby be cold for before it harms them?

- If I do have to hand feed what are your best formula recipes and tools to deliver the milk? My vet gave me several recipes. I heard from another forum but is it true that adding some of mom's poops will help the baby's gut? I've heard that adding both fecal pellets and cecotropes will help but which one should I actually add (if it is good)? I'm not even sure how I will be able to acquire cecos.

- She currently has a cone on to prevent her from chewing on her leg. She is 100% used to the cone now and will let me put it on with ease, I give her a break from wearing it everyday for a few minutes. Do you think the cone will interfere with her baby care?

Please if you have any other information that would be useful, it is much appreciated. I have been utilizing many websites and youtube videos to learn about babies but I am worried because she is not lactating and he is single.
 

Attachments

SableSteel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2018
Messages
877
Reaction score
772
Location
Southwest USA
It can take a couple to a few days for the milk to come in, especially if they have smaller litters (the smaller the litter, the longer it takes milk to come in). Definitely remove the cone! Rabbits lick themselves and their babies when they nurse, the cone would absolutely interfere with that. Don't try to add her poop to milk. That wouldn't do much but spoil it, the kits wouldn't be eating her cecotropes yet at this point and the bacteria in cecotropes doesn't replace colostrum
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
9,938
Reaction score
5,020
Location
Utah, , USA
If she hasn't fed it by now, I would intervene and start formula feeds. Though if it's weak at this point, you may need to start with an electrolyte solution like pedialyte, to boost it's blood sugar. Then move to syringe feeds. The formula recipe in this link for raising baby cottontails, seems the best in my opinion. Rabbit milk is high in fat and protein, and low in lactose. So you want to try and mimic that as closely as possible.

 

gelliebean

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
103
Reaction score
70
Location
Calgary
If she hasn't fed it by now, I would intervene and start formula feeds. Though if it's weak at this point, you may need to start with an electrolyte solution like pedialyte, to boost it's blood sugar. Then move to syringe feeds. The formula recipe in this link for raising baby cottontails, seems the best in my opinion. Rabbit milk is high in fat and protein, and low in lactose. So you want to try and mimic that as closely as possible.

I bought things to make formula. Colostrum, kitten milk replacer, and lactose free heavy whipping cream.

Baby unfortunately didn't make it. For future reference, how long can newborns go without being fed? Mama was super malnourished and the other 3 kits came out underdeveloped. And considering how tiny he was I believe there were some underlying conditions.
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
9,938
Reaction score
5,020
Location
Utah, , USA
I would intervene at 24 hours if they seemed wrinkly at all. But I definitely wouldn't go more than 36. Some will say 48 hours, but I feel they become so weak at that point, that it could be hard to turn things around.

And trying to get them to feed off mom first before attempting syringe feeds, is always best if she's producing milk, because of the high risk of aspiration occurring with syringe feeds.
 

gelliebean

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
103
Reaction score
70
Location
Calgary
I would intervene at 24 hours if they seemed wrinkly at all. But I definitely wouldn't go more than 36. Some will say 48 hours, but I feel they become so weak at that point, that it could be hard to turn things around.

And trying to get them to feed off mom first before attempting syringe feeds, is always best if she's producing milk, because of the high risk of aspiration occurring with syringe feeds.
We did try to hold the mama and let baby suckle to see if he would get anything. Her nipples were so small though it was hard for him to even latch on.
 
Top