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There's something wronf with my newborns...HELP!

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_alyssa16_

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Hey everyone, I'm a new user. My bunny gave birth just after christmas to 4 babies. I've hand rearing them because the mom isn't caring for them. I already lost 2 and I think something is terribly wrong with one of the surviving ones. It's poop is white with some green, it's smelly and sticky. I don't have the heart to loose anpther one...please help.Can anyone help? Am I doing something wrong?
 

JBun

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It sounds like the babies may have somehow been exposed to some pathogenic bacteria, which is a risk with kits being hand fed and don't have the immune support of nursing from the mother rabbit. Probiotics or colostrum may help, but it may not at this point. The correct antibiotic might help, but without knowing the bacteria causing the green poop, it would be hard to know which one to use. And it's important to note that certain antibiotics given to rabbits can be fatal. If you have a vet you can see or consult with that has experience with rabbits, it would be best to talk with them as to what can be done.
http://www.rabbitvet.net/Africa&AsiaRabbitVets.htm
http://www.medirabbit.com/Unsafe_medication/Unsafe_drugs_main.htm
http://www.medirabbit.com/Safe_medication/Safe_drugs_main.htm

Here are three of the most common bacterial illnesses to cause life threatening diarrhea in rabbits, I don't know if the information will help though.
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/Bacterial/Colibacillosis.htm
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/Bacterial/Clostridial_enteritis_rabbits.htm
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/Bacterial/Tyzzer's_disease_lagomorphs.htm
 

Bat10a

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I also am curious why you think the mother wasn’t caring for them? Sometimes it might not seem like the mom is but they are hardly around them. One of my rabbits would only hop in and feed hers for less than 5 min once a day, usually evening and some rabbits don’t like to do it while anyone is around. Also newborn rabbits have a sterile stomach and get the bacteria they need to survive from their mom so it would be amazing if you could get them to go back with her even for a little bit each night. I had one mother that rejected hers and kept knocking them out of the cage or wanting to bite them. So i would watch carefully and let them nurse some then put them in a warm box where she couldn’t get to them. Even if the babies only get milk from mom the first few days or week it increases their chance of survival dramatically. Everything has to be completely sterile when you feed them yourself and i had one i was syringe feeding that had the green poo, very common for them at that age because they do not have the good bacteria in their gut yet. So I increased the amount of probiotics in the milk and the green poo stopped. You have to be careful with the probiotics though you can’t heat it in a microwave at all or the bacteria will all die so i would add it last. Also the milk has to be pretty warm for most babies to drink it but it cools fast then they stop so that is a problem and you can’t make it and store it because of bacteria. It is very sad when they don’t make it, i always have to try but i have never had one actually survive more than a couple of weeks. I have tried with maybe 8 total. Also one of my breeding pairs were dwarf rabbits and they had a high mortality rate because breeding two dwarfs can mean offspring with the true dwarf gene that is ultimately a death gene. 99.8% of the time. They will look really weak and skinny and have bigger heads compared to their body than others. Most of those have intestinal issues that kill them after a couple of days. If she isn’t trying to harm them you might be able to put them with her in her box like tonight or 1-2am some does will feed early am like before daybreak even and then check on them around 8-9am and see if their bellies are fat and full then do the same this evening and check their bellies. The mothers also usually lick them to stimulate them to urinate and poo while they feed them so thats another reason its great if she will feed them. You might try reading some about mother rabbits and I hope things get better for you.
 

_alyssa16_

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Why do you say the mom isn't caring for them?
Because after they were born I did put them in a box with blankets and such to keep them warm, then I checked on them the next morning and they looked skinny and cold. I warmed them up and took them to the vet. He also said it looks like the mom didn't feed them, but might. So I put the kits back everyday for hours to see if she feeds them.
 

_alyssa16_

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I also am curious why you think the mother wasn’t caring for them? Sometimes it might not seem like the mom is but they are hardly around them. One of my rabbits would only hop in and feed hers for less than 5 min once a day, usually evening and some rabbits don’t like to do it while anyone is around. Also newborn rabbits have a sterile stomach and get the bacteria they need to survive from their mom so it would be amazing if you could get them to go back with her even for a little bit each night. I had one mother that rejected hers and kept knocking them out of the cage or wanting to bite them. So i would watch carefully and let them nurse some then put them in a warm box where she couldn’t get to them. Even if the babies only get milk from mom the first few days or week it increases their chance of survival dramatically. Everything has to be completely sterile when you feed them yourself and i had one i was syringe feeding that had the green poo, very common for them at that age because they do not have the good bacteria in their gut yet. So I increased the amount of probiotics in the milk and the green poo stopped. You have to be careful with the probiotics though you can’t heat it in a microwave at all or the bacteria will all die so i would add it last. Also the milk has to be pretty warm for most babies to drink it but it cools fast then they stop so that is a problem and you can’t make it and store it because of bacteria. It is very sad when they don’t make it, i always have to try but i have never had one actually survive more than a couple of weeks. I have tried with maybe 8 total. Also one of my breeding pairs were dwarf rabbits and they had a high mortality rate because breeding two dwarfs can mean offspring with the true dwarf gene that is ultimately a death gene. 99.8% of the time. They will look really weak and skinny and have bigger heads compared to their body than others. Most of those have intestinal issues that kill them after a couple of days. If she isn’t trying to harm them you might be able to put them with her in her box like tonight or 1-2am some does will feed early am like before daybreak even and then check on them around 8-9am and see if their bellies are fat and full then do the same this evening and check their bellies. The mothers also usually lick them to stimulate them to urinate and poo while they feed them so thats another reason its great if she will feed them. You might try reading some about mother rabbits and I hope things get better for you.

I didn't know she was pregnant until I saw the kits, so I didn't take the male out before hand. Maybe something happend while giving birth? But yeah when I checked on the kits they were skinny and I was worried the mom might not be feeding them, I took her and the kits to the vet, so that the vet could see how much milk she produces. (This was 24h after she had givin birth) He examined her and said she is producing very little milk, but I do still put the kits with her only during the day though. I might try to put them in early in the morning. Thanks for the help
 

Preitler

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Oh my, well.

Does do not feed when stressed, the buck being there (quite likely getting her pregnant again right after or even during giving birth), moving the nest (was there one? First timers sometimes mess that up, the buck sure didn't help), trips to the vet, moving kits to and fro, that all stresses the doe.

It can take up to 48h for the milk to drop, most feed within 24h, but with all that going on and being a first timer...
I really wonder what that vet checked, they hold their milk back unless they decide to feed. Rabbits stay away from the nest all day, nurse only for a few minutes once or twice a day, mostly around dawn and dusk. You might never notice, since many does do not go near the nest if they feel watched or if anyone is around.
What they need most is rest, quiet and privacy.

If there wasn't a proper nest you can make one and line it with fur (if she didn't pluck any you can try and pluck sone from her chest), dryer lint, cotton, etc., and you can put a heating pad or bottle of warm (not too hot) water in a towel to one side of the nest - the kits wiggle to where the temperature is just right. 2, or one kit might have trouble keeping the nest warm enough. They need to be warm, since their digestion doesn't work when chilled.

When I have to move a nest, for a few days I restrict the does movement to a rather small cage or hutch with the nestbox, lots of food, water, litterbox and enough space to stretch out. I dunk her nose into the nest a few times to show her where it is.
Unless there's a very good reason (like cold weather) I wouldn't pull the nestbox out, at least not until I'm sure they got fed.

What are you feeding?
Before feeding some replacement I would try to feed them on the doe, either by flipping her and latching the kits on, or by putting a towel on your lap, kits between your legs, and put the doe on top - there is a risk that she injures the kits with her claws if she struggles, keep that in mind.

I wouldn't have high hopes for this litter if the doe doesn't feed soon, but be prepared for a possible next one in 4 weeks.
Good luck anyway,
 
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