Rabbit Babies death

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Rabbit Babies death

Postby vancheese » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:46 am

Hi people

I've a problem with my does killing their newborn babies (accidently I think). I've 3 does (all first time mothers) and only has produced a nice nest and nursed babies to fullness. The other two haven't build proper nests and I've found scratched dead babies. The first deaths was with a nest box, so I've just filled their hutches with straw and the next rabbit was successful. This morning, however I found dead babies from the third rabbit.
Do people have any suggestions about how to prevent this?

Thanks

Andy
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby Alienor60 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:06 am

Kill the does, bad mothers won't change into good ones.
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby oldjerry » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:04 pm

It's a long time since I kept meat rabbits,but I'm rather of the A60 persuasion.
I do know that this behaviour can be triggered by stress,so the conditions they are kept in may be a factor.
There's a brilliant book on the subject (long out of print,but you should find it somewhere on line) called 'The Domestic Rabbit' by J C Sandford.My old Dad used this as a reference book for years,but his copy has been long lost,or you'd be welcome to it.
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby doofaloofa » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:41 pm

Alienor60 wrote:Kill the does, bad mothers won't change into good ones.


That seems a little harsh

I'd give them 3 chances before I culled
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby oldjerry » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:58 pm

The fact that they've all killed their young does suggest that it's a stress thing,so check that out first,but A60 is right,it's a trait in some does and there's not much you can do if they're determined.
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby Ellendra » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:04 pm

I haven't had the chance to raise rabbits yet, but I've read a lot about it. There was something mentioned about the mothers killing their babies if they felt threatened, the example given was a cat sleeping on the roof of their hutch.

I'm sure you have them in a secure pen, but do they feel safe?
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby Alienor60 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:00 pm

I'm sorry but it isn't harsh but the only way to keep the good mothers.
20yrs ago I was a smaller breeder of Angoras, with 80 does and the babies.
A doe who kills her first babies will do it again and again.
They are missing the "mothering" trait, and if you keep them it will become worse, esp. if one or two of the babies survive - don't breed those.
If you do it, you're calling for trouble for years....
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby doofaloofa » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:27 pm

Alienor60 wrote:I'm sorry but it isn't harsh but the only way to keep the good mothers.
20yrs ago I was a smaller breeder of Angoras, with 80 does and the babies.
A doe who kills her first babies will do it again and again.
They are missing the "mothering" trait, and if you keep them it will become worse, esp. if one or two of the babies survive - don't breed those.
If you do it, you're calling for trouble for years....



So this is your final solution?
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby cebbern27 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:06 pm

breed them again and see what happens i get this alot with first time mothers
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby oldjerry » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:21 am

doofaloofa wrote:
Alienor60 wrote:I'm sorry but it isn't harsh but the only way to keep the good mothers.
20yrs ago I was a smaller breeder of Angoras, with 80 does and the babies.
A doe who kills her first babies will do it again and again.
They are missing the "mothering" trait, and if you keep them it will become worse, esp. if one or two of the babies survive - don't breed those.
If you do it, you're calling for trouble for years....



So this is your final solution?





I disagree with you ,and think your confusing keeping a pet with realistic animal husbandry.

That apart,while quite a few of us on here like a bit of 'knockabout',I think chucking around expressions like that,to posters you've presumably never even met,is, to use a line in idioms you seem to favour,a bridge too far.
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby trinder » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:45 am

I know NOTHING about rabbits, I have never kept them, but I did read that a wild rabbit buries her young (to keep them safe) whilst she is away from the nest. Apparently when she comes back to the nest she expresses very quickly ( minutes) and then covers them again.
In the first post there is mention of the dead young being scratched, could it be that she is trying to cover them more than she has covering available? I would try giving her a lot more bedding to cover them with.
Dunno ? just a thought.
The comments about "being a bad mother " has some merit, certainly in dogs and horses any "over anxious/ stressy mares or bitches will often throw young of a similar ilk ( nature/ nurture?). Personally I too would not be too hasty to cull, it would intrigue me. Now if these were racing rabbits, it would be a characteristic that just might give you the winner. :icon_smile:
On the issue of animals for research "The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'" Jeremy Bentham
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby doofaloofa » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:24 pm

oldjerry wrote:
doofaloofa wrote:
Alienor60 wrote:I'm sorry but it isn't harsh but the only way to keep the good mothers.
20yrs ago I was a smaller breeder of Angoras, with 80 does and the babies.
A doe who kills her first babies will do it again and again.
They are missing the "mothering" trait, and if you keep them it will become worse, esp. if one or two of the babies survive - don't breed those.
If you do it, you're calling for trouble for years....



So this is your final solution?





I disagree with you ,and think your confusing keeping a pet with realistic animal husbandry.

That apart,while quite a few of us on here like a bit of 'knockabout',I think chucking around expressions like that,to posters you've presumably never even met,is, to use a line in idioms you seem to favour,a bridge too far.



sorry oldjerry

sorry Alienor60
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby doofaloofa » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:02 pm

oldjerry wrote:I disagree with you ,and think your confusing keeping a pet with realistic animal husbandry.


Now appology for flaming A60 aside, I would now like to refute your post

For back ground I am currently 2 years into developing an ethical rabbit meat buisnis. As i type I am munching on a rbbit offal sandwich from a rabbit I killed the other day

I anually fatten turkeys (10 this christmas gone), slaughtering and processing them myself

I have raise and slaughtered pigs. I don't send them off to the factory, I do it with my own hands

I am quite prepared to cull animals that need it

My eyes are open to the realities of animal husbandry

Now, it may be economically correct to cull underachieving animals in a large intensive rabbit unit, i don't know I've never been involved with one, though I would like to see the figures to prove it

But we are not talking about that are we? we are talking about someone with a few back yard does. It makes no economic sence to cull any doe that fails to perform well on the first litter. the first litter for any mamal can be problematic, and sourcing decent rabbits is costly and time consuming.

Quite aside from the economics of the situation, the ethics of culling at the first sign of trouble, clearly leave a lot to be disired

Personally I find it morally repugnant to consider any animal meerly as a thing to be used up and disposed of so casually. Every domestic animal deserves due process before destruction.

Why else do we chose this lifestyle?

as I said in my initial post, give the does 3 chances before culling (or re homing as a pet if you prefer a more ethical solution)

TL;DR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVdoZNxtL8k
Pumkinpie wrote:Great idea doofaloofa.

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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby oldjerry » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:27 pm

Thanks for the apology. I appreciate the depth of your feeling on this.

I 'm not sure that anyone suggested the does should be ''used up or disposed of casually'' I would of thought that anyone would use the meat and pelt (or wool) in the same way as ever.While many mammals do have problems with first litters(though this can also in my experience be inherited)Rabbits in captivity can display this habit of killing their young,and they will not stop it.( given the proviso that all their living conditions are stress free which I think I mentioned).Keeping meat rabbits is great for those who would be self-reliant in meat,as they reproduce so swiftly,but the downside is that unwelcome traits have been allowed to build up over the years by breeders looking for other more sought after attributes( quick weight gain,hardiness,etc,whatever).

Hey, it 'd be dull on here if everyone had the same opinion.. BWs
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Re: Rabbit Babies death

Postby vancheese » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:16 pm

Following on nicely from Oldjerry's comments about traits being bred in, is one about parenting (do i need a new thread?) I've heard various levels of advice about breeding offsprings from Never to father and daughter is ok.
What's people's opinions?
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