Entertainment Blog Directory

Monday, March 10, 2008


A new breeder just had her first litter (12 healthy hares!) and her joy and panic reminds me so much of my first litter! I wanted to take the time to leave a few "first time litter" tips here.

1.) Not all babies are going to live!
You will get lucky with all live litters that make it to weaning and new homes. You'll get unlucky with DOAs, peanuts & max factors (depending on the breed), kitcicles, enteritis victims and some babies that just don't thrive, called faders.

2.) Leave them alone!
Ok, I admit this one is misleading. Pull them out, check on them, squeal excitedly- but do not panic if it takes the doe up to 24 hours to feed them. Sometimes it takes that long for her milk to come in. Remember, the last thing you want to do is hand feed! The survival rate is not high, especially with inexperienced people doing the feeding!

3.) Cuts are normal!
Sometimes babies will have small cuts or scratches on them, either from mama's nails or accidental teeth contact as she's trying to rip them free from the birthing sacs so they can breathe. Don't panic! Just wash it off with a clean, warm wash cloth and keep an eye on it! Rub a little neosporin on it, glue it together- it will take care of it's self :). I've never had a baby die from a cut.

4.) Keep a check on Mama!
Especially with a larger litter, make sure you've compensated by increasing her feed enough she can support milk production! Try to avoid feeding her so much she becomes obese, or this litter could be her last. Run your hands down her body daily or at least every other day and feel for bones, hollow spots, etc.

5.) Hay, hay, hay!
Hay for the mama, hay for the babies. I have one doe that loves to continue improving her nest, even weeks after her babies are born! I like to give her hay to encourage her skilled building, and help prevent her from plucking herself bald. When the babies start opening their eyes, I want fresh hay there for them to nibble on. More hay= less chance of enteritis, especially as they get on pellets!

6.) Clean nestbox is a must!
If the doe soils the nestbox, don't be afraid to take it out to clean it! At least remove the hay where the poop mess is. I like to build my babies whole new nests around the time their eyes open. The clean hay and environment helps prevent any nestbox eye, which is a real pain in the butt to clear up! (It's not hard, it just takes a lot of care and is very pitiful).

So there you have it- 6 tips that will hopefully make your new litter a whole lot more fun and a lot less stress!

Keep's Rabbitry

No comments: