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Friday, June 27, 2008

Hypothermic Kits

Chilled kits. Kitcicles. Frozen kits.

We've got a lot of phrases to describe it. What is is though- is the suck. It's awful to go outside and find cold babies in the nextbox or on the wire. Sometimes you can bring them back, sometimes you can't.

When trying to revive a chilled kit, you can place them in a plastic baggy (roll the top down a bit, to make it more like a boat) and let it float upright in some warm water. TOO warm, you'll send the kits in to shock and they'll die anyway. Shoot for a lukewarm right at first.

You can also put them on your stomach (if you are a guy) or pop them in your bra (for the ladies and the gentlemen who have a woman's clothing fetish). The body heat you give off will help revive the kits. Another option is to hold them in your cupped hands (one on top of another).

If the kits are moving at all, you've got a pretty decent chance of survival. If they aren't moving, you can try the steps above, but it may already be too late.

I like to warm the kits up until it seems like they have a viable chance of generating their own body heat. I DO NOT like to put in a cold kit with a warm litter. To me, that's just increasing the chance that the cold kit will lower the body temperatures of the others. Once it has a fair number of heat, then perhaps it will be allowed in the nest with the others, but under CLOSER supervision- we're talking checks every 5 minutes or so on all the babies in the nest.

Some folks put nestbox heaters under their boxes- I've heard some people love them, some people say it just encourages the does to sit in the nest, causing soiled boxes and squished babies. Use them at your own risk!

Some breeders use heat lamps over cages with does. Remember, if you make it too hot, you'll end up with roasted babies :(. So again, be careful!

You can also bring in does to kindle and keep them inside a temperature controlled area until the kits are at least 2 weeks old. However, I don't like flip flopping extreme temperatures. By that I mean- bringing a doe in to our 73 degree house, then putting her and the babies back out in 30 degree weather. You can put them in another place like a basement where it stays a balmy 50 degrees or so, but I don't have a good place like that to put them.

My does just stay out in the rabbitry with plenty of hay and I hope for the best. I keep my bag of extra fur on hand to bulk up nests and I try to make sure I have multiple does due at the same time so I can foster off singletons.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, the kit(s) will die anyway. You just do the best you can and hope for the best.

Keep's Rabbitry

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