The Woes of Does

Rabbits as a species are terrible mothers. If it weren’t for their large litters and quick reproduction I’m sure they would have died out. I was disappointed to see some poor examples of motherhood in my rabbitry. One of my dutch does kindled a baby on the wire and then cannibalized it pretty badly (this will be a picture less post for PG reasons). Thankfully she did have one live baby in the nest. The doe next to her had a litter of 12 day olds and one got out of the nest. We’ve had a cold snap and our night time lows have been near freezing for several days, so he froze (and it wasn’t one of the pet marked ones either. Hmph!) One would think it wouldn’t take that much intelligence for mama to have at least snuggled her kit, to share body heat. I know expecting her to put it back is too much to ask, they’re not retrievers after all. But I mean come on, how dumb are rabbits really? Thankfully, GC LDR’s Eve semi-pulled thru for me, she had a litter of six, 2 were DOA but the rest are snuggled warm in a nice nest. Only problem is these four babies are all torts and so is my singleton. I think I may have to tattoo a dot in his ear, so I can foster him in with the bigger litter.
I write this post to encourage other breeders especially new breeders. Raising rabbits can be tough (ironic, I know). So, I just wanted to show that even seasoned breeders don’t always have it work out just right either, and don’t get me wrong, my does usually do a pretty good job compared to some breeds. But if you keep at it, eventually there will be some winners in your nest boxes.

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