When baby bunnies die

Beginning our homesteading journey we knew that life and death would be an intricate part of the process. Breeding animals to bring new life and harvesting them for their meat to feed us. We also are aware that sometimes things just happen unexpectedly.

Disclaimer, there will be no pictures of the bunnies in this post.

We checked on our baby bunnies before heading off to church. Darrick had seen the doe huddled on the kits, but she jumped off when he got there. The babies had just started growing a layer of white hair and were actively clawing around the nest. Darrick did notice that one of the kits was digging at the bottom of the nest box so he took some of the moms hair and covered it up. We were planning on adding more shavings and straw to the box when we came back from church.

Darrick checked them again later that afternoon and found all three of them cold and stiff. We removed the nest box and brought it inside, remembering somewhere that you can revive baby bunnies if they get cold.

We placed a few of the bunnies on a heating blanket and attempted putting one in warm water to try and warm them. Than we used a hairdryer to dry and warm them more but we had no signs of life even after they felt warm. They had started to look bruised and blue as well, meaning blood had pooled and no longer circulating. The nails, which are normally flesh or light colored, were a dark red. This also indicates that it’s too late. Darrick took the bunnies out into the woods and returned them to nature.

Our first batch of bunnies did not turn out. We messaged the rabbit guy we bought the original rabbits from and he said it’s very common to lose bunnies especially with young moms. Our doe didn’t pull enough hair to cover them and keep them warm but with each batch she will become more experienced, and so will we. Next time we will add more shavings and straw to the nest box and figure out some type of heating lamp or heat tape we can use in the enclosure. Another option would be, since rabbits only feed their babies at dawn and dusk, is to keep the bunnies in the house and bring them out in the morning and at night to feed. We’ve done some research and found, contrary to a previous post, that touching baby bunnies doesn’t mean the mom will kill them. Especially since she already knows our scent. It can actually be a benefit, as long as the handling is very gentle, that gets the kits used to human contact which will make them more calm as they get older. We don’t have any experience with this so far, but we can keep you updated with what works for us.

Our doe, Gloria, has been doing fine. We’ve been continuing to give her a daily treat- apples and bananas are her favorite. The rabbit guy suggested we rebreed Gloria soon so we plan to attempt to rebreed her again and will keep you updated when we do. We post on Wednesdays and Saturdays so stay tuned and thank you for following us. If you have any questions please post them in the comments.

God bless,

Darrick and Kay

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

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