Sad News – Fostering Orphaned Rabbit Kits

We have lost one of our bunnies. Last week Tuna stopped eating and drinking and had come down with what I suspect was GI stasis. She had been eating some of the shredded newspaper out of her nest, so I wonder if that had anything to do with it.

Anyway, as soon as I noticed her not eating I stuffed her cage with wild greens that I know she likes: dandelions, comfrey, blackberry leaves and grasses. She ate them, but not with the gusto she usually does. I made sure her cage also had plenty of hay and added a water crock for her to drink more easily which she appreciated. I also spent some time massaging her abdomen to try to get things going, but alas, after about three days she passed away.


Three nests but only two moms

Unfortunately she left behind a litter of seven kits that were only about a week old. So now I have 22 kits from three moms, but only two moms to take care of them.

In order to save the smallest kits I had to do some nest box juggling. I removed all the largest kits from each litter and left only six of the smallest in each box. One kit was pretty skeletal already and wasn’t looking good. I took the large kits inside with me and kept them in a safe, warm place for 24 hours. After that I replaced them, splitting them up evenly between the two boxes.


A very tiny, underweight kit


A fat, happy kit

By this time, some of the underweight kits who looked like they would not make it had full bellies and were looking great. They really seem to have almost doubled in size while the fasted kits showed no ill effects.

I left everyone in their nests with mom for 48 hours and then took out all the largest kits again for another 24 hours. Tonight they’ll go back in.

With this technique, the largest kits miss about 2-3 feedings every 3 days. Initially I was worried they would start to get agitated, but they just sleep calmly all day. Just these few extra feedings without competition seem to be enough for the smallest kits to really catch up. Of course, now that everyone’s eyes are opening it might get harder. Lucky for me the does have been super tolerant and don’t care which kits I give them.

I may not save every single one, but at least the smallest now have a fighting chance. If I can get them to the point where they start eating on their own, then we’ll be home free.


Previously underweight kits are happy after a couple of good feedings

7 thoughts on “Sad News – Fostering Orphaned Rabbit Kits

  1. Pingback: The Foster Litter | Abernathy's Rabbitry

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