Well, I had a “fun” time tonight learning to hand feed two-day old rabbit kits. I’m not sure what’s going on with Dandelion… I have left her litter in with her since they were born and she has not fed them once. A fed kit will have a silly, fat belly and an unfed kit will be obviously thin and very wrinkled. This just goes to show you how hard it can be to get a litter to that six-week safe mark.
This afternoon I flipped Dandelion onto her back in my lap and set two kits at a time at a nipple to get the kits to feed or at least maybe stimulate her milk production. It was so unsuccessful that I believe her milk has not come in yet. Since it had been 48-hours from birth, I decided to intervene this evening and fed them a half-belly full of an evaporated goats milk mixture using a syringe to help carry them over until she starts nursing. Last thing I need is a litter of kits too hungry and too weak to nurse. I lost two runts in Clementine’s litter last spring when they became too weak to nurse. It is so disheartening to watch a young one slowly go like that.
I just hope Dandelion gets her act together and starts feeding her litter! At least I have a weeks worth of canned evaporated goats milk on hand just incase I need to continue to supplement their feedings or even take over feeding entirely. That’s the last thing I want to do, but its better than loosing an entire litter to a bad mother. This is why it is so important to breed two does at once so you can foster kits to another doe. Too bad Blackberry and Philly were too young to breed. Hand-feeding kits has a pretty low success rate, but again– it’s better than zero.
Wish us luck!