Rabbits -Foster moms

Do you breed rabbits, are you thinking about breeding rabbits? I love my rabbits, I got them the very first spring we arrived on the farm, my local sale, I arrived home with chickens, ducks and rabbits..

I brought them home before I things really well set up, but I had pens and I had food and water and we made due as it got put together, because I did not know if there was regular sales for small livestock or if it was just spring and fall.

My first does where eight to nine months and came breed, they were outstanding mothers but the stress meant that my first litters were small but we all quickly got in the grove of things,

I have had meat rabbits every since, I tend to keep two or three main breeding does with one buck on average, I have been known to raise up a few extra does for spring-summer litters and then bring my numbers back down for winter..

What I want to talk about today is Fostering..

I do not read or hear about it in books but when you talk to rabbit or cat for that matter breeders, its highly recommended that you breed two does or queens at the same time, because if one has a smaller litter and one has a bigger litter, they will be very willing to share the babies..

This has been proven to me time and time again.. when it comes to the farm cat momma’s, even after being altered, they will still bring in milk, and climb in the kitten box to groom, and nurse the kittens..

Rabbit does will not share a nest, I had a few years where I tried the colony style and while I had lots of kits, I found that they did not share nest box’s well, at all..

but they will share kits, as long as they are within reasonable ages of the mothers babies, you can mix and match the numbers and have no issues doing so per the moms..

you however might have a much bigger issue figuring who the kits belong to if they are all the same in color and pattern.. some use finger nail polish, some use bingo color dots, or livestock markers.. some use a dot of food coloring, whatever you choose to use, it should not harm the kit or the mother if she is grooming them.

I got a message from a friend that her doe had passed on and she was wondering if there was any chance that I might have a doe that had kits that were close to the right age..  I had one within a week of them in age and so I took five of the biggest and strongest kits from the litter an added them to my nest box..

My momma rabbit did just what I expected, she nursed them more, she cleaned them up and accepted them..

P1070502

When it comes to farm life, a good momma is worth her weight in gold! and bad mothers should be culled and into the freezer or crock pot they go!

Her litter of whites are big chunks compared to the new kits but they are all full round bellies and they snuggle right up.. so the new adopted kits are four black and one brown..

they are in fact the same breed of rabbits, just in different colors.. I hope that the wee one will catch up over the next few weeks or so..

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6 Responses to Rabbits -Foster moms

  1. judy says:

    Wanted meat rabbits for some time now so your info was valued.
    Starting as a “newbie” could you suggest any good books with step be step info. Like how big the hutches are to be, food requirements, common medical problems/etc or do you have the time to help?

    How many rabbits to you butcher each year for your own freezers or does it depend on the number of culls?
    What breed of meat rabbits do you raise?

    Wanting to be ready for the fall purchase of the guys….pretty excited!
    Thanks!

  2. valbjerke says:

    We’ve done the same with pigs in the past when we had several breed sows. One young sow reheated her first litter (she went in the freezer) and we fostered her litter over to our best sow who was nursing a large litter of her own (about a week older). It can be a bit tricky with pigs tho – I used a trick my dad used to use – powdered both litters with baby powder, as well as moms nose. Momma woke up – gave an alarmed grunt at the sudden increase in the size of her litter – gave them all a sniff, then settled down to nurse them. It’s less nerve wracking if the sow is in a farrowing crate – but we never used those. 🙂

  3. judy says:

    I’ll look forward to your help with rabbits…THANKS!
    We’ve used, believe it or not, icing sugar (that’s all we had at the time) & it worked like a charm with a nurse cow taking a orphaned calf. May have been the sweet taste she like?? The calf’s name of course was sugar!

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