2014 Angora Rabbit Litters Day 6

LilyDaughterLitterJan14 Day 6

The kits are growing and becoming more active.  It took about two dozen pictures to get this one because the kits were in constant motion.  There are one or two kits in each litter who are not getting fed as often as they should.  This number is unusually high.  I believe it is related to the constant below freezing temperatures.  Water in these temperatures begins freezing instantly.  Despite offering fresh water several times a day to the does, I think that not having water constantly available is affecting their milk production.  To help catch the smallest kits up, I combined them (marking them to make sure they returned to the correct litter) and offered them to the doe who was producing the most milk.  She immediately fed them and I returned them to their litters.  This requires more effort but hopefully the extra feeding will strengthen them and prevent any losses.

These persistent freezing temperatures are abnormal for this area.  Unfortunately you cannot predict extreme weather conditions a month ahead of time, but you need to be aware of the risks, and be willing to take steps to mitigate them.  I stop breeding in April because the heat can kill the pregnant does, and the young kits.  Here, the heat is more likely to kill than the cold so I prefer to risk the cold.   If these weather conditions occur more often, I would either choose not to breed this time of year, or adjust my rabbitry to better accommodate breeding at these temperatures.