4. Prepare for When the Doe Kindles

FEEDING THE PREGNANT DOE:

We continue to feed the regular daily amount of feed which is 3/4 cup once daily for the English Angoras and 1 cup daily for the French Angoras. We do not increase the feed, so that the mother will not have complications from obesity. Many does will back off their feed for a day or two before kindling. After they kindle, we will not greatly increase the doe’s food until the kits are about three days old. After that, we will feed her as much as she will eat.

 

PREGNANCY TOXEMIA

An English Angora doe may go through a short phase in the 2-3 week period of gestation, where she becomes slightly anorexic. Watch does carefully, so you will notice if they begin to eat less. As long as a doe is eating something, and the anorexic phase does not last more than a couple of days, she will probably be okay, and will begin eating normally again soon. If she stops eating altogether, this is an emergency situation. When a rabbit does not eat anything within a 24 hour period, it triggers ketosis, and is very dangerous. You will need to force feed the rabbit with a syringe or a dropper. Feed her pureed baby food such as sweet potato or banana. Betty Chu recommends strawberry flavored Ensure. You will need to make sure the doe stays hydrated, so it may be a good idea to have a veterinarian give her sub-Q fluids. Pregnancy toxemia is rarely seen in does that have had litters previously.

 

 

The Angora mother should have been clipped (scissored) or plucked before breeding. A week before she is due to kindle (usually 30-32 days after breeding), clip the wool on her belly short, to about one half to one inch long.

 

Take care not to injure her with the scissors, by slanting the lower blade upward. Make sure that the wool is short around her vent and tail. Make sure the wool on her face is short, so she has a clear field to see what she is doing when she delivers.

 

After she delivers, check her belly to see if she has plucked enough of her own wool off her belly that the kits can easily nurse. You may need to pluck the teats bare of wool to facilitate nursing for the kits.

 

NESTBOX PREPARATION:

We use nestboxes made of 1/2 X 1 inch floor wire. When the weather is warm, all we do is fill the box with prairie hay and chop up some Angora wool into fine pieces, and put that into the box over the hay. For cold weather, the procedure is more complicated:

1. Cut a cardboard liner for the nestbox. Make the sides high, to break any drafts.

2. Put a layer of newpaper about 3/8 inch thick in the bottom.

3. Fill the box with prairie hay or other grass hay. Do not use alfalfa.

4. Shape a depression in the hay. Fill it with lots and lots and lots of Angora wool which is chopped into short pieces, no longer than 3/4 inch long. The wool need not be the dam’s own wool. It may be better to use wool from does, although we have used buck wool with no problems. The colder it is, the more wool you should put into the nestbox. Why take a chance? Add more wool!

5. If temperatures are dropping below 35 degrees, I would put a nestbox warmer, “Bunny Saver” under the box. The way I do this is put the warmer under the box, then put a couple pieces of corrugated cardboard under the warmer, to keep the heat from dissipating into the atmosphere. Then I duct tape the cardboard and warmer to the nestbox. If temperatures are below 30 degrees, I strongly advise moving the doe to a warmer location that has good fresh air circulation.

6. Put the nestbox into the doe’s cage. I set it with one end against the front corner of the cage, so that the cable from the electric warmer comes through the cage wire where the doe cannot chew on it.

7. Wire the nestbox to the side of the cage so that it will not tip or slip around.


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