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Baby Bunnies That Just Fade Away
What are ‘Faders’? I can hear you all asking, so now I will try to explain them to you from my own experience. As the name suggests, the ‘Fader’ bunny literally just fades away until it runs out of energy and dies. We, along with many other farmers, have spent three weeks trying many methods in an attempt to save these little guys, with little, if any, success. When the babies leave the nest at 2 weeks old, you hear the ‘Fader’ for the first time.
This is the stage when babies start to eat everything they see their mother cooking. It looks like ‘Fader’ is as close to his mother or other siblings as possible with their ears pinned to their heads and their hair down to conserve as much energy as possible. You won’t see them trying to eat anything, running around the cage full of energy or joining their siblings to eat when mom feeds them. Also their eyes seem to open later than normal around day 11) and often have to be bathed in hot water to free them, not just once, but several days in a row.
We have personally tested many strategies and documented the treatments used. When the next fader comes in, we use parts of the previous treatments that seemed to have a positive effect on the ‘Faders’ and make them a bit smoother. We have been very fortunate to have only had six ‘Faders’ since we started breeding rabbits in the nearly five years. We found that the most important things to ensure a positive outcome for ‘Fader’ were warmth and sunshine, keeping them with their family instead of isolating them, as this only makes them die faster, and supplementing with vitamins. added to their formula in the form of Penta-vite®. We also saw that these little boys could not eat milk like their brothers and sisters, but when it was put on their tongue, they could spit out warm formula. So when Ellie gave us two of these little guys, we decided to give them our best care to save them.
When they hatched and were found to be ‘Faders’ we immediately started supplementing them with a modified formula, placing heat pads under their beds (we put heated grain sacks under our cooler frames to prevent this from happening. “be a tasty treat for other moms and siblings) and made sure they got a few hours of sunlight (vitamin D) every day and put them inside by the window so they were in direct sunlight, but kept warm and no drafts. We weighed them with very accurate scales both before and after feeding and we found that at first they were eating 4 grams of food per meal and when four weeks later they were eating 12 or 15 grams. the little one weighed only 82 grams, but his sister REW weighed 94 grams. Their sibling (a blue girl) who was a normal healthy baby weighed 146 grams, so we used that as a benchmark. Approx. It took three meals a day for two weeks and constant monitoring to see a positive change.
When they were four weeks old, these two little guys started to behave normally and are well and truly on the mend. The REW now weighs a healthy 142 grams and the small Siamese Smoke now weighs 129 grams. The weight of their brother is 190 grams. When they see me coming, they get so excited like, ‘The two-legged sheep is coming, yay’. Their mom, Ellie still cleans them and looks after them so we don’t have to worry about that side of things and their little ears are starting to flop now. Note, their brown brother only pricks his ears as well.
So we seem to have hit upon a successful treatment to turn these little guys around. How happy are we? As you can imagine, we feel great and it’s just nice to sit there and watch the little guys run around. We will keep REW Doe to see how she develops and also do other research along the way (like if she will produce normal babies or foals, if her health will affect the way, etc.) and We will also focus on the tracks. Little Smoke Siamese to see how it develops. We hope this information helps you make bunnies.
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