Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Food Challenge

A beautiful, fluffy nest with warm bundles of healthy babies in it, it's what every breeder wants to see right? So what happens if that is not the case?
   Recently myself and other breeders have had problems with getting and keeping litters. From not getting any litters, getting a beautiful nest but no babies in it and getting babies and losing them it has been a frustrating battle!
   In MY battle to get litters I found that my feed may have been the culprit. Slowly I transitioned my herd over to another feed to see if it would help. Whalla! I got my first two litters and large ones at that! 
   I wish it had been as simple as just switching the feed. Shortly after the birth of litter number two we started losing them. I found that my female had not gotten any milk in to feed the babies. Only 2.5 weeks after the birth my other female dried up leaving 5 orphaned baby bunnies for me to step in and care for. After the third litter and the mom not having any milk supply, I gave all types of supplemental foods such as veggies and oatmeal to try and boost milk production for the first 9 days with no success. As a last ditch effort I started sprinkling a calcium supplement on her feed and Oatmeal. Within the day her milk had come in full force and the three remaining babies survived. 
   I started sprinkling the calcium supplement on all of the lactating moms as well as all females and babies and since have noticed a huge difference in their health, activity levels, milk production and the overall health and size of babies in the litters they are now finally having. 
   I decided to start adding in some whole grains and more natural items for their diet such as Fodder, veggies, plants and grasses that are safe and good for them. 
   With this new diet they have been doing much better and I have been able to keep weight on them more so than before. 
   My conclusion is that there is something lacking in the feed or an ingredient in the feed that is not doing what it used to anymore and that was what was causing so many of my issues since with this new diet I have not have the issues I had had pre-diet.