young rabbits

13 Causes of High Mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens and How to Remedy the Situations

13 Causes of High Mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens and How to Remedy the Situations

Rabbits are highly prolific animals, for this reason, most farmers take this advantage for granted instead of utilizing it to their utmost advantage.

Mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens can cause heartbreak to any rabbit farmer but this situation can be avoided.

Most rabbit farmers especially the inexperienced ones do complain of their rabbits dying at an alarming rate.

With the high number of dead among kittens young or baby rabbits, these can have a significant impact on the rabbit farm and the entire farm project.

And at the same time the profitability of the entire farming project.

Identifying the problem and proffering a solution to remedy the situation is the key to profitable rabbit farming:

The following are the major causes of death and mortalities in baby rabbits (kittens) with their remedies.


how to reduced mortality in young rabbits kittens


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  • Heat stress can cause high mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens

Heat stress especially in tropical climates is a major problem to rabbits. Rabbits do not cope well in temperatures above 32 degrees C and in high humidity.

Rabbits enjoy cooler temperatures for reproduction and survival. During heat periods it is advisable to skip breeding rabbits, especially in hot tropical climates.

Or you provide a means of cooling them with the use of a fan or heat exhaust fan. Heat stress can cause sterility among bucks.

As a result of heat, Does (female rabbit) may not reproduce. Instead, they could miscarry, abort their young, ignore the newborn, or deliver outside the nest box on the wire floor rather than in the next box.

Rabbits can also die from heat stress, which results in high mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens. However, heat stress can be prevented through methods that are fairly inexpensive and can be readily implemented.

Vitamin C can be given to the rabbits to reduce the effect of heat stress. Air-conditioning and fans are used on very hot days to also reduce the effect of heat.

Building their house under a shade, use an exhaust fan in their house similar to the ones for poultry. Their hutch should not be placed directly under the sun. Avoid mating your rabbits during the heat season or the summer months.


  • Poor management (sanitation) can also lead to mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens

One of the most often neglected but important measures in attaining near-zero mortality rate in rabbit production, is proper care of the rabbit’s hutch, in terms of Cleanliness and management because curative treatment is less successful in rabbits than in many other livestock classes.

The rabbit’s hutch should be constructed in such a way that the hutch will be able to self-clean itself in a way that the droppings will fall through the wire mesh and the urine of the rabbits can easily be collected through a systematic draining system.

The rabbits should be kept in an enclosed environment with good ventilation, allowing proper inlet and outlet air movement.


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mortality in young rabbits kittens


  • Poor milk yield especially for young mothers may lead to high mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens

This problem is usually peculiar to first-time mothers (doe), Young mothers should be observed for some time if the problem persists the doe should be culled


  • Indiscriminate use of antibiotics

Excessive use of certain antibiotics can be a risk or toxic to the rabbits, in addition, the abuse or misuse of drugs can decrease the ability of the young rabbit to build natural immunity.

Resistance to some diseases as they grow can lead to high mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens.


  • Remating immediately is another bad production process that can cause high mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens

Keeping the male rabbit buck together with the doe poses danger to both the kittens and the doe their mother, the male can kill or trample the kittens to death, and at the same time the buck i.e the male rabbits can easily get the doe pregnant even when she is still kindling her young.

This may create a burden on the doe. That may eventually lead to poor care and feeding of the kittens which can lead to their death.

Have a calendar to monitor when the doe is kindling, and weaning her young so that you know when to mate her again, always separate the male buck from the doe, he should be kept in a separate hutch.


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  • High litter size if not properly managed can cause high mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens

Some rabbits are capable of giving birth to a higher number of kittens than they can handle or properly breastfeed with milk, this may lead to underfeeding of some kittens that may eventually lead to death.

If you keep a lot of rabbits, try to make an arrangement for a foster mother who is also kindling her young.

You can pick kittens from the doe with a high number of kittens to the ones with less to help in breastfeeding.

This method can be tricky, you might need to be doing it manually yourself.


  • Undue disturbances to the rabbit during kindling can cause complete loss

Rabbits need a completely quiet and serene environment for kindling their young noisy and unnecessary human presence should be avoided at all costs.


how to reduce mortality in young rabbits kittens i


  • Presence of bacterial and viral diseases

Rabbits are very clean animals, which makes them have fewer diseases, their environment should be kept clean at all times.

When introducing new rabbits it should not be done suddenly new rabbits should be kept in a new hutch.

They can be observed for some time to rule out the presence of any bacterial or viral infection before mixing them with the main flock.


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  • Poor construction of the nest is another culprit of high mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens

The rabbit nest should be able to provide enough space and the same time should be convenient and comfortable for the rabbit.

The inside should be spacious, sturdy and a little dark with less penetrative light kept in a hidden corner of the hutch to give the doe a sense of security and safety.

The construction of the nest and the type of bedding in the nest should not hinder the distribution of the young kittens during kindling and suckling.


  • Poor quality feed immediately after weaning

Increasing dietary protein levels in the growing rabbit diet is known to reduce the rate of mortality in Young Rabbits Kittens.

Feeding your rabbit quality green hay that is not affected by moulds or exposed to wet conditions will improve both the growth and health of rabbits.


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  • Abandonment of litter by the doe

This is most often done by young females or first timers (first litters) whose milk has not let down or has let down too late. A doe that abandons more than 2 litters should be culled and replaced immediately.


young rabbits


  • Cannibalism

The female’s doe usually eats only those young who are already dead, or when threatened with fear, poor feeding can also result in cannibalism.

The dose should be given adequate care and proper feeding with a good production environment.


  • Exposure to predators

Your rabbit house or hutch should be built with strong and sturdy materials so that cats, rodents and other bigger predators will not have access to the rabbits and their kittens.

The fence should be provided if possible a good well-tamed guard dog should be purchased by the rabbit owner.

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