*Warning - pictures and topic may be graphic.
I’ve been having a not-so-great time with my rabbits lately. I haven’t sold a rabbit since October, my funds are getting low. I need some new trays for my cages and I need the room to continue to breed so I can keep working towards the SOP (Standard of Perfection) I finally have two cages free, which is hardly enough, but I can’t keep waiting. So I bred two first-timers. Sisters. Yara and Yoshi. I really should have bred a veteran doe, too. Then, if one of the new moms didn’t care for her babies, I’d have someone to foster to. Well, after months of trying, Yara finally got pregnant. I have a new job with weekends off, so I’ve been breeding them on Saturdays and then again on Sundays, so hopefully they would also give birth in the weekend and I can be there. Well her due date came and went and then Tuesday night I noticed she decided to build a nest. Wednesday there was nothing in it. Thursday morning I noticed she seemed off. I picked her up and there was a kit hanging out of her, breach. All I could see was the back feet and up to where the umbilical cord attaches. The kit is already dead, it's not moving, it was dry and the skin was purple. Yara didn't seem to be contracting anymore, so I don't know how long she'd been like this. I tried to pull on the baby a little bit and nothing happened, so I grabbed her and brought her into the house. I grabbed a couple towels, olive oil, vaseline, and a basin.
I filled the basin with warm water and sat her bum in it. My hopes were that it would relax her and it would be easier to pull the baby out. After letting her sit for a few minutes, I put her in the towel on her back with her back feet facing away from me. I grabbed the baby and pulled it up towards her head. I tried to get some vaseline around her vent area, but that didn't seem to be helping, so I used olive oil. Really wished I would have had baby oil on hand at this point. I got more of the baby out, and then I gave her a rest. I could tell she was tired.
After a short break, I sat her in warm water again, then used some more oil and pulled again. It took a couple good pulls until I had everything out but the head. I used more oil and stuck my finger up along the neck. At this point, the baby was stretched out from me pulling on it, but I could only feel the neck inside and not the head. I got scared that I would literally rip the head off the kit. If that were to happen, Yara could suffer from a serious infection. If I did't get it out, she could die. I panicked and went to work, hoping that maybe she could pass the kit on her own after some rest.
I ended up leaving work and driving back home to see if I could help her. She was no further along than she was earlier. I grabbed a new batch of warm water and some more towels. And I enlisted some moral support.
After explaining my situation, I was told, "Get a good grip, and pull!" Saying I was concerned about ripping the head off, I was told "you may feel the skin rip, and it's something you won't forget, but you need to pull".
So I gave a a soak, then wrapped her up in a towel and laid her on her back, used some oil, and gave her a little pep talk. I told her she would have to help me out and then it would be over. I got a good grip, and gave a strong, steady pull. She grunted and seemed to push and out came the baby! I was so relieved! The poor thing had it's tongue hanging out the side of it's mouth, it suffocated in the birth canal. I dried her off and put her back in her cage to rest. My only hope was that if there were more kits, that she could pass them on her own.
A typical birth (kindling) takes about 10 minutes for the entire litter. If there is a stuck it, it's usually the first one, and usually the ones to follow are already dead. By the time I got home, she had passed a placenta and nothing more. She seems back to her usual self.