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FIJI's Story


I
find when hand feeding Orphans that each animal is an individual. My hand feeding article is a guideline but as you will see in Fiji's story I had to adapt to the bunnies needs.

 Newborn

 Steven's Tiki gave birth to a kit I named Fiji. 
Fiji's siblings were peanuts and died a day after birth.
Being alone in the nest box was difficult for Fiji, she had to keep herself warm and try to get her mom's milk to come-in without the help of siblings. 

 I tried to help Fiji by placing her mom on my lap and allowing Fiji to nurse morning and in the evening. Tiki was a patient doe/mom and Fiji did well for the first 4 days. Her mom's milk seemed to be coming in.

Week 1-2 
   

 I left Fiji to nurse on her own for the next 3 days. Fiji had grown larger but at 7 days old she had lost interest in nursing. Tiki's Milk seemed to have dried up. By the next day Fiji was in trouble and I had to act fast
. I went to pet store and bought powdered  Esibulac Puppy milk replacer. I watered it down for the first 2-3 days. 
    
I placed a thick padding of flat newspaper in the tin/metal nestbox under the nesting material.  I then put a heating pad under Fiji's tin nestbox and turned it on to medium heat and monitored the heat carefully. Fiji seemed a lot happier being able to fully rest in the warmth of the nestbox. 

Note: I would not recommend wooden nest boxes. They are to thick to put the heat pad under it and too insulated to put inside. The heating pad set on low seems to get much too warm inside a wooden nest box. If you don't have a metal nest box that you can put a stack of folded paper in then get a cardboard box and put the heating pad under it.
   
  I continued to feed Fiji 4 times a day. Sneaking home from work to feed her during my lunch break. 
   Fiji's mother continued to provided care by washing Fiji and monitoring the nest box heat. Tiki would uncover her kit if she felt the nestbox was getting too warm. 

Fiji's eyes started to open at 10 days. By 14 days I cleaned
her eyes off, they crusted shut in places. She was fine after that.

Week 3

   By the time Fiji was just under 3 weeks old she started to nibble hay. By 4 weeks she was eating hay and pellets. This became tricky. 

  Baby rabbits that eat solid foods need milk to control their PH levels in their digestive tract. If they don't get the milk they run the risk of enteritis or inflamed intestines. 
  
  However if I fed Fiji too often or she ate in between formula feedings she risked bloating. Bloating is caused by kits eating too much or too often. The food isn't processed in a timely manner and gas builds up. Bloating is very often fatal. It can cause the stomach to twist or the gas build up can put pressure on the heart and lungs killing the kit. Rabbits can't burp so bloat is very serious. 

4 Weeks

 At 4 weeks old one evening Fiji started to bloat. I ran to the drugstore and bought human Oval infant colic drops. I was careful to give Fiji just a couple drops of the Oval. There are  warnings not to overfeed Oval but it doesn't say what will happen in you do. I wasn't going to take a chance by giving to much. Then I waited and prayed she didn't twist her stomach. For the next 2 days Fiji was reluctant to have her milk and was lifeless. I was concerned she'd twisted her stomach or had a blockage. 
  I went back to watering down her formula to keep her hydrated. I fed her 3 to 4 cc per feeding of the watered down formula for the next 4 days and continued feeding her a drop of Oval at each feeding. Fiji suddenly came around one evening and demanded her formula. I wasn't going to take chances so I fed her only 4 cc then the next feeding I fed her 5 cc until she was back to 6 cc per feeding.

Week 5

Fiji weighs 7 ounces.
  I slowly started to put her back to regular strength formula. Soon after Fiji was back to regular formula she started to bloat again. She was fussy about the formula. I had to give her a couple drops of OVAl at every feeding. I started to offer her Mint leaves from my garden, parsley and washed carrot tops along with timothy hay. I don't normally feed kits greens until they are a lot older, in Fiji's case I was concerned with dehydration. She did well on the high fiber greens and hay.
  I allowed her to choose how much milk she wanted to drink during feedings. She averaged 16 to 18 cc per day and I cut her back to 3 feedings a day. She struggled with the longer hours in between feedings even though I slowly increased the time until it was 3 times a day. This meant getting up in the night at weird hours until I converted her feeding time over. I continued to give her Oval at feeding time. She seemed to have developed a sensitivity to the formula and at this point I was too afraid to change to goats milk formula. 

I had to go for an overnight trip on a sailboat for my daughter birthday. I was stuck with what to do with Fiji since I didn't have anyone who could feed her 3 times a day. She had so much trouble with converting to 3 feedings I was concerned about her missing a meal or bloating under someone else's care. Therefore I packed her up along with her mother. Fiji and Tikki went to my daughter's Luau party. She didn't do well. It was hotter on the boat than at home. She wasn't very interested in formula. I got two feedings into her and she ate mint, parsley and a small chunk of red watermelon. I noticed her eating pellets and hay. She didn't seem to mind the change of scenery but her mom was stressed. When we got home they were back to normal.



6 Weeks

Fiji is 12 ounces at 6 weeks old. She was gaining an ounce a day until I cut her feeding back to twice a day. She slowed her gain to 1/2 an ounce per day.
She's being fed twice a day at 6 to 7 cc of formula per feeding. 
  
In the last 3 days I've noticed she's starting to grow out of her bloating. I still give her OVAL , mint leaves and timothy hay.
 
 She is growing into a lovely little show bunny and I hope to have her here for a long while. 

7-8 weeks old

Fiji is weaned but still living with her mom. She is now 1 pound 8 ounces and doing well.
Almost too well. LOL

 

 

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