|Kits born on the wire. One was chewed after it died.|
Of course, the thought did occur to me that these two might be one of the four born the previous night. I hoped, though, that this meant that she had decided to kindle more kits. It's not uncommon for a doe--even one that was only brought to the buck once--to kindle part of a litter one day, and then deliver the rest of the litter the following day (up to a couple days apart).
|Cold kits settled away from their littermates.|
Ah, but that's not the end of it! Many rabbit raisers have a saying: "It's not dead until it's warm and dead." While this is a good starting point, you can still save yourself a little bit of headache by looking at other things, too.
|Dark red blood in the nails, indicating pooled blood.|
|Blood pooled in legs.|
|Nails of a potentially-revivable kit.|
I've heard it asked why cold and stiff doesn't necessarily indicate that it's dead. The answer is that kits get hypothermia, relatively easily, since they have no fur to keep them warm. They may be cold to the touch (maybe even comatose or rigid), and likely their heartbeats have slowed down drastically (it's hard enough to hear a young rabbit's heart, as is). When you warm them up, the blood and muscles thaw, and gradually, the heart rate picks up, and metabolism kicks back in so that the body is able to start keeping itself warm again.
|Kit warming on a rice bag.|
Unfortunately, after being on the warm bag for an hour, the kit was warm to the touch, but still lifeless. I suspect that it may have had internal injuries, as you can see abdominal bruising in the picture above.