Death Losses in the Rabbitry

Do you ship 30 or 100 fryers per doe per year? In theory 100 fryers per doe are possible. There are several reasons why most Ontario rabbitries have not obtained this level of production. A big reason for this is mortality of kits before they reach market weight. Dr. G.G. Partridge in 1981 found the mortality rate for kits between birth and weaning to be approximately 25%. Seventy per cent of this mortality occurs in the first week of life. For kits that die under 28 days of age, 82% die due to starvation and chilling.

In a talk given last year, Dr. Nephi Patton, said pasteurella can infect very young rabbits. This can occur at an earlier age than originally first thought. Four week old kits can die due to pasteurella pneumonia. These kits run around the cage and die from suffocation. Their young lungs are ruined. When pasteurella is present in the nose of the doe, she spreads it to the kits when she licks them off at birth. Dr. Patton also told the audience that enterotoxemia, a fluid diarrhea, can kill 4 to 8 week old fryers. A virus destroys the fryer's intestinal lining allowing a clostridial bacteria to enter the body. The bacteria produce a killing toxin.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: Craig Richardson - Animal Care Specialist/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 26 July 2000
Last Reviewed: 28 September 2015