As a breeder of holland lops we had often herd the term peanut being used by breeders. We really had no idea what a peanut was or what one would look like. When we had our first litter we had five kits of which one was slightly smaller than the others. We called him peanut. As we learned later on Peanut was just a small rabbit and wasn’t really a peanut.
When we had a doe have a peanut it was very clear that it was a peanut. Although peanuts are smaller than normal kits there are several other distinguishable characteristics that set the peanut apart. Our first peanut last three days. It was quite sad to watch it, as it seemed to just wither away. We tried to nurse it along, but all attempts were futile. Many breeders will put peanuts down immediately, while other will just let them die naturally.
Anyone breeding dwarf rabbits will run into peanuts occasionally. The problem is the dwarf gene. A kit that receives two dwarf genes will be a peanut. No one is really sure why this produces a kit that is so underdeveloped. Unfortunately, a peanut never survives. Rarely, will live as long as a two of weeks, and usually die within 2-3 days.
Comparing A Healthy Kit to a Peanut
What many new breeders want to know is what a peanut really looks like. The first noticeable difference is the size. As you can see from the pictures above the normal kit (broken tort on the left) is nearly twice the size of the peanut (black kit on the right). If we were to weight these two bunnies the normal kit would probably weigh three times as much as the peanut.
It is important to remember that size is not the only difference between a peanut and a normal kit. Although it may not quite be as clear in the pictures above, the eyes of a peanut actually bulge out substantially more than that of a normal kit. The normal kits eyes will have a slight bulge, but this is very pronounced in the peanut.
Probably the biggest difference is in the hindquarters. The hindquarters of the peanut are less than half the width of the normal kit. It is clear when you see a peanut that it is very underdeveloped on the outside which is a pretty good indication that there is some underdevelopment internally.
We handle our kits from the moment they are born. Usually they are very lively and will often use there nose to dig in your hand for food. This is rarely the case with a peanut. Peanut are often very listless, and at first may even appear to not be alive. As you can see from the pictures above, the peanut just laid on its side, while the normal kit was difficult to confine for the picture.
No matter how you look at it, having a peanut is very difficult. Every time we see one, we understand what the final result is going to be. We just have learned to enjoy those that are not peanuts, and try to put out of our mind the loss of one of those little kits.