We got babies–9 bunny babies! Just like our human babies, bunny babies were a surprise. Just like our babies we have no clue what we are doing. This is often the theme of our life, blessings and surprises. We must be an awesome team because we can tackle anything together. We have a strong and knowledgeable support system of family and friends that help and guide us through our journeys. Huge–no, enormous thank you to Edelweiss Ranch and Rabbitry’s Gryph!!! She has been my bunny doula and my book of knowledge. I know she wakes up with the sun and goes down late. Such is the life of a farmer, one that I covet. Though extremely busy, she answered my questions very quickly at any time of day–thank you!!
Back to the bunnies! We have four adult rabbits: Buster and Honey (New Zealand and Rex mixes) and Oreo and Fluttershy (Mini Lops).
Honey and Buster are meat rabbits and we got them from a barter site from a gal who had to travel a lot to help her elderly parents. They have bread once before and had a successful litter. They are around 2 years old. We thought that Honey was expecting a month ago as she started to build a very intricate nest. She and Buster boy usually run around the yard together and although we did not see it, we thought he finally caught up with her. We isolated her in our maternity ward. Bunnies have a 31 day gestation. Nest building can start anywhere from two weeks before kindling to day of. Honey had what is known as pseudo-pregnancy. Apparently, this is common if the doe and buck reside close to each other. Honey wants to breed and we will let her soon. She is not getting any younger and that biological clock is ticking for her.
Back to babies, I promise! About a month ago, my sister and I were enjoying tea and chatting away, kids were playing and Paul was in the back yard, cleaning the bunny cages. Buster and Honey were out and about. Oreo and Fluttershy were out in their little play-yard (this is a typical set up for us). I glanced over and saw that Oreo was out of the play-yard and Buster, taking an opportunity to “meet” her. The encounter was very brief and we did not think much of it.
About two weeks ago, on Sunday, while Oreo was running around the yard, we noticed she was gathering straw, tearing fur and running back and forth in a corner. Upon investigation, we found she had dug a burrow and was building a nest. The bells went out in my mind and I was reminded of her interaction with Buster. Paul and I decided to separate her from Fluttershy. Paul was hesitant at first, thinking it was another false pregnancy (thinking of Honey). Boy am I glad that I insisted!
On Tuesday, I was making my rounds, tired after a full day of childcare. I peeked into Oreo’s cage and saw the fur move–I was pretty convinced that my mind has been officially lost. I looked at Oreo and saw that her feet were a bit bloody–I then asked Paul if he was seeing what I was seeing! Sure enough, my eyes and mind did not fail me, there were indeed babies! Babies!!! Paul moved Oreo into her maternity suite and we made her a “make-do oh crap, we have babies nesting box” out of a deep baking dish. It was already midnight and we were pooped!
Morning feeding and check went well, everyone was still moving, warm and super cute with round bellies. Mom did a good job. Later that day, I found a kit all alone and very cold to the touch, not breathing. The nest box was flipped over and the rest of the babies were under it. The lonely baby was lifeless but still very soft (no rigor has set) I am not sure why, but I put him on my chest, rubbed on him and tried to warm him up. At some point, while still very cold, I saw his mouth open. I figured it was a muscle spasm, but also got a glimmer of hope. The bunny started to breath and move and in about a half an hour, I placed him back into the nest with his brothers and sisters and a rock so no tipping over happened again.
The next day, despite being ill, I sent Paul to get a metal bunny nesting box to eliminate any worry for the safety of the kits. We checked on them every two hours for the first two days. Now we routinely do a morning and evening belly evaluations–checking for roundness. As long as their bellies are big and round, we know they are being fed. Today, the kits are one week old. They have grown quite a bit and already have fur.
Oreo has been a great mama so far. We are excited to see the babies grow and learn how to hop. Follow our daily bunny updates on our Facebook page: Homestead in the Suburbs
Thanks for reading!!