Every now and then, we are reminded that we are still “new” at homesteading, regardless of how confident may we feel. Sometimes, it takes a couple of bunnies to put us back in our place and remind us that we must let nature take its course and experience yet another learning opportunity. This time, our two rabbit mamas taught us about timing. Timing is EVERYTHING!
Since does don’t stay in the nesting box to keep their kits warm like mother hens, we set up brooding lamps over the nesting boxes and will keep vigil on the babies to make sure they are getting fed by the mamas. Hopefully, they will instinctively nurse them and teach us a little more about rabbit husbandry. Our last attempt to bring in the new kits and warm them up came too late and somehow the mamas seemed to know there was no hope and didn’t try to nurse them. We bought kitten milk replacement and tried to nurse them ourselves, but none of them survived. We also found out (the hard way) they don’t always pull their hair out to make a nest. Poor babies!
We promise, we will do better.
Last weekend, we brought the two pregnant rabbits into our chicken brooding room because the weather was expected to be in the low teens in central Texas. We’ve had two unsuccessful litters from these two mamas mostly because we failed to place the nesting box in their hutches in time.
No sooner had we completed their food and water set up in the brood room, when the barometric pressure dropped and the weather turned bitter cold. The first seven kits were born, and six survived their first night. The following morning the other doe had her six kits; five survived. This time, the does made a nest of their own fur and covered the babies. Except for removing the two dead ones, we were careful not to handle them to avoid any abandonment by the moms. So far, so good.
This litter seems more lively and is moving actively and making noise. Fingers crossed!