So we are at a grand total of 22 baby bunnies. It helps that Trix kindled this morning and had, oh I dunno, 15 kits! <— [confused face]
Let me back up…one of the silver fox does had a litter of 8, lets say it was Snap because I really cant tell them apart. She was perfect; she pulled a ton of fur and built a nest in the nesting box. We lost one because it was just tiny and didn’t seem to nurse at all, which was sad but I expected it the first time I saw him.
Here is what they looked like at about 5 days old. The top picture is just to give an idea of what a rabbit nest looks like.
This is what they look like today at almost 3 weeks old, and here’s the story of our little Quasimodo. So we lost one baby early on bringing us to seven. I have learned my lesson about diligently checking each and every baby morning and night after what happened last time when one died and I didn’t take it out. One night (over the weekend we blessed Corra) I went to check on the babies and there was blood in the nest. Looking through I found one dead with the back of it’s neck all sliced up and this little dude with a gash across his (or her, not really sure but for bunnies my default is male. No idea why I do that) muzzle and down through his right eye. I was totally convinced it would get infected and he would die within the next few days. Nope! I’m happy to report that s/he is doing great and is managing just fine with only one eye. We think one of the big rabbits jumped right on top of the babies because the nest box is open, and when they jumped out their claws caught the dead baby and this guy just wrong. Freak accident that we will solve next time by putting a lid on the box with a hole on the opposite side from the nest.
5 are this brownish orange-ish black (their dad is harlequin and the mom is silver fox) but one is colored just like a silver fox. I love genetics! They are out of the nest and two are quite adventurous. Luckily their dad just hops away when they get confused and try to nurse on him.
This is our sweet Lucky (she is taking the name of the doe we lost to heat over the summer). Oh. My. Gosh. Pretty sure she is cuteness incarnate. This is her hiding in a PVC tube from our aquaponics system when she was two weeks old. She had to leave the nest early but she loved this tunnel. The other picture was her coming to love on me this morning. Like my jammies and husband sandals? I stole the sandals and they just hang out by our back door because I don’t wear shoes ever if I can help it but I also don’t step on bunny poop in my bare feet if I can help it. I did buy the husband guy new sandals. He loves me a lot. Anyways, Lucky is awesome and super affectionate because I’ve been handling her a ton since she was born. We will be keeping her as a breeding doe and yes if you do the math that does mean that we will be breeding her to Cap’n…her dad. There is a saying in the animal world that goes like this — “if it works it’s called line breeding. If it doesn’t work it’s called in-breeding.” We figure since all her kits are destined for the freezer it will be fine. She is quickly becoming my favorite.
This morning was just like any other morning. I went out to the run to feed, water and check babies. I noticed that Trix was pulling hair and building a nest in the blue bucket (don’t think we are ever going to get her to kindle anywhere else…difficult rabbit). I figured, “cool! maybe babies after church or tomorrow.” Then I realized I needed updated pictures for this post so I went out 15 minutes later to take them. I sat down enjoying a cuddle with Lucky, when I noticed Trix was in the bucket making grunting noises. I made sure it was what I thought it was then I quickly left to let her do her thing.
As much as it makes my life difficult when she kindles in the bucket, it is cool that it was facing out so I called the kids and Neil and they could stand outside the run but still see everything that was going on. She is used to them running around so it didn’t bother her at all. She would grunt, turn and grab a kit to clean it off. One ended up getting dropped outside when Cap’n stopped by to check on her, but eventually I went in and put it back in the nest so it wouldn’t freeze and/or miss breakfast. When she finished and hopped out we had a bucket full of babies and with the zoom on my camera through the fence I got that picture. We guessed 10 kits. Right before we left for church it was driving me crazy to not have a for sure number so I went out to count. 13 or 14 but they were squirmy and I wanted to mess with them as little as possible. Later this afternoon I enlisted my husbands humongous hands to hold babies and we got the official count of 15.
Harlequins are a medium breed and the average litter size is 5-7. Since our sweet girl doubled that, I’m pretty sure we are going to lose some. If we do I will be popping the dead kits in the freezer and giving them to our friends ball python and other snakes. Circle of life solutions make me feel a lot better than babies in the trash. I know that’s weird but my world is not exactly normal, so there you go. It was a good day and I’m so excited about these babies!