The rabbits are doing what rabbits do best: making more rabbits. We've been breeding our girls in sets of two or three at a time so that they all kindle at the same time. This makes it easier to move the babies around if one doe has too many to care for herself. It also means we can wean and then join the litters together for easier rearing in the pasture pens. Right now we have three litters out in the big tractor just about ready for processing, three more in the poultry house waiting for the tractor to become free, and another set of two litters that were just born a week or two ago.
This is Ash's litter just a couple days after they were born. She and Blackberry kindled at the same time. I love the variety of colors we are getting from these girls. In these litters we have blacks, dark charcoals, light greys, and whites.
Ash is a beautiful silver color, but she is one aggressive bunny. Before she had her babies, she was tough to deal with. Now even walking by her pen will cause her to rush to the front grunting and stomping, "GET AWAY FROM MA BABIES!!"
Blackberry is much more timid and calm. Both girls had nice big litter of 8-9 bunnies. This is just about the perfect size litter. Any more than that and the doe will have trouble keeping everyone fed.
These are Blackberry's kits. When baby rabbits or "kits" are first born, they are blind and hairless. We have started pulling the nest boxes out of the pens and checking on the litters twice a day, even doing a head count, for the first week to make sure no one is getting stuck in a corner or tangled in the hay of the nest box. This has drastically reduced our early losses.
Here is a fine example of why it is important to check on the bunnies so frequently when they are young. This little guy has gotten himself out of the cozy, fur lined nest where the rest of his siblings are sleeping and into the front corner of the nest box all alone. At this age and without their fur it is easy for the babies to die from getting chilled.
As they get older, it gets a little more difficult to check on and count the young bunnies. For some reason, they turn into crazy jumping beans when disturbed. This is not a problem when they are tiny, but as they get older they can flop around enough to toss themselves right over the side of the nest box.
This can lead to big trouble for a little bunny out of his box and away from his brothers and sisters.....
(to be continued)
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