Do you see how I did it? Two b’s for this second letter of the alphabet! Today we are going to talk about all things baby bunny!
First it starts with introducing one male bunny (a buck) and one female bunny (a doe). You let them do their thing (which by the way is sometimes super easy, and other times… not so much) BUT that’s a topic for another post (reproduction anyone?)
Then you need to wait. Some people can palpate and others can’t. If you do it wrong you can cause a spontaneous abortion. Anyways, again, topic for another day! 🙂 The easiest thing to do is simply wait. Bunnies usually kindle (have their babies) 31 days after they have mated.
Babies come! WOOT WOOT! Nothing better than day old babies except day three babies or day 21 babies! or… day 28 babies or….. 🙂 Can’t tell I love babies can you?
Newborn babies need to be checked out carefully. Sometimes mama bunnies make mistakes when giving babies their first bath and clean up. Other times babies are born dead. The very odd time they are born with birth defects. Once in a while mama will do a horrible job at building a nest or does WAY too good a job in the middle of summer. Check the babies, the same as you would for any baby, look for all their toes, tails, eyes and nose!
Wait for your day three babies… you can really start to see their colours coming in. The sables will look silvery, the whites and pointeds will look white, and the subtle differences between the lilacs and blues will be apparent. It’s a great day to give them all a very thorough check over.
I love the pristine whiteness of the light coloured week olds. Aren’t they adorable? 🙂 Did you know that babies have to be checked over every single day? Sometimes a baby will die, or miss a bath from mama and have poop stuck to their bum. They also need to get used to the smell of people, so picking them up every single day keeps them used to you and teaches them not to be frightened.
At about 10 days old their eyes open. I sprinkle a little bit of food into the nest box for them. This gets them started if something untoward happens with mama.
They continue growing, you continue checking on this. Week two is when you’ll find out which ones are a bit more high strung. You’ll reach into the box, waking them up and one will start to scream. My lad loves the screamers. He’ll just keep picking them up until they realize that screaming doesn’t get you anywhere, and before long he’ll have them snuggle in his hand. Brings a smile to both our faces! 🙂
At two weeks, Spring through later fall I tip the nestbox on it’s side. This gives babies a solid platform to huddle together on. At this age they still can’t regulate their own body heat. Having a platform helps them stay healthily warm. I give them a creep feeder at this age. In the cold of winter I change out the litter and start shelving them at night.
Young rabbits are called kits. They grow like weeds and have an amazing ability to heal quickly from injury or damage. Scratches, nips, broken legs, bug bites and more. Kits can get hurt even in the safety of their own boxes. Keep the fur out of the wound and they heal up right smart.
Week three babies are out of the nestbox and you start to see personalities emerge. The bold, the shy, the curious in your face ones. It’s good!
The nestbox is removed in the warmer weather, tipped during the winter at this stage.
Week four babies can be almost impossible to take a picture of. They are SO curious and into things, OR so incredibly shy you can scarce get them to stop trying to hide.
The two kits pictured above were really showing their personalities off. The wee one in the corner just wanted to hide, I had to make sure there were no folds in the cloth. The other one, my son bribed her with a piece of carrot. She was bouncing EVERYWHERE!
If you have a large litter it’s really hard getting a picture of them lined up and looking at you. 🙂 You’ll get bum pictures and sideways bunnies, or young boys coming out to check the camera. It’s a mess.
They are very much like toilet-training toddlers at this stage. Learning to keep themselves clean but often times needing help. Daily checks for poopy butt are a necessity at this age, particularly with my hollands and fuzzies.
Curiousity and training starts to play a role. They are getting used to the word STOP and a knock on wood or cage gets them to sit still a moment and start to assess the situation. It gets easier to take a picture or two. Telling genders becomes easier. They are getting smarter and more aware of the world around them.
Ears in loppies start dropping more, the girls start to act more like girls, the boys well… they are super sweet but won’t sit still for nothing! Usually takes a bunny threat or two to keep them in line. 🙂 Here I start more seriously evaluating who will stay in the rabbitry and who will need to find a new home. I’m harder on the boys than the girls as the boys tend to stick around a bit longer than the girls and affect all future generations. Kits that are ready to be sold I list (I can do that in Ontario) Stateside the rules are different, there are you legally obliged to hold them until they are eight weeks old.
I can’t recall exactly how old this girlie is above. She’s around 8 weeks old. Really starting to show what she’ll look like as an adult. They are pretty self-sufficient at this age. It’s good to watch them grow. 🙂
Others in this series.
Letter B Link Up
Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.