This post is one I shared as a guest post for someone a while back. Thought it might be good to share it again, boy oh boy it brought back memories… I still remember these kits and their momma clearly.
One of the things I do is raise rabbits. I love them. They make great pets, excellent small livestock, and you can train them to do a variety of things from rabbit sports to therapy bunnies. They are useful for meat, wool, hides, companionship, sport and competition. They are such a multi-purpose animal and they come in so many varieties that breeding what you want and for whatever purpose is quite easy.
But with breeding animals, as with raising children, comes a great deal of responsibility. You have this small livestock, that is a prey animal, and needs to be on a good diet in order to thrive, combine that with changing weather patterns, being an easily frightened animal, and it can at times spell disaster.
I’ve been breeding rabbits for more than 10 years and have run into my fair number of disasters, and now that I am raising a boy at home, I can help him to learn how to cope with disaster and think through problems.
Recently one of our disasters was the loss of a young doe. She was a first time mom, was finding the experience a stressful time, went off feed and then the weather changed. I could not get her restarted (using all my tricks) she just was one of those animals (just like you get with people) that when they get sick they just shut down. It left me with five eight day old kits to try to save.
Do note: I am NOT a vet. BUT I have lots of experience with raising animals. I have NO rabbit vets anywhere near me so I do my own vetting with the help of a great group of people on rabbittalk.com. What they don’t know as a group I honestly I don’t think a vet would know either. 🙂
Anyone in the rabbit world will tell you. Trying to save kit under 14 days old is a real bear to do and that you will lose more than you save. Baby bunnies aspirate so easily and without mom’s cecals to help stabilize their gut, even if you get them to 14 days you still risk losing them.
Unless an animal is suffering I’ll work with them. Here we have five babies. They quickly earned names… StarBright, Blue, Little One, Tongues and Stubborn. It’s a bit of an experiment (hence the homeschooling aspect) to see what the kits will take to. We tried a sponge as apparently that’s the NEW method of feeding baby bunnies.. COLOSSAL FAILURE. My lad was not happy. We tried the suck a towel soaked in milk thing.. so NOT working. Blue and Tongues couldn’t figure out a medicine dropper so I raided our science kit and found a pipette! WOOT WOOT! It gave the needed control. My son was delighted! He managed to feed a baby bunny!
This is Tongues. He was called that because he would ONLY drink if you put ONE drop of milk on his tongue at a time. It took forever to feed him and it became apparent fairly quickly that something was wrong with him. He couldn’t “NOT” move. The only time he was still was if he was snuggled up his siblings. My lad and I took to the rabbit boards to see if we could figure out why and the best answer was that sometimes when moms die early kits develop a neurological unbalance that if they do recover always have a tilt thing going on… and I wasn’t going to subject him to that. See in the pic how his head is at an angle? I did very carefully medicate him to see if that would help him improve (in case it was an odd parasitic case), but alas it did not. He was such a game boy though… got him to almost three weeks before it was apparent that it really wasn’t in his best interest to continue struggling.
Special needs bunny this one. Some bunnies, like people, just have a harder go of things and it takes time and patience to see them through. They make you laugh and smile, and sometimes just plain break your heart.
What can I tell you about StarBright? Wow this little girlie quickly stole our hearts. Bright, eager, happy drinker. Took to the pipette like no one’s business. I was so determined to see this little girl through….. and she broke my heart she did. She was doing so so well and then she scoured on me. Scours dehydrates bunnies so fast and it just wrecks their systems.
That’s the way it is sometimes in schooling. We think all is going well and then we are sidelined by health, criticism, poorly fitting curriculum… and we just fade away. I hear of parents putting their children into public school because they just can’t do. Of homeschool graduates who struggle through life due to parental choices and it’s hard.