Very first bunny babies!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by VKat, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    This is Hassen. She's 7 months old, and kinda (okay totally) my favorite. She's super sweet and seems to genuinely want and enjoy my attention. This is the face that I was surprised with on 10/29. She was super into building a nest mode, and seemed to be pleased with herself and it was hysterical. She kept coming up to me with her mouth full, as if to say "Hey! Look- I'm building a nest! See? See!" She was so absorbed by the apparent urgency of her task that even favorite treats like parsley were carried about instead of eaten.

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    See?!
    Hassen proudly showing her mouthful to my phone camera

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    I have to confess that we did not deliberately breed her yet. I had planned on waiting until early spring for more favorable weather. I do have a grazing pen that I had often put the bunnies out in during the day to enjoy, and then brought them back in to their hutches overnight. The grazing pen had a divider of hardware cloth to Hassen and my buck, Stew could sort of hang out but not mix. They liked to stretch out and nap on the grass right next to each other on either side of that divider so I thought it was nice. Then one afternoon, I saw Hassen on Stew's side, chasing him around. I was shocked to see she had managed to break a corner connection of the divider and bust through. Grateful there was no injury from the wire, I decided to remove it, and only allow one rabbit to graze in the pen on a rotation schedule. I also started to question if we may have two boys since Hassen was chasing.
    Then this happened.
    That evening there was a flurry of activity in my house as I got a nest box built, telling my husband "We need a nest box STAT!" Thinking she could have her surprise little any moment.
    So the box was built, nesting materials piled into her hutch, and we waited.
    ....and waited.... and waited. Nothing. She ignored the nest she had built in that box entirely after the first day.
    I probably should take it out I was told. But, since she wasn't messing in it, and I read sometimes some bunnies will build a nest in advance maybe a whole week even, I left it in. Even having read about phantom or false pregnancy behavior.

    11 days later, this morning, I see Hassen pulling fur, and I think no way. So I go clean my turkey pen (which is eyesight from the doe hutch) and don;t think too much about it... Then I go to check on her and see a bit of blood. For a moment I was super scared! She lets me pick her up, and I see some on her fur. Still scared, and not sure what to think, I open the house box to look at the nest. And see a blanket of fur covering a wiggling nest!
    Hassen is a mom.

    She devours the romaine I offer and then starts grooming her full and cleaning herself up on her own.
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    You can maybe see in this picture the tiny blood smudge on her nose.

    I am super surprised and happy, but also worried. I'm thrilled her first kindling went well- but what about the babies?
    It's kinda chilly here, so I'm nervous about disturbing that nest.
    I know I need to get a count and make sure everyone is alive and getting full bellies.... but I'm really worried about them catching a chill.

    I'm waiting until it's a bit later in the day and maybe warmer to look. Hopefully I will take a few snapshots and I will continue to update this thread.
    Any experience and advise would be most welcome since I'm a nervous pet parent LOL
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  2. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is the litter all snuggled in their nest!

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    Everything looks really clean, and the kits all look plump and wiggling. Yay! [​IMG]

    I think she is going to be a good mother. The breeder I got her from told me her mother was, and that's typically passed down.

    Should I worry about any supplemental heat though? The nest box is inside a house box, but this is an outdoor hutch. It's only 52 degrees here today.
     
  3. Hello, VKat!

    Congratulations on the litter! So glad everything went well, Hassen did a great job (Not to mention the fact that she is soooo cute <3).
    Looks like you've got a nice little rainbow of colour there in the nest! It'll be cool to see them grow up, we've found they tend to reach their 'cutest stage' at around two- three week old, when they have all their fur and open eyes :)
    To be honest, I wouldn't worry about them getting cold. As far as I can tell from the pictures, Hassen went all out with the nest making- and with so many in the litter to share body warmth with each other, I think they should be fine. It's good you have an enclosed area in the cage for them, too. That'll help :)
    Hope everything continues to go well, and again congratulations on the new babies!
     
  4. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much! [​IMG] I did a lot of searching and reading about temperatures, and calmed myself down. They are doing really well. I'm super proud of Hassen for being a good mom!
    Also we are lucky the weather so far this week has been mild. So I worry less. (I'm an expert worrier lol) Hassen is eating and drinking a lot extra so I've been making sure to check in and refill as needed.
    I have noticed her behavior is way more forward than normal. I think if she didn't know me so well, she might be aggressive, but assume this is just her motherly instinct urging her to be ready to react if there could be any threat for her kits. I've been keeping our goofy great dane out of the garden where the hutches are just to eliminate any stress. Normally she is fine with the dogs, but...

    My big question is about food and treats- I love giving the bunnies fresh goodies. But I worry about diluting Hassen's calorie/nutritional intake. Are there any treats that are a good idea for nursing moms? I figure romaine is out since it's probably not very nutritional, but what about bell pepper for vit. A or maybe a small bit of banana?
    Or is it best to just let her stick to pellets and alfalfa hay?
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  5. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are the kits on the second day.
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    I was amazed to see they look bigger already! My DH helped me take the nest box inside and held a warm basking light over everything so that I might get a closer look at all of them and make sure each little one has a plump, full belly. I read lots of people do this just in case one kit may be having trouble getting to nurse.
    Our inspection was very brief since it was immediately apparent that they were all plump, warm, and very lively! They were moving a lot and making teeny tiny sounds!
    We returned them to the housebox and Hassen went right in to make sure everyone was covered. I'm thrilled about what a good mom she is being.
     
  6. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Day three:

    I had a massive amount of work to do yesterday, and so I only peeked in at them with a dim light so as not to disturb. Lots of wriggling, and look! They are just starting to get some fuzz!
    [​IMG]
    The house box itself is 3 feet deep, with the nest box in the back to be away from Hassen's entrance hole in the front side and any drafts. To get this image, I had to zoom in a bit, so apologies for the poor quality.
     
  7. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congratulations!!! Hassen is adorable. :) About 6 weeks ago, One of my does got pregnant by getting out of her cage with buck, and she had her babies on wire. We managed to save 1, and he is happy and healthy :) It was totally unexpected. Keep us updated!!
     
  8. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I guess I am lucky she was nest building to let me know what was up!
     
  9. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Day four I took a short video but don't know how to get it up. Oops

    Day five!
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  10. VKat

    VKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Day six
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    It is so amazing how fast they change. To see what a difference a day makes. The timing is perfect too since the temperature here just dropped. I am glad to see real fur and not worry about them. Also Hassen has been adding to the nest it seems. The walls of it are higher and strong like a giant bird nest covered in fur.
     

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