Bunny Update

June10

Enough time has passed that I think I owe you an update on how the bunnies are doing.  I was thrilled to take photos each day at first because the changes were dramatic.  Though they are still growing quickly, the growth is not as evident from day to day as it once was.  They seem a little bigger every day that I go out to check on them.

The Angora bunnies are incredibly happy.  They are living with their mama full time.  They chase her around when they want to nurse, and I never have to go out and hold her for them anymore.  Every time I pick up a bunny it has a nice full tummy.  They are totally thriving, and I expect no more problems in the future.  They have learned how to eat pellets and drink from the water bottle without any problems.  I always find them running around and jumping up and down.  They love to sleep on top of Daisy.  I am not sure that she is thrilled to have 8 bunnies jumping around at any given time, but she tolerates them.  She gets as much feed as she can eat these days, which makes her happy.  She is always trying to convince me that she is going to starve.

The bunnies are going to lose their nesting box this weekend because it looks like Thing 2 is going to have a litter after all.  They are perfectly happy to sleep in a pile outside of the nesting box as it is, so I don’t think they will even notice.

They look so happy to be eating and drinking here, and she just looks THRILLED doesn’t she?

I always find the babies stocking the food and water.  Sometimes they are a strong enough force to keep their mama away.

The white bunnies look exactly like there mama, and if you hold them just right, the size is the only thing that clues you in to the fact that they are not full grown bunnies.  This photo looks particularly adult.  Check out all that Angora fiber!

Here is a black kit not looking as furry, but trust me, they do have a lot of fur, and it is growing more and more every day.

I am going to look at sexing the bunnies in the next week or two and start listing them for sale.  I should not have any problems selling the Angora babies.  I did decide to cull any that have odd coloring on them.  I feel this is my duty as a responsible breeder.  That does, unfortunately, include the black bunny in the photo above.  He has too much white on him to keep those genetics (and possibly pass them down).

Daphne has been working hard to help me socialize them.  She loves to hold the bunnies and play with them.  She prefers only to play with the white ones, and I discovered the reason for that.  She was peed on by a black bunny a while ago, so she thinks they are not good to play with.  I tried to hand her a black bunny yesterday and she told me to give her another one because she didn’t want to be peed on!  All in all, she does an incredible job taking care of the rabbits for a 2 year old girl.

The story with the meat rabbits is a little more sad.  Things were going really well for me until Thursday.  When we had our big storm, I opted to not take the rabbits out to nurse for the night because of how crazy it was.  I have done this one other time in the past, and it worked fine.  The trampoline was on top of the rabbit cage anyway, so it would have been almost impossible to make it out there to get them nursed (despite the rain, hail, wind and lightening).  The next morning, I took the babies out to nurse and all was fine.  By Friday evening, it was clear that there were 3 babies that were not getting as much nutrition as they needed.  Upon examining them, I discovered that the mama had developed mastitis.  She has been nursing them for less time lately and acting funny when one or two got too agressive.  I took it as normal behavior, but when I examined her I found some large swollen lumps near one teat.  She must have been keeping the kits from nursing on the front 2 teats leaving only 6 teats for the 12 bunnies.

I noticed the three babies were having trouble, so I let them nurse an extra long time on their mama on Friday night.  I even took them over and let them nurse from Daisy (who is always glad to help in my crazy adventures).  It wasn’t enough, when I woke up on Saturday (my birthday) two of the black bunnies had died.  My suspicion is that they didn’t get to eat one feeding because of the lack of teats and then became progressively weaker and weaker.  With each missed feeding they were being pushed aside more and more easily.  When I let them nurse extra, their sucking powers must have been greatly reduced, and despite the fact that they were trying, they must have not gotten any milk.  I was sad from the loss, but the truth is that 12 babies is a LOT and the fact that they made it that far was a miracle.  Though I don’t hope for any babies to not make it, it is a sheer fact of raising livestock, and I must not let it get me down.

Besides, I had one more sick baby to turn my attention to.  This one was a white baby.  I took it out and let it nurse again and again and again, and it didn’t seem to be improving.  I finally concluded it was not getting any food and I went out to get some kitten formula for it to try to get some food into it.  When I got back from the store the baby was so sick that it was pretty much in its death throes.  It was flopping around much the same way a chicken does when it has been dispatched.  I was sure that it was gone.  My sister even watched me futliely trying to feed it, and she offered to take it outside and put it out of its misery.  I decided to persist.  I fed it as much as I could force down its throat and put it back into the nesting box very much expecting to find a dead rabbit when I checked next.

I found the opposite.  The bunny seemed to be a little more lively, and though it still looked sickly, it was much improved.  It was no longer flopping around, and it was willing to respond to stimuli.  I fed it again that night expecting to find a dead rabbit in the morning.

Much to my surprise, on Sunday morning, the bunny was alive and was much stronger than before.  It seemed to be a fighter.  My sister was eyeing the bunnies thinking they were wonderful, and when she saw that this rabbit was going to need hand feeding she offered to “take it off my hands for me.”  Bunnies have a survival rate of about 10% when taken away from their moms, and from the look of it when they took it, I was thinking maybe it had a 50% shot of making it.  She reports to me now that the bunny is doing really well.  It is happy and fuzzy and playful.  Its ears are standing up, and they can barely keep it out of trouble.  I suppose that it is fitting that the bunny be allowed to be a pet after making it through such an ordeal.  So, I started with 12 meat rabbits, lost 2 to unfortunate circumstances, and another to my loving sister and her family.

This is what the bunny looked like as I was getting it ready to send off.  It looks sad and sickly.  I still ask my sister every time I talk to her if the bunny is still alive, and she assures me that we are past the point of having to worry about it.

Mama bunny is still having mastitis problems.  I have her a round of penicillin, which seems to help, but she still has a really big lump around one teat.  The bunnies are nursing on that area now though, and I check to make sure they are all getting fed every time.

I moved the bunnies out full time to be with their mom, so if they are getting too hungry they can chase her and ask her for milk if necessary.  She is taking good care of them.

They have started to eat pellets and drink water following her lead, so I think that things are going to be find with the rest of them.  After all, they are a little over 3 weeks old at this point.

This is a beautiful black bunny.

This is a lovely white bunny.

That is the update from bunny land.  Hopefully it will be a lot less problematic from here on out, but I am curious to see if Thing 2 has a litter this next week.

posted under Daphne, Rabbits

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