Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's a long story

The young rabbits are just over a month old, so I was very surprised when Indica found a new kit lying alone and cold on the wire floor of Luna's cage.

So I did what any neophyte urban farmer would do.

I Googled it.

Turns out that rabbits have horned ovaries and since eggs are released only after being with a buck, they can actually carry 2 pregnancies simultaneously.  Not only that, but kindling different kits from the same litter can be hours or even days apart.

So let's back up.

While the girls and I were in Minnesota last month, Chris called to say he found a litter of small skeletons in the hutch that Luna (our doe) had originally been ensconced.  I had swapped her with Yeti as her due date loomed, not wanting her to kindle in the loft.  The platform is unreachable by us and has no barrier to keep the kits from falling out.

Disappointed I told the girls that the first litter had died.  Our stoic children only asked if we would breed them again.

Chris had bred them after cleaning the hutch (he had to take off the roof), but forgot to take the nesting box in Luna's hutch.

Then a couple days later, in said nesting box, a litter was born.

Not knowing about the horned ovaries, we decided that Luna had been pregnant when we got her, and must have kindled before we bred her.

Back to today.  The kit was cold and did not seem to be breathing, but the rabbit site said not to assume a cold kit is dead.  Having no fur they are prone to hypothermia, and can be fine if warmed.  Following the directions I held the kit in a cup of warm water, careful not to dunk its head.  Then I wrapped it in a small warm towel and used a hairdryer to keep the towel warm until the kit was warm and dry.

The directions said to place the warm kit back with the litter.  

But there was no other litter mates.

So I put the nest box back in the hutch and filled it with nesting material, covering the still limp kit.

At this point the larger bunnies needed a new home.  I did not want them crushing the new kit, or picking on it.  They have been eating pellets and greens for over a week now, but all of our hutches are full.

Again, let's back up.  Luckily, although Chris's friend had picked up his hens a couple weeks ago, he left his portable coop until an unknown future date.  After sliding some 1x2 cage wire we had laying around underneath the small coop out was ready for occupants.

But after all this, I don't expect the kit to live.

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