Up With the Chickens

Raising children and chickens on a little buffalo farm

Baby Bunnies!….

on April 26, 2012

Yesterday, our beloved Claudia had a new batch of baby bunnies!  This is the third litter in the history of our little farming adventure.  So far, the excitement of new babies has not worn off.  Here’s how it works.  We put the lady bunny in the man bunny’s cage – never the other way around because the girls are very territorial and do not like to have their space invaded.  I guess they know the man will just come in, leave his socks around and hog the remote.

Anyway, after a brief courtship – of oh, about three seconds –  the loving couple consummates their union…again and again and again.  We usually give them about three days of intimate bliss then it’s time for the lady bunny to go home.  We learned that the reason we can’t leave them together indefinitely is because a female rabbit can get pregnant WHILE SHE’S ALREADY PREGNANT!!!!   Since I had ten pound babies, I am so happy this is not true for people. It’s not so great for rabbits either.

Once the Mamma-To-Be is back in her own space, we wait. It takes between 28 to 30 days.  In the meantime, Dad goes back to just hanging out and nibbling hay and waiting for the next conjugal visit.   At about day 25 we put a nest box in Mamma’s cage.  Here’s where it gets fun. A day or two before she gives birth, Mamma Rabbit does this cute little thing where she hops about the cage gathering hay in her mouth and transferring it to her nest box.  She’ll spend all afternoon doing this.  That night she’ll pull out tons of her own fur to add to her nest.  The next day the fur pile is so big that it looks like she should hardly have any left on her body, but  amazingly she looks none the worse.

After the nest is made it’s just a matter of days.  Claudia made her nest Sunday.  We checked the next box on Tuesday after school and behold – a mass of wiggling new life. That’s it. No muss. No fuss. I’ve heard of rabbit birth trauma – most of it involves the mother eating her young, but so far we’ve been spared this horror.  We’re cautious how much we mess with the nest and handle the babies in the first few days, but we think there are about five kits (baby bunnies).  I won’t post pics because, frankly, baby bunnies are gross looking at this stage. In another week, they will be unbelievably adorable.

I hope the excitement of new bunnies never wears off around here.  It’s so much fun to see The Littles’ enthusiasm.  They get a real sense of pride from having livestock that has actually reproduced – something cuddly, not just eggs.  Last time we sold a few rabbits, gave a few away, and even had a Name That Rabbit Giveaway contest on our rabbit Facebook page. We didn’t even make enough money off our rabbit sales to pay for a much rabbit food, but it was great fun!  And that is, after all, what our farm is mainly about.

And stay tuned for further adventures.  I’m asking for goats for Mother’s Day.  I know I’ll find lots of good information at homestead-barn-hop-60.html

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