Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Surprise in the rabbit hutch!

When I was out doing morning chores I was greeted at the rabbit hutch with rabbit fur everywhere! My first thought was with the bitter cold of last month and then our warm spell this week that the buns might be shedding out early. Then I realized it was just Purslane that was pulling fur out. Now Purslane is one of our does and she has been co-habitating with our buck Sarsaparilla since the end of October and she has not kindled (given birth) up to this point. Rabbits are only pregnant for 30-31 days so the two should have produced a litter long ago. I had given up on them and figured one of them must be infertile.

So, the realization that Purslane may actually be pulling pull to prepare a nest for kindling came as quite a shock to me. Just in case, I separated the two back into their own hutches, put some clean straw in the nest box and scooped up as much loose fur as I could and put it on top of the straw in the box. Purslane went right to work rearranging all the material in the nest box and kept busy with it for most of the morning.

We had errands to run in town and when we returned around 2pm I went to check on Purslane. She wasn't in the nest box but was lounging against one of the walls. Out of curiosity I peaked into the nest box and much to my surprise I saw no less then four little wiggly lumps! I didn't reach in and Purslane didn't seem stressed that I was nearby. I stood back a bit to watch and Purslane never went to the box. I left the area and went to sit at the picnic table about 50 feet away so I could watch without Purslane knowing. I must have sat there for over an hour and Purslane never entered the nest box. She was up eating, drinking and grooming but never checked on the kits. This is my first experience with rabbit breeding so I am not really sure how attentive does are. But, I am worried about the kits and if they will survive the night or not.

Other news from the farm. David from the paving company returned this morning to finish the grading for the garage. It took two more dump trucks of material today to get it to grade. He was done before noon and said he would be back to build the forms later. Don't know when later is though.

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