Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Unhappy rabbit surprise & a lesson

The first mistake when I bred the rabbits was not looking at the calendar first.  She was now probably going to give birth while we were on vacation.  Well, I had someone to feed them while we were gone, & it's not like you really do much for the babies.  I had the boy feeding the rabbits put some stuff in the nesting box.  And he'd been putting frozen water bottles out on hot days to keep the rabbits cool.
We got home from our trip in the evening & went out to check the rabbits.  Sure enough there were bunnies in the nesting box, but they were all dead!  Not a fun surprise!  My son got some gloves on to get them out, & as he lifted one out, it's head fell off & fell on his foot!  He was quite stoic about it, but I was glad I hadn't seen it.  After some research & questions to those with rabbits, my best guess it that it was too hot & they roasted to death.  The boy taking care of them said there weren't any bunnies the evening before, so they died during one day.  I looked online & apparently the babies can have trouble if it's over 80.  That is not very warm!  The solutions I saw were to give them shade (which we did with our next litter), & to run a sprinkler in front of the hutch to cool the air (which we did as well).   Right now I'm looking for a good mister, in hopes that will waste less water & not make such a big mud puddle!
So we'd had 3 litters out of our doe now.  The first litter froze to death.  The second litter we lost 2...not sure how, we found them out of the nesting box, in the hutch, dead.  Our friend's theory on that was they were nursing when the mom left & got dragged out.  And then this litter that roasted to death.  Three litters & only 5 rabbits!  I was getting discouraged, but I was also really glad to be learning all these lessons before we were hungry & counting on them for food.
The next litter however had 10 bunnies!  10 days later they were all alive, so maybe I was getting the hang of this!

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