Sunday, February 22, 2009

Attention to Detail

Raising rabbits, as well as any other animals, takes more time and care than just making sure they have food and water. We need to keep records of which does are due to kindle (give birth), when the bunnies were born, which does need re-bred and to which buck, which bunnies need weaned and when. We also need to keep a close eye on the first-time moms, such as this one; who, although she had a nest-box in at the right time, she opted not to use it, but had her babies on the wire floor during a cold spell in December. Fortunately, I was out early that morning checking on them and found the babies chilled with little movement. Babies can chill and die within a hour or so at 25*.

I brought them into the house, and using the hair-dryer on low setting, began to warm them till they started moving and feeling around for something to eat. I put them on a towel on the table, and a small lamp over them with a dish-towel tented over. A couple hours later when they were no longer chilled, I took them back out and put some saved hair into the nest box and the babies into it, and covered them with more rabbit hair. I then put a heat lamp on top of the cage. Now it was up to mom rabbit as to whether she would take care of them or not. She did, and we saved 8 out of 10 of that litter.

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