Wednesday, October 9, 2013

close-up 5-day old New Zealand White rabbit
The kits that were born last Friday no longer look like tiny piglets - naked and wrinkled.

They've grown and filled out the wrinkles, along with sprouting a fine coat of white fur.

They now look almost rabbit-like.

5-day old New Zealand White bunny

If you are already familiar with our rabbit pens, which have slatted floors and are moved across the pasture twice/day, you're probably wondering, "How will they keep the babies in the pen?  Won't they fall through the slats?"

Well, in fact, yes, they would.  Once the babies start venturing outside the nest box we will indeed have to "baby proof" the pen.  To keep them from falling through.

cutie little bunny face
I had a mishap yesterday actually, when one of the sides came apart from the nest box and a baby wiggled out of the box and fell onto the grass below the pen. I found it and placed it back into the nest box.  It seems perfectly fine today.  And fixing the nest box is now our top priority this weekend. 

But for the next few days at least, Mama will still have unrestricted access to the pasture. 

And babies will remain in a pile, safely in the nest box.

5-day old New Zealand White rabbits

Cheers -

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

4-day old New Zealand White rabbits

I just can't get enough of these babies.

Would you look at those ears.

baby new zealand white bunny ears

Those noses!
baby New Zealand White rabbit

The whiskers!

sleepin' in a pile - baby New Zealand Whites

And toeses!

itty bitty baby bunnies

Cheers -
Dr. Seuss


Friday, October 4, 2013

Athena peeks out of her nestbox with a pink newborn bunny

Leave it to the rabbits to throw our day out of whack.

It was all so neatly scheduled. 

For the first breeding, Atlas our New Zealand White buck (male) bred Astarte on Tues. and Athena on Wed.  A week later we tested them both to see if the does "took" the first time. 

Astarte CLEARLY was not interested in a rebreed - hopping out of the rabbit tractor entirely in an effort to get away from Atlas.

Athena however was a little less convincing and in fact allowed Atlas to breed her, convincing me that her first "date" wasn't successful.

We started the countdown. 

27 days from the first breeding date Astarte's nest box would go into her mobile pen. 

On day 26, Astarte started nesting activity (pulling belly hair out to line the nest box).  I picked it up off the ground after I moved her pen and went to get her nest box.

(Their mobile pens have slats in the floor so they can graze pasture between the slats, and their pee/poo falls onto the pasture.  As does a pile of white belly fur.)

I also brought out some hay and put a handful along with her fur into the nest box. After munching on some hay, she jumped into the nest box to "decorate."

27 days from the second breeding date, Athena's next box would go in. She did not begin nesting on Day 26, or Day 27 or Day 28, 29 or 30.  So I assumed my calculations were correct and she would be due the following week.  But just to be safe, I put in an old nest box (which Papa Bear was going to replace over the weekend with a brand new one) on Day 30, along with some hay.

Then came day 31 post breeding #1.  Eager to see if Astarte would deliver, I checked inside the nest box during my morning rounds.  Nothing.

Later that day, just as I was wrapping up a work call, PB came into the office and said "I was going to swap out Athena's nest box for the new one but there are babies in her nest box."


He continued "Oh, and Astarted delivered, too.  Two sets of babies just born."

Oh. My. Goodness.

Needless to say we forgot about heading into La Crosse for the farmer's market that afternoon. We were busy counting heads (five in Athena's litter - her first - and seven eight in Astarte's litter - her second) and snapping photos.  

newborn new zealand white bunnies

Newborn bunnies look nothing like rabbits.  If you had showed me this picture and I had not known what the white fur was, I'd have assumed these were piglets.

Eventually we got all the evening chores done and we did go into town to celebrate our 11th anniversary.

Happy Anniversary Hunny. 

May we be as prosperous in life as our rabbits.

(But perhaps not quite as prolific).

Cheers -

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