Friday, October 4, 2013

an unexpected surprise on our anniversary

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 -


Beth said...

I am reading these backwards, so again, those ears are the cutest things ever! Happy Anniversary! Hope y'all had a great time!

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