Posts Tagged ‘rabbits’
Welcome to my Emergency Room for baby bunnies. OK, it’s really not a room, more like a spot on the couch. These 8 young’uns were born this morning. I found them scattered in the rabbit hutch, which in MN when temps drop below freezing, is very bad for a baby bunnies. When this happens, first thing I do is put as many of the cold ones into my bra. I know, it sounds weird but there is a very small window in which to save kits and a ride up to the house in my bra starts the warming process.
There are a couple of ways to warm up a chilled kit (baby rabbit). The bra way is a good way to start but it won’t do the job as it’s too slow. The kit(s) need to be warmed as quickly as possible.
You can warm them up by placing them on a heating pad (set on low) and/or also by using a plastic bottle filled with hot water. As you can see in the above picture, I did both as these babies were really cold. I cover the whole area with a towel and try to make a barrier so they don’t crawl away and you end up sitting on them.
Another way to warm them is by placing them in hot water. I take the hottest water I can get from the tap. Remember, you want to warm them not burn them. Then, if they are really cold, I drop them in the water. I usually only do this when the baby is just about frozen. It doesn’t matter at that point in time if their face goes into the water as they are barely breathing away. And yes, it works and no, they don’t drown. But as soon as all 4 limbs are moving, I lift their heads out of the water.
You can also place the baby in a plastic bag, like I did above. That is a snack size bag that I put the kit in and then placed it in the water. This baby was chilled but not freezing so I choose to warm it this way. You have to be careful so the nose isn’t against the bag or it can’t breathe.
After the kit is warm and moving. I put it on a heating pad (set on low), add towels, the rest of the siblings, etc. It takes a while for the head to warm up so be patient. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to save a chilled, almost frozen rabbit. Make sure you check them often as you don’t want them to get too warm, that’s not good either.
Once they are warm, they are moved into a nest box and place in a warm area. We bring mamas to the babies in the winter. All our babies are kept in the house during the cold months until they are about 3 weeks old. At this age, they are ready to endure the chilly days and nights. They are then moved out to the bunny barn where they join their mama until they are weaned.
We have saved many a freezing rabbit by doing these things. We don’t save all of them but we try.
This morning brought us more baby bunnies. This time is was Himi, one of the crossbred rabbits. She’s a first time mama and decided to give birth on the wire on the cage instead of in the nest box. Rabbit does are not suppose to nest this way but once in a while you have a rabbit who has to be different. It usually happens with a new mom. Every bunny here gets a second chance and usually, they get it right the second time. You can’t make a rabbit nest in a box so if she’s a habitual offender, she shouldn’t be in your breeding program. Of course, IF you screw up and fail to provide her with a nest box, she can only make do with whats she’s got.
The above picture was taken about an hour before Himi kindled. This is not what you want a mama rabbit to do, build her nest on the wire. I was lucky because: 1. it was warm inside the barn; and 2. I knew she was kindling so I could get the kits into a nestbox before they wondered on the wire. Then, continued on to find warmth, ending up outside of the cage and a tasty meal for a hungry chicken. If this situation had happened during the night, the litter would have all died.
Did you know that a new baby bunny will search for heat? These tiny hairless creatures will seek out a heat source. You’d be amazed at how far a kit can crawl. They can fit through a very small opening. We have found kits, who are both blind and deaf at birth, across the barn on the ground. They chill very quickly and IF they don’t become dinner for some other critter, they will succumb to the cold.
Unlike cats or dogs, mama rabbits do not sit/sleep etc with their babies. They nurse the kits once or twice a day and don’t return until it’s feeding time again. Feeding takes less them 5 minutes on average. After nursing and butt cleaning, mama is gone. Sounds uncaring, doesn’t it? This trait carries over from their wild rabbit ancestors. Baby rabbits do not have any scent to them making them hard for predators to find so mamas do not spend any extra time in the nests if they want their babies to survive. Of course, today’s domestic rabbit has lost a few of those distinct traits. We have mamas who hang out in nest boxes because they can. They are not there to “tend” babies, they just want to sit in the nest box because its comfy.
That is your rabbit lesson for the day. We will have a quiz later this week…. . Just kidding.
I’ve been on baby bunny watch for several days/nights. Last night, Madison had done evening chores and told me that Berry (rabbit mama to be) had pulled more hair and to please check on her before I headed to bed. Well, you know how that goes, I end up dozing off on the couch during the 10 pm news. I headed to bed, bunnies being the furtherest thing on my mind.. warm cozy bed was my thinking.
About 10 minutes after getting comfy, I suddenly remembered Madison’s words. So, out of bed I hopped, donning my robe as I headed for my boots and a hat. After arriving at the hoop house, the poultry and rabbits looked curiously at the crazy purple robed lady with a flashlight. You’d think they’d be used to it by now. It’s not like I haven’t gone into the barn in a robe before.
I looked at each of our mamas-to-be, including Berry who was not nesting at all, no new babies. Just as I was leaving, I noticed the cage of the fawn mini lop, who seemed to be missing. ”Shoot, now I have a rabbit to find!” But then I saw her, in the nest box, (yup, forgot to check her cage on my maternity round) kindling. So I hung out next to her cage, talking to a turkey, for a few minutes. Yes, I talk to my turkeys and no, I’m not crazy. The rabbit soon jumped out, leaving 6 little bundles behind in the nestbox.
My, I’m so glad I remembered to check the barn when I did. Making my rounds any earlier or later, I would have found frozen kits. I guess taking a short nap on the couch pays off sometimes! hehe
OK, most of you will think I’m crazy for saying that but with the outside temps being in the upper 90′s and the humidity in the upper 70′s, snow really looks good to me right now. Our predicted heat index is 115 for today. I’d rather have -10! Yesterday, the weatherman said that only place in the world more humid then MN was the Amazon. That’s just crazy! Once again, I’d rather have snow.
We had quite the thunderstorm roll though last night leaving us 1.3 inches of rain and more humidity. We lost our electricity before midnight. It was back on around 3-4 a.m. And, of course, the mosquitoes are really loving this weather. When you are outside, I swear you can hear them flying around, they are so incredibly thick. There is a “bug hum” out there waiting to get you! haha
We live though the summer without central air or an air conditioner *gasp*. Some say that’s crazy but you can do it. And yes, many times is just as hot in the house as it is outside, if not warmer. As I’m writing this, the Rich’s weather station says 93.7 for an indoor temp and 91.3 for an outdoor temp. Yep, I believe I’m melting into the couch… lol.
How do you live though the heat, you ask? Well, one does sweat ALLOT, lol. We have fans running in the main areas of the house and fans run at night in the bedrooms. I try not to do any cooking/baking inside. The outdoor grill is used daily. I also find my canned items (esp. meat) are extremely handy at time. Only a bit of warming up and presto, meal on the table without much effort!
I wash clothes early in the morning or late at night. Clothes hang to dry on the clothesline when possible. The fridge is stocked with cold drinks. Our freezers/Frig work really hard when it’s so incredibly hot, so we try not to open them often and to be “quick” when we do open them.
So today, is a slow paced day with these high temps/dew-points. One can not be in a hurry on days like today. Tasks are completed with as little effort as possible. Frequent breaks to “fuel up” are always a must. If you are thirsty, you have waited too long to hydrate. To cool off quickly, a quick run through the sprinkler always feels good.
We keep an eye on the animals as well. Our poultry don’t seem to care how hot is is, they just continue to go about their business as usual. The goats and sheep seem to tolerate the heat a bit better then the rabbits. We are keeping a careful watch on the rabbit herd since heat like this is deadly for them. “Every bunny” gets a frozen water bottle to cool off with. They, too, are wishing winter would come back.