Yesterday, 21 October I was watering some plants (you know the ones that the dogs haven’t eaten yet) and noticed the bunnies being a bit noisy like running up and down the cage a lot. When I looked, I saw a few mouse-like bald things crawling around the cage. They sorta looked like small versions of that monster in Pan’s Labyrinth. I won’t post an image because this is a family blog and I have a responsibility to not harm you, emotionally. Actually, maybe stop reading right here.
The thing with mama rabbits is that when they’re stressed out with their kits, they sort of eat them. The male (Buttons) was in the cage and this really freaked her out and her only solution was to physically decapitate her young. With her teeth. Motherhood is tough, so no judgies but I had to act super fast to save the remaining 6. Buttons was confused and a little bit frightened because A) his children were crawling around the cage and fatherhood is sometimes a bit of a shock to men and B) his wife was murdering their children.
Here’s an extract from a site on why a rabbit would do this > “If she is in the process of kindling or if she has a young litter, and then gets frightened for her life, it is well documented that she might eat her babies, destroying any evidence that would attract predators or reduce her chance of survival.”
I made a little nest box for her with ripped up blankets and some hay and moved her to a separate cage just to CALM HER THE F DOWN. Gave her some newspaper to shred, some water and food and covered the new family with a blanket in a quiet room. Amongst all of this I also took a really quick photo of the babies so I could remember them in case she ate them.
So right now I’m on mama and baby rabbit watch. This morning all the kits are still alive and squirming and she is feeding them (mostly against her will). I trick her by putting apples and spinach in the nest box and then the babies roll around under her and get what they can very quickly. One of the babies rolled around her face and she started licking it but I thought she was chewing it, so there is still panic. We had a really long talk about motherhood and responsibilities so maybe that helped.
We cleaned out her cage today and she made a little nest for herself and drank about (I’m estimating) 17 litres of water. She’s cleaning up all her own droppings and excretions and sometimes I catch her looking over in to the nest and rubbing her chin on the outside so maybe motherhood is growing on her. We’re keeping the dogs outside and trying to keep her calm and she looks pretty happy now, so holding thumbs!
PS Does anyone want a bunny? No really we have six and they’re hella cute. I’m posting a photo a day of them to track their growth if you wanna check it out on Instagram – @therabbithaus.