February 22, 2012

Does kindle kits

When you venture into starting a rabbitry, you have to learn a new language.

Doe - female rabbit
Buck - male rabbit
Palpate - feeling a rabbits stomach to see if she's pregnant
Kindle - birth process
Kits - baby rabbits
Does kindle kits.

We have two does - Big Bertha and Matilda - and two bucks - Davidson and Happy Jack.  We bred both does on January 29th.  Only Big Bertha became pregnant. Despite the saying "they multiply like rabbits", it's not always so easy to get them to multiply like rabbits!  We rebred Matilda about two weeks ago after palpating her and not feeling any kits in her.

Big Bertha in her hutch with her nesting box
Big Bertha's big day is Monday but rabbits usually birth at night so the kits could come Sunday night, anytime Monday or Monday night.  Leading up to the big event, Big Bertha starts giving us signs that she's getting ready to kindle.  We gave her a nesting box and she started rearranging all the nesting materials to her liking. She has started pulling grass and putting it in her nesting box too.  We'll also give her some hay for her nest. Today, her nest looks like a great big bird's nest.

The next step will be when she starts pulling out her own chest and stomach fur.  Her fur will keep her naked babies nice and toasty warm since she will only go into the nesting box with them twice a day to feed them.

The anticipation is building.  This is our first rabbit breeding so we are (I am) overly anxious. I keep reading and researching so we're prepared for any possibility, but I know that experience is the best teacher.

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