In the past week and a half our two does both kindled.
|Kit from Kumquat’s last litter|
Lucy kindled early last week. She’s my dependable doe that has proven herself to be a good mom. Unfortunately one of her kits was stillborn. It happens, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened to her. One of the other kits is a runt – much smaller than its siblings. It’s lively and energetic and otherwise seems to be doing OK. Since she only has 6 kits total right now, and 8 teats, it’s not a huge concern that it won’t be able to feed, but we’re definitely keeping an eye on it.
Kumquat, on the other hand is a fickle rabbit. She kindled earlier this week. The first sign that we might have a problem is that she didn’t pull fur to make a nest for them. She did kindle in the nest box so we put orchard grass around them and hoped for the best. After all, the last time she kindled she didn’t pull fur until the kits were 2 days old.
But 2 days went by and she still hadn’t pulled any fur and the kits weren’t growing. At all. It became clear yesterday that she had completely abandoned them. They were nearly a full week younger than Lucy’s kits, and because Lucy already had 6 kits that were twice the size of Kumquat’s kits we couldn’t give them to her without risking Lucy abandoning not only Kumquat’s kits but also her own. So we had to let them go.
Rabbits are incredibly difficult to foster, and at this age it’s even more difficult. And to be honest, we thought she was feeding them because there were definite signs that she was going into the nest box with them. Because rabbits nurse their kits only twice a day and are very private about it, it wasn’t totally obvious that she wasn’t feeding them until it was too late to save them.
This wasn’t Kumquat’s first litter, which she raised perfectly. The only reason I can think she didn’t want to mother these kits is because Lucy moved into the hutch next to her a couple of months ago and she still seems a bit pissed about it. Once Lucy’s kits are out of the nest box, we’ll move them and Lucy back to Lucy’s old hutch, which was previously home to her last kits.
And sometimes a rabbit just doesn’t want to be a mom.