In good news, most of the babies are doing well, and growing quickly. The bad news is, two of them didn't make it. Right you can see the two who didn't make it. We weren't expecting the one on the right to survive, but we were somewhat surprised by the one on the left. From day 2 we had been supplementing feed for them, and we were hopeful that the smallest ones were going to make it. Then I came home from work Sunday night, and found these two cold and limp. Heeding the advice of Michelle Chandler that rabbit babies aren't dead until they are warm and dead, we put them on a heating pad with a good cover on it so they wouldn't get burned and turned it on low and waited. 40 minutes later, and warm they were still limp and lifeless. In the wake of their deaths we've been considering whether removing the smallest baby instead of trying to supplement the feeding of the smallest three would have ended up with the second smallest surviving. We are going to do more research into that in the future of course. However, as you can see on the Right all of the other babies are doing quite well, as is their mother Below. At this point some of the babies are really looking like small rabbits, not alien creatures.
On the Right you can see that I'm now having to make a barrier around the scale to get measurements since they now have enough motivation and strength to roll themselves off the scale. We try to avoid that because we don't want to hurt them, and it makes Dawn very unhappy with us. As the week has gone on she has gotten progressively more possessive of her babies, though she still lets us handle them. She just comes and thoroughly investigates us as we take care of our measurements and daily counts.
Last but not least, the weights of the kits since Thursday.
05/03 05/04 05/05 05/06 05/06 05/07 05/08
1: 71 80 89 87 Weights 103 113
2: 67 75 80 84 At 91 110
3: 65 73 77 84 Death 91 101
4: 65 66 68 75 88 100
5: 54 56 58 62 75 100
6: 54 52 55 60 62 70
7: 52 49 50 52 46
8: 49 48 46 50 43
A2 you can see the sudden death of #7 was a surprise to us, while growth hadn't been fast it had been steady. With the smallest we weren't sure what was going on, though starting to do supplemental feeding seemed to have helped. We started supplemental feeding morning of 05/04 after taking weights, and as you can see there was a sudden weight increase 05/06 that had us hopeful. We started supplemental feeding due to the down turn in weight of 6, 7, and 8 and limited growth if any. We figured that Dawn as a first time mother was having trouble producing enough milk for all 8 of her babies. Since the death of the two smallest the growth of 6 has shot up. Tomorrow we will see if that is an anomaly or if it is a new pattern.