Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dawn's 2nd Litter Born

And as you can see they look a lot like Dawn's first litter in terms of basic appearance. There are five living kits. There were two unformed kits that were stillborn, likely due to the heat and stress from the repeated bear visits. There was also one large baby that was outside the nest on the wire in the main area of the hutch when we got home already dead. We tried to warm it up, but unfortunately it didn't come around. On the up side, all five of Dawn's babies are nice, big, and healthy. They are also very active and hard to photograph.

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while probably remember this picture Right of one of the little ones day 2 as a good indication of the general size of the first litter. Below you can see the size of a single one of the kits from Dawn's second litter. Pardon the picture quality, the little thing didn't want to hold still in the slightest so this was the only one without blurring from the kit. Of course, it is the one that I was most shaky on. Ahhh well.

As you can see they are well formed, and in good physical condition. I wasn't able to get a picture of their milk bellies because they move too much, and it doesn't show up well on black kits. From their starting colors we are expecting very similar coloration to Dawn's first litter. I know there will be interesting things learned about Dawn and Umbra's genetics if that is the case, but I can't claim to fully get it, so I'll leave that to a post by the Lady of the House.

In this nice action shot on the Left you can see babies, less than a day old attempting to take flying leaps out of the arms of the Lady of the House. Whether due to the warmth compared to the cold weather of the first litter, or being more healthy. These kits are very very active. Unlike the first litter they squeak a Lot. When touched, when put down, when sitting in their nest. They squeak. They are harder to weigh day one than the first litter was, but I am appreciating how easy they are to handle compared to the nearly fully grown babies in the growing out hutch right now. In the photo Below is as good a photo as I could get of myself showing one of my normal scratches from weighing time. I've gotten good enough to only get tagged once or twice a day.

Fortunately most of the scratches aren't as long as the big one, but something like that isn't uncommon. The two crossing scratches are more normal scratches for weighing time. Today one of Dawn's babies was a real hand full and just wouldn't hold still for being weighed. Eventually it did, but that was a tough one. Of course as soon as I'm weighing someone else that same rabbit comes back to check my hands out and try to eat the Tupperware we use to weigh the babies in.


The first two litters are all averaging 4 pounds or larger at this point, and we will be butchering them next Saturday at some point as the Lady of the House mentioned last post. It'll be a bit of a tough day for us I'm certain, but this is what we have been preparing for since we got started.

Weight Charts

Dawn Litter 2         1    2    3    4    5   Ave     Dawn Litter 1  1   2   3   4    5    6   7   8     Ave

7/18/2012 Evening   73  71  70  68  65  69.4     5/3/2012          71 67 65 65  54  54 52 47   59.375
7/19/2012 Morning  77  75  74  70  68  72.8    5/4/2012           80 75 73 66  56  52 49 48   62.375

Sorry about the formatting, if you want to see clearer charts you can go to

Dawn 1                          Dawn 2                         Sunny 1

Dawn's first and second litters have some differences that are interesting to me in terms of the weight charts. First and most obvious is how much less variation there is between the smallest and the largest. The difference from largest to smallest for Dawn's second litter is 8 grams, in her first litter it was 24 grams. Even if you ignore the two babies that didn't make it later, the difference was 17 grams. A much larger difference. The average weight of the second litter is much higher than the first despite having the biggest baby be not quite as big by the morning of the day after they were born.

While the smaller size of the litter is unfortunate, part of that is due to the baby we found out of the nest and dead. Otherwise it would be the same size of living babies. I will be interested to see if Dawn's second litter maintains the closer grouping of weights than the first litter throughout the growth process.

Dawn's first litter is currently at an average of 2046.3 grams or 4.5 lbs. The biggest of them is 2190 grams or 4.8 lbs, and the smallest is 1860 grams, or 4 lbs. All in all a respectable set of weights. They would be ok to butcher now, but letting them grow out until Saturday the 28th will put more weight on them.

Sunny's litter is currently at an average of 1875.5 grams or 4.1 lbs. The largest of them is 2007 grams or 4.4 lbs, and the smallest is 1677 grams or 3.7 lbs. With their higher growth rate than Dawn's litter they will all be within a good butchering weight by butchering day.

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