Left is a view of the right side of the hutch from the Lady of the House sticking her head inside. This is taken from about the mid point of the hutch and you can see 7 of the 14 babies wandering around on that side. Front and center is fresh greens we put in, not so visible are the two piles of hay, one in each enclosed area. With all of that space, it was a real challenge weighing all of the babies this morning, especially given how similar many of them are. I also learned that even at this age they are quite able to leap over a 2x4 with my arm over it, and clear half the hutch in one mighty leap. It's clear the babies are happy to be in the new hutch from how much they're able to move around. In with their mothers it had gotten to the point that they were definitively cramped, as were their parents. In their new space they're doing all sorts of acrobatics.
As I posted a few days ago, I had intended to wean by the chart I posted from Rudolph's Rabbit Ranch. Talking to Michelle Chandler, she recommended not doing this method since we were moving both litters into one hutch. First and obviously, by mixing the two litters all at once it reduces pre existing territoriality in the rabbits that have already been there, thus reducing fights. Second, she has never spaced out weaning in her rabbits, and has never had a mastitis problem. While in the future we may wean on a slow removal schedule, for this situation it wouldn't have been the correct choice for the health of the babies. We will obviously be watching the mothers to make sure they don't have any issues. The fact that they're under 2 weeks from a new litter may actually help them. Above Right you can see that sometimes the babies will all crowd together in one place. The two that are standing up are looking at something moving out in the woods. We never quite established what. Below is just a few minutes later with just about all of them standing in the central section trying to figure out what is moving out there. The standing as a group is a behavior we haven't seen the rabbits do before. Individuals have done so briefly, but nothing like this.
Having moved both litters in to the growing out hutch yesterday we were expecting to see little to no growth in weight, or even weight loss in some of the babies. The weight charts bore out that expectation this morning. I do wonder if some of the loss in Dawn's babies was how hard it was to weigh them in the new environment.
Dawn's Litter Weight Chart
Sunny's Litter Weight Chart