Thursday, November 8, 2012

A little snow, and babies furring out

 But they aren't growing quickly at all. Indeed, the babies are hardly gaining weight at all. I still haven't had time to fully do out the chart, but overall they are putting all of their energy into growing fur and staying warm from what I can tell. I will try to get the chart up this weekend to do some solid comparisons and have real numbers for everyone that cares. There's lots more photos below the cut.

 On the down side, one of the babies has actually been losing weight. The farthest left baby that's all wrinkly has lost weight since being born. That is usually a sign that it is that baby's last day. Everyone else is maintaining or slightly gaining weight. S/he is also less coordinated than the others. I have been putting him in the middle of the pile so it should at least stays warm. The big hope is that Dawn makes sure s/he gets food today, and beyond that there isn't much we can do for it.

Fortunately other than the lower growth rate the other babies seem to be doing just fine. In the picture on the Right you can see a great example of milk belly, don't even have to seriously check that one. In more subtle cases you might want to check to be sure each baby has eaten. Right now our priority is being quick to get the babies weighed and back in their warm nest. We have decided that any day where the temperature is too cold we won't be weighing the babies who are too young. What I mean by too young is not yet producing their own warmth and maintaining their own body temperatures. Generally that's about two weeks old. The standard I've been using lately is, if it is too cold for me to comfortably use my bare hands I shouldn't be weighing the babies. Yesterday we didn't get weights due to it being around 20 degrees early in the morning. This morning was just brisk, the un heated water bottles weren't even frozen. Dawn has been none too thrilled with what I have been doing with her babies, but as you can see Below she is quite docile, and will accept reassurance that everything is ok. She still watches. We are very glad she isn't the kind of mother who is prone to biting when she feels her kits are being threatened. Instead she just investigates, especially the scale, she tries to investigate the scale thoroughly. She is less interested in what ever I'm recording the weights on. I think it is because the scale smells like her babies.

 Water for the rabbits is obviously a serious concern for us since without water, any creature dies. With rabbits that can happen even faster than it does for humans. Cold dry air exacerbates that. The powered water bottles do work, and work well. That said they are quite expensive to purchase, and I'd rather not have the lives of our rabbits entirely dependent on electricity. For the mothers I am going to stick with using the powered water bottle heaters, but for everyone else I am going to shift to crocks for the winter. They are less efficient labor wise than water bottles needing to be refilled regularly, and cleaned more often than water bottles. On the other hand the quick lock crock seems to fit our needs perfectly for the winter. Easy to fill, easy to remove. I am going to be seeing if I can get more crocks than attachment points so in the morning, when we get home, and before we go to bed we bring out an already warmed crock, and a pitcher of hot water. Take the frozen solid crock that is out there inside to warm up, and put in the warm crock, and fill it right on up. If not then we just go out, bring in the frozen crocks, and warm them up under hot water so they stay liquid longer.
Finally, the snow. Normally, when there is snow that is a major topic of the post, or at least gets a serious mention. This time however, we got very lucky. The shore definitely got hit with snow, we on the other hand, well, you can see on the Right what we got. At the height of the snow up on our little hill the entire ground was white. By this morning it was as you see.

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