Thursday, December 6, 2012

New ideas, and stabilizing runts.

The babies continue to grow well, even the runts. That said, the runts are now about half the weight of the bigger babies. They are no longer in danger of not making it though which is a relief. As always for the winter, water is a concern since dehydration is one of the primary threats to a rabbit. Right now it is warm enough they can easily get enough water, and with the crocks that will ameliorate the problems on colder days.

Speaking of that, we have found yet another problem with the heated water bottles. I've left the one up on Dawn's hutch and kept it filled when it's warm enough to be thawed so she can get extra water. Unfortunately, the way they drink from it causes leaking. The water soaks the side of the hutch on the inside, and caked the door with water, and this morning it was frozen solid with ice. Fortunately I was able to pull it open, but it was rather difficult, and if there had been more water it would have been a problem. As it is I want to see if I can return the one we haven't opened yet.

 Above you can see one of the reasons I'm happy about this litter. They are friendly. Dawn's last litter due to that one with a particularly bad temperament ended up being scared of just about everything. These babies aren't scared of us at all. They come up, investigate me, investigate and hop in to the weighing Tupperware.  They are genuinely curious and friendly. It is a nice change from the last litter. Dawn also is very much engaged with this litter of kits. As you can see Right she regularly cleans them and gets a bit concerned when we open up the hutch and do anything out of the norm. Taking photos is a bit out of the norm for her so she is giving us a concerned expression. We are very fortunate she isn't the kind of mom that will bite to tell you to leave her babies alone. She does however nose me if she thinks I am being too rough with any of her babies while weighing them. It tends not to come up, but it is a sign I have grown to recognize.

 One of the things we are convinced has helped these babies grow as well as they have is a simple addition to daily chores and the furniture of their hutch. You can see it in the two pictures Above and the one Left. I've started putting a crock full of food in on the floor of the nesting area. I started putting it in like that on Sunday, and the weight charts show an effect. It hasn't been a significant increase in their percentage weight gain per day by the charts. However it has mostly stopped the smaller babies from stagnating. They still aren't doing as well as their bigger siblings who by their very nature manage to get more food, but they aren't in danger of wasting away anymore. I think that in the future we are going to be putting a small crock like this in with the babies as soon as they start eating on their own. That way it is easier for them to eat, and I figure if it is easier to eat they will grow faster and do better than having to climb up in to the feeder to get at solid food that isn't hay.

That is the other thing that has been interesting about the babies. They are showing definite preferences for foods. Some of them actively prefer and go for the hay first, and others go for the pellets first. They aren't that easy to tell apart, so I don't know for certain if it is the same ones every day or not. I think it is, but can't prove it. There are also some who actually prefer the feeder Dawn uses instead of the crock on the floor. I'm not sure why that would be unless it is simply the opportunity to harass their poor mother, and use her as a climbing object to get at the food.

If you want to look at the weight chart yourself, you can go here.
Dawn/Dorado breeding weight chart.


  1. Great update and great pictures! Thanks!

    1. The Lady of the House is developing into a great photographer. If you'll pardon the pun. I particularly liked the one of the baby drinking from the water bottle.