We have babies on the ground from both Dawn and Twilight, both seem to be doing alright so far despite the cold weather yesterday, and the snow today. Above is the only baby pic we have at the moment of one of Dawn's litter. We didn't get pictures much this time because it was 10 degrees and we didn't want them to get cold. That ended up with me moving too fast to get good shots.
On the up side there wasn't so much snow that I couldn't drive through it. On the down side it is heavy enough that just shoveling the deck and stairs my back and arms hurt. I just drove the car out, and will rely on sanding this time since I did need to get to work, and couldn't delay too long. We have firmly established that if we want to avoid 10F days for giving birth , we need to aim for later than mid March. Over all though, both mothers seem to have done just fine, though the difference in experience shows quite clearly.
Right is a relatively normal nest from our experience. A low cup shaped pile of hay with the babies in the hollow and a significant covering of Dawn's fur over the babies. What is unusual about Dawn is that she makes the hay portion of the nest 10 to 14 days early, and then just leaves it alone until the moments before she gives birth when she pulls out her fur to make the covering. For those of you who were guessing, there are ten babies under there. They are smaller than the normal for Dawn, but seem to be perfectly healthy. She has been generally fairly relaxed about the babies, though she does watch from the side while we do weight checks to make sure we're not hurting her babies. Dawn, and her nests like this have become our normal expectation. Since her first time there has been minimal blood left over on the hutch floor if any.
Twilight on the other hand has been a whole new experience for us. Below Left her nest is a huge pile of hay seemingly haphazardly stacked high. She too has a cup where the babies are with a covering of fur, but there's also quite a bit of hay making a sort of lip over it. She also hasn't been as precise about placing her fur as Dawn. I put that down to first time jitters. She also made quite a mess in the process of giving birth, and left a bit of blood as you can see Left. She seems to be doing well, but my mentioning of new experiences isn't just the messy nest, it is Twilight's behavior. I counted 6 kits when I did weight checks this morning, and she finally had kits nearly a day after Dawn. I think that's all of them, but I'm not certain. Twilight was very aggressive and difficult to handle. She may have injured one of her kits in attempting to attack me for handling them. Fortunately I wear long sleeves all the time or I'd have deep scratches on my arm. Normally when weighing babies I wear no glove on either hand, but fortunately I chose to wear a glove on my left hand this time because she attacked that hand hard since it was all that was available. I did what I could quickly, but I couldn't be thorough because she was growling and lunging the whole time. I aborted the rest of attempting to check when she jumped hard and landed on one of the babies on the scale causing it to squeak. For future weight checks with Twilight we will have to have two people, even this early in the babies life. I'm hoping that she was just hormonal from having given birth recently because it is quite a challenge dealing with an angry, aggressive nearly 15 lb rabbit. I think I'd have been able to handle it is the Lady of the House were there as well, but this morning she is sick so it was an on my own situation! I think that when she started being aggressive I should have stopped right there instead of trying to push through. By trying to just continue I stressed her out further, and may have caused injury to one of the babies. I decided to keep going because in most animal behavior situations you shouldn't let the animal being aggressive change your behavior so they don't think that being aggressive helps, because it will reduce their aggression in the future. The thing I forgot that was really important . . . it doesn't apply to hormonal aggression or fear based aggression. The two kids of aggression this would be are hormonal, or fear. So I made a mistake, and we will hope that I didn't do permanent damage to her temperament or the kit.
1: 64 2: 63 3: 63 4: 61 5: 58 6: 53 7: 53 8: 51 9: 48 10: 48
1: 62 2: 61 3: 60 4: 59 5: 58 6: 55 7: 50 8: 50 9: 50 10: 48
1: 82 2: 72 3: 70 4: 69 5: 50 6: 44
Unfortunately Google Drive isn't working for me right now so I haven't been able to make the weight chart, or check the old ones for growth and weight levels. Right now I can say for memory that Dawn's kits are small baby for baby compared to her earlier ones. That said, it's very cold, water isn't always as available as we'd like due to that and that can affect weight a good bit. She also had a huge number of babies, and they're fairly consistent compared to her early litters.
Twilight's litter is mostly HUGE babies with the one tiny one at 44 grams, and a smallish one at 50. I'm not %100 sure on the correctness of any of those weights though due to trying to work fast and fight off a rabbit at the same time. I'll be interested to get a better weight check some time soon and give more useful information,