Saturday, May 9, 2009

First litter of Bunnies born on the farm!

Cocoa, our doe, gave birth to her first litter of baby bunnies at the farm. Three baby bunnies were born during Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning. I noticed the first baby when I was shutting up the chickens Tuesday evening. The mother and her baby were outside of their nest box in the pen. I thought Cocoa might have had the baby there, so I just put the baby in the nest box. It had a small lip on the doorway which I thought was high enough to prevent the babies from leaving the nest box. The next morning, I saw that Cocoa had delivered two more bunnies, for a litter of three. Unfortunately, one of the babies had gotten out of the next box, and its tiny head was stuck in the wire sides of the pen. I lost that one due to the inefficient nest box. So, I put another 1" strip of wood across the door of the nest box and checked on the other 2 baby bunnies. They were healthy and hiding under the belly fur that Cocoa had lined the box with to keep them warm.

Since then, I have not seen any baby bunnies out of the nest box. The two baby bunnies are three days old now; they are hairless and still have their eyes shut. As you can see from the above picture, they have started to develop some fur, (the baby bunny is also covered in the belly fur from Cocoa, the mother). They will not open their eyes for another week. It is tough to lose one baby, but that is why I started small with the new animals. No matter how much I read about farming animals, I find that the best teacher is experience.

This photograph is one of the rabbits from Cocoa's first litter. They are now 8 weeks old. I still have them in the hutch, but they get all the fresh greens they can eat along with their pellets. I hope to finish constructing the rabbit tractor soon so that I can relocate them to the farm fields. The rabbits from Cocoa's first litter should be ready to butcher by week 12 and will weigh around 8 - 9 pounds at that time.

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