It’s finally happened! Our two female rabbits gave birth within a day of each other and we now have eleven baby bunnies. I’d take full credit for this miraculous event, but in reality we didn’t do squat besides let nature take its course.
Just over a month ago our newly-sexually-mature female bunnies got to spend an evening with Mr. Rabbit. To prevent any obscenity, we were sure to bring them to his cage and limit their time together, as female rabbits are known to get crabby in the face of too much frenzied mating and occasionally castrate their mate to get a break.
Our worries were for naught. It seems Mr. Rabbit behaved himself like a gentleman because both females put up with his antics without putting a scratch on him. We returned them to their cages after an hour of playtime each and bemusedly speculated on whether or not babies had been made.
Turns out, they were. Fast forward to this past Monday and suddenly Mrs. Rabbit on the right was pulling out thick tufts of her fur from her neck and belly in order to line the nesting box we had placed in her cage. Less than an hour later, seven bloody, blind and hideously ugly babies were nestled in that fur. On Wednesday, left rabbit was showing the same behavior, and by dinner time four new babies were added to the mix.
Besides introducing the male and female rabbits to each other and putting in the nesting boxes, our involvement in this process was minimal. Rabbits are incredibly good at two things: eating and replicating themselves. Though this was the first litter for each of our mothers, they seemed entirely unphased with the process and didn’t stress eat any of their young (it happens more often than you’d think). Their job of rearing them is easy from here on out. Mom stays out of the nesting box except for twice a day nursing sessions. This maternal neglect doesn’t bother the bunnies, who stay warm and cozy snuggled together in their fur lined box. We will move the babies to a larger cage when they are weaned, and we’ll give them the best life a bunny can live until they are ready for harvesting at two months of age.
If the fate of these bunnies offends you, I really am sorry. But please remember, this is a homesteading blog and we are raising them as a food source. I’m not going to skirt around the truth. For more information on my stance on raising my own meat, please check out this popular post.
In the meantime, enjoy these photos of new life and industrious mothers that take care of all the details. If and when we start a family someday, I’m sure I won’t be 10% as calm and collected as these amazing rabbit mothers.
Our homestead just keeps on expanding. And I’m loving every second of it.