Two weeks ago, the sweetest little additions joined our farm. Our wonderful momma rabbit, Queenie, gave birth to her third litter of kits. She had fourteen babies this time. Of course, they can never sustain that many and so several have met their demise. I am happy to report that, at present, nine are still alive.
There is always at least one who is a runt. So much tinier than the others...barely able to fight his or her way to the front of the line when it's time to eat. Rabbits only feed their young a few times a day and are only in the nest box for a few seconds at a time. Babies have to be strong and fast! The black rabbit, as you can see, is about half the size of the grey rabbit. I hold Queenie in a funny, upright "sitting" position and let the baby nurse at least once a day, so it grows. She allows me to do this, because as I said, she is the most wonderful and loving mother. The baby then has a chance to thrive and grow as well as the others, though it will always be smaller.
My son is currently designing and building new hutches for our rabbits. This was the first hutch he ever made. On the left, where the soda bottle water bottle hangs, is Queenie's pen. You can see her nest box inside. We place the nest box inside a few days before she is due to give birth. She rips out all of the fur on her tummy, exposing her teats and lines the box with her fur the day before or the day that she gives birth.
Off on the other side is her mate, Sergeant.
This is our pretty boy, Prince Thistledown. Have you ever seen thistle down? It is fluffy and white. He is one of Queenie's babies, from her second litter. He is the most beautiful rabbit I have ever seen. His fur is thick and so soft! He has pretty pink ears and red eyes. He is also very gentle-natured. We found a female mate just for him. She looks exactly like Queenie. When we got her, she wasn't in the best of health, so we have isolated her and are taking care of her...helping her put on weight and get strong before we let them breed. We have named her Princess Tumbleweed.