Saturday, March 3, 2012

Little Hoppers

Look what we've got: 


Sorry for the terrible photo quality, but the little guy (or gal) wouldn't hold still. I think it looks kind of like Lilo from Lilo & Stitch, but in fact it is a baby bunny! One of at least eight baby bunnies, actually (we counted 8 but didn't want to disturb them to much. It's possible there are one or two more tucked into the nest). It's taken us 5 months since getting the rabbits to have a successful litter, but this time it worked out! 

 They spend their first few weeks buried in a nest lined with mama's fur- cozy!

I didn't talk about the first litter that came along, because unfortunately it was a grim business. For reasons we are still unsure of, mama rabbit didn't take to her brood that time, and ate one baby and abandoned all the others, and we didn't discover it until it was too late. It wasn't a fun discovery either, let me tell you. But now that the wee fuzzies are here safe and sound, the cuteness factor in our household has skyrocketed, and we're feeling relieved that the doe is actually capable of parenthood.
Look how tiny!

The kits are one week old today, and now have a thin layer of fur, but their eyes are still closed. Some of them are gray and some are looking white, and some are a bit blotchy, which all makes sense given that their mom is gray and the dad is white.

Our second doe, Princess, came of age about a month ago and is also knocked up and due next week (a rabbit's gestation period is only three weeks-you can predict it to the day-, and they have large litters, hence all the sayings about multiplying like rabbits).

 Definitely chubby. How do they fit up to TEN babies in there?

This will be her first litter, so we'll see how it goes. If they all survive, we'll be up to our ears in rabbit in a couple of months! Because yes, these offspring are for eating. It's kind of a hard concept to grasp, when there is so much cuteness leading up to it, but it's another step on the way to self sufficiency, and it's one of the only kinds of meat we can raise while living in the city. It's an interesting conundrum, to want to raise your own meat, and to theoretically want to do all parts of it but actually dread to doing the killing. Still, we want to be practical, and there's no point shying away from the hard stuff. It will just take some serious getting used to. Until then, we're going to enjoy the cute overload but try not to get attached. 

Journey says hello.


Heather said...

Aah I love it! All of it! Yes they are adorable and I love that, but I also love that you and Matt are growing your own meat. We'd love to raise rabbits for meat some day. Maybe when the time comes you can be the people we call for advice!

farmer_liz said...

This is so interesting, I'm looking forward to reading more as they get older. We can't keep rabbits in QLD as they are a declared pest. We could keep guinea pigs though, and the cute factor is difficult there too! But even baby chickens are cute and we eat them eventually. Good luck!