There are new wee ones to admire on the Hot Cross Babies page. Plum Bun & Luigi's babies are very sweet and oh so squeezable! They do tend to squirt if you do, though. LOL Here's a precious preview. :)
to the Hot Cross Bucks page! Although we were not looking to add another buck to our rabbitry, Diane at Hook's Hollands offered her broken cream Vienna marked buck, Hampton, to us when she decided to downsize.
Hampton (now called Hamlet) came home this morning and we are so pleased with him. He has already obliged us with some great photos like this one:
I have a feeling life is not going to be dull with Hamlet around. LOL
Babette, now given the beautiful and exotic name "Khalessi" (pronounced Kuh-LEE-see), is en route to her new home with her owner, Angela. Khalessi has been waiting patiently for everything to be ready, and the day to arrive. An exercise pen, three litter pans, a special blanket, a memory foam bed, and hearts full of love all await her. We know she is going to an incredible home and look forward to sharing updates as she settles in and becomes a bunny of leisure in her retirement. :)
We rechecked genders yesterday and there are a couple of changes/additions.
In Cookie's litter, Only KitKat is a doe. S'more, Snickers, and Twix are all bucks.
In Cake Pop's litter, only Polly is a doe. Laffy Taffy and Skittles are both definitely bucks.
In Apple Jane's litter, Popcorn is a doe and Pretzel (now renamed Gideon) is a buck.
Polly and Gideon are being retained at this time. We are waffling back and forth on Popcorn.
I will begin listing the babies today. They will be available for matching on or after May 4th.
After all of the sorrowful/challenging experiences I shared yesterday, there is sunshine to share today. Last night, out of sheer desperation, I put Plum Bun into a nest box with Batty's two remaining kits. Not only did she nurse them, she started grooming them and loving on them as well. They fell asleep with chubby, round bellies. :) At that point I hemmed and hawed over what to do next. Plummy's four kits are enormous in comparison to Batty's wee babies and I knew they would not stand a chance survival if I put them in the same nest box. I thought about keeping them in a separate cage and taking Plum Bun for morning and evening visits to feed them, but quickly realized they would need more interaction when they get older. Keeping them with Batty was not an option because she might not have taken too kindly to the scent of a different doe on her babies. The only logical option seemed to be to keep them in their own nest box placed next to Plum Bun's box, and hope that she visits both regularly.
I checked them this morning, and she had not yet fed them, but she had fed her own babies. I will check again at 10 am and see if there is any change. If not, I will just hold her gently in the other box so the babies can have a snack. That's what I did last night and her maternal instincts took over. She was quite protective of them this morning when I checked on them, so that was a very encouraging sign.
We had one of those, "Do we really want to keep torturing ourselves?" days at the rabbitry yesterday, and today isn't looking any better. :(
Marilla didn't have any milk to nurse her babies and, try as I might to get them to nurse from our other lactating does, they just didn't have the strength to latch on and suckle properly. We lost two yesterday. I put the last one in with Batty's kits, only to find Batty's runt and Marilla's kit both dead this morning. It was genetically impossible for Batty and Marilla to have peanuts, but all of their babies were impossibly tiny, despite being carried full term. This morning, I attempted to have Batty's remaining two kits nurse from Plum Bun, whose kits are absolutely enormous in comparison. I believe they each got a bit of milk, but, based on the way things are going, I doubt that they will make it.
But wait, there's more bad news.
On Sunday, Mistletoe was due to kindle for the first time. I checked on her several times throughout the day, and finally found her sitting in a cage covered in fluffy white fur with Mistletoe's hind legs tinged with blood. There were no kits in the nest box, so I figured she had them on the floor of her cage. I carefully cleaned out her cage, expecting to find cold babies somewhere, but found none. Mistletoe seemed to be comfortable and not at all concerned with my poking around in her cage, so I thought she must have eaten her babies. Definitely awful, but it has happened once before in our rabbitry. I decided that she would be better off as a pet bunny and added her to my list of bunnies to rehome as a pet.
On Monday, my elder daughter cleaned Mistletoe's cage (she was one of her bunnies, so that was completely normal. She is a very responsible 15 year old and wants to be a vet, so she knows what is normal and what is not.) She didn't find anything amiss with her, so life carried on.
Tuesday morning's bunny chores were flown through, as my parents were popping in for a visit in the early afternoon. It was their first visit in almost a year, due to health issues, so we were looking forward to a fun afternoon. Late in the morning my youngest son (the one who had been in hospital with pneumonia the previous week) was running a fever that very quickly rose to 101.6. Entering panic mode, I called our PCP and the docs at the children's hospital to see what we should do. The consensus was to take him back to the ER for tests. My parents were already on their way, I had a sick child, dying baby bunnies (Marilla's) that I was trying to get food into, and a very messy house. Could this day get any worse? Why yes, yes it can.
The next call was to my darling husband, who came home and took our son to hospital, leaving worried, verge-of-tears me home to try to hold everything else together, while praying my heart out. Parents came, two bunnies died during their visit, kept getting updates from husband about son: Everything was fine with his blood work, kids can spike high fevers while on antibiotics, they were coming home. Yay! Some good news. Parents headed back to Pittsburgh at 6:30, husband and son arrived home 7 pm. After so much emotional turmoil all day, I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed, but bunny chores beckoned. During my time in the bunny room, I decided to say hi to Mistletoe and try to give her some nose rubs. It was then that I realized Mistletoe's food bowl was untouched from her Sunday night feeding. That was a huge uh-oh. I had given her a part of a TUMS tablet to help her contractions, along with a pinch of raspberry leaves, both of which were still on top of her food. As she hopped around her cage, I noticed her bottom didn't look quite right. Upon closer examination I realized she had a prolapse and that the kits were probably stuck inside of her. She was miserable and needed some relief. I pooped her into a tub of warm water, hoping to help her relax, but that did nothing. She was grinding her teeth in pain, so I started calling vet's offices, looking for someone who could treat a bunny after hours. Nada. I had a tough choice to make. Realizing that she was probably also experiencing GI Stasis since she has not eaten in at least 48 hours, and knowing that she would need surgery at the very least, I needed to make a judgment call to take her in a have her euthanized. She was physically exhausted, weak, and in serious pain. I knew she would not make it through the night to see our normal vet and I loved her too much to put her through even more pain. I took her to the vet and Mistletoe died last night at 11:39 pm.
We will all miss you, Mistletoe.
Apple Jane's broken chinchilla kit Pretzel has been struggling to gain weight, so we started supplemental feeding him/her about three weeks ago. The wee one finally weighs 28 grams, while the other bunny in the same litter is a whopping 83 grams and is nearly as big as their mama. Little Pretzel is still of unknown gender as the bunny bits down there are too small for my bifocal contacts and reading glasses (combined) to see the important details. Hopefully another week or two of growth will reveal that information.
Anyhow, Pretzel has always tried to sit up or stand up while we fed him/her, so we finally found a bowl small enough to fit the bunny and the goat's milk. I couldn't resist taking a short video of the cuteness. :)
New videos of Cake Pop, Cookie, and Apple Jane's babies have been posted on the Meet the Hot Cross Babies page. They are growing up so quickly. It's hard to believe that they will be ready to be placed in two more weeks!
Since this was Batty's first pregnancy, I decided not to mention it on our site unless there was happy kindling news to report. There is! Batty managed to build a nest in her nest box and had five kits this afternoon. Two were stillborn, but the other three are nestled down in a cozy nest of hay, fleece, and bunny fur. Batty, being a petite dwarf bunny herself, definitely carried a larger litter than normal. The kits are quite small, but look healthy, and there is no possibility of peanuts in her litter as she was bred to a false dwarf buck (Winston). She is doing a great job so far!
There must be something in the water. The Buns are not being very good about nest-building this month. Plum Bun joined the ranks of those kindling on the cage floor today. Thankfully, she pulled a soft cloud of fur for them to lay in, so they weren't too chilled when we found them. They are now safely tucked into the nest box, and Plummy has shown her normal devotion by examining our handiwork and sniffing her babies thoroughly. The light was a bit dim, but I believe all four of her kits are broken black in color. Luigi is the proud papa of these little ones.
Amy is the Big Bunny at the Hot Cross Buns Holland Lop Rabbitry. She manages the furry bunnies as well as her own brood of five kits, with the help of her incredibly patient husband of nineteen years. Hot Cross Hoppenings will be a journal of our adventures in Holland Lop life.