I took Babette and her little buck, Hot Pocket, to the vet today. The doctor could find nothing visibly wrong or concerning with either of them, but is running some tests. I will be returning tomorrow with the body of the kit that passed away on Sunday (I forgot to bring it today), so they can perform a necropsy on it. Although I hate the idea of that being done, in this case it seems to be the best option to determine why 50% of Babette's kits have died so suddenly.
We bred an unusually high number of does in early February...six! There are a few indications that there are some babies on board. We know better than to count our chickens before they hatch, but we wanted to share the different behaviors that each of the girls is presenting, so you can learn more about the breeding process, if you are interested.
Mango (bred to Luigi) is normally a very tidy, laid back lady, always ready to play and be picked up for snuggles. The past few days Miss Mango has been incredibly untidy, even knocking her litter box over and scattering the litter pellets all over the floor of her cage. This, combined with the fact that she does not want to be scooped up for her usual snuggles (perhaps due to her noticeably expanding waistline) lead us to believe there may be some kits in Mango's nest box around March 9th. She was several days overdue with her first litter, so expecting her kits to arrive exactly on her due date may be wishful thinking.
Marilla (bred to Wee Walter) loves to come flying out of her cage when we open the door for her playtime. In the past week, she has not wanted to come out, even for a few minutes, and has been seen digging in the corner of her cage and carrying hay in her mouth, as though preparing to build a nest. If she is expecting, this will be Marilla's first litter.
Cookie (bred to Coconut Cream...who sprayed me in the face again yesterday...naughty boy!) is exhibiting the messy, leave-me-alone behavior that she shows during her pregnancies. We are hopeful that she will have two or three healthy kits in about 10 days.
Cake Pop (bred to Matthew) is still a bit of a mystery, as this would be her first litter. She is normally very sweet and cuddly, giving us copious kisses when we snuggle with her. She is still friendly, but seems to be very distracted, as though she has something else on her mind. She is also not as tidy as normal. Babies on the way? We shall have to wait and see!
Apple Jane (bred to Winston for the first time) is typically a very energetic, scatter-brained little girl with a heart of gold. She is not quite as energetic as normal, and seems to have an expanding waistline. She has been diving into her food bowl at feeding time, which is another good indicator that Apple may have some little dumplings on the way.
Last but not least is...Gladys. Right after I listed Gladys on our Available Bunnies page, I saw her hopping around with a hay-stache in her mouth. This usually indicates a doe is beginning to nest, is thinking about nesting in the very near future, or is wanting to have a reason to build a nest. I bred her to Little Boy Blue on a whim and we are now in the waiting period. Gladys has only been pregnant twice before and kindled stillborn babies both times. My heart aches for this little girl to finally have some sweet babies to dote upon. Gladys started making a nest in the corner of her cage, behind a barricade of her own devising. She shoved her litter box, igloo toy (that she normally sits on), her towel, and resting mats all into as high of a fortress as she could devise. She climbs over all of it for nose rubs and to say hello whenever we pass her cage, but she is definitely behaving very oddly. I so hope that this is her time to shine. :)
After the difficult week we had in the rabbitry, it's nice to have some optimistic signs that there could be some happy days ahead of us.
Since we started the day on a gloomy note, we do also have some happy, fun news to share. Cooper and Ricky have been doing great with their bonding sessions and are even snuggling and grooming each other now, after only two days! The S. Family shared some adorable pictures with us and gave permission for us to share them with you. Cooper is the handsome blue buck on the left, and Ricky is the lovely broken sable point marten on the right.
They look great together. :)
We have an appointment with the vet tomorrow for Babette and her remaining kit, Hot Pocket. She lost her other baby, Enchilada, yesterday afternoon. It was quite a blow to lose two of her kits, just days apart, for no discernible reason.
Babette came to us last May with some health issues, so I am wondering if we missed something at both of her vet visits. She was given an all-clear by the vet to have her first litter last July, but she lost three of seven kits from that litter, as well. All died in the same, sudden way. With a 50% mortality rate, we are praying to be able to cure Babette of whatever she is passing along to her kits, and to keep little Hot Pocket alive and well, with the assurance of a clean bill of health for his/her future family.
If no ailment can be found, we will look into possible genetic problems. As responsible breeders, we will not breed Babette, nor the two kits we retained from her first litter (Matthew and Mistletoe) until we get to the bottom of this devastating mystery. Matthew was bred to Cake Pop three weeks ago (before these losses occurred), but we aren't certain if she is pregnant or not.
I hope to be able to share an update with Babette's diagnosis and prognosis tomorrow afternoon.
Goodbye, sweet Enchilada, who always made us smile.
Bo Peep's unusual temperament made her somewhat of a quirky bunny and we wondered if we would ever find the right home for her, but patience prevailed! The T. Family came over to meet Jack and Tom, but ended up falling in love with Bo Peep. (Sorry, boys, your turn is coming!) Little Bo Peep would not leave them alone and settled right into their hearts. It was an unexpected turn to the day's events, but a very happy one for this sweet little girl.
have new videos posted on the Hot Cross Babies page. They are having a great time, bouncing and playing. :)
We suffered a loss in the rabbitry today. Babette's little broken blue baby died this morning. We noticed a couple of days ago that it seemed to be quieter than normal and felt thinner than the other Buns in the litter. We tried supplementing with kitten formula, which has helped immensely in other situations, but not this time. :(
Goodbye, sweet little baby.
Even without an official listing, Cooper has been generating quite a bit of interest. I made a short video of him today for the people who have contacted me about this handsome little man. He has a matching appointment on Saturday with the family who adopted Ricky (formerly Fritzie) to see if they take a liking to each other and could become a bonded pair.
Here's his video!
for updated videos and pictures of Little Bo Peep. Jack Be Nimble, and Tom Thumb!
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.