This post is dedicated to my friend Min, whose deep and abiding feelings for rabbits is unsurpassed.
Pippin, the Daddy Bunny
"She had HOW MANY babies?!"
Pepper, Mama Bunny
I’d pull out my own hair, too, if I didn’t have an 18-gauge Touhey pouring anesthesia into my spine during labor.
What I discovered when I got home yesterday afternoon:
At first I couldn’t see anything, but then the wind blew the pile of fur and shavings. Except there was no wind. It slowly dawned on me WHAT I was seeing, so I gently pushed the fur back.
Pink & black, furless, tailess, blind mice-like creatures, wriggling and snuggling.
I’ve learned a lot the past week about bunnies giving birth–
- When the otherwise docile, gentle mama goes ape-crazy–scaling the rabbit hutch, ripping out her own fur and that of anyone near, chasing Daddy Bunny and when she catches him, biting and squeaking at him–her time is VERY near.
- Start boiling the water–NOT for
hasenpfeffer!–to keep YOU occupied while she’s in labor. Except that could take a few days, so maybe it’s a step you can skip unless you need to make a few vats of tea or boil a few dozen eggs.
- Separate the mama and the daddy bunny, cause if she doesn’t kill him with her vampire hex, he’s gonna eat the babies for breakfast. I’m not sure, but this might be what human daddies feel like right after birth–they just saw this AMAZING miracle of LIFE, they watched their wife run a marathon that ended in this little person exiting her body; OF COURSE it makes ’em hungry, so they eat the first thing they see. Thank goodness for hospital food and vending machines.
- Mama bunnies don’t "act" the way you might expect. They don’t stay in the nest with their babies, they stand over them to nurse, and they may not begin feeding them for a day or two.
This little adventure should be interesting. Stephen and I are like two mother hens, so proud of the behbes, but understanding the best thing we can do is keep our distance. My in-laws told us there’s a good chance none of them will live, so we’re hopeful; I’m not sure how Stephen would respond to that.
It was extremely difficult to photograph them in the hutch, but while Pepper was taking a well-earned nap, I took advantage (and based on my research, this should be okay to do)–
I scooped him up, then he snuggled right back to his brothers and sisters and my maternal instinct soared. How could I love these little fella like I do?
In related news, Pippin is moving to a friend’s farm today…might be a few tears on our end. We’re city folk and won’t be able to keep all these bunnies. No worries, though…the kids’ friends were bidding on them before they even arrived…I just hope their parents know ;).