Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kits and Sandy

September 22nd and 23rd were breeding days for Country Mile and Jumpp. It was the long awaiting start to making the rabbitry productive. It was obvious that Hopp got the deed done with Country Mile (he gave the tell tale sign -- he fell over afterward). It was more questionable about Skipp and Jumpp. It is possible to palpate the doe about a week later to see if she is pregnant but I wasn't sure. Rabbits kindle (give birth) roughly 31 days after they are impregnated.

Country Miles first kindle. Five survivors the first day.
Country Mile kindled on Wednesday, October 24th. She did not kindle in the nestbox and had not pulled fur like she should have. I found 8 kits laying on the wire when I got home from work. Three were dead and covered with hay. As I uncovered the dead kits, Country Mile whined and whimpered. It was sad, really. Country Mile and I were both nervous and unsure of what to do. I put the other five kits in the nestbox covered with hay and went inside to send out an SOS for advise. An experienced breeder told me to warm up the dryer with a towel inside and then put the kits in the dryer to warm up. So, that is exactly what I did! Dryer warmed them until they were "popping" (rabbit breeder nomenclature for "active"). While they were warming up, I was told to pull fur from Country Mile to make a nest for them since she had not done so. Country Mile did not like being plucked! But, I managed to pluck enough to line the nest for the kits.

My friends the Esquillas of KD's Rabbitry in Myrtle Beach offered to foster the kits to one of their does that had kindled on the same day. The transfer wasn't able to take place until the next day. Two kits did not survive the night but we had three able to go to their foster mom. Report is that all three are doing well. Country Mile actually started pulling fur that day but still did not cover her babies with it. She was trying to figure things out but just wasn't doing so fast enough.

I was also advised to breed Country Mile right away as doing so will increase the size of her litter. Her second litter should be fine -- she will very likely figure out this mothering thing the second time. First, I want to give her some mint for a few days to dry up her milk and avoid mastitis. I also want to get us past Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy 2012
Ah, yes, Hurricane Sandy. She is a slow moving Cat 1 Hurricane meandering her way north up the east coast. Her eye won't pass us until sometime tomorrow morning but we are getting winds and rain already. Forecasts have her staying off shore until she reaches the Virginia/Maryland area or someplace north of there. We will only get lots of rain and wind and some coastal flooding. But, the big issue is for those folks up north. Sandy is expected to merge with another storm and a cold front and create a "perfect storm" that, unlike the one that happened in 1991, will come on land and create a nightmare for the northeast. We are praying that this scenario does not happen.

My hurricane preparations have consisted mostly of getting the animals covered. I pulled the big blue tarp over the rabbit shed and secured it so the rabbits are safe and dry. The chickens in their tractor are tucked into a corner of the house and covered to keep them dry and protected. The ducks are going to fend for themselves. Currently they are enjoying bug hunting in the rain. Lastly, I got some pee-pads for the dogs to use if/when it gets too rough outside for outdoor bladder relief. I'm glad that Sandy is giving me a chance to test out my arrangements and see where I need to reinforce, fortify, or reconsider situations.

Stay warm, dry, and safe everyone!

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