Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mona's PPD

Post-partum depression can be ferocious.

So bad that you eat your children.  Well, if you're a rabbit at least. 

On May 5th, one day remained of Mona's "window of opportunity" for birthing her kits.  She had done no nesting, pulled out no hair and had nothing of any note for teats.  I told the girl child that Mona was probably just too old to have babies in her tummy.

And then, Friday, May 6th, there were 5 little balls of skin wiggling around.  The nest box I created for her had a feed bag on the bottom, a piece of lattice over that (to prevent her from shredding and eating the feed bag) and hay on top of that.  She ate most of the hay before she birthed.  The babies nestled in the holes of the lattice.  3 babies in one hole, and 2 more in their own holes, but spread out away from the rest.  I didn't like the looks of it, but I knew if I went in there poking around, they'd all be done for.  Through out the day that day, she kept moving those babies, but they were never covered unless covered by another baby.  By Saturday morning 1 baby was missing, 3 were in 1 hole (with the bottom baby dead) and 1 more in its own hole.  By Saturday evening, the rest were dead or missing.

So, lessons learned... no lattice.  If she shreds the paper, oh well.  Secondly, use actual bedding and not hay so she's less inclined to eat it.  Thirdly, be prepared for cooler temps.  Nights were a bit chilly and there was a chance of rain.  I covered the top and sides of her pen with a tarp to keep the drafts out, but I could tell she didn't like it.  It scared her to have something different going on, even as "different" as a tarp.

From here... well, we don't know.  We'd heard the first round of babies can be hard.  We need to breed Brownie quickly because she's over 2 years old.  But we've also heard not to breed them in hot weather because its too hard on the does.  But we've also heard to just give Mona a rest and try again in a month.  The jury's still out on which route we'll take.  The bunny stud who lives down the street certainly doesn't mind offering his services as much as we may need.

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