In the past 12 hours the baby bunnies have done a lot of growing up! They’re now looking very much in control of their limbs, quite confident and interested in the world.
A cheeky peek out of the nest
I glanced back a few minutes later and there was one of them exploring the cage – just a few minutes out of the nest, then he (or maybe she!) hopped back into the nest quite competantly.
Out of the nest for the first time.
They’ll be stealing Trudy’s dinner by tomorrow night!
We’re now eating the first of the first-early potatoes from the allotment and very tasty they are too.
Today we lifted the garlic crop, so that’s now drying off for a few days before we store it – some will be hung up dry in strings, the rest will be minced and frozen. It’s not the best harvest in the world but it’s better than nothing! I’m hoping to plant about five times as much this autumn.
Garlic lifted and drying off.
Having cleared the ground in the garden where the garlic was, we’ve top-dressed the ground with some compost and planted out some of the courgettes to grow on. The rest need to go to the allotment in the next few days. I’ve nearly finished pricking out the brassicas to grow on so the courgettes will go in where the brassicas came out.
Trudy’s kits have opened their eyes today, at 13 days – a couple of them were blinking a bit yesterday but today they’re all looking around and making purposeful trips around the nestbox, rather than randomly staggering about. They all look like rabbits now, with short tails, longer ears and full coats of white satin fur, they’re walking properly and they’re also a nice even litter with everyone being the same size and looking healthy.
I got some very suspicious looks from Trudy when I stuck my arm and the phone into her nest to take pix today but she decided I wasn’t actively threatening the babies and went back to her fresh dandelions after a few moments.
The babies are still spending most of their time sleeping, of course, but from here on they get increasingly lively and in the next few days they’ll start exploring outside the nestbox and getting under Trudy’s feet. By the time they’re old enough to wean, she’ll be glad to see the back of them!
Settling for a nap.
On the allotment front, we’ve been working away steadily stripping turf and digging over the soil some more, trying to keep ahead of the various brassicas I sowed and which are now big enough to prick out. So far I’ve transplanted the brussels sprouts, summer cabbage, palm kale and purple sprouting broccoli. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I should be able to shift two different sorts of calabrese into fresh ground.
That’ll clear the space to get some courgettes planted out!
We’re also now eating our own peas – the dwarf peas, Hatif d’Annonay, have grown enough pods for us to pick as mange tout. Delicious in stir-fries.
7 days after Trudy’s nest started twitching under the fur, she still has 6 babies, all looking healthy, no longer pink but now snowy white and twice the size they were as newborns. Trudy herself is still being a remarkably laid-back mum – I never see her in the nest though she always has a glance at it after she’s been out, she doesn’t mind me going in the cage to clean out or have a quick peek at the kits, she’s eating like a horse and looks very fit and well (as do her babies!) so I’m very pleased with her.
Trudy’s kits – 7 days old
The new does, Jezebel and Delilah, have settled in well. Jezebel was in with Samson yesterday and I’ll put her back in tomorrow for a check to see how she reacts – if she’s unwilling to accept him, then hopefully the next litter will be along in a month.
Jezebel, lurking at the back of her cage.
Delilah, who’s a month younger, will be going in with Samson later.
Delilah, ears akimbo.
Only a brief note tonight – yesterday I drove about 500 miles in total and today I’ve walked three dogs, mucked out two horses, taken care of my own beasties (dogs, rabbits, ferrets), done some gardening, house-sat 5 dogs for a client and this evening I’ve had to dig out someone’s terrier that got stuck under a tree in their garden so I’m feeling a little less than bouncing with energy at the moment! The past couple of days seem to have gone past in a long blur.
Yesterday I spent driving down to Glasgow with my daughter, sitting in on a meeting she had there with a counsellor and then trekking on down the M74 to meet a friend in the Abingdon Services, where we took possession of a couple more New Zealand White rabbits, both does. They’re gifts from another friend whom I helped out with advice when he wanted to get into meat rabbit breeding, so now I have 2 unrelated, placid, well-handled and fine-looking does, 6 and 7 months old, and of course my buck Samson, who’s now a proven stud (at the last count Trudy has 6 good-sized babies in her nest, all looking very healthy and she’s turning out a very laid-back, casually competant sort of mum, which is the best sort). Samson isn’t related to the new does at all, so I have a good solid set of blood-lines for the future.
We got home just short of midnight so the new girls were just popped into a cage for the night. This morning they’re looking quite cheerful, they’re eating and drinking well so I’m very pleased with them.
I can’t say the same for Jack Russell terriers who get stuck in rabbit holes, though….
After a quiet couple of weeks building some new rabbit cages (bigger and better!) and waiting for Trudy to provide evidence as to whether she was having babies or just having me on, I gave her a nestbox on Friday last week, which was day 28 after her mating with Samson, and a supply of freshly dried long grass to use as nesting materials. She indulged in an orgy of nest-building on Friday, plucked herself randomly in tufts all over, and then sat next to the box looking smug.
I didn’t poke too much into the nest but I thought it was perhaps just a tad on the shallow side so I gave her some more hay. She ate it.
Anyway, since then she’s been eager to leave her cage every time I open it and has now explored most of the rabbit shed very thoroughly, removing quite a few cobwebs from corners with her whiskers. This morning I went in as usual to feed everyone and she popped out and headed off to chew some of the pipes in the hydroponics system (more about that in another post soon). I did the usual clean-up-and-feed routine with last night’s sprouted barley and this morning’s rabbit pellets, topped up her hay rack and then glanced at the nest.
So, she’s a mum! Right on time and without any bother. I’m very pleased she’s got on with the job calmly and without any stray babies littering the cage, since first litters are always the ones that take a doe by surprise, and it now just remains to be seen how they grow up. I haven’t poked to see how many she’s had – she’ll raise as many as she raises and there’s nothing I can do about that but give her every chance, so no smelly human paws in her tidy little fur nest! In a couple of days I’ll count the babies when she’s not looking but for now it’s hands-off and a big sow thistle treat for her for being such a clever little rabbit
We’ve been nurturing a sow thistle by one of the deep beds specially for her. .