After the disappointment of Trudy’s empty nest last month, I finally have baby rabbits! In fact, almost too many….
Trudy and Jezebel produced litters on Thursday, six and (at least) eight respectively. This morning Ebony had randomly scattered offspring all over her floor and was hiding in her litter tray, terminally confused (first-time parents are often clueless). I revived three she’d left to chill on the floor and added them to the one she’s managed to drop in the nest, but one didn’t come back despite being gently warmed in a water bath, toasted lightly under the grill and even offered CPR by whippet (I take it new rabbit kit must smell like new puppy, since they unexpectedly licked the dead one rather than grabbing and swallowing, which was what I’d expected. It went to the ferrets instead – ferrets are very clear on what a rabbit is. It’s food.)
I’m left wondering if Ebony will remember, or realise, that she’s supposed to feed the offspring from time to time. At the moment I’m not pinning much hope on her pulling herself together, but I do have the option of gently dropping a kit or two into the other two nestboxes – they’re only a few days older so there shouldn’t be too much size/age difference and both Trudy and Jezebel are experienced mothers and should be able to feed an extra mouth or two, provided they don’t notice the cuckoos in their nests.
Ivory, my other first-timer, is very close to her due date – at least going by her figure, which could best be described as “stout”. I hope she does better than her sister but, judging by the attempts at nesting she’s made so far, I may be thinking wishfully!
Rabbits usually get the hang of things second time round, if they make a total fluster-cluck of the first experiment. Whatever happens, the ferrets will eat the dead so nothing’s a total waste of time….
In the garden I’m delighted that we have a hedgehog making nightly rounds! Considering how many slugs we’re already noticing around the place (that mild winter!) every set of slug-gnashing teeth are more than welcome to visit.
The tadpoles have hatched in our little pond and we have a small adult frog hanging about, so that’s another set of insect-eating guests we’re happy to have.
No sign of our toad, though. Maybe we did put too much compost on top of the critter….. I hope not. Toads can be remarkably stealthy beasts so I’m not giving up on her yet!