Winifred, our rescue rabbit who was meant to be a Wesley came to us pregnant from the pound. It's something to always be aware of when rescuing from pounds is that they often do not have qualified rabbit vets to sex rabbits properly. It was a red flag though when she was labelled a desexed male as those are rare in pounds- usually a desexed rabbit is a well looked after rabbit. So she was flatting with a big white boy who is now also in another rescue, safe and sound and unaware of his 7 babies now welcomed into our world.
The warning signs were obvious- Winifred had started to re-arrange in her playpen- ripping all the newspaper from inside her litter tray and arranging it into her other litter tray. At one stage I watched her drag a huge towel, after knocking her water bowl and food from on top of it, over to the "nest" she was creating. From then on anything that went into the playpen, went into the nest, Winifred sacrificing all her bedding in prep for her babes. One of her veggie meals even went in once and I had to fetch it out.
The next sign was the weight gain- big fat bulges on the side of her body and then came the fur pulling- for two reasons: to line the nest with for warmth (these lucky buns have a cashmere bun which are farmed for their fur so they get extra soft warmth) and to remove barrier to the teats.
Sunday morning 22 days after we rescued Winnie, we awoke to seven very warm wriggly pink bodies as photographed above. You can already see some of their markings and I'm told they are quite big- maybe after their dad. They were making noise and crawling all over each other with so much joy to be alive! This told us they were healthy and happy!!
We even had the pleasure of seeing Winifred feeding her children this morning, her own milk- confirming their safety. Domestic rabbits share wild rabbits genetic imprint when it comes to baby care- they do not hang next to or sit on their nest- they feed once or twice a day then watch from afar. This is because they have a scent and babies do not yet therefore they could lead a predator to the nest if they were to guard it. Many people think they are not caring for their young, when really they are using their instincts to protect them. That's the prey animal instincts for you!
Winifred and her babes will be up for adoption later in the year but we are taking enquiries now. For fostering too as I am space poor now in this bunny refuge and would love help.
They are with Sydney Pet Rescue and Adoption and can be enquired about through email@example.com.
Good information on domestic, wild and orphan baby care from The House Rabbit Society here.
Will keep you posted on their progress,