Saturday, March 10, 2012

Death and Life In The Rabbitry

Doe #2 did indeed kindle on Thursday night, and had three kits. One white, two black. Alas, she had them on the wire floor instead of in the well-stuffed nest box. I found all three of them dead in the morning. Ice cold, and stiff. Doe #2 repeatedly nudged the white kit with her nose; you could see the puzzlement in her simple face, as she tried to get her litter to nurse.

Today, Doe #2 has me concerned with her sluggishness and lack of appetite. It's not like her to not want to eat, and I worry that there might be something more serious going on here, such as a retained kit. I also found that Rosie Cotton killed and partly consumed one of her kits last night. I'm praying hard that this happenstance was just some sort of fluke, and that she won't go cannibalistic on the rest of the litter. 

A handful of years ago, these little scenes would have had me in tears. I would have been kicking myself for letting Doe #2's litter die, that she wasn't acting normal, and I would have mourned for the little kit that died last night.

When I found the litter on Friday morning, I simply pulled the deceased kits out, and quietly buried them in the compost bin. If the kits could not provide meat for the freezer, then I wanted them to provide dirt for this healing land. I will re-breed Doe #2 if she perks up in the next week or two, and if she fails the next litter, then she will go to freezer camp. Everyone must pull their weight here, one way or another.

Such things would have never entered my head when I first started rabbits, but today they are commonplace. Life and death, decomposition and dirt. I have changed much over the last year; I can see that in myself. As I dealt with the kits, it struck me just how much I've changed, that I should want to respect their stolen life by composting them. That certainly would not have entered my radar a few years ago.

On a brighter side of things though, Doe #1's litter is doing beautifully. They're fully furred now, and are so fat and velvety that I feel like hugging them every time I peek beneath their warm layer of down, within the nest box. :) They open their eyes in about 7 days, so stick around for pictures!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awww, that's so sad! :( I hope Doe #2 gets better soon! :)
Glad to hear that your first litter is doing well! I can't wait to see pictures of the bunnies! :)