My worst nightmare! (Nearly)

Coming up from the bottom field we noticed that Black Betty, the female Trønder rabbit,  was carrying around a stack of straw in her mouth.  Moose had no idea but I guessed she might want to build a nest but it was a tad early.  She was only mated yesterday with Bam-ah-lam, the male Trønder.  I looked up on the net and yep, sure enough she was pregnant.  However, she was a lot further along than expected.  Rabbits build nests close to the end of pregnancy.

Moose got to making a nesting box for Black Betty’s new cage (at 10pm at night).  I was netting the strawberries to keep the birds away from the ripening fruit.  It sounded like Black Betty and Bam-ah-lam were having a fight so I ran over to see what was going on.  Black Betty was obviously sick of getting mounted.  There was blood all over the cage and Bam-ah-lam too.  I grabbed him to see where he was hurt but it was Black Betty that needed help.  In the corner of the cage I saw a little black wriggly thing.  It was at kit!  I whistled to Moose up at the barn (a talent most Australians have to grab the attention of someone down the street).  The next two minutes Moose ran around trying to get the new cage sorted and hayed while I protected Black Betty and the kit from Bam-ah-lam.  With each 30 seconds a new kit was born.  Black Betty travelled round to each corner of the cage to deliver.  With Bam-ah-lam in one hand I had to touch each kit to stimulate breathing.  I was a little freaked (being a city girl) but held it together for Black Betty, of course.  She was finally put in the new cage and we put the kits inside the nest box.  I went back on the computer to find out what to do next.

Black Betty rearranged the hay nest and then ripped out her fur (somthing that would have freaked me out if I didn’t read about it first).  She made a warm haven with her fur for her kits.  She is an amazingly good mother.  After this little experience I’ve grown very fond of Black Betty.

I went to Bam-ah-lam to clean and move his cage.  The blood would certainly attract predators.  Gråbein, the giant farm cat, was already on the prowl.  I removed the placenta – often it is eaten by the mother (as most mammals do) which provides a good source of nutrients (so I read on the net).

Moose and I slumped on the couch.  It was much unexpected work.  Then I became angry.  This could have been a total disaster if the kits had been born on the plane flying up to Alta!  The next morning Moose called the breeder to find out what could have happened.  She had tried to breed Black Betty and Bam-ah-lam a month ago but thought it was unsuccessful.  She failed to mention this throughout our whole contact.  Very irresponsible.  We could have lost all kits and mother.  We were just lucky that today we purchased a maternity cage, and Moose built it, that we saw Black Betty with the straw and that I went netting strawberries at 10pm at night.  Anyway, the kits and mum are doing well.  I’m very proud of them.  Will have to see how the feeding is going in a day or so but for now  Black Betty is filling up on yummy clover.

Bam-ah-lam is a little lonely now but is enjoying having the high bench to himself. 

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