This is Cheiri with a grass mustache! Yay! When female rabbits are getting ready to build a nest, they gather up grasses to line the nest. Which gives them a ‘grass mustache’ and is a really good thing if one is hoping for baby bunnies. She’s actually quite a few days early for this, though, usually a doe will build her nest about four days before having babies and she’s not due until May 4th.
Sandy has been pulling wool, which is another thing prospective bunny moms do. So hopefully we may have two litters this round.
Both of them were bred to Gomez, a black buck on loan. He’s been eating a different feed than the Nutrena 18% “Performance” rabbit feed that the rest of the herd has been eating. Since he brought a half bag of his feed with him, he’s been eating the same feed. He met up with Cheiri, Sandy, Sirocco and Cocoa Puff, so he was a busy boy. Two of them, Cheiri and Sandy are making nests so we are really hopeful of some new litters the first week of May.
This is Sirocco, who has also been with Gomez, but she hasn’t started building a nest yet. Still, the other two are days earlier than usual for nest building and some never build a nest at all, so we still don’t know if she will be a mom bunny or not. However, her coat is growing in as an angora coat. She’d molted to a very short coat and had a very clean molt, so I wasn’t quite sure what she was going to do when she grew in her new coat. If she has a litter we will probably keep them all to see if they also will molt cleanly.
Looking back over the database, in the past twelve months, there have been 18 matings. (This doesn’t include the current five we are waiting to see if there will be a litter.) Of those 18 matings, only two produced a litter and both of them were a litter of 3. The first litter was one live birth and two stillborn. The second litter was three live births but then the dam didn’t make any milk to feed them so we lost all three. Which means one new bunny in the past twelve months!
According to our database, we had 23 matings in 2012. Seven of them were unsuccessful, although all but one of the unsuccessful matings were with the same doe. She never did have a litter so it was probably something wrong with her and not the mating procedure. So, figure she’s a barren doe for whatever reason, remove the six matings with her, that leaves 17 matings, only one of which didn’t take. There were 79 offspring in 2012 out of 17 matings. So that’s an average of about five bunnies per litter. Using the same average, we should have had about 85 baby bunnies in the past 12 months.
In 2013, there were six matings, four unsuccessful and the two litters were of 4 and 7. That’s a one out of three average.
In 2014 there were 14 matings and only four of them were successful. Those were a litter of 10, 8, 6 and then 1. That’s one litter out of 3.5 matings, a little higher average than 2013. And a higher litter size of 6.25 average. Wish I would have kept records of what they were being fed at these times.
In 2015 there were 15 matings and only five were successful. That’s back to the one litter in three matings ratio. The results were a litter of 4, 5, 4, 5 and 5. Average litter size of 4.6, so that’s less than 2014.
In 2016 there were 24 matings and only eight were successful. Back to the one in three ratio. The resulting litters were 7, 1, 2, 3, 7, 6, 3 (two stillborn), & 3. That’s an average litter size of 4 if the still borns are included.
Of the litters that were supposed to be born this year, the six early January ones didn’t show up. The four for early April didn’t show up and we are still waiting to see how the ones which are supposed to show up in early May will do. However, Cheiri with a grass mustache is a good hopeful sign.