Sometimes, just sometimes, we are blessed with little miracles. They warm us up inside, and remind us that life is full of surprises, and we can not give up. Giving up, would be admitting failure, and prevents us from seeing what could have been.
In January, we decided to bread our bunnies for Easter. We had hoped to have several to sale, and make Easter a little brighter for some sweet little boy or girl. Our Bunnies are Lion Heads, and are so cute! So, we had a little ritual, (got to do that for the kids sake) and the boy bunnies married the girl bunnies. Soon, they were pregnant and the days passed quickly. Anticipation was our best friend. Finally, finally, one of the Momma bunnies starting building her little nest. It wasn't going to be long now. A few days went by, and nothing. Then, one day, while I was getting ready to feed our little momma to be, I noticed there was a baby on the wire in her cage. I reached in and picked the poor little thing up. It was cold and lifeless. I gave the little baby to my husband to find a resting place for this tiny little thing. I looked into the nest, but did not see any other sign of life. Another day passed, and I still did not see any movement.
The second momma had been building a nest as well by now, and I noticed movement in her nest about this time. I looked closer. There were sweet little bundles in her nest. Yay! I gathered all the kids and we peaked in on the little beasts. But then, our excitement was caught short. We found two of the babies were cold and lifeless. We brought them into the house. We tried to warm them up. For a little while, we thought they were going to be okay, but no. They died anyway.
We checked momma number one to see if by chance we had missed something, because she should have had more than one baby. There in her next, we found five more, but they were all dead. Our hearts were broken and we felt like failures. How could this happen? They should have been okay. The nests were full of Momma's fur. What could have gone wrong?
We sadly held these little lifeless bodies, and then proceeded to bury them.
We had to be optimistic, and thought abut the other four bunnies still alive in the nest. At least we still had four. So, after a couple of hours, we checked on the last four babies again. As we held our heads low, and tears drained from our eyes, we took the babies into our hands and tried to warm them up. They had become all spread out in the box and were not able to stay warm. They were barely alive.
We were told that we should put them in our bras and that would keep them close to our bodies and give them a better chance. So, with five girls in the home, we were able to provide a warm chest for each of these babies to lay next to. The girls giggled and our hopes were high.
The happiness was short lived, even through all of our efforts, our little bundles of joy faded to the darkness of death's angels.
Now our hopes and dreams rested on one little Momma bunny. Ginger! Would she be able to take care of her little babies when they came? What had we done wrong, and what could we do to change things so that her little babies would have a better chance? We had lost twelve babies. Would we loose more?
We watched Ginger closely. She was not going to have these babies without us knowing every moment of what was going on. A friend of mine told me that she often put a little homemade heating pouch into the nest box to help keep the babies warm. So, I had an idea. I made a heating pouch too, but I had to improve on the idea. (Sorry "B", but I just had to improve on the design.) So, I made it bigger and better. The heating pad covered the entire bottom of the nest box. At first the little momma kept removing the pad. I just kept putting it back into the box. After three of four times, she finally accepted it and has not bothered it sense.
Almost two weeks after our loss, Ginger was acting like things were progressing and her little ones were going to be born soon. I regretted having to leave for any length of time, but after being gone for 15 minutes or so, I came home to a little bunny in the box. It was soon after that we had four little "live" gorgeous bunnies.
Now, with the type of heating system we had created, it had to be maintained every 8-10 hours. So, diligently, we cared for the babies making sure they stayed warm and did not get separated in the box. After 24 hours, we noticed that Momma was not feeding the babies. Another crisis was on us. What were we to do? So, once again, on the phone I went. What could I do to help these babies? "B" came to the rescue once again. We were told to hold the momma bunny. Take the babies and put them on her belly. See if we could get them to eat.
I had never heard of this before. Matter of fact, I was always told not to hod a baby bunny 'til they were at least four weeks old, or they would be eaten by the momma. I guess that was false. So, I took our sweet momma bunny. I held her in my arms, and the babies took to drinking right away. Yes! Triumph! Our babies were warm, they had eaten, and I was feeling some success.
Day two came, we were proud that our babies were still alive. A photo shoot was in order. So, we gathers the babies and took some fun photos and posted them on facebook right away!
My daughter brought in the breeder box first thing in the morning, and I was proud of what I saw. I no longer needed to feed all of these bunnies for the momma. Most had full bellies and were looking really good. There was one though. One that did not seem to be eating like the rest. So, we brought momma in again for an in my arms feeding time. We fed the baby, but she still did not seem to be able to feed well. She just kept bouncing around, and never really latched onto the momma. We held the momma for about an hour and then felt that the baby would probably be okay and we would try more later.
That evening, the bunnies were brought in again. I opened up the box to check on our babies. Three Three Three! I only counted three babies. Where was the other baby? I asked my children if they had seen the other baby. They all said, "no." We searched. The kids searched and searched the cage, and we all thought that it must have died and the momma must have eaten her baby. We had seen that before, and were in fear for the other babies now. I went, one more time to look in the garage where the rabbit cages were. Nearly 45 minutes later, I found the baby. She had fallen out of the wire cage, onto the concrete below. She was cold and lifeless. She had fallen from nearly five feet above the ground. Surely she would be already dead. And if the fall had not killed her, being on the cold concrete floor for at least 45 minutes would have done her in. I reached down to pick up my sweet little baby bunny. She was so cold, just like the others we had already lost. I stood there just looking at her perfect little body. What a darling little thing. Her leg twitched. She moved her front paw, just a little. She was still alive? How could this be? I took her as fast as I could to my girls. Immediately we began recovery methods. We put a heating pad against her little body and soon she started coming back to life. We brought in her Momma, and placed her on Momma's belly. Soon, she began to move her mouth, she latched on, and was drinking from her mother. After all efforts were made, and she seemed to be okay, we decided we had done all that could be done, and it was time to put her back into the nest box, and take our chances.
We held our breath as we brought in the nest box this morning. We did not know if our little super girl had made it through the night. I wanted to close our eyes as we looked into the square box made from pine. Below the lid, Ginger's fur covered the thing that could either ruin our day, or make us very happy. What was it going to be. Again, the thoughts of how she just couldn't have made it after that fall and then lying on the cold floor for so long. We gently moved the fur from the box and peaked underneath.
To our amazing surprise, not only was our little super girl alive, but her belly was more full than we had ever seen it. She has a very round belly, that looked as if it might pop like a balloon at any moment. Our little miracle bunny. She had nearly doubled in size over night. How could this be?
So, with our babies growing so fast and doing so well. We had to do another photo shoot. Here are the sweetest and most treasured baby bunnies in the world.