"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."


What blog is about Intro

Come on in and sit awhile while I talk about the "Little Things" in life. I will share my journey of everyday life.... homeschooling, raising my children, homesteading, gardening, health and wellness, and real life.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Birth Surprises!

We came home from church this past Sunday to the find a little surprise in one of our rabbit cages.  There were six baby bunnies in there!  We did not even know that the momma rabbit was expecting.  Yes, we have had her caged with a male rabbit the whole time we have had her, but we did not think she was old enough to have babies.  She is only about five months old and the male she bred with is about 2 weeks younger than she is.  The kids went out to check on the rabbits and came back in saying they thought there were baby bunnies in the nesting box.  I was about to dismiss their talk as just silliness, but something they said about the nesting box being filled with rabbit fur got my attention.  Many times they have tried to convince me that they "think" baby bunnies are on the way by telling me that a female has been pulling out her fur.  I go to check and find tiny amounts of fur in the cage due to shedding.  This time something was said about their being a lot of fur and even mention of seeing something they thought were babies.  Knowing that there was also a male in that cage I suddenly felt an urgency to check it out.  What I found was in fact a nesting box filled with rabbit fur and the male rabbit inside.  I startled him and he got out and immediately due to the movement he caused in the nest I saw little wiggles all amongst the fur!  I immediately got the male out of the cage and moved him in with our older female rabbit (and yes, I realize that could mean I have another "birth story" to tell in 30 days).  Back in the nest I could see several little heads bobbing up and down and I was immediately able to tell there were, at least, five babies and I estimated that it could possibly be as many as eight.  That is quite a litter either way!  Uncertain what we should do I decided we should leave them alone as much as possible to avoid traumatizing the mother.  The problem with that is that the weather has been a bit extreme here for our area and for rabbits.  We have had a lot of cold weather in the 20s range.  Even with a heat lamp and tarps completely around the cages there was definitely cause for concern for the survival of these delicate little babies.  Domestic rabbits (those are rabbits living under the care of humans) are at a huge disadvantage concerning weather condition versus rabbits living in the wild.  In the wild a rabbit tunnels underground to a burrow, which protects it from extreme cold and heat.  I really wanted to leave these babies alone to be cared for by their mother and not disturb "nature"; however, in reality the very idea that we have them in cages for pets means we have already disturbed nature haven't we?  That being the case we have an obligation to help increase their survival rate in my opinion.  And let me just say here that my husband did not agree.  He thought we should just leave them alone and let them live or die.  Okay... whatever... difference of opinion.  ;)  That night the forecast called for temps around 37 degrees and I knew they were probably okay with our heat lamps and tarping, but in the early hours of Monday morning I started to feel a bit anxious.  I went to check on them early and was pleased to find that it was quite warm and there were in fact lots of warm bobbing bodies in that nest.  Whew!  Sweet relief! 

We have confirmed that there are six babies!   ...and one little "black sheep" in the family.

(Please overlook the nasty towel.  In an effort to be quick I did not "pretty them up" for picture time.)

As the day passed and I checked the weather I knew the temp would once again be dropping into the 20s again... for one night... then, up to the upper 30s the next night.... then, back down into the 20s again for a few nights... or more.  I told the kids we would be moving the rabbit cage inside the house when their daddy arrived home from work.  When Cody arrived home I told him we were going to bring the cage in.  I think he did not truly believe me and he went about doing his own thing.  I persisted and slit open a large black garbage bag to lay down under the cage for sheeting to protect the floor area and catch the rabbit poop.   I then, started considering what to do to have the cage raised, so I went into the potting shed and got five equal size flower pots to to sit the cage on (one fore each corner and one for the middle for added support).  The only thing left to do was get the cage in.  By this time I think Cody finally realized I was serious about it all.  Together we picked up the cage and carried it in.  It is very lightweight, but large and we did not want to jar the babies in their nest.  So now... well our house kinda smells like a farm inside.  Bleeeeechhh! 

 Of course, being humans we can not seem to "leave well enough alone", so we spent the first day fretting about the momma rabbit not feeding her babies.  She never went in to feed and for this reason I was concerned that moving them in we may have done more harm than good.  After a full day of worrying about this I finally found some information online.  Apparently, a mother rabbit stays away from her babies due to instinct to keep from drawing attention and unwanted predators to the nest.  See the momma has a strong scent and the babies do not, so they are safer with the momma away.  Also, often the momma will only feed a couple of times and during the night when there is less activity around.  And here we were thinking she had abandoned her babies... all the while she was protecting them.  Amazing! 

And in case you might wonder we have dropped all other Science for now to observe real life Science!  The kids (and I) have learned so much and have had a great time. 


  1. Sierra told me about the baby bunnies this morning in co-op class. She was so excited!

  2. What a great science activity! (Those baby rabbits almost look like puppies!)

  3. Looks like you are having fun !!! :) Its enough work to get ready for your own birth...let alone your pet bunny...Can you imagine if we were pregnant for only a month???

  4. Oh how exciting and fun!!! I hope they are doing well. What a joy for the kids to experience this! You'll have to give me an update on Friday at co-op. Lord-willing......


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