Here’s a day-by-day Journal of the Bunnies from Conception.
Judy was successfully bred (to River from Pecan Grove Farm)
May 24 (day 12 gestation)
Pregnancy confirmed, suspect 3 kits (baby bunnies)
June 8 (day 27 gestation)
Judy was moved into the hutch space next to her sister but separated by wire so that she could begin to prepare for birth. She was also given a nesting box as most mothers prepare their nest prior to kindling (giving birth to young). Rabbits build a nest with hay and fur that they have pulled from their own chest to keep the kittens warm as they are born without any hair.
June 10 (day 29 gestation)
Evening check - still no nest in the nesting box
June 11 (day 30 gestation)
Most likely in the early morning hours, Judy quickly built a nest for her kittens out of her own hair and she gave birth to a litter of 8 - OR - She gave birth and then built a nest from her fur.
Morning - I noticed the nest and began to take a video of her very impressive nest of fur and noticed that the nest was MOVING! I discovered 8 tiny furr-less kits squirming on top of each other in the front part of the nesting box. You can see that video here:
Evening - Judy has eaten a lot and drank a good amount of water. She has started to add hay to her nest for the bunnies instead of eating it. The best and most important thing for us to do is take care of momma Judy and for the first 14 days, she’ll do the rest of the work by feeding and cleaning her babies.
June 12 (1 day old) - early morning, I observed a small kit out of the nesting box and in Judy’s food bowl. As I’m researching, I have learned that the mothers are unable to move the kits from the nesting box or back to the nesting box.
Their nest is their home for the first two weeks. If they accidentally roll out too early, they may not survive. I have no idea how this little kit got out of the nesting box or into the food bowl but there was quite a bit of fur in the bowl with it. I quickly looked the kit over and observed 2 scratches on her, maybe from Judy, then I placed her in the nesting box.
At bedtime headcount, we had little 8 kits.
Day 2 Roll Call:
June 13 - (2 Days old)
As soon as I woke up, I went out early in anticipation for observing the kit's bellies to be rounded from just having nursed. As I headed down the deck stairs, I could tell that Judy was in the nesting box with the babies. Knowing that she might have been nursing them and not wanting to disturb them, I didn't even go down the stairs. I came back inside and went out again after an hour or so.
When I checked again, she was still in the nesting box but this time, I wanted to check on them. When she saw me, she jumped out, then jumped back in the nesting box. I got the impression that she was being protective and as I opened the door to peek in and count the bunnies, I really couldn't even get a good look because she was in there with them. As I'm learning and researching online, there are many bunny owners and breeders who have a very hands-off approach and there are others who are very involved with every detail from the very beginning. I am trying to find my own balance that both Judy and I are comfortable with. I decided to leave her in peace with her babies.
Around 11:00am, I went out again and Judy showed the same behaviors but at this point I was anxious to check on each bunny. I found that one had gotten separated from the rest of them and passed away. I have to think that Judy's odd behavior during my first "morning checks" was not her being protective rather, she was doing her best to alert me of this little one's predicament.
I learned about a method to warm the kits back to life and quickly gathered my supplies but then I learned that if you can see blood in the tiny little fingernails, the kit is too far gone and can not be saved. According to that sign, this little bunny was too far gone.
After lunch, I had the sweetest experience getting to help and then observe her nursing her litter. (If you know me and my love for all things maternal, you know what a treasure this experience was for me!)
Around 4 pm: I went out to check on them again and found that another one had passed away, most likely due to dehydration or malnourishment. This one was also too far gone to be saved. At this point, I cried and then I literally prayed out loud over Judy and her little babes.
At 6pm, I wanted to get a good look at each one so I got them in a bowl with bedding and looked them over. There are 6 bunnies and as of our 10pm evening headcount, there are still six.
June 14 (3 Days old )
Today was a great day for the Kits.
First thing this morning, I was thrilled to find 6 squirming bunnies. I gave momma Judy a special treat and I could tell that her chest was sensitive to touch so I gently placed her in the nest on the babies, nudging her to nurse them. She stayed and nursed them for several minutes before hopping out. I got the kits from the nest to inspect them and their little bellies were full! It gave me such peace of mind for the rest of the day knowing that they were well fed.
I counted after lunch and made sure they were snuggled and covered nicely in the nest
I checked again in the evening and after Judy had eaten some pellets and enjoyed a celery treat, I prompted her to nurse again. She was not having it. She even thumped her feet at me after jumping out of the nesting box. I looked over each of the bunnies well and captured this little video. Each kit is very active and I'm seeing signs that they are eating well. I am still slightly concerned about one at this point. It's the first one I brought out to inspect in the video and it is the smallest one, it is the same one that I mysteriously discovered in the food bowl on day 2, it is scratched (maybe a scratch, maybe a bite mark, not sure) on the head above one eye and on its back.
Going to bed with the same amount of bunnies as we woke up with.
June 15 (4 Days old)
Judy nursed all on her own this morning! I was so proud of her and also relieved that she is getting the hang of it. It was a rainy day and a little bit cooler than the other days have been so I continued to check on the babies to insure that everyone was huddled together and they were staying cuddled up under the fur.
We checked them again in the evening and they had full bellies. I'm still a little nervous about the littlest one with the scratches. I haven't observed quite as big of a belly on that one and its skin is a little wrinkly. I'm also anxious to learn when and how to "sex" them so I can stop using the pronoun, "it" for these sweet little kits.
June 16 (5 Days old)
Today was a quiet and rainy day. I checked on the bunnies first thing in the morning and they were each warm and well fed. Around 10:30 this morning, I brought the nesting box and momma Judy into the house to take a closer look at each kit. I recorded that sweet little time to share with you.
Judy is a hungry momma and she's getting a little spoiled. I didn't take carrots/celery/fruit out with me when I went out this morning because I was going to give them to her when I brought her in. I ended up getting distracted and I was trying to move quickly while the kids were playing so I forgot the special snack for her. When I went out again around lunch time, she had flipped her bowl of pellets and dumped them on the ground! What a stinker! Needless to say, she got a special "salad" this evening along with her refill of pellets fort the evening. I'm keeping her bottle of water full, bowl of pellets full, and supplementing with extra snacks throughout the day as well.
June 17 (6 days old)
I was surprised when I checked on them this morning, they seem to have had a huge growth spurt. The littlest one is still little and I have yet to catch this one with a really plump belly, although it has peed on me which is a good sign that its eating.
This evening we brought Mama Judy in for a special snack and the nesting box of bunnies inside as well. I got each bunny out of the nesting box and the kids got to explore and gently pet each of them. They were all over the place, very active. I can't imagine what it will be like when their eyes open up in a few days.
It's STILL raining and we STILL have 6 bunnies.
June 18 (7 days old)
They are all getting the tiniest little fur on them. Momma Judy's hair is so thin, I'm curious if she's still pulling her hair and how long it will grow back. Pretty uneventful day for the baby bunnies which I am super thankful for.
June 19 (8 days old)
Today I had the idea that I would get individual pictures of each little bunny but that was a joke. These little things are so wiggly and who knows which one is which. As soon as each bunny got a few steps away from the nesting box they peed so much it was humorous. The kids were laughing their heads off and this was the first time that each bunny was handled by each kid. Here's the best of the pictures just in case you're curious.
June 20 (9 days old)
From the very beginning, it has been very important that the babies are all snuggled up together in the nest and it can be worrisome if one gets separated. Now since they are so mobile, they have started branching off from the group and rolling into other corners. They still snuggle up in pairs and it's really sweet. It's amazing to watch them notice that their mother is in the nest with them, they instantly go crazy and reach up trying to latch on.
June 21 (10 days old)
10 days old feels like a milestone. We are about to bust for these precious littles to open their eyes. We're checking on them every hour or so just like in the first hours of their life. Here's a video-close up of each bunny at 10 days old. I wish I could say that I have a super sweet and personal friendship with each bunny but I can only tell 4 of them apart from the others. We are intentionally NOT naming each of them so that we don't get attached until later. You can look for the four that I can tell apart. Look for " the big one," the one with a patch, the tiny one that I found in the food bowl on day 2, and the one "wearing a necklace."
June 22 (11 days old)
The "big one" has peeked his eyes open ever so sweetly today. I was so curious if it would just be a "pop" open, "now I can see" moment or a gradual process. I've had MY eyes on them constantly so whatever it was, I wouldn't miss it. It was a gradual peeking and then opening of both eyes and it was so captivating. Even this evening, we brought them all inside and "he" (we think) was the only one with eyes open and he was like a totally different critter.
June 23 (12 days old)
Baby bunnies are beginning to open their eyes.
June 24 (13 days old)
ALL EYES ARE OPEN! They are changing so much every day right now I just want to take videos and pictures every day! Well, videos are easier for sure so i'll stick with videos for now.
June 25 (14 days old)
2 WEEKS OLD !!! This feels like a huge milestone for us! It definitely feels like a relief for this bunny mama from the constant worry of making sure everyone is huddled together in the nesting box. At this point we decided it was time to clean out and freshen up the nesting box. All of the bunny's eyes were open and clear from infection and we wanted to keep it that way. We brought Judy in for some special treats and emptied the nesting box. We collected and set aside any of Judy's hair that was clean enough to reuse and tossed the rest. We combined the clean fur from mama with some bedding we used for Raisin and Judy in their previous hutch and set them back up. Of course they were super cute and just begging to be filmed while they were out of their nest so I had to record! Enjoy the video taken at 2 weeks old!
June 26 (15 days old)
This morning I found one little kit outside of the nesting box exploring around the hutch. He was so small and cute in the big area! It's gonna be fun to get to know their personalities as they gain confidence & explore the world around them.
June 27 (16 days old)
I'm missing this day completely! Our neighbors are so kind to care for our sweet babies while we are away but I am absolutely heartbroken to be away from them for a whole day because they are changing so much and growing so fast.
June 28 (17 days old)
I KNEW IT!! They've changed so much! 3 of them are out of the nesting box more than they are inside of it. I made this video to share how much they've changed just in the last 3 days (since the 2 week old video)
June 29 (18 days old)
They are all actively out and about in the hutch and only return to the nesting box to rest. Some people take the nesting box out at this age to decrease the chances of nesting box eye. I'm having a really hard time with these things changing so much so suddenly! They are precious and I'm worried I may just have to keep them all we love them so. I know that's not a reality so after we finally determine their genders this coming weekend, I'll begin to post pictures and begin the process of finding new homes.
July 2 (three weeks old)
Tonight we brought the bunnies inside to play in the blow up pool and eat some veggies and they had a ball. We are getting to see each one's personality more and more each day.
We noticed while they were playing that "the little round one" was favoring one of his back legs and had obviously injured himself. I've noticed the little kits squeezing into the small space between the nesting box and the wire of their hutch and I'm worried that he might have hurt himself getting stuck. Tonight I removed the nesting box and they are out all of the time with their mama.
July 3 (22 days old)
Today we went to visit our friends at Pecan Grove Farms in Summerfield, NC and Josh helped us determine the sex of each bunny. We have 3 does (girls) and 3 bucks (boys). We plan to check again in a week to confirm. We marked the little boys ears with a black dot so we could tell them apart for a little bit. Boys: The round one, the Big one, the one with the patch. Girls: The one with a necklace, the one with the white paw, the other big one.
July 4 (23 days old)
The babies are doing so well, eating hay, pellets, and as many veggie snacks as we feed them. They chase Judy around to nurse all the time and I think she's a little cranky that she has no way of escaping from them to rest.
July 9 (4 weeks old)
Tonight I might have done the most ridiculously cutest thing ever. I had a little photoshoot with the kits in the grass and got a picture of each one. Here are a few of the pictures:
July 11 (4 weeks old)
Today I did the hard thing and started the process of finding new homes for our sweet babies. We've decided to keep one of the bucks and we've named him "Patch". You can read more on this post.