Spring heralds many things at our homestead. Of course, you’ve already seen the flowers, Early Spring – The Garden and Orchard, and budding trees. Today’s post is about our Easter bunnies. Because they require so little space, we raise rabbits. Each spring the does are bred and usually have their babies around spring. The gestation period for a rabbit is between 28 and 35 days, with 31 days being the average. We’ve found that our rabbits will often time the birth for a warmer day—just how they know is a mystery to us, but the weatherman could probably take a few clues from them. The first clue we have that the does are about to have babies is that the does start pulling hair and fluffing it up in their nest box like this:
The doe usually has her babies within 24 hours of pulling her hair, but I’ve seen it take a little longer. We normally watch the nest box carefully after the hair pulling to try to determine when the babies are born. We’re extremely careful not to disturb the babies at all for several days after the birth. After that, we gently pull away a little of the hair using a stick (human scent will keep the mother from taking care of her babies). Here are the two day old babies of Rocky Raccoon (she has raccoon markings on her face):
These babies were quite active and healthy, so they were a little hard to catch with the camera, but you can see them under all that hair. We were quite careful not to touch them or anything in the nest box. Afterward, we carefully covered them back up because they can take a chill pretty easily at this point.
Whether we get a look at all depends on mother bunny. If she looks at all concerned, we leave the babies completely alone. Some mothers will thump to show their displeasure at our peeping. Normally, they’ll let us take a look a bit later, usually within a few days. Happy Easter from the farm!