New baby bunnies as of this morning. I counted 5 of them, all pink and hairless with their eyes firmly closed. The good bunny momma chewed out chunks of her fur from a dewlap under her chin. As a pregnant rabbit progresses, one of the changes is the growth of a flap of skin under their neck. The purpose is to grow extra fur that makes the naked babies warm in the nest.
Momma will feed them twice a day for about 5 minutes each feeding. Her milk is so densely packed with fats, sugars, and nutrients that this is all the little ones need until they are big enough for solid food in a couple of weeks.
I give the mommas extra large cages, then let the little ones grow to harvest size before removing them. I will mate this rabbit again in 45 days, she will remain pregnant for 28 days and this litter will be harvested at about 2.5 months of age and 4-5 lbs. in weight. This makes for a tender rabbit. Older than this and they start getting tougher. At about 2.5 months their little bodies start to use feed to build their reproductive systems instead of simply building body size and muscle mass. This is not only a waste of feed for meat production, but the hormonal changes alter the meat and thicken and toughen the muscle fibers.
Young rabbit meat can be fried or cooked any way you want, much like chicken, but with extremely low levels of purines (which aggravate gout), and dangerously low levels of fat. Eating only rabbit meat will result in a condition known as Rabbit Starvation because not enough fat exists in a rabbit. Unlike chicken, beef, or pork… Rabbit fat is not yummy. What little fat does exist, I always remove it.
Slightly older rabbit (under a year old) can be baked or roasted, but it too tough to fry.
Rabbits at the end of their productive cycle (4-6 years) are so tough and stringy, they really only work boiled or in a slow cooker. Low and slow for the geezer bunnies!
Last fall, we retired our two experienced mommas… One was sick and received mercy, the other was moved into our living room and loves to cuddle on the couch with us. Q-Tip, or QT (cutie), was an awesome mother before retiring inside our house. She consistently had litters of 8 kits and rarely, if ever, lost one. Hopefully the new girls are just as good at being mommas.
This is the first successful birth by one of our new mommas! The other momma will visit with our long standing stud bunny tomorrow… Bugs.
Bugsy Boo is my boy… A big, beautiful, bunny boy. He loves it when I use that B sound, and he seeks me out when I am near him, so I am always stringing together long sentences with a lot of B’s in them so I can watch him get all perked up and excited. He can get pretty salty with me if I fail to acknowledge him a time or two and he will turn his back on me and stare at the wall, then hold a grudge.