The 6 surviving rabbit kits are making progress; they’re now all sucking properly on the bottle and gaining weight, all eyes are open and they’re starting to nibble a little dried grass. I chose the dried grass rather than fresh grass or hay as I think it’s probably the least likely to carry any harmful pathogens – it’s been dried and then sealed in plastic for at least six weeks, since I know I bought it then, while fresh grass obviously has all sorts of critters scampering about on it and the hay has been stored in a barn with, again, wildlife scampering about on it. The horses find the grass very palatable – more so than grass, in fact – and apparently the bunnies think it’s fine, too.
They’re big enough now to climb out of their box – in fact I was greeted this morning by a little white bunny sitting on the floor waiting for me when I went to feed them! – so tomorrow I’ll be picking up a new (germ-free!) cage for them and they’ll have more room to run around as they grow, but still be securely confined away from dangerous things like opening doors and places they can get stuck in (I retrieved two from under a set of shelves yesterday!) It’ll also enable me to put a treat ball down with a few rabbit pellets in it, for them to learn to push it around, and they’ll get a water bottle to explore (they will start to drink water soon, as well as milk) and a container of dried grass so they can eat a little solid food between meals. They’ll still need their milk at regular intervals for some weeks to come; at the moment 3 meals a day seems to suit them but they’ll go down to two meals next week, probably, and then sit at that until they’re really well established on solids. After that I’ll drop to one meal a day until they’re 8 weeks, and then finish weaning by progressively diluting the milk until they’re just drinking water, at which point they’ll probably have given up and switched entirely to solids by themselves.
It’s still a far from certain path to success but there is a slightly better glimmer of light through the trees now they’re starting to nibble solids! Fingers remain crossed for a few more weeks, however.
Dancer Horse met strangers yesterday – a couple of my mother’s old friends came round – and she behaved perfectly. She came over to say hello very gently and politely, and gave each of them a little nuzzle before going back to her hay. Her progress towards being a equine therapist continues beautifully!
In other news, I have a couple of dates (covid permitting, of course) for drum birthings in November – 7th and 21st – so drop me a line if you’d like to make a drum here at the Croft!