It’s been a little while since my last update. It’s been an extremely busy time both in the house and in the woodland. My little bantam hen Olive went missing and turned back up three weeks later with nine chicks in tow! My two woodland bunnies Arnie and Sly escaped their run the other month after the rams knocked a hole in it. However, during their time as fugitives they managed to burrow into my house bunny Fonzie’s outdoor summer day run and let’s just say two weeks ago I was met with two little pink baby bunnies 🐰 in a nest of fur. I actually hadn’t thought Fonzie had been besmirched as I thought I’d managed to grab Arnie and Sly before the deed, but clearly not. Anyway a vet visit is definitely on the cards now for all concerned!
So Olive, my little bantam hen went missing. I searched all over the woodland and just couldn’t find her. I feared she had been taken by a sparrow hawk (she’s really tiny our Olive) or a fox. However, three weeks later I get a photo and text from Mally with the words “help!”. Mally had gone up into the woodland to feed the crew when Olive had suddenly reappeared with nine little chicks in tow. With three cockerels in my garden anyone could have been the father or fathers. I quickly ran up to the woodland with a net and caught Olive and her gang. We then placed them in a coop and run I normally use as a hen hospital in my main garden. I couldn’t leave them in the woodland as it’s too dangerous for little chicks and a safe coop is much better for them.
The chicks and Olive are all doing well and of course they will all be staying in the woodland for the rest of their lives. Olive is a really good mother and looks after her babies really well. I managed to find her secret nest so unfortunately for Olive there will be no more chicks, as I’ll be taking the eggs next time before she has chance to sit on them.
So now onto the bunnies. I went outside about two and half weeks ago to bring Fonzie into the house from her day run. I noticed she had made a nest but this isn’t unusual for Fonzie as she has had several phantom pregnancies in the past. However, when I picked her up there was blood around her bum. Obviously as I knew she had been possibly got at by the two woodland bunnies then this meant there was likely babies around. I found three little tiny kits wrapped up in some hay. Two were lovely and pink and one was blue/grey. I immediately brought everyone into the house. I desperately tried to warm the blue kit up, rubbing him and I even tried CPR chest compressions using a finger, however, sadly he couldn’t be brought back.
I wrapped the kits up in a knitted blanket and popped them into a cage with Fonzie. I hadn’t really a clue what the modus operandi was for a bunny mother as she didn’t seem interested. However, again professor google informed me that this was normal and that a Doe only feeds her kits usually once a day and only for around five minutes. I set up a camera to make sure Fonzie was indeed feeding the babies. A couple of days passed and it appeared the babies hadn’t been fed. I was starting to panic. Google was telling me that baby bunnies are really hard to hand rear. I rang the vets for advice and although lovely they basically said the same thing that kits are notoriously had to wean. They said all I could do was try my best and hope either Fonzie started being a mother or I could try feeding kitten milk. I got Fonzie out and sat her on my knee. I then held a kit up towards Fonzie and the little kit immediately latched onto her teats. However, it appeared that no milk was coming out and the little baby went from teat to teat. Now I was really starting to worry. I got some kitten milk and syringes and picked the little ones out. They weren’t interested in suckling the syringe so I put some milk on my finger and the little ones suckled it. However, as the vets stated synthetic milk is no match for mother’s milk and all I could do was hope that Fonzie started producing it.
I couldn’t settle thinking about those poor babies. However, success was achieved later that night as my camera captured Fonzie stood over the babies and I could see them feeding. Just of note in case anyone else finds themselves in my situation. The vets did suggest a warm flannel on Fonzie’s teats to try and stimulate milk production. Luckily I didn’t need to do that.
The bunnies are doing really well and I learnt a lesson that bunnies are pretty standoffish mothers. They only see to their kits for around five minutes every 24 hours! I think she plays on her iPhone the rest of the time 🙄