Help!! Not sure if the rabbit is the litter's mother?
Two weeks ago my Rabbit gave birth to a litter of 3, which was a surprise as we didn't expect either of our does to be pregnant. Firstly both of our does have been in the same cage since they were both 8 weeks and have always been out in the pen with my buck.
On Boxing Day, I found 3 babies in the box and have grown since and seem to be fine. A couple of days ago I was worried and brought them indoors because they didn't seem to be moving much and the bad weather. I brought in the (thought to be mother) but now am a bit worried that she isn't the mother as I never see her feed the babies and she kicks them away when they try to feed. On the other hand she is very protective and cleans them, and is very curious when we pick the babies up. The babies seem to be healthy, their eyes are open and one of the is very chubby yet I have a tiny one (which I assume is the small one of the bunch)
The only signs I can see that she is the mother is that her nipple feel big (but I don't know what to compare them to) The other does left in the cage outside seems to be OK, messed her cage up a bit but I assume that's because she is now on her own?
I have a dwarf lionhead doe and its my first litter and don't know whether I'm thinking too much into the situation?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Sami ***** Karen Sez *****
Sami, we really like your attention to all the details, and interest in the welfare of all the bunnies.
I think if you flip both does over, you should be able to tell which doe is doing the nursing, because her teats will be chewed-on, and might even look a bit dark or bruised on the tips. Additionally, you should be able to feel the swollen sponginess of the doe's mammary tissue which will be full of milk, especially around the early to late evening, just before she permits the bunnies to nurse.
Don't forget that the doe will only allow the bunnies to nurse for 5-10 minutes a day, and for all the rest will reprimand them for trying to sneak in a snack when the "Closed" sign is hanging.
I really doubt the weather in the UK will be too much of a factor, because rabbits like the cold. I might be inclined to put the doe and babies back into the the original cage, just as long as the separation hasn't disrupted the relationship between the two does.
One last consideration - lionheads carry a dwarf gene. Is the buck also a lionhead or other dwarfed breed? There might be a good chance the tiny kit is a double dwarf, also known as a peanut, and that it will most certainly die soon. Just so you know, and aren't too upset if/when it passes.