Well - let me show you!
Franny had her babies sometime in the 90 minutes it took me to make dinner last night. I checked her before, went upstairs, made dinner, ate it and checked her again. I saw a lot more fuzz in the box but didn't think anything of it until the fuzz moved and chirped and I realized that snuggled in the fuzz were 8 perfect, blind, hairless, writhing newborn bunnies.
Add that to the list of things that I've seen now for the first time being a backyard meat keeper!
I had no idea she would cover them completely with her downy belly hair. But it makes sense. I picked one up and it was positively hot to the touch! Also - I guess it exposes her nipples making it easier for them to eat.
Except - they won't stay still for pictures! (C'mon Mother Nature. ACCOMMODATE ME.) The reason for the blurriness is that the kits are actually flipping and squeaking and cavorting about. I think it's that every time my finger tip touched them they though I was a teat.
I snapped a bunch of photos but none of them really came out. Sorry. So..... I shot some video.
They move around a lot and since this is my first time I've had babies I am hesitant to say that is normal. Because I haven't been exposed to normal yet. I hope they are not hungry and that Franny is feeding them. I am not going to intervene and am just going to let Franny and Mother Nature do what they do best. So far all of them are healthy, perfectly formed and very active.
I keep peeking out the window to see if Franny is in the nest box feeding them. But if she can have 8 babies without me seeing it, she can hop in there and feed them without me knowing it, too.
I believe nature will show me what I need to know. I just need to remain attentive, give her lot's of good food and clean water and contact my rabbit mentor if I have any other questions...
It's exciting! I'm quite taken with this endeavor and feel it will pan out nicely.
A bit of an editorial:
I have quickly realized that you can't mention what you do with the rabbits to, say, the furnace estimator who arrives in his sparkling brand new Cadillac sporting a leather jacket and perfectly manicured hair. Because when you answer the question: "hey, what are you doing with those pet rabbits out there?" with "we breed them for meat", the vacant, slightly disgusted look that accompanies the "oh, yeah, really? Huh." can be a little annoying.
It made me want to give him a noogie. Or a swirly.*
There is a cavernous distance between people who are, as I have started calling them, "mainlines" and people like me. I'm not trying to judge them or me, just stay with me on this. To each his own and all that....One thing is the difference between talking about backyard meat with fellow growers or appreciators and people who buy meat at the grocery store.
When I'm around people who get what I'm doing or share the ethic, the conversation sparks and tumbles over itself in a frenzy of excited, informational exchanges. We gesticulate wildly. We laugh. We sometimes exchange recipes or cooking tips. We exchange emails.
With people who are not comfortable or have not been exposed to what I'm doing the conversation stops dead. It just...stops. It's odd. I'm a therapist. I can talk to a rock if given enough time and background info. But try to talk about butchering rabbits in your backyard with someone who doesn't understand or thinks it's gross and not only does the conversation stop but I feel weird. Like they are backing away from me. Like I'm catching. I've seen quite a bit of raised eyebrows accompanied with "jeez, really? That's...something."
I need to add here that this doesn't count ALL the awesome people who haven't ever heard of eating rabbit (ME - not 2 years ago) who ask questions and seem interested and cool about it. I loves me some people like that! Interested and free from judgement! Just like I try never to judge those who don't think like I do (and sometimes that is totally hard, and sometimes I fail, but it's worth the effort...) But I'm not here to sell anyone on my lifestyle or make them buy into my personal philosophy. I'll go my way and they will go theirs. Surely there's enough space for us all, right?!? Well, if birth rates keep skyrocketing, that may not be totally true. :-/
So I will be excited for Franny and her new litter. And hope that they make it, knowing the probability of one or two not making it is there. I will control what I can control and with any luck in 12 weeks we will have fresh rabbit on the table.
Of which I will not tell my H. He has asked to remain blissfully ignorant when we have rabbit. He is ever my coach and my challenger. He has had rabbit and likes it. He also thinks they are cute. He remains detached from the rabbit operation - never going out there or helping out. With the chickens he's all over it like a hobo on a ham sandwich. He tucks them in at night and I've caught him chit chatting with them. Rabbits? No. What I love about him is that he's a dude who can let me have my things and not need to judge about it or ruin it. He just backs away quietly when he needs to. I like that about him. Also how good he looks in jeans. Yummy.
*If you don't know what those are - shame on you. For shame.