Here is the same litter from last week, now two weeks old. It looks like all of these will end up as food for us if they survive that long. Their mom has been isolated from the rest of our rabbitry since they were born with signs of a respiratory infection (no visible snot, but regular sneezing). Most of the kits are sneezing too. I’m hoping to let them grow out to harvest size.
Respiratory illness in rabbits is something that’s not really treatable – if antibiotics work at all, they just knock it back and the animal is still going to be subpar. Ethical owners and breeders cull it out of their herds. Most rabbits are silent carriers of the various bacteria that can cause these symptoms, so signs of symptoms is a sign of a weak immune system – genetics you don’t want. According to one of my mentors, pregnancy and birth is one stressor that can bring it out.
I was hoping to be able to sell some breeding stock and may still be able to from the other litters but if we lose all six of these I will probably need to keep all of the good stock for ourselves.
As you can see from the main pictures, their eyes are open now. This litter opened their eyes a couple days before two weeks and likes to move around. Unlike my other cage litter, they were already out of the nest box by the time I tipped the nest box over today to encourage them to get out. We’re continually shocked by how fast they grow. But in our colony, their are at least two kits bigger than these are despite being 4 days younger.
Even if we don’t eat all of the kits, this one is for sure to be eaten if he reaches size. His back leg (on the left in the picture above) was either injured or malformed, so he’s a three-legged rabbit. We will keep an eye on it and euthanize earlier if there’s evidence of low quality of life.
Lastly, I took a video to give you a sense of how they look in motion. These are hard to photograph, so video in a lot of ways captures them better than a still image.