The title says it all, and you’ve probably guessed it – our dear Mocha gave birth to 4 adorable little ones early yesterday morning! Lady L and I were so excited and immediately started contemplating how many people we could call and tell! We wound up calling only 2 people – my dad and aunt (love you both!).
Me, in the previous post:
“…we are hoping that there are no babies on the way…”
Boy, could I have stuck my foot in my mouth any further or what?!?! 😯 Well, I’m glad to have them at any rate, and was only thinking that, for sake of time and the amount of work it would take, having just the three would be better. Taking care of rabbits involves a lot more than most people think, and as you get more of them, the work multiplies.
So, let’s begin from the beginning… uh duh.
We first got to thinking about the possibility of babies when I noticed Mocha’s stomach was getting “fat”, but the rest of her was still pretty thin. Since we have let the rabbits eat as much as they want since we got them, it was possible that she was just gaining the weight in her stomach before anywhere else – isn’t that where we humans gain it first? I did a bit of reading on how you tell if a rabbit is pregnant, and learned that you should be able to feel the babies when the doe is between 2-3 weeks pregnant (their gestation period is only 28-31 days). I didn’t feel anything.
The next warning sign came on Friday, October 2nd. When Lady L went to clean out Mocha and Jamocha’s cage, she found that all the hay in the back part had been piled up in one corner – in other words, one of them had been building a nest! Since Jamocha isn’t really old enough to properly carry babies, we guessed it was Mocha. I told Lady L to go ahead and clean the “nest” out of the cage since the hay Mocha had been using was already dirty, and she could easily rebuild what little she had done. On Saturday morning (the 3rd), we went out to check on the rabbits, and lo and behold, Mocha had piled all the hay into the corner again.
Thankfully, we had 2 nest boxes from our previous rabbit experiences, and simply picked up the hay pile and stuck as much of it as would fit in the box. We added some extra hay into the front of the cage, and let Mocha rearrange everything, which she promptly did, carrying around more hay in her mouth than imaginable! Sunday morning we checked the cage, and besides a full nest box, everything was normal – she hadn’t pulled any of her fur to line the nest with. Later that day, Lady L took the two girls out and put them in the hammock with me. They were both acting strange, and the usually docile Mocha tried to bite me, and also bit at the hammock. We knew something wasn’t right and put her back in her cage.
Whew! This is becoming a long story! Sorry if it’s boring, but at least we’re getting to the exciting part now! EARLY Monday morning (like, 5:30 AM) I was awakened by the sound of one or more very agitated rabbits scratching at their cage, shoving food bowls around, and thumping. I woke Amanda up, and told her to listen, asking if she thought something was wrong. She said something that I don’t remember now, but clearly was not interested in getting up and checking it out. So I threw a sweater on, went downstairs, told Daddy why I was up (he was getting ready to leave for work), and grabbed a flashlight as I slipped through the back door.
The first thing I noticed was clumps of fur scattered around the back of the cage, and next was the blood in one corner of the front. I couldn’t see any fur in the nest box though, so my first assumption was that she was just getting ready to have them. Back inside, I did some research concerning whether we could leave Jamocha in the cage with her, and whether the blood in the cage was normal if she WASN’T having her babies that morning. I checked on a few other things as well, running outside to check on Mocha every 5 minutes. Nothing changed. After about 45 minutes of this, I decided I needed to get to bed for an hour or so, and deal with moving Jamocha later. I was pretty sure they would be fine for a few hours, and the sounds that woke me up were all due to Java, in the cage right next to Mocha. He was going bonkers trying to get closer to the girls in the other cage.
Alright, the next scene takes place a little later on Monday, at 11:30 AM. Lady L and I were working on getting Java moved over one cage so that Jamocha could occupy the cage in between the cages that house her parents. I was a little uneasy over the whole situation, especially since not a thing had happened since I had been up earlier. I opened up the back of the cage just to be sure I hadn’t missed anything, and being the person I am, decided I should alleviate all doubts and check every inch of that cage I could for anything unusual. Hands are the best probing tool, so I picked up hay, looking for more blood or… well, we can skip that part.
The last thing was the nest box. I had been loathe to disturb Mocha’s precious “magnum opus”, but it couldn’t be helped now. So I felt my way over the top of the way, pushed my fingers down through the top layer, and suddenly ran into some fur. Hmmm. Pushing down into that, one of my fingers ran into something… and it jerked!!! Of course, there was no mistaking what it was. I had done the exact same thing with my previous litter. I pulled my hand back, told Lady L, and she took care of making sure Amanda and mama found out. Amanda said she knew as soon as she heard the word “babies” screeched through the back door!
I can’t believe I missed Mocha giving birth by (most likely) mere minutes! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, be around when my animals have babies. I was with the gerbils, but that was a good thing as the mama would otherwise have killed them. Thankfully, Mocha is an excellent mother, and did everything perfectly on her own.
Taking proper procedures, we removed Mocha from the cage, petting her so as to get her scent on our hands, and then took the nest box out and pulled back the hay and fur. Oh, what a lovely sight those wrinkled, wiggly, blind, and whimpering bunnies made! At this age, before they have fur, you can’t tell what they will look like when they’re older, but by the skin color you can tell whether they will be light or dark. Therefore, we only know that we will have 3 dark colored ones (like their mom and dad), and one light colored one! We’re very excited to see what markings they have, and how light colors will look on the Lionhead breed.
I am all smiles as I finish writing this. What a joy it is to have new life around you, watching the miracle of life blossom under your very care! I thank God for this opportunity and the joy of life, and pray that my arms may still their restless waiting for a baby of my own to hold one day!
Hopefully I’ll be able to take some pictures of the babies in the nest with my new camera tomorrow, but you musn’t be too upset if I wind up taking longer! Happy late birth_day to Mocha! 😀