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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chronicling a Disaster

The Disaster: I discovered my Belgian Hare buck, Bandit, in the cage of one of my wooly does, On a Lark. Lark has had 2 unsuccessful litters so far with bucks smaller than she is, all resulted in DOA litters that she struggled to deliver. Bandit is every bit of 4 times larger than she is. Perfect.

As best I can reconstruct the evening, after I put him back in his cage from an hour of playing on the grass, I didn't get his door locked securely behind me. It's one of those plastic solid bottom cages, with plastic latches that slide into the metal. Sometimes they appear to be latched when they aren't.

At some point, Bandit discovered the door situation and pushed it open. The door to the garage was left cracked to help with extra ventilation, so he had to have left the building completely to get out of his cage, due to where he's set up. So, he spent an undetermined amount of time outside the safety of the building. He scooted under the garage and gained access to the rest of the rabbitry.

When he reached the end of the aisle, he discovered Lark's cage. It's the bottom hole in a stacker and on legs, so she should have been around his eye level. There was a small, small hole where a J feeder should have been- but it was broken and so wasn't on the cage. The hole is not the size of 2 small cage cups side by side, but he managed to cram his large body into the cage.

When I discovered him, the floor of the rabbit cage was covered in Lark's wool and he was looking very self satisfied. He'd spent an unknown amount of time with her, and it could have been up to 23 hours.

I flipped out. Shaking, bawling- my first thought was "Who put this rabbit here?!" I carried him to his cage convinced that Bandit would have been safely in his own cage and this was some interloping hare (yeah..the odds of a random belgian in the rabbitry? I know, I know).

I have never had an accidental breeding. Ever. I make sure bucks and does aren't out together unless I intend to breed them, I make sure carriers are closed if they contain mixed groups- this incident upsets me beyond my ability to express myself.

The Concern: Because Lark has had two litters with rough results when bred to a smaller buck of her own breed, I am concerned that she will not be able to pass any babies and will die as a result.

The Game Plan: Right now, my best plan is to try to cause her to miscarry or reabsorb babies. There is the chance that she didn't take, but I can't wait until I know for sure to begin to remedy the problem, so I'm proceeding on the assumption that Bandit bred her for almost a whole day whenever the mood struck him. As he is NOT a lazy breeder- this could be many, many times.

I am going to chronicle my attempts and methods, in the hopes that these will work and help someone that may find themselves in the same situation in the future, though I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I had nightmares last night that all the rabbits had managed to get out of their cages and were running free. I would catch a few and put them up and then they'd get right back out. My nerves are fried.

Day 1:

Today, Lark went on a car ride. I'm hoping that it will stress her out and make her body less receptive to having babies. I am giving her Parsley, which a friend has heard could cause miscarriage.

I'll be cutting her pellets down to 1/2 and supplementing her with hay. It's my hope that a lesser amount of food will trigger her body to worry about starvation and will cause her to reabsorb any babies. She will NOT be in danger of starving, no worries. She's a young, healthy doe, so a reduction in her food until I can palpate positively or negatively.

It seems that Lavender is a good uterine stimulant, I'll be searching the nurseries for a plant.

Please keep your fingers crossed for her. I don't think I'll sleep for weeks.

Keep's Rabbitry

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