Baby Bunnies and Freezing Temperatures

Duchess’s first kit. Champagne d’Argent, hours old.

We are terribly excited to announce that Duchess gave birth yesterday, on Day 33!

Typically a Champagne d’Argent will have 6-8 kits per litter, so we are a bit surprised that she only produced one. However, it’s her first litter so we’ll give her a few more tries to get things figured out before we make any judgements about her production ability.

Having only one baby did give us a different kind of problem, however. Usually between mom’s fur covering and the sibling’s body heat a baby is fine well into freezing temperatures – but our little one has no one to snuggle with and share warmth while our temperatures bottom out around 17* at night.

Some breeders put a warming plate or heating light in their nestboxes, but the use of these is questionable because they can very easily roast your fur-less rabbits. (Remember, temperatures over 80* or so can be deadly to your rabbit.)

What to do?

We are using a wire nestbox and the hutch is about three feet off the ground. We placed a few cinderblock on end under the nestbox and a normal electric heating pad on top of the cinder blocks (There’s a gaps of about eight inches between the heating pad and the floor of the cage.) Then we dropped the tarp covering down on the hutch and said a prayer.

This morning we have one healthy kit still alive and squirming! Mom’s water dish still had some ice in it but wasn’t frozen solid, so we feel we’ve hit the right combination of warmth.

There’s no perfect way to raise a rabbit, so it’s good to learn how others do it and use your own ingenuity. Here’s to a great little kit growing up strong!

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