Sugar, our NZ doe, gave birth to 7 kits on 3/21/13. These pics were taken 3/28/13 so that makes ’em 7 days old. The smallest kit did not make it. It would not eat, and the mother abandoned it. A harsh reality when raising animals is that sometimes you have losses and have to hope that nature culled out the weak for the greater good of the colony. It is still tough for me when I lose any animal that I am the steward over.
The other six are doing well, if they ever catch up to their ears. She stays outside the nesting box most of the day, going in a few times to uncover, check them out, and feed them. Once they are finished, she covers them back up and heads out into the pen to eat and stretch out. Some people have said the does get aggressive when they have kits, but in this case it is just the opposite. She is noticeably more affectionate and comes up every time I lift the lid and rubs up against me begging to be scratched. She is eating more now that she is in milk, but that was to be expected.
I think it was a good call to go with the new style nesting box, and we will probably use this setup for pregnant does. They are easy to clean and will last forever.
Now that it looks like she will be a good mother, I want to find another NZ doe and a good NZ Buck to line breed a good meat rabbit. I wish I knew of someone selling good breeding stock. Most of the people I find selling rabbits are understandably just selling their cull stock. What bothers me is that , of course, is not how it is advertised.
Whatever line I get a good trio in first I think I will stick with. If I get both breeds going then I will alternate does one for cross and one for pure line breeding. The first generation crosses, from what I have read, like in plants, have a “vigor” to them. It is still unclear to me if breeding back the crossed stock to the parents will end with good or bad results. My gut feeling is bad, but I don’t know for sure. Still have some research to do I guess. This is how we learn!