Ever since the birth of our baby bunnies, I have been looking to see if the mother goes to visit them. It has been three weeks. I have yet to see her anywhere near the box, and let me tell you, I am sneaky about trying to catch her being a “good mother”. I go out at all hours of the day. Sometimes at night. She is always sitting still along side the box, acting totally uninterested. I bark at her to go inside and take care of her babies.
She just stares at me as if to say, “Mind your own business.”
Every two days or so since I discovered their existence, I have taken a small plastic spatula and moved some of the shavings aside to see if they have survived. Disturbed from their slumber, they scurry back under the warmth of the fuzz gathered there and I am cover them up again, delighted because they are alive. All three.
A week ago, I discovered they had grown hair. One is pitch black with a white stripe down his back and face (we will call him skunk, of course). One is white with black dots and the other white with grey dots. Their ears are the size of my thumbnail. Their bodies stretch out long and bunch back up like a slinky. They even have that perfect white tuff at the rear that only rabbits (and playboy bunnies) have.
Today, they opened their eyes. ( I stuck my digital camera in the box and took the shot hoping I had aimed at something. . . and this isn’t a case of photographic “red eye” , in case you are wondering. Nope. This particular bunny has pink eyes – thanks to me, he might be temporarily blind now, thanks to the flash in their dark, cozy world, but I couldn’t resist trying to capture them this young.) They are more active now, scurrying around in that box without my needing to disturb them to prove they are alive. They are gaining in size and look healthy. I guess we are the proud owners of FIVE bunnies now, and I expect they will emerge from the box any day to start exploring the world.
We need a bigger cage!
I still haven’t seen the mother near them, but obviously, she must attend to this brood sometime. Perhaps she stays outside because she is standing guard the nesting box. She might act aloof to throw off predators. Should this be the case, my feelings are hurt. I am hardly a predator – I am the favored snack lady who comes baring carrots, cabbage and pepper almost daily! You’d think she would share the secret of her newborns with me, if no one else. Well, she has proven a good mother, despite our rough misunderstanding at first, and all my shouting at her, so I won’t complain.
Spring is easing forth. The weather is glorious (58 today) and the sun is shining. A few dogwoods are blooming, and daffodils are beginning to open up all over the mountain. It is fun to celebrate this season with new life in the family – fuzzy, adorable, tender little bunnies that will be just old enough to give away by Easter (bite my tongue!)
If certainly feels like spring.
I can’t describe my relief that our bunnies are healthy and growing steadily. It is nice to get some verification that we are good at this sort of thing. We have a pregnant horse, remember, due in only two months!
I watch Dixie getting bigger everyday, her eyes growing a bit sluggish and her feet dragging. She doesn’t eat as much as she did (no room inside for anything more than that colt, I’m guessing.) But she is gentle with me. Sweet. I am anxious about the big day to come when we will welcome another new life to our family – this one too big to hide under shavings.
I promise, this time, I will not shout at the mother, or be so presumptuous as to think I can tell how to do the job right.
We mothers don’t need counsel. We act on instinct. And we stick together. One and all.