A Little Heartsick

We lost one of the week old kits today.  And the worst part is that Phoebe keeps looking in her nesting box and then at me and then back in her nesting box and digging in the bedding of her cage like she knows one is missing.  It just makes me feel so bad, because sure, you can say it’s just a rabbit, she can’t possibly know, but she does and she’s looking for it.  She’s been such a good Mama and has done so well with her first litter and it just breaks my heart that she seems to be mourning the lost kit.

We found it dead outside the cage.  All I can think is that maybe it had gotten out of the nesting box and when my son cleaned out the dirty hay it was in it and somehow fell onto the floor instead of the bin we throw the dirty hay in.  And it even could have been alive up to that point, but then someone (my son, I think) stepped on it without realizing it.  I just feel so bad for the poor wee thing, because that can’t have been a good way to die.

I don’t want to dwell on it.  These things happen, life goes on, etc. But it hurts.  Phoebe and I will turn our minds to the remaining kits and I will make sure this doesn’t happen again, by making sure all dirty hay is checked for kits and not just scooped out in a big bundle. Death is a part of raising animals, especially meat animals, but it’s different when it happens like this. It didn’t even have a chance at a life.

11 thoughts on “A Little Heartsick

  1. Grace says:

    Aww, I am sorry. I once lost half of a litter, all stillborn. That was my first litter. Being so unexperienced and surprised, I didn’t know what to think. Then I lost another one a few days later. Raising rabbits is scary sometimes. You never know how the heck they are going to get themselves into trouble (not that this kit did).

    How in the world would your son not notice it?? I’m sorry, that just kind of confuses me. Do you have baby saver wire?

    Maybe Pheobe covered him up? Maybe that is how your son didn’t notice. But, at a week old, they are very easily spotted… Hmmm… this is a mystery.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      We did have baby saver wire. That’s why I think it must have been hanging on when Phoebe jumped out and then she probably covered it up in the hay. There was one like that out earlier and I saw it and put it back in the box. She keeps pulling most of her hay out of the manger and using it for bedding. She had quite a bit of it built up in one corner and I think it must have just been swept away when he grabbed it out to throw it in the bin. I don’t know how anyone could have stepped on it without noticing though, but it was clearly squashed, poor thing..

      • Grace says:

        Well, if it makes you feel any better, that is one method to actually kill a baby rabbit. If one is injured, or someone has a hard core rabbitry and kills the weak, they will squash their heads or feed them to the dogs.

        Sorry if this made you queasy. Quite horrible, isn’t it? But what I mean, is that if you son stepped on his head, then it surely would have been dead or at least brain dead I would think.

        By the way, you should check out HomesteadingToday.com. It is a great site.

  2. I’m sorry. Unexpected death is always hard.

  3. Baker Family says:

    I understand how a young boy can overlook a baby rabbit in a pile of hay, or underfoot. Having three younger brothers has taught me just how mindless boys can be at times. It isn’t that they don’t care, and it isn’t that they are trying to disregard the feelings of those around them, they just have a surge of strength and energy that lasts from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep at night–as seen in the nonstop running, yelling, jumping, playing, and talking! A boy’s mind is on a thousand different projects, ideas, and adventures all at one time. It’s very difficult for them to slow down and consider the tiny little details of what’s going on around them. So, it isn’t necessarily the young boy’s fault, and I’m sure if he had had any inclination that he had just killed a dear little rabbit he would have been absolutely heartbroken.

    My condolences to you and Phoebe.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      Thank you. My son is being much more philosophical about it this morning and we’ve decided to both check through the hay carefully before taking it out of Phoebe’s cage from now. Since I’ve had to put back one kit the last two mornings and he had to put back three at noon when he went to check on waters, this is something that can’t happen too soon. It helps that the kits are now laying on top of the hay and fur because of the heat so we can count them more easily.

      Yes, your description of boys is very accurate for my son. And I told him it wasn’t his fault, when he felt it was. It was an accident. He was so sad, but he’s better today. These things happen.

  4. I’m very sorry to hear this, I can feel your upset in your post, any time you lose a wee one, you always second guess and its very natural to feel, what could have done more, or different or ??

    Time will help..

    The second thing is to go over your routine, your nest box’s and each stage of how things are done and see if there is any way to make even a small tweek to do your best to not have it happen again.

    Sometimes, you really can’t find things to change but even doing the processs, I find helps my mind, either I can fix or tweek things or I can settle that it was a fluke and so so unlikely to happen again that I can just let it go a bit more..

    Hugs, and spend some time with the older healthy, active kits

  5. LuckyRobin says:

    Thank you. We’ve talked through our routine and how we will be more careful in searching the dirty hay or counting the kits. We both want to make sure it doesn’t happen again and I don’t think it will. It was a learning experience, but a hard one.

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