I had probably the oddest job-related call today. I was talking to a recruiter about a job in the DC area, and had to tell her, "look, I may be interrupted while we talk. I'm hand-feeding a baby wabbit."
She was cool with that.
He is the only survivor of a large litter Bess had on Sunday while I was at a wabbit show with four of our boys. We did OK... Nathan was best opposite Sandy, and Beau was 2nd in a good class of intermediate sandy bucks. But I was mostly going back-and-forth in text and PINs with Nora, as she watched over Bess, who went into labor Sunday morning. When it was over, she had had eleven kits. One was stillborn, a tiny runt. The others seemed strong and healthy.
Yet by Monday night, we had lost one... I found him, cold and dead, in the nestbox in the barn. By Tuesday night, another three simply... disappeared. Probably, they died and in such situations, the doe will actually eat them to avoid polluting the nest.
Last night, though, it was clear something bad was going on. This afternoon I went out there, and of the remaining six, only three were responsive at all. They were all small, weak and dehydrated, and we came to the realization that Bess was not lactating and the kits were slowly starving to death. I brought the nestbox into the house and tried feeding the three survivors, and within the hour, I lost two more of them.
That leaves... this one guy.
He's in a basket next to me, with a microwave heating pad in the bottom and a terrycloth surrounding him. Far from the largest of the kits, somehow he survived the day and decided to eat and fight to stay alive. I've spent the whole day with him, alternately petting his head, feeding him from a tiny syringe, and wiping his belly to get his disgestion going.
It's an amazing thing. This tiny little thing needs so little fuel to keep warm and alive. He's eaten barely 2cc of goat milk today, but he's stayed pink and warm and is currently demanding more food.
He ate an entire 1.4cc, which is amazing. And he was very bossy about it, that tiny little mouth holding open for Mom's nipple which isn't here... but my 1cc syringe is, and I'll fill it up till he's done.
He's underdeveloped. He was dehydrated. All of his brothers and sisters, even the much bigger ones, didn't make it. But if I have anything to do with it, this tiny, tiny little wabbit, who weighs barely two ounces and isn't even as long as my middle finger, will make it. He'll sleep in the basket, next to me on the bed, warmed (probably) by the MacBook Pro, and I'll wake up every time I hear him.
If he makes it, he will end up weiging over thirteen pounds, and his tail will be longer than his whole body is right now. If he doesn't make it, it won't be from my lack of trying. And I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. It makes me amazed that any of our wabbits have made it to adulthood. Certainly Bess' earlier litter, last November, had no problems. Beau is already over thirteen pounds, and his sisters and brothers were all huge and personable.
My job right now is to give him that chance. Sorry, recruiters, I apologize if I have to put you on hold. A tiny wabbit wants to eat.
1. ChangeWarrior08/05/2010 12:57:23 PM
Good for you, dude.
Hope the little fellow is o.k.
2. Bill06/17/2010 11:58:49 AM
Hope the little guy pulled through.and is still thriving.