Spring Kits

Our wayward rabbit Spot, was finally captured again about a week ago. She’d been quite happy roaming the garden and neighbouring blocks for about three weeks.

And as things tend to occur around here, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. At least for the time being. So I was busy getting stuff sorted with my Dad yesterday who had come to lend a hand and as I passed Spots hutch I noticed she had a mouth full of fur and there was a newborn kit lying on the ground.

What a surprise. Those rascally wild rabbits!

Spot was literally dropping kittens as she moved about the cage. She seemed a little distressed and unsure, pulling out her fur and moving from one side of the hutch to the other. I made a little makeshift nest and got my Dad sorted with his jobs. Each time I returned to the hutch there were more kits on the ground.

After seven she stopped. Some needed a little assistance breaking out of their sac. Small, bright red placentas dotted the area. I left these in the hope that Spot may digest them instead of any kits and gave her a good feed of some pellets which she hasn’t had for a long time as we really only supplement their diet with them. This is because, well, we grow most of their food!

spring kits pp

By the afternoon we’d lost three but the others appear to have survived the night. I did not get to check them before evening as I was out. This was probably a good thing actually, give that she needed a bit of space to feel relaxed enough to feed them. We stocked up on hay and some pellets.

This all comes just as there is a scheduled release of a new strain of rabbit Calicivirus due to be released only kilometres away by the City of Albany in a few weeks. This is to kill of some of the local wild rabbit population. Rabbits, having been introduced to Australia, can get a little out of hand in population. Having them around our houses (and rabbits!) as they clearly have been, means they are building in numbers. A trip to a friends farm property the other day also indicated that rabbit numbers are rife this spring. So many small rabbits hopping around all over the place. Too many to get a good count.

8 thoughts on “Spring Kits

    1. Good Question! We are talking of the European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus – to be sure. They were of course introduced first, they were also a popular food source for settlers. But since they have bred profusely and damaged the environment, various methods of biologically eradicating them have been used. I suspect that this has also been a major reason why they have fallen off the menu – there is always the question as to whether the rabbit is a healthy rabbit or a partially/fully infected rabbit. Domestic cats and dogs that are released or escape into bushland areas are also a very big problem in the Australian environment and keep good company with the likes of feral goats, foxes, camels, horses, cattle, ostriches . . . I’m sure you can get a picture of how the environment here has its fair share of challenges. Then there are the introduced birds, fish, insects and plants! SO, we have Flemish Giant Rabbits and keep them hutched up (at the best of times) and its a new risk now with keeping rabbits in captivity that they will contract the virus. We just need to adapt to this and seek vaccines if available. No virus has yet killed off the full population of rabbits, nor is it likely given the extent of our nation – which in this situation you can liken to the US as they are both of similar size, But from time to time local populations are lowered or wiped out and this I guess, at least gives the natural areas a little reprieve. There is less competition for the native wildlife when finding food and shelter. So there are fluctuations. This time of year I suspect is a good time to do a release as the rabbits have just bred or are nesting and there is the summer season ahead where food and water will be a little more challenging for those rabbits in rural areas. There are several grassed parks near us and these have been allowing rabbits to feed through the winter and spread in numbers. It’s unusual that they move into these areas amongst suburbia, but I guess if the local population is growing there is more pressure to move out and find further breeding and feeding areas. (Phew, done , I think.)

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      1. You seem to have more invasive exotic animal specie than we have. We have plenty of invasive exotic plant specie, but not so many animals, and most of the animals are small like European rats and such. Turkeys moved in over the past many years. Although not native here, they are native elsewhere on the continent. Beavers are also moving farther south and into our region, even though they were not originally documented as living this far south. One of the main problems with the invasive exotic specie is the the so many misguided ‘environmentalists’ want to protect them!

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