The buck and two does cohabited for the last month. The does were pregnant and grouchy yesterday and the buck was hiding. I figured it was time. Sure enough this morning, there was chaos in the farm yard. Something was being eaten, but it was already dead. What was it? Oh no, a baby rabbit, but how in Earth did it get outside the kennel?
So, I went to investigate. The buck is still hiding, so I just took him out and put him in a large cage for now. He has a tote to go in if it rains and if he is cold, so he will be fine for a while. The does are fighting though. There is only one burrow and two nesting boxes, but there are no nests in the nesting boxes. Instead there is a burrow, a long tunnel that turns rapidly and likely has a chamber. It appeared that the first doe had her kits there, 6 that I could find, and the other doe dragged the entire nest out of the burrow to have her kits there. The first doe is hiding in a nesting box and the second doe is busy covering the entrance to the burrow, which they do in the wild to make it appear that no babies are there. She used dirt and hay and did a remarkable job.
But the poor doe whose babies were dragged out, then died, is sad and hiding. I need to put her in a separate cage too. So, it appears the colony thing is not feasible for these three rabbits. Tomorrow I will take Cindy Lop Ear out and leave Sandy Flemish Giant in. Hopefully the babies will be fine until then. This is terrible and a real wake up call on rearing rabbits. 6 babies sacrificed to ignorance is not acceptable. Caging rabbits is also not acceptable. I think unit they are pregnant they can live together, but cohabitation must cease once the buck has been home for a week to prevent further baby deaths. So sad. I am deeply sorry for the loss of these little lives. Please forgive me mother rabbit and babies.