As we’d hoped, both our New Zealand does kindled. The white one, Ava, had been “haystaching” early on, so we were pretty confident she would deliver. The agouti (brown) one, Loretta, didn’t obviously make haystaches like Ava did, but she did hollow out a spot in her nest box that looked promising.
Yesterday, both does looked uncomfortable and their bellies looked large. Both girls spent most of their time stretched out on their sides. When we peeked in yesterday evening, there was white fur everywhere in Ava’s kindling cage. Upon further inspection, we realized she had kindled, and her kits were safely in the nest box with a layer of fur atop them (rabbits will pull belly fur for the nest box). Loretta was still looking uncomfortable and we figured she would kindle today, which is the 31st day after we bred her to the new Silver Fox buck.
When we checked on the girls this morning, a similar “fur explosion” had occurred in Loretta’s cage, and her kits were also in the nest box under a furry cover. Two for two!
As far as we can tell from the quick look into the nest boxes we took, Ava’s litter appears to be around 10 kits, and Loretta’s 8. At this stage, we are careful not to touch the kits much (we used a wooden chopstick to push aside the fur cover and didn’t handle them), but will begin handling them over the next few days to ensure they’re all still alive and being fed (evidenced by a “frog belly” appearance). You typically won’t see a doe feed her kits – she’ll only do so for around five minutes, once or twice a day.
These births show that the two bucks we bred to these does are fertile and are now “proven” for breeding purposes. In all, a great first kindling by these new moms!