Saturday was “kindling day” for Siobhán, our American Chinchilla doe, and Oonagh, our Silver Fox/New Zealand doe. This is a first pregnancy for both girls, so it’s never safe to assume that everything will go smoothly.
Rabbits give birth after roughly 31 days. Oonagh gave birth to seven healthy, dark gray kits late in the morning on Sunday. Siobhán didn’t kindle until later in the evening, but also had 7 healthy kits, though she had them in a pile of hay instead of the carefully arranged nest box we put in for her. We moved her kits into the nest box and, since it was unusually cool, covered them with a light layer of hay. While Oonagh had pulled a good amount of fur to line her nest box, Siobhán only pulled a small amount and most of it ended up falling into the tray below the cage. We collected it and also borrowed some of the surplus from Oonagh to help cover Siobhán’s kits.
When we checked on the new moms this morning, the kits were active, fed, and the does were calm. In color and size, the litters are very similar. One difference, though, is how talkative Siobhán’s kits are – they make all kinds of noises. The sounds are like a little like short mewls. The does can also make sounds, and grunts usually mean they don’t like whatever you’re doing. Both of these does seem ok with us looking at and handling their kits, which allows us to look them over thoroughly. A bonus to having the does kindle at the same time is the potential for fostering, if needed. With these smaller litters, though, it shouldn’t be necessary…but it’s always good to have a contingency plan, just in case.
In another week and a half, the kits’ eyes will open and they’ll be climbing out of the nest boxes and looking for trouble. While we decided to add American Chinchilla genes to our stock’s bloodline based on their reputation for doing well on pasture, this our first litter, so we’re eager to see how they take to it. Check back for updates!