Thursday, June 11, 2015

Raising Baby Cottontails Part 1: The Ladybug Chronicles

Hello and welcome to my blog and my 
nature journal called:

The Ladybug Chronicles.

 Much of the time, I am in awe of nature and it's beauty.
Do you ever find yourself just
standing at the window or by an open door
peering out at all of it's wonders?
I do. 

I am inspired by it's
vast colors and intrigued by it's workings.

The Master of our universe has left nothing
undone yet so much is a mystery!

I have been talking about these cute little bunnies for weeks now. 
Promising a post.
I had to get my videos and photos in order!

I really wish I would have kept a daily log
but most of their antics and progress have left their
little bunny tracks on my heart and in my head. 
 I do have quite a few photos. When I'm done remembering and
sharing them here, I'll have their sweet little lives on record.

Here begins the bunny tale.... (tail ;)

On Mother's Day, which was four weeks ago this past Sunday,
 we went for a walk in the canyon behind our house. 
Our property borders the National Forest Service
and we are so blessed to have this as our backyard playground.

Two of my daughters
The kids love this place for climbing..
AND sliding..

Wow.. while editing, I just noticed 
that Arizona blue sky! And the tree root
that is growing straight down through
that sandstone..

It was in a spot like this where the bunnies were found. 
Their little bunny burrow was found at the base of a tree 
(bush) very much like this. 
Our dog (we call her the best dog in the world)
found the little nest and stole a baby. 
At first we thought that they were gophers. 
She's always digging like a mad dog around those mounds.

We weren't sure what to do since she disturbed the nest.
So I started pulling the tiny little furry creatures out and
handing them off to family members.
There were three more in the nest and 
their eyes weren't even open. 

We tucked them together in a sweatshirt and carried them home.
I was wishing that I had left them alone and taken our chances with the mother rabbit. When we arrived home
my daughter did some online research. (she's
such an animal lover) and it said that a mother would come
back even if the nest was disturbed and so 
she and my husband took them back.

The article said to place some small twigs and criss cross them 
across the burrow hole and check it the next day. If the mother came back, the sticks would be moved. 

(We thought they were Jack Rabbits but 
quickly learned that they were Cottontails.
Jack Rabbits put each little kit in
 a different place to protect them
from predators. Cottontails
keep all of theirs in a burrow.)

So we took them back and fixed the sticks
like we read to do and waited until late morning 
the next day. We didn't want to wait
 too long because they had already
been without food for awhile. We read that the 
mother rabbit doesn't stay at the nest, 
she only visits once or twice a 
day to feed her little ones. When we
went to check, we were very disappointed
to find that the nest was undisturbed.
We decided to bring them home and prayerfully
try our hand at feeding them.

We felt so badly for the mama rabbit.
Poor thing was probably beside herself wondering what
 happened to her happy little home.
And on Mother's Day.
It was a little traumatic for us all.
Even thought they are just rabbits,
but did you know that animals grieve?
I felt like such a heel and wished that I'd never interfered.
Even though our Liberty disturbed the nest,
she maybe would have hardly noticed that one was missing.

Anyway.. there we were,
setting out with these three furry, sweet
kits, to try to save their little lives.

Rin Tin Tin! No.. it's actually our sweet dog, Liberty...


Close your eyes! 

Are you ready for the absolutely adorable,


 A pile of bunnies in a little red basket! 

They were so thin when we carried them home
but that didn't last for long.
They must be some of the chubbiest 
(I guess that's a word..) 
 bunnies around! 

A bunny in my robe pocket :)


this picture is one of my favorites..
I'll call it ....


This is what they all looked like after they ate.

 We named them all.. this must be little Eyore..
because it's head is bigger than it's ears are long and it 
looked like a baby burro!

Does that look like a happy bunny to you?
This one has a tiny white spot on it's head. 
Sweet! And ate like a little piggy.
Doesn't he look like he's going to gobble that syringe right up?

His name is Piglet.. 

 Over-feeding is a concern when they are very 
small so we were careful to keep
feeling their little tummies so they didn't get too tight and full.
Especially since they had missed a day or so of feedings.

 Up until their eyes open, they need massaging around their bellies and genital areas. This helps with circulation and digestion.

Licking my hand..
That is just the most precious feeling.

 Scramble kids! 

Once their eyes are opened, 
they begin to lick and clean each other.
It's so adorable to watch them taking care of each other.
We continued to massage them
also just to make sure they were getting
the stimulation they needed. It wasn't going to be
too much.

We brought the grass from their burrow for comfort. 
It turned out to be a really helpful thing that we did.
I'll share why in the next post.

We quickly changed to a glass dropper.
It was much easier for them to fit their
mouths and easier to control the 
amount that they drank at one time. 

There is a runt of course.. and she
(we didn't actually sex them)
was the slowest to take off, of course.
And sometimes we would have to feed her
twice a feeding to make sure that she got enough.
We named her Roo.
Even though Roo was a boy ;)

Eyore was very methodical in his eating..
 calm and quiet and very neat.
Piglet was all about getting as much as he could as 
fast as he could and making a mess in the process.
Isn't it just amazing that even little wild rabbits
have their own personalities?

This is what we bought to feed them. 
PetAg Kitten Milk Replacer.
It can be bought at most feed stores, some grocery 
stores and other stores where vet/animal
supplies are carried. We were so thankful
that we were able to find it in our remote little town!

That information was online as well.
Each bowl full was mixed with about 
a teaspoon of heavy whipping cream 
and 1/4  t. of plain yoghurt. 
It was then warmed in the microwave
to about body temperature. We keep the 
milk warm by putting it in a custard dish and then
setting that dish in a glass cereal bowl of very
hot water from the tea-kettle.
They only need fed twice a day which is
very manageable. I'm kind of glad for that.

As close as we could tell, they are a week to 10 days old
here. We figured this out from our online article that
said that they open their eyes between 7-10 days.

We aren't even sure if what we're doing is legal. 
Sometimes it's against the law to
keep wild animals. But we sure weren't going to 
leave them abandoned there. We did speak with
our neighbor who works for the
Game and Fish Dept. and he knows that 
our intention is to grow them up
until they're old enough to release and live
on their own. That age is about five to six weeks old. 

We are enjoying these little babies so much
and are so very thankful for the resources
that we've been using. I'd give credit to the sites 
we've used but I didn't do that part. But we 
appreciate it when folks share their knowledge
and experience with others. Maybe someday
this will help fellow bunny-raisers as well!
I hope so!

It has been such a blessing and a privilege to be a
part of this amazing cycle of life! To feel
their bunny softness and watch
their instincts come to life.

Well thank you so much for stopping by!
I hope you enjoyed reading about the
little bunny blessings that have gathered here!

There's always some reason to feel blessed..
Isn't there?

Take care...
Tamara xoxo


Christine said...

Oh Tamara! Where to begin! They are absolutely adorable! Very very good of you to raise them!
Just enjoy them while you have them!
I love the canyon too! An awesome backyard for the kids to explore!
Have a wonderful day!

Stephanie said...

Oh, pure bunny bliss indeed! My heart is melting right now :) It looks like these precious little ones will be well-cared for and loved.

My dear dad has had several pet rabbits over the years and all of them have been potty-trained {like a cat} and they simply hop around the house. He even taught one to do tricks.

Have fun, dear Tamara. Your rabbits are truly precious. Hugs to you!

Ian's Girl said...

Oh my goodness, they are beyond adorable!!!

Tamara said...

Hi Christine..
The bunnies have really been so much fun and the cuteness! Oh my! :) It has been our pleasure to take care of them. Thank you for visiting! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.


Tamara said...

Hi Stephanie!
It’s always so nice to find your comments! Thank you so much for visiting. :) And thank you. Those bunnies have been very loved. We have been so thankful that they have been so happy and healthy! How fun that your Dad had rabbits. That must have been a lot of fun to experience. They sure do make nice little pets! Have a wonderful weekend, Dear Friend..


The Polka Dot Closet said...

Oh this was fun, I read every word, your canyon is amazing, how wonderful to have that in your back yard. The bunnies are adorable and wonderful of you to take such good care of them


Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

They are so sweet. At our previous home, we use to get some nests in our yard, and the mother would always return. Maybe the poor thing was grabbed by a coyote or hawk. Perhaps it was meant to be that he found them. xoox Su

Tamara said...

Hi Carol!
Thank you for your visit and comment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. It’s encouraging to hear that someone found it fun and interesting! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tamara <3

Tamara said...

Hi Su..
That’s a very nice way of putting it. And you’re probably right about the mama rabbit. Thanks so much for your visit and your comments are always kind and appreciated! Have a wonderful weekend and stay cool..

Tamara xoxo

Sandy said...

What a fabulous way to start my day!
sandy xx