Zuzu's first litter had 4 kits - 3 were DOA, and the survivor was killed by rats at 5 days old. When I found the baby, I initially thought it had been Zuzu - and that she was taking after her mom. But when I investigated further and talked to a friend of mine, who had dealt with rats before, I knew that rats had done this. And now that the rats are gone, Zuzu's precious litter of 3 is growing healthy and strong and beautiful.
I checked on Zuzu at around 10:00 PM on April 14. I was just about to go to bed, but wanted to see if she was making any progress first. She was pulling fur and in active labor, so I stayed up to see how her birth went - I couldn't go to bed then not knowing what would happen!
At 10:30 I checked on her again. She had 5 kits, 2 were snuggled in the box nicely and 3 were outside the nestbox on the wire. 2 of them were also peanuts. I saw one, twice the size of the normal kits, in the back and I thought it was dead. It was black and blue and bruised, indicating a harder labor and most likely being stuck for a short time. I went back into the house to get some treats for Zuzu and her successful delivery, which is what I do for all my does after they give birth. My veteran does have come to expect their after-labor goodies (trust me - they remember!).
When I gave her the treats, I think she had carrot tops, I put the babies into the nestbox and covered them with her fur. I picked up the *dead* baby and realized that it wasn't dead - to my surprise, it was alive! It was still warm, as were all the other babies, so I placed him in the box with his siblings.
I've never had a big stretched kit survive - usually those kits die in the birth canal because they are stuck and can't get oxygen. I'm so thankful Zuzu successfully delivered it! I'm sure it was because she was bred so close to giving labor last time, only a few days after her kit was killed from rats I rebred her. And because of that, she was probably still stretched out from delivery last time and was able to give birth to the bigger kit.
Now that the babies are almost 2 weeks old, they are adorable. And I love watching Zuzu with them. She remembers what happened to her previous litter; she watches these babies like a hawk and she didn't do that with her first litter. Her babies are FAT. The bigger kit is still much bigger than the others. At first I thought all three kits were chestnuts, and I was wondering how I would tell them apart. But all three of them are different sizes. One of them is bigger than normal, the big kit Zuzu barely delivered alive. Then one is normal sized, and then one is slightly smaller than normal. At first I thought the small one was a peanut, but it's ears weren't small enough to be a peanut's ears. I think it's just small because there were so many babies in the stomach (5) and one of them was huge - so some of them had to be smaller. It reminded me of litters I've had of 5-6 kits - usually in litters like those, all the babies are smaller than average.
This small one is actually a chinchilla! Yippee! I'm really hoping it's a buck - I don't need another solid chestnut buck (right now I have Wicket and maturing Glenn), and I would love to breed a chinchilla buck from my line to my chinchilla doe, Missy, when she's old enough! Chinchilla has always been one of my favorite colors of Holland Lop and I'm really excited I'm producing nice Hollands in that color.
That's all for this blog, so see you next time :)