I must say, this New Zealand doe has her faults, but she is nothing if not prompt. We placed the nest box on Wednesday, Day 28 from her breeding. By Friday there was evidence that she had been inside and explored it. Yesterday afternoon she built a beautiful nest and this morning, under a truly astonishing amount of soft, fluffy fur, we found our very first litter of kits. There were 9 live kits, and only one dead one. In retrospect, we think she may have had them sometime between 2:30 and 5:30 yesterday afternoon, but we were worried about checking the nest too early and interrupting her, so we let it go until this morning.
Since this is my first litter, I don’t have much to compare with, but they seemed to have nice round bellies and lots of energy for how helpless and fragile they seem. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too difficult to pull out the nest box and take a look inside, as Mama was busy trying to draw us off to the other side of the cage rather than attacking us (which is her usual M.O., and why I don’t plan to keep her). We removed the dead kit and the bedding from the front of the box that was soiled with blood, added plenty of fresh hay, and put the kits back where we found them under their blanket of fur. Then we cleared out pretty quick after making sure Mama had plenty of food, hay, and fresh water. As the book suggests, we’re supplementing her with plenty of black oil sunflower seeds in addition to unlimited pellets and hay.
We will give everyone plenty of time to settle back down, and do another check later this evening. I only hope the stress of this necessary check wasn’t enough to push Mama into eating the kits. At this point that is my biggest worry, since she is such a spastic personality to begin with. Time will tell. In the meantime, it seems fitting to welcome the return of the light this Solstice with new life on the farm.