While Becky was at school yesterday, her does Duchess and Blue were kindling. Blue built a beautiful nest for her three kits, only one of which, a REW, survived. Thankfully, I was there when Duchess also kindled--four plump kits--on the wire cage bottom. I quickly moved them into the nesting box in her cage. She still needed to clean them, but seemed to be a little tired and wasn't going to finish cleaning the last one. So I gave it to Blue to clean, and she did a fine job. I believe that Blue will be the better mother, even if two of her kits did not survive.
I thought Blue showed some signs of still having kits to deliver, so I went out to the bunny barn to massage Blue's tummy every ten minutes to help, if there were any more coming. Blue quickly tired of this and took to trying to bite me and then outright refused to be handled in such a manner. Fortunately, Becky came home.
The reason I was very thankful that Duchess also had kits (we weren't ever sure if she was pregnant) is because one kit cannot keep warm alone, especially in the High Sierra desert in December. Even two kits may not produce enough heat to keep warm. So we decided to keep all five kits in one nesting box in the house by the fire. Duchess will feed the kits in the morning, and Blue will feed in the evening. This way they will get double the milk. Hopefully they will grow nice and fat quickly.