Immaculate conception?

Later today I will be going to pick up our 13 Cornish cross chickens, our first meat birds, and so I spent most of yesterday puttering around the garage and getting our “brooder” ready. I was laying down the newspaper for the chicks when I noticed something odd; Iams was nesting.


I had to stop and take a photo. I hardly could believe my eyes. Why is she nesting? Iams is our new breeder, formerly known as “Purple” out of Purina and Nutro back in late March. I thought to line breed her to grab some of those great meat-producing genetics out of Nutro for her kits and see if I can get something even heavier than I was already getting. She’s just about five months right now and I was going to breed her in about three weeks…. Along with Purina as an emergency foster. It was going to be perfect.

Iams exhibiting distinctive nesting behavior. There’s no way to mistake that mouth full of hay for anything else!

But I could not believe my eyes! She was nesting. I’m not really sure how it happened. There are two real possibilities.

1; Kibbles and Evo’s kits were in the garage and escaped at the same time she did one day. The kits were all less than 9 weeks old, and she was just about four months. This seems like the most likely but… Well… I just don’t know. That all seems too young. The males weren’t even jumping on eachother or their sisters to “practice” the way rabbits normally do.

2; Somehow a wild rabbit got to her. Not sure this is possible but she’s had some time in the tractor and there are gaps in the garage she or a small wild bunny could slip through while she was loose…

3. Something to do with Nutro? I have no idea! I’m stumped!

Yesterday I elevated her cage more so I can reach in more easily and I cleaned the front half of it where she wasn’t nesting and gave her new hay. She went to town building her nest even deeper with the new hay. As of this morning she’s freaking out and has pulled some fur in addition to making a nest. I have no idea how far along she is although I suspect she’s pretty far if she’s nesting. New moms tend to nest last-minute as they suddenly have a hormone spike and realize “Oh shit! I’m preggers!”.

The good news is that there’s NO possibility of this being a really bad inbreeding situation. The only male rabbits around in the past month have been Nutro (her father that I was going to be line breeding her to anyhow), her half-siblings sharing a father (not ideal but far enough away that it’s not an issue especially since, as Greg pointed out, the male chromosome is imperfect anyhow), or a wild rabbit.

The bad news is she’s too young for this (although apparently not!?) and wasn’t supposed to be bred for another 3 weeks yet, let alone be giving birth already. The delivery could kill her or she could not produce any milk. I’m not really sure what is going to happen.

Anyone wanna bet on what colors the kits come out? We’ll just have to wait and see the results…!

In the meantime here’s a photo of Kibble’s ten, just starting to open their eyes. Four white, four black and two sable! Hoping for lots of does!

2 thoughts on “Immaculate conception?

  1. When Phoebe got pregnant on accident she was about 4 1/2 months old and she did really well. Hopefully, if Iams is really pregnant she will be just fine. As far as I’ve read the medium and large meat breed buck’s don’t have fully functioning testicles until they are 7 to 8 months old, though some may at 6 months and small breeds can at 5 months. If they were only 9 weeks old it seems unlikely it was one of those that got her pregnant.

    One of the things I have noticed in my does is that when they are about four to five months old, if there is another pregnant rabbit near them that is close to kindling, they will make a big nest and pull some fur, but not as much as a pregnant doe, about a week before the other rabbit is due to kindle. Phoebe did it when Piper had her last litter. Lola did it when Phoebe had her first litter. Serenity and Sweetie Belle both did it about 4 days ago and Piper is due any day now. It makes me think that does close to maturity are reacting to all the hormones in the air.

    There is also the possibility of a phantom pregnancy that can be caused by a failed mating or a practice mating. They tend to build nests on day 17 or 18 and pull fur. By day 21 the phantom pregnancy ends and they return to normal behavior.

    If she is pregnant, I hope it all goes well. The information I got for an early pregnancy was to make sure there was plenty of time before she was bred again, at least 7 to 8 weeks or until she reaches maturity, whichever is longest. Wishing you the best possible outcome.

    • I have heard tales of bucks being fertile at like 13 weeks, but never as young as this. Iams is in the garage, and all the other rabbits are outdoors over 100 feet away and past a wall. Seems unlikely that she’d be picking up anything from them and none of them are due for another 2-3 weeks yet. She hasn’t been around other rabbits in the past two weeks (and even then it was the less than three month old kits), so a phantom pregnancy also seems unlikely, although it could be I suppose. We’ll just have to wait and see! I usually give my rabbits a few months between breedings anyhow, so 8 weeks will not be hard to achieve. That’d be about when I’d want to re-breed her “quickly” because she’s young yet and I want her to learn to be a mom quick, and seven weeks’d be “early” for me. 😛 Thanks!

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