Our Rabbit Emma was reluctant to breed with our buck, Jordan, knowing the harsh winter was on it’s the way. We didn’t understand her resistance until later when we learned that female rabbits (called does) instinctively know to resist breeding when cold weather is approaching. Male rabbits do not seem to have the same intuition. Jordan persistently “whooed” her (licked her ears and snuggled up next to her) until she finally gave in. We had left her in with Jordan overnight assuming at some point they would have at least one successful breed.
Even against her will to get pregnant, Emma still did a phenomenal job building her nest. She did all the instinctive things that mama bunnies do to get ready for babies. She had been sitting in the front of her cage eagerly waiting for her daily handful of hay. As soon as I gave it to her, instead of eating it, she immediately began stuffing it in her mouth and carrying it into her nest box. She added all the hay from her mouth to the straw I had already placed in her nest box and began re-arranging it until it was just right. Then, just a few days before she gave birth, she pulled fur from her own chest and added it to her nest for additional insulation. She sacrificed her own warmth for the warmth of her kindle.
The day after Emma gave birth, I reached into her nest box and made a guess that she had had 2, maybe 3 baby bunnies at the most, but when we took the nest box into the house we were surprised to find 6 sweet little rabbits burrowed deeply in a thick bed of fur and straw. I was moved and fascinated at Emma’s ability to build such a warm and intricate nest. Even with temperatures into the teens, her babies felt warm and looked healthy. I’d like to say they all survived, but the next day one little one did manage to sneak out from under the protection of mama. It’s interesting to see that even though Emma did all she could to keep her little ones warm and safe – even giving up her own fur- that she still couldn’t protect them from their own free will.
There were so many spiritual ‘a-ha’s for me in this experience. Some obvious and some not as obvious. I’ll just leave you with the details of this experience and let you draw your own spiritual applications, even if its just “Wow!”