Despite our better judgement, dh and I allowed the children to breed the two 4-H project show bunnies together a few weeks back. While clearly no one in our house is anywhere near being an expert on these matters (Jo is only one year into her 4-H career after all) it does appear that the mating was successful. The doe, normally a spunky but sweet little gal, has become a nipping, growling and otherwise nasty little beast--just like a few pregnant humans I have encountered in my lifetime. Unlike human beings, though, rabbits have an additional unsavory (but useful) behavior that they engage in just prior to the birth of their litter: they pull their fur out. Our little doe has been molting quite heavily, which Jo took as a sign that she was indeed gestating. When she and Atticus put the nesting box in to her cage, we all watched in awe as the rabbit immediately began putting the straw just so ... and then began lining it with fur she carefully plucked from her body. How cool.
The breeder that the children purchased both of the rabbits from says that this is a very good sign in a first-time mommy-to-be. And, even though Jo never figured out exactly how to do the whole palpitating for pregnancy thing, this is pretty well proof positive that she'll be presenting us with some baby bunnies in the very near future--as in, this week.
So, cigars all around! The bunnies are expecting. I say that counts as credit for animal husbandry, biology, genetics and zoology ... and the little kits aren't even here yet.