So, the big hutch Spring clean had to happen yesterday when Raisin (guinea pig) came home from the vets with his bits chopped off.
It all began when we rescued some Guinea Pigs a couple of years ago and I came home from a little holiday to find a tiny guinea pig looking at me.
A few weeks later, her aunt had made two little cousins. One of those was Raisin. Unfortunately, Raisin turned out to be a boy. He had been so special because despite being unable to see, he was a big adventurer so we decided to keep him.
Then, just before Christmas, one of our dearest friends rescued 2 little rabbits from being turned into dog food and gave them to us as an early Christmas gift. Beautiful though they were, the lack of appropriate housing was a massive worry. They couldn’t be housed with any of the other rabbits as the males would fight (both of our previously rescued boys had been in scraps before we got them) and we didn’t have a spare hutch.
We put them into the “hospital hutch” as a temporary measure whilst we worked out what we were going to do with them. It is a single occupancy, plastic and wire construction indoor hutch. We have been wracking our brains to work out how to home them properly: Do we have enough wood in the shed to make a new hutch (that we don’t have the space for)? Should we re-home them? Can they go in with the Guinea Girls?
We realised that the best possible option was to have Raisin “done” and put him back with his family.
We began by cleaning the top two floors of Chinchilla Towers (which really is as grand as it sounds!) and we moved the Girls back in. Then we cleaned their house (an old chicken coop designed for up to 4 hens – with a little service modification) and put Dice and Domino – the two Christmas bunnies – into it. Then we started to deep clean the hospital hutch so that Raisin could convalesce in peace, indoors. The correx board protection was removed, bowls washed, the wire roof lifted off and the little tunnel/step taken out and put into the bath to be disinfected and Mr PinQ was ready to scoop out the old, dirty bedding ready to give me the base for cleaning.
Just before he put the shovel in, he looked and shouted to me. The bedding was moving in one corner! We investigated and found six tiny kits! We’d already moved Dice and Domino and if they stayed in the temporary home, the babies would have died for sure because when it rains, the bottom of the quarantine hutch gets wet and the bedding has to be changed – as the quarantine hutch, it is normally kept indoors for good reason! We had to move the nest into the new hutch so we picked up three each in one hand and found out that they are really wriggly, even though they are only a few days old!
I woke up early (before 05:00) but for once, not because of a kitten or a baby. I woke up because it started chucking it down outside and I snapped awake, worried about the baby rabbits. I threw some clothes on, legged it downstairs and went to check the hutch. All was well.
Hours later, Mr PinQ found three of the kits out of the nest. All three were extremely cold, one in rigor, one that didn’t appear to be alive and one that was barely moving. I snuggled the latter two in my ample cleavage and within minutes, they were starting to wriggle. Using a dropper bottle, we fed them a little kitten formula until they were warm and happy. He microwaved one of the pet warming plates, wrapped it in a fleecy blankie and putting it into the nest.
We’ve been on Kit watch constantly since and I am pleased to report that all is well.
We named the little casualty “Napkin” after I bathed him, dried him and gently wrapped him in a little face cloth ready to go to his final rest. I’d only known him for a few hours but I was heartbroken at losing him. He was such a beautiful tiny baby.
Raisin is doing well, happily munching kale, carrots, hay and guinea pig biskwits and snuffling around his temporary home.