SOS from the Si Ling Rabbits
Log by Teeny Teh
27th July 2004, Tuesday:
Mrs Toh, a parent with Si Ling Primary School, called
Dr Cathy Chan, the vet of Bishan Park Veterinary, for
advice on nursing new born baby rabbits. She mentioned
that the rabbits, which were being housed at Si Ling
Primary School had just given birth to a litter of kits.
She went on to reveal that these kits were in very bad
shape and were dying, as the mother rabbit had refused
to feed her own babies.
Dr Chan then contacted HRSS and reported the situation
to Angie and Jackie, our HRSS volunteers. On that very
same day, Jackie went to the school to check out the
situation. Upon arriving at the rabbit enclosure, she
saw, just as Mrs Toh had illustrated, 8 rabbit kits
strewn all over the sand (it was a sand based enclosure).
This mother rabbit was clearly too young and inexperienced
to care for her own babies. Jackie also found out that
the rabbits were being fed bean sprouts and chicken
feed (a powdery substance).
There were 5 adult rabbits:
Spencer (male) – White with brown patches around
the eyes. An active, friendly guy who loves to be stroked.
The daddy of the group.
Sara (female) - White, with brown patches on the lower
part of her body. Blessed with the sweetest blue eyes,
Sara is a docile girl who is content to lay on your
lap for strokes. The mommy of the group.
Sylvia (female) - Light brown. A pretty little girl
who loves attention and is always up for strokes and
pets. An offspring of Spencer and Sara.
Shayne (female) - White with small brown patches on
eyes and body. Shayne is tame, friendly and she absolutely
loves her veggies! An offspring of Spencer and Sara.
Shaun (male) - White with little brown patches, Shaun
looks very similar to Shayne. He can always be found
following Shayne around. Shaun is approx 2 months old,
friendly, curious and loves human attention. An offspring
of Sara and Spencer.
Upon advising the cleaner lady of the school on proper
rabbit diet and care, Jackie also found out that the
rabbits had been having litters once every 2 weeks for
the past one over year. The cleaner lady added that
the school allowed the children to take the babies home
every time they had a new litter. She also mentioned
that normally, the chickens and the rabbits would be
housed together in this same sand-based enclosure. However,
each time there was a new litter of baby rabbits, the
chickens would be transferred to another enclosure.
Jackie cleaned up the enclosure and at the same time,
tried to decipher who the mother rabbit was, hoping
to facilitate the nursing of the malnourished babies.
However, she was unable to find out who the mother was
as all the females had no sign of “motherhood”.
In hopes of assisting with the feeding, Jackie tried
desperately to locate the teats of all the females-
but with little success. She decided to call in the
28th July 2004, Wednesday
The kits were brought to Dr Cathy Chan for emergency
treatment. For the next 3 days, Dr Chan tried to force
feed the undernourished kits Animalac, a pet milk formula.
However, despite feeding them religiously at hourly
intervals, they were still very weak. And she found
them dying- one after another. This further proved the
point that kits not nursed by their mothers had incredibly
high mortality rates. After 4 days, only 2 made it.
Adeline, another HRSS volunteer, brought these 2 “survivors”
– which she named Landy and Woody, back to her
home to foster.
29th July 2004, Thursday
Jackie went to Si Ling Primary School on a mission –
To stop the breeding problem that was getting out of
hand. When she arrived at the school, she found that
the chickens were put back in the enclosure with the
rabbits. This was probably due to the fact that the
baby rabbits had been removed.
As there was a high chance the chickens would peck at
the rabbits and hurt them, Jackie erected a temporary
barrier (using play pens) to separate the chickens from
the rabbits. Spencer was immediately sent to Dr Chan
to be neutered. After the operation, he recuperated
at Jackie’s place.
10th Aug 2004, Tuesday
Yet another litter of 8 baby rabbits were found. This
time, the mother rabbit, Sara, was more experienced
than the first one (still not sure which one she was).
Sara had dug a burrow in which she placed all her babies
and it was evident by the babies’ rounded bellies
that she was doing a good job nursing. She stayed near
the burrow and only left the babies’ side to eat,
drink, pee and poop. With her dedication, Sara’s
litter looked like they had a good chance of survival.
Only thing was, the part of the enclosure with over
the burrow was not sheltered exposing the kits to the
sun and rain.
14th Aug 2004, Saturday
Hwee Shin, Eric, Jackie, Angie and myself arrived at
the school equipped with material for building a temporary
shelter for the babies, and an abundant supply of good
quality food for the rabbits. First, we cleaned up the
enclosure and replaced the chicken feed (which was still
being given to the rabbits) with pellets, fresh veggies
and hay. The rabbits tucked into the food appreciatively.
Next, we started thinking of ways to create a temporary
shelter to protect the kits from the rain. A canvas
was tied over the enclosure and for added protection,
small tables were placed at the entrances of the burrow
(just in case).
21st Aug 2004, Saturday
Jackie went down to the school hoping to check on the
babies, but no baby rabbits were to be found. She did
however, find chickens in the enclosure. Upon questioning
the school’s admin personal, they revealed that
the chickens had pecked all the babies to death –
and not even one managed to survive. Who, how and why
the chickens were put back into the enclosure remains
a mystery. What was worse - we were not allowed to remove
Hwee shin, appalled by the neglect of the care takers
of the rabbits at the school and fearing for the safety
of the rabbits, offered to go down to the school daily
to feed and take care of them. At the same time, we
asked the school if they wanted to us to rehome the
rabbits as it was clear that they were being neglected.
They gladly agreed. Thus the challenging task of looking
for suitable fosterers for all 5 of them began.
27th Aug 2004, Friday
During her daily visit to feed the rabbits, Hwee Shin
found yet another litter of rabbits. This time, under
the cage in which the rabbit food supplies were kept.
The mother, this time Shayne, was intelligent enough
to dig a burrow for her babies away from where the chickens
could get at them. With yet another devoted mother,
this litter looked promising.
28th Aug 2004, Saturday
Sara was brought to Dr Chan due to a serious eye infection.
Dr Chan explained that Sara’s cornea was badly
damaged due to sand particles rubbing against her eye.
Sara is currently being housed at Jackie’s place
where she is receiving TLC.
3rd Sept 2004, Friday
The 3rd litter of 6 babies were rescued from the school
with their mother Shayne and are all currently being
fostered by Jackie. At present, only 2 rabbits (Sylvia
& Shawn) are currently housed in the school.
7th Sept 2004, Tuesday
Sara was brought to Isabelle’s (HRSS volunteer)
house to be fostered. She will stay there until she
finds a loving home.
8th Sept 2004, Wednesday
Angie rescued the last 2 rabbits- Sylvia and Shawn from
the school. They are currently being housed at Jackie’s
place and are looking for suitable fosterers and adopters.
1. Spencer, Sylvia (finally we found the right mum !!)
& 4 babies - fostered by Jackie
2. Sara fostered by Isabelle
3. Shayne fostered by Aaron
4. Shaun fostered by Sanz
5. Woody & Landy (1st batch survivor) fostered by
Parties interested to foster or adopt these lovely rabbits,
please email us.
The Si Ling Rabbits need your support. They require
medical treatment and sterilization, supplies of food,
toys, and kind individuals to foster them while they
are waiting for new homes. If you would like to donate
toward the medical or care costs of these bunnies, please
send a cheque to House Rabbit Society (Singapore), Toa
Payoh Central Post Office, PO Box 108, Singapore 913104
and indicate at the back of the cheque “Si Ling
Landy & Woody - the 2 survivors from the
Hwee Shin & Eric assembling
the two small tables & Angie sweeping
the canvas on the roof
Our volunteers in action
burrow had 2 entrances (2nd litter)
The shelter after it was completed
- the 2 tables and the canvas
Sara's baby bunnies - healthy
Jackie and Angie standing in
front of the
The powdery chicken feed which
the school had been feeding them
The rabbits chilling and relaxing,
eating the food
we brought them
Happy volunteers at Si Ling Primary
School - Hwee Shin, Eric, Jackie, Angie
The 3rd litter of babies in the burrow under the
cage- clever Shayne
Shayne recuperating at fosterer's house
3rd litter - safe and warm in fosterer's house