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An 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 professionals.

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 the chickens.

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.

Updates
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 Adeline

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 Rabbits”.

 




Landy & Woody - the 2 survivors from the
1st batch


Hwee Shin & Eric assembling the two small tables & Angie sweeping

Eric securing
the canvas on the roof


Our volunteers in action

Sara's burrow had 2 entrances (2nd litter)


The shelter after it was completed - the 2 tables and the canvas

Sara's baby bunnies - healthy round belly

Jackie and Angie standing in front of the
sand-based enclosure


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

 

 

 

 

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