Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cooling Stones, and Growing Kits

 Dawn's babies have been growing very quickly, and doing quite well. They're not easy to get photos of because they move around SO much. A good part of that is that it is nice and cool which means they are comfortable ricocheting around the hutch.

 Dawn frequently has a very put upon look on these days. It is very much enhanced by the V shaped marking that she has on her forehead. Right one of her babies tries to acquire a nipple to nurse on while Dawn sees if the grass is indeed greener on the other side. Dawn has been a different kind of mother this time than she was her first litter. Her first litter she was very attentive and conscientious. She cleaned her babies constantly and looked in on them all the time, checking and re checking. Now, not so much. She does keep them clean and fed, and makes sure they are healthy, but that is just about it!

 I suspect part of that is how healthy her babies are and how well they are growing. The fact that it is her second litter probably also has a lot to do with it. It is funny when we put treats in, she will plop her whole body weight on the treat and eat it from one end to the other preventing her babies from getting at it as much as possible. Obviously her babies are well cared for, but with less direct focus on it on her part.

The Lady of the House and I are both very curious how Twilight will do as a first time mother. We have had very good luck with first time mothers so far, so we are doing our best to not have expectations of her. Right is how she is looking now. It is hard to tell, but she is filling out. She had been having consistent diarrhea for a while, so we did some research and changed her diet. We are mid process on this, so we will see how it turns out. First, we switched her over to only hay and greens about a week and a half ago. In three days we stopped seeing any diarrhea at all which was a good start. In a few days we are going to start slowly introducing a little bit of pellet food at a time. She could just have a weak gut, or any number of other reasons. That said she is doing well on just hay, and it isn't a big deal to feed her hay all the time. 

Cooling Slabs

As I am certain you all remember for part of the summer we were having serious heat problems where we live. To fight these issues, we were using a number of methods including frozen water bottles for the very hot days. One of the primary ways we combated the heat and provided comfort for the rabbits was getting granite tiles from the hardware store. It is a bit of an expensive solution but it did work out quite well for the intended purpose with a secondary benefit of providing foot relief. To get 5 of these stones we paid $20 which seems to be a fairly decent price for real granite. Unfortunately you can't use tile due to the fact it doesn't give the same properties as real stone.

The down sides need to be mentioned though. First of all, it will add time to your daily cleaning work. There are no two ways around it, if the rabbits like being on their nice cool stones they will pee and poop on them. Bottom Left you can see how a stone can look after 3 days without cleaning. Above Left is on3e that is mostly clean, though not perfect. What I have been doing is brushing the droppings off each stone every day, and every day taking one stone in and washing it thoroughly. If you don't do that you are just asking for sickness in your herd. You might even want to wash them more often!

We are going to be taking the stones inside for the winter soon since we aren't getting above about 75 during the days anymore, and heat isn't a concern. We will be leaving the stones in probably until mid September. Our next concern to figure out in the future, clearing snow out away from the hutches!

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