Thursday, August 16, 2012

Final Breeding for 2012

Today the Lady of the House and I are finishing our last round of breeding for the season. This morning we bred Sunny to Umbra, and we will be doing so again when we get home this evening. Sunny is the last to get bred this round of breedings with Dawn having gone first on Monday, and Twilight having been bred yesterday.
We really need to get some new photos of Umbra.

Breeding Schedule This Year
Given the number of things that have happened this year in ups and downs, we got started a bit late in breeding Sunny and Dawn. They were first bred 4/01 and 4/12 giving birth to their first litters 5/03 and 5/14. We then gave both of them a good long time before re breeding them, re breeding 6/16 for both of them. That breeding produced the one litter that is on the ground right now. It also produced the dead litter of kits that Sunny had at around the same time Dawn gave birth to her litter. We learned a good bit from that, which I will be addressing in our breeding planning for next year. With our breedings this week we have a master plan for how we expect things to go with this last litter.

Next Litters
Given standard times the next set of babies should be born mid September. We picked that timing despite the fact that it is pushing Dawn a bit harder than we normally would by re breeding her within a month of her current litter being born. First, we want to have all of the litters born around the same time so if Twilight has trouble, or Sunny has a ginormous litter we can foster babies around to make sure they all survive if possible. Second, we want to make absolutely sure we don't have litters born late enough that a hard freeze and bad weather kills them before they can regulate their own temperatures. We can probably expect weather to be good enough to not be a real problem until mid October to early November. That said, weather this year has been very strange and we don't want to take the risk. Third: We don't want to push hard on the breeding cycle too many times in a row. We know it is probably not an issue to do, but we want to give our breeders sufficient rest to not wear them out. Finally, it puts our butchering time for the babies right around the holidays so we can be sure we will be able to have rabbit to bring to the various family events to cook.

Things We Learned This Year
1: We need to get started early if we want to have a good set of litters that will sustain us for the whole year.
2: Bet on some mishaps, bad litters, or missed pregnancies.
3: Don't have litters being born in July or early August if we can help it, and we can.
4: If at first they won't breed, try, try again.

Breeding Plan for Next Year
To attempt to maximize the number of litters we are going to produce next year, and minimize stress on our breeders we have a Plan! Whether it is a good plan remains to be seen.

We want our first litter to be born in mid March, so we will breed in mid February. For the first litter we plan to do breedings spread out day by day to let Umbra rest as he has this year, and do our first trial breeding with Sunburst. We will probably do the breedings on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of February for being born right in the middle of March. Those babies will be grown out at the end of June.

The second litter we need to give our breeders some time to recover and care for their babies, but also not delay long enough that they will be giving birth in the worst part of the year. We will be giving them most of April, and breeding them again in the end of April, beginning of May. That way they will be giving birth early June. The exact dates we will be breeding are still up in the air.

The third litter will give them a good bit before the next breeding as we will be breeding them at the end of July or beginning of August so they give birth beginning of September. That will give the breeders a rest during the worst of the year, and let the babies of that litter in the hottest, hardest part of the year more time with their mother to put on weight.

The fourth and last litter of the year will again be fairly quick. We will be breeding almost exactly 4 weeks after the birth of their kits at the end of September. That way the babies will be born at the beginning of October. If it is a particularly bad October we will have to be careful to keep the babies warm one way or another, but that is something that will have to be figured out at the time.

Dawn's Current Litter
They are growing fast, and putting on weight very well. They are growing hugely faster than Dawn's first litter. The average weight of the babies right now is 613.4 grams with a top weight of 634 grams and a bottom weight of 575 grams. At the same number of days since birth Dawn's first litter averaged 485 grams with a max weight of 544 grams and a minimum weight of 409 grams. Sunny's first litter at the same number of days since birth averaged 597.375 grams with a maximum weight of 641 grams and a minimum of 574 grams.

This current litter of Dawn's is growing as well as Sunny's first litter did, but with a more consistent weight range. As I mentioned before there are a lot of factors to what could cause that, and I look forward to having more data sets so I can try to draw some correlations.

Dawn Litter 1

Dawn Litter 2

Sunny Litter 1

If you have any interest in data sets the individual weight chart for Dawn's current litter is interesting to see.

No comments:

Post a Comment