Of waiting for new babies. It can get a little frustrating. We are actually starting to wonder if Umbra ended up with being heat sterile this summer.
Heat Sterility is a problem we were aware of but didn't expect to have problems with. Given all of the heat mitigation we have done and the fact that everyone has shade, we expected Umbra to be fine. Especially given that our mentor Michelle Chandler hasn't ever really had problems with heat sterility. Given that right now we are 3 days over due for Dawn, 1 for Twilight, and due for Sunny, we are wondering if we may have nothing on the way. We won't know for sure until they are a week late whether we have nothing coming or not.
If we end up having nothing coming, we have to decide what to do. We have a few options.
1: Do nothing and accept not having another litter this year.
Pros: Gives the mothers a good long rest, we don't have to worry about the babies and cold so we can focus on dealing with normal cold issues only for the first year.
Cons: We don't have any more kits for the year meaning that we will be very light on rabbit meat for the winter.
2: Borrow a breeder and immediately breed the three girls.
Pros: We get another litter out of them by mid October. The litters that will be born will have nice coats.
Cons: We compromise bio security right before winter, the babies will be born mid October going into what is shaping up to be a very nasty winter.
3: Try breeding them to Umbra again.
Pros: He's right there and will without any doubt enjoy it. Having sex makes him a much happier rabbit.
Cons: Heat sterility can take up to 4 months to pass, and the only way you know it's gone is if there are babies that result from the breeding.
Right now the Lady of the House and I are up in the air between options 1 and 2. I'm thinking we will try for option 2 since we do know people we could probably borrow a buck for a day from. We will see exactly what we do once we are certain there are no babies resultant from this set of breedings.
Things we could have done better.
1: We could have attempted a re breeding with Umbra on day 15 for each of them. This would have established if they had gotten pregnant or not. If they accept on day 15 they aren't pregnant (usually).
2: Could have provided shade to the hutch as well as within the hutch for Umbra, and the rabbits in general. As a note for the future we are thinking about ways to better shade the hutches without actually moving them in to the woods which is just too dangerous.
The hutch I've been working on is complete, and making the privacy walls with bits and pieces of pallet worked out nicely. I'm going to discuss more about that on Thursday and some ideas I have for the future.
The tomatoes are also doing quite well with lots of sprouts and little tomatoes growing. Our big concern now is, will they be edible before the first frost kills everything. With how the weather has been behaving, getting down into the upper 30s at night we were concerned. Looking ahead at the 10 day forecast though, it looks like the rain we are getting is going to moderate the temperature and bring us back into the 40s at night again. If that is the case we should have enough time to get at least something of a harvest.