Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Updates on the Rabbits

Lately we've mostly been talking about other things, so I figured today would be a good day to touch on the rabbits and how things have been going with them.

Twilight has been grumpy lately. Not that it has reduced her love of people, and friendly nature. No, she is grumpy because of a few things. First and foremost, she doesn't get as many pellets as she thinks she should get anymore. She had been having more cecotropes than she should for a while and we did some research and found that in some rabbits having much in the way of pellets can cause that. So, we switched her over to entirely hay for a couple weeks, and now give her a small hand full of pellets with her mass of hay.
Top Right you can see her looking aggrieved by her empty pellet feeder as she attempts to indicate to the lady of the house that she is displeased by the situation. She then apparently went through this pantomime where she tried to show how very difficult life was with eating hay. Oh how hard it is to pull the hay out of the feeder. Bottom Right she continues her disdainful eating of her meager fare of hay that she can access. Mind you, she can get the hay out of the feeder with ease as long as it's what she wants.

I am certain her pregnancy has something to do with her displeasure with the situation, but it is hard to tell. All I know is that every morning the second she sees me coming with that little hand full of food she does a run up the side and flips off the roof of the hutch. I never thought I'd see pressed grass be considered a delicious treat by any animal other than a Degu. Overall though she is doing well, and we are looking forward to seeing how her first litter comes out in about 10 days to 2 weeks.

Then there are our veterans. Dawn is doing well, and is acting fairly mellow. She went through a period where she wanted nothing to do with her babies beyond feeding. She has been interacting and been friendly with us as well. Her kits though have gotten quite large, and at an average of 1482.2 grams as of today are doing quite well in the weight and size department. Compare this to Dawn's first litter at day 49 at 1266.5 grams, and Sunny's first litter on day 49 at 1325.125 grams. Dawn's babies in this litter though are not as friendly and much more prone to skittishness. Especially the smallest kit that I would even call fearful. I am not entirely certain why as I have been handling them as close to exactly as much as I did before. We are coming up on the time where I'm going to be weighing them once a week instead of every day but Sunday.

The weight chart which I have been keeping up to date can be found here.

There is the ever standoffish Sunny. She has been about as normal. Left demonstrates her blimp like shape very clearly. We've been checking and she seems to be healthy leading into this litter. She only accepted being bred once by Umbra, so we will see how many kits she has. Unfortunately it turns out that vaginal prolapse is something that can be hereditary. Rather than testing for this, we are just going to cull Sunburst instead of risking dealing with that particular problem in the future. We were planning on finding a different meat breeding home for Sunny, but given that she has a hereditary problem we wouldn't feel right doing so. We haven't entirely decided what to do with her yet, but will likely be culling her after this litter due to her genetic weakness combined with her personality and constant state of fear which goes against part of our objective.
Then there's Umbra. Umbra is just being himself, and is a little grouchy about not getting to breed anyone at the moment. I mean, it's been over a week! As you can see in this photo Right he has another reason to be grumpy, he's shedding. Fortunately for us his version of grumpy is "It itches! Scratch me, oh please scratch me!" Having a stud that is social with us is a pleasant thing and makes him a lot easier to deal with. It is kind of funny to see his coat coming out in patches as he furiously chews and scratches at himself.

Overall things are going well with the rabbits, and I am finishing up a hutch so we can bring in a young lady who will be a breeder for us next spring. A Cinnamon doe, filling out the breeds we wanted to try out for our breeding program initially. Again we are going to be getting her from Michelle Chandler's Blessed Acre Farm where we have gotten all of our stock so far. We'd like to expand and get unrelated rabbits to work with for obvious reasons, but that's not an urgent situation.

Last But Not Least!
UMass Amherst where the Lady of the House and I both went to get our degrees has a recently started permaculture program. They recently released the third installment of their documentary on growing a model sustainable campus. They are specifically looking for hits on the third part, but it's worth watching the whole thing.

Part 3 of 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJPJ5DyMc4
Part 1 of 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_474005&feature=iv&src_vid=_FJPJ5DyMc4&v=XWHSzGDItBA


  1. Life is SO HARD FOR BUNNIES. I should post the pics of Twilight putting all of her effort into pretending it's too hard to eat hay. She had both paws on the feeder and was demonstrating the amount of strength needed to pull one strand and then kinda collapsing with her paws still there showing that it was too hard and she was too tired XD You need the sequence though, one pic isn't enough.

  2. Great update. Twilight is a really good looking bunny. They all look very healthy... robust even.

    Shame about Sunny but rabbit personalities can be pretty difficult and combined with the genetic weakness, and your long term objectives, culling seems like the best solution, unless you know of anyone who would want to take in a house rabbit as a pet of course!