Thursday, October 18, 2012

Much Kindness, and Delight's Unfortunate Malocclusion

The past two days have contained more stuff going on than they usually do, so today's post was easy to come up with just due to how much has been going on! Above is the wood pile this morning showing how much, and yet how little we did over the weekend.

Of the things that have happened since last post, everything involves incredible generosity from others. One of my jobs is working in a warehouse for TopatoCo. One of the things that is a distinct benefit of the job is, when we have leftover pallets I have been bringing them home one at a time as I have mentioned before. Well the owner of the company noticed I've been doing this and last weekend, a warehouse clean out got done which ended up with 8 nice pallets set aside to go. He kindly let me borrow the company van Tuesday evening to bring all of them home at once! That was incredibly helpful so now as you can see Above we have a pile of pallets in addition to the other pile I have been slowly stacking up. With the new arrival of pallety goodness I now have enough that I can start building shelves out of them for the Studio space, which is great. Some of them are in incredible condition as well which will make my life So much easier.
Yesterday the Lady of the House spotted an ad on freecycle that was very interesting. Someone said they had "panes of glass" available. We've been thinking about building either cold frames or a small greenhouse attached to the South side of the house. We replied, and went through a trek through what could easily be parts of the set for Canibal! The Musical, and eventually found the very nice place with charming folks who helped us load up on the class. It is difficult to tell from a photo exactly how much glass is in that pile. Suffice it to say that it literally filled the entire back seat of a Honda Civic with glass nearly up to the back of the seat rest. That wasn't all. They also had buckets which we have desperate need for, and even better, as you can see on the right in the white shopping bag, chicken netting. Given that we have been looking for all things to make our expansion of our animals to chickens easier next spring, this is perfect. We can use it to discourage the chickens (and other birds, like the blasted bluejays) from getting at our fruits and vegetables.

The last kindness comes out of a somewhat unfortunate situation. Remember the happy post welcoming Delight/Teak? Well, we let her settle in and tried breeding her. She promptly attacked Dorado so we separated them and figured, give her more time to settle in. Things have been stressful. Yesterday we tried to breed them again, and has a surprise. She attacked him again, but this time while looking for a safe opening to reach in and grab her, I spotted her mouth while open, and it didn't look right. As soon as I got a hold of her I promptly did a mouth check. Now my tendency is to do a full health check every 2 to 3 weeks, since it isn't pleasant for the rabbits. I hadn't done one on Delight yet. Now this was a mistake on my part, as I realized, I hadn't even done one when I picked her up! When i checked, there was indeed a problem with her teeth. She has malocclusion in one of its many forms.
Above is the un-doctored picture of her teeth. Below is a picture that I modified a bit. The green lines are the edges of her upper teeth, and the red lines are the edges of her lower teeth. As you can see the upper teeth go behind the lower teeth, one of the upper teeth is far back in the mouth and twisted, and the bottom teeth are splaying and in bad shape. It is difficult to see from the photos but all of them are twisted off true.
For comparison, Below is Dorado's teeth which are in good shape. See how the top teeth are together and in front of the lower teeth which are also together and straight.
 Malocclusion is a serious issue in rabbits, and is something we are going to cull Delight for. There are treatments for these problems, and the house rabbit society has a thorough discussion of malocclusion and its treatments here As a meat breeding farm we aren't able to, and aren't willing to do the constant treatment that malocclusion takes. Part of this is because we aren't going to breed any animal that could pass on genetic defects to future generations as part of our program.

We are obviously going to cull Delight. She must be living in pain, which explains her behavior. I feel bad that I didn't spot it sooner, and it was definitely a learning experience for us. In a normal situation this could have been an expensive learning experience on our part. We would have paid for a rabbit that isn't a good breeder, and just been out the money (Which I still need to run by Michelle Chandler!). In this case though, due to the kindness of Michelle Chandler, it isn't. When I spotted this problem I contacted her to let her know about it so she could check that line for tooth problems. Her immediate response was that she was embarrassed, that she should have checked, and that she would gladly replace Delight with one of her cousins since such a problem never should have left her property. I'd like to think that any responsible breeder would do so, but it was our duty as buyers to check before we left the property.

So in the end, a lot has happened over the past few days. Not all of it has been %100 good, but things have been good for us. All of the good that has happened has come up because of the kindness of others. Below is a list to recognize the good that has happened.

* Help bucking and splitting the firewood.
* Instruction on how to use a chainsaw.
* Gift of the Lady of the House's father's old chainsaw last year allowing us to buck our own wood.
* Use of the van to take home free pallets.
* Free glass that will let us make a green house.
* Free chicken netting and buckets.
* Replacing of a rabbit with tooth problems.

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