Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strange misty days, and big baby personalities.

 Early on a misty morning, it is time for the daily mom pile. Well, not just mom, all are fair game for being piled on if they are near being in the way of food.
Despite all of the piling and attention, Dawn is still good to her babies. We are realizing just how lucky we are that she was one of our first mothers. She's just so easy to work with and she is so gentle with her kits. I'm sure not all moms are as good.
Below you can see the biggest of the babies, and that he still has that blaze we were curious about early on.

Remember last post when I posted how well the single little crock was working out? Well, we've started putting a second little crock in. Quickly the clique of three monster babies started monopolizing it since they found out it was easier. In fact, if you look closely in last post you can see that one of the fat babies is standing on the head of the runt. To prevent that sort of behavior we now have the main feeder, and the two small food dishes. It seems to have made a significant impact and keeps any one group of babies from getting exclusive access to the majority of the food. By doing so we are trying to keep the chances of the smallest two the best we can. There are quite a few reasons for that. First is obviously that we want all of the babies to do well so they are healthy and happy. As animal welfare advocates that is a vital part of what we are doing.

Then there is also the fact that we are breeding these animals for meat. We need them to grow quickly to a butchering weight, and we need them to do it efficiently in terms of food. Babies that struggle are going to take longer to grow out, and are going to be a lower quality meat by the time they get to a reasonable weight. That is a problem for us as well as the vital importance of having happy, healthy rabbits for ethical reasons.

 So, as we've talked about a lot before, rabbits have a lot of personality. Some more than others, and our Twilight has more than most. This photo Above I think illustrates just how extreme her food focus can be. I put in her pellets, and then put the hay in. On the way over her I stumbled and dropped hay on her. You can see just how much that affected her absolute laser like focus on the food dish. There was ear flicking, but that was about it. As the babies grow up we always watch their personalities since temperament is an important part of any breeding program we are going to do. While we don't intend to keep any of this litter, we do watch carefully.
Now of course part of this is which ones do we like playing with, handling, and cuddling. There is also that some of them interact better with other rabbits. Who are they friends with, and how do they group. There is a lot you can see about rabbits from how they are interacting. If one of them is off in the corner alone, you should probably be doing a health check, unless it's the same one every day. The importance of that particular aspect of what we need to be watching for really was driven home strongly by the last litter which is why we have been focusing so much on it this time. We don't have a quantified system for how we are going to track temperament, and may never have one, but we do watch even if we can't explain how we do so on the blog as well.

Last but not least, the Lady of the House and I realized that we had never actually gotten a photo of what rabbit looks like after cooking but before eating for the blog. We keep meaning to, but always dig in too fast. Well, this time we exercised self control, and you can see below how the rabbit turns out before eating. This was actually our best success in terms of cooking using basically chicken roasting methods. I'm going to have to try to repeat to be sure, but I think that the large amount of oil I used helped keep it moist, as did the two cups of water in the bottom. I hope to have a tried and true method that works every time to report to the blog soon.


  1. Would you ever make rabbit stock? Looking at your photo (mmmm....) it (vaguely) resembles a chicken, which puts me in mind of roasted chicken. Whenever we have a roast chicken I save the carcass in the freezer until I have a few, then turn them into stock. It's not quite as rich as stock made from wings, but it's still very good, and thrifty.

    Do people cook with rabbit stock? (I'll look in one of my old French cookbooks, they eat everything.)

    1. We keep meaning to make rabbit stock, but yes you can and people do use and cook with rabbit stock. It's a lot like turkey or chicken stock. You can do just about anything with it you can do with chicken stock, other than of course Chicken Soup. I'd like to start using it for rice and couscous instead of butter or olive oil.

      We actually have a few rabbit carcasses in the freezer to do so with, but life has been a bit crazy lately. To be fair, if we really were %100 work all the time we could have done it 100 times over, but usually when we've been getting home the Lady of the House has been working on her art commissions and I've been wanting to sit down.

    2. I've made rabbit stock in a pressure cooker (I was on a time deadline). I was doing a medieval recipe for a rabbit stew that involved roasting a rabbit and then putting it into stock with a few other ingredients to make it into a stew. It was fabulous and got me 2nd place in an arts & sciences competition in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA.org for those who don't know what it is).