Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Developing personality in the growing out hutch

Life has been continuing with only slight changes for us. We moved the babies to the growing out hutch finally, which they definitely seem to enjoy. It is a really joyful thing for the Lady of the House and I to watch the babies realize I can run, and jump, and do all of these fun things.

Getting good photos of running rabbits is always a challenge, but the Lady of the House managed to get a couple. I am a particular fan of this one Top Left because of the annoyed expression on the one being kicked on the way by.  Bottom Left is a good photo of one mid move. They can move quite quickly when they get it into their head to do so. That ability to move quickly and the size of the hutch has also allowed us to see temperament differences more easily, and made some of that a bigger concern. We are again finding that one of the babies is fearful, though not nearly as badly so as in the last litter. What we are trying this time is simply going out, and interacting every day. We are done weighing these guys since we missed a week due to holidays and sickness, and they are also 8 weeks old. We won't be doing that regular unpleasentness. Instead we will just be coming out, and before feeding they will get interaction. Once all of them come up and nose me they get food. It seems to have already made a difference, the one who does run hasn't been doing so as much.

We do like seeing more of the personality of the babies show up in the larger hutches, we figure seeing more of the personality means that they are getting to express themselves more, and are probably having more fun. We like making sure they have something to play with, whether it be blocks of wood, a wire ball with a bell, the twine that holds the hay bales together. Something. Some of them even play with hay, throwing it in the air and dancing around. As they get older they definitely develop distinct personalities. Top Right is somewhat curious about everything, and has a tendency of being the one who "accidentally" falls out of the hutch when it happens. He is very interested about everything, and he looks evil in that top photo. Right is the shy one, not scared all the time, but always a little more hesitant to explore anything than the others. Unless of course it is food. Bottom Right is our most visually distinct baby, the one with a blaze on his head. You can barely see it anymore, but it is there. The babies in every litter are individuals, but this one is going to be a really rough one because of how friendly, and individually personable all of the rabbits are this time. We don't want to just see them all as one, but I can say that with the all one color litters, it is a little easier than when I can recognize the one that comes up for scritches every day without prompting.

Just for reference, Below is a picture of the right half of the hutch. You can actually see all 7 babies in the photo at the moment because despite having two feeders and a pile of hay, they all feel the need to crowd around one feeder at a time until it is empty, and move on to the next where they can fight over it again. I have decided that I want to make somewhat larger breeder hutches for when they are going to be giving birth so that their babies have more opportunity to express their personalities earlier, and mom has more space without kits under foot. It will also allow for leaving the babies in longer if we have a timing problem.

On the trail cam side of things we have a couple more interesting photos. Left is our first color photo of anything other than our dog, or the Lady of the House's fore head as she checks the camera. The deer look fairly substantial to me, but I am no deer expert. It is unusual to see them moving around during the day. Their normal movement times for this area at least are 05:00 or 21:00, not nearly 11:00. Basically they move during full dark or twilight.

 This last somewhat blurry photo is the starting point for Thursday's post. Design considerations for the chicken coop. If you look in the mid right, you can see a blur with black feet. That is a photo of a red fox Vulpes vulpes. This camera is less than 50 yards from our house, specifically on the side the chicken coop will be on. That makes predator secure night housing as big of a priority as I was making it!

I hope to have an interesting post for you all about my design process Thursday.

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