Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bunnyday: Introducing Sunshine, babies, and a new hutch.

Today I'm beginning with Sunshine since I promised we'd meet her, but there's a lot going on rabbit wise. So let's get on with it so we can get to everything! Above and Below the Cut are Sunshine. She is Dawn's sister that we got from Michelle Chandler since she is downsizing her herd.
Sunshine is an experienced mother who we hope will have a slightly more even temperament than Dawn who, while she's a great mother tends to pass on her nervousness. Sunshine seems to really enjoy the cooling stone that we have in her hutch, and has been spending most of her time there after the traditional rabbit exploring the new space period. One thing we quickly noticed about Sunshine is how differently her face is shaped.

Right is Dawn, due to the slight angle differences it may be difficult to tell, but her face is wider than her sisters. A solid broad head, and a thick front of the head. I don't know what the standard for showing Cremes says, but the Lady of the House and I agree that the broader head is probably a better thing for health in the long run.

Conformation wise Dawn and Sunshine are very similar other than the head. As you can see from the photo of Sunshine Top and Dawn Right, they are both very blocky in how they're built. Dawn is a bit broader abeam due to being just about to give birth, possibly as I'm writing this. As you can tell though it really is mostly the head that is different between the sisters.

Then there's Dorado.

Sadly for his studly pride, Dorado looks terrible right now. He is blowing his coat all over the place, and thus looks patchy as can be, he also wouldn't pose for a conformation shot for me. However, we can show off his meaty block head and Dorado Special (TM) flop ears that sometimes pass on to his offspring. For all of his strangely shaped head, he is a solidly built well conformed rabbit otherwise. He also has a huge benefit neither Dawn nor Sunshine have, and that's temperament. Dorado love people, being petted, and more being petted. He is our ambassador rabbit when people come by and want to pet one of the rabbits. If we have babies they're obviously happy to interact, but of the adults Dorado is the happiest to be around people and turns into a bunny shaped puddle when you pet him, only to hop up, upset when you stop.

But, as I said, conformation discussion is actually the least of what's going on right now.

First of all, and I don't have photos for this due to concerns for my safety, Twilight has given birth as of this morning. I only found 3 kits, all healthy. We don't know if that's because there's only three or if I caught her mid birth which is unlikely. If it's just three we'll live with it, and just hope she isn't retaining dead kits. That is a slight concern for us because she's been taking flying leaps up and down from the second level in apparent joy, and we're just hoping she didn't hurt anything doing so. Those of you who have been following along are probably going, "But wait, her babies were in with her last Thursday!" And you're correct! I sort of slipped up some on timing which led to a bit of a scramble to get the new growing out hutch Below done.
I'm actually fairly proud of this monstrosity in no small part because I got it together purely with work on Saturday and going in 2 hours late to work on Monday. Thanks to this I'm a bit sore, and I got all of the babies into their new hutch Monday morning before Twilight decided she needed to dismember them.

This new hutch is an example of learning from experience every time, this time it's 7 feet long to allow a bit of overhang on each side to keep the food covered and prevent as much moisture from getting in. As you can see from the photo Right I incorporated a second level to allow the rabbits more room to move around and have a good time. The back wall is made of 2x4s, not so much because they're ideal or what I wanted to do, but because I didn't have the time to pull apart the 3 pallets it would have taken to get the wood for that. The second level is made of pallet bits, but not gotten by carefully pulling the pallets apart, I took a circular saw and cut the planks out at each support member since I didn't need long boards. The funny part is, even with the mad rush due to being an idiot and having to get everything done Now Now Now, this is still my best hutch. There are ways it would have been better if I'd had an extra 3 hours to pull pallets apart, but even with the hurry I did things as correctly as I can when doing it on my own. The babies seem fairly happy in it, but I'm already seeing ways to improve, and in the future hopefully I'll have two hutches for this many babies, so expect to see another hutch springing up in the next six weeks before the round of babies currently being born needs to be put into grow out hutches.

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