Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Looong Overdue Rabbit Report

Hello Folks, The Youngun here! It's been a long time since we've last spoken. Every weekend has seemed busier than the last, but now that I'm on Thanksgiving Break I have some much needed free time to give a bunny update. So much has happened...
First, I have a brand-spanking new rabbit barn!
Out with the old...

In with the new!!
The bunnies were moved into this new barn this past weekend and I LOVE it....
I really like the front border/trim on the door...
 This cute little loft for my tool box, extra hay, or anything else I need to get out of the way, is amazing!
There is plenty of room for all of my bunnies, and they all are enjoying the new barn.
 I'm sure you all remember Miss Tauriel, my Rex doe. Unfortunately, we had to put her down recently for several different reasons. The poor baby had VERY sore hocks that would bleed often even with straw covering almost her entire cage. She was saggy and unhappy, and she would only leave her nest box to eat and drink, which wasn't much. Her fur was patchy and unhealthy looking, and looking into her eyes, I felt sorry for her, because I could see the pain in her eyes. I didn't want to breed the poor thing while she was in such unfortunate condition, and with zero improvements, actually a worsening in health, after a couple of months, I had her put down to keep her from suffering. She was a decent rabbit and gave me three litters, which I thank her for, along with her gorgeous and heart-capturing legacy...
Do you remember this guy?? 
(FYI: It just made my heart ache with joy when I found those pictures...)
 A member of Tauriel's second litter, he was the first gold-tipped steel I had ever seen in my life. I thought he was just gorgeous, and my mom let me keep him. And I am SOOOO glad I did...

Titan is my GORGEOUS baby, who loves me just as much as I love him. He comes to me every time I open his cage for kisses and loves to be petted and stroked and held. He is a big boy, bigger than his daddy Spartan... (I will include some comparison pictures here)
(Spartan, Titan, Spartan, Titan)
 ...with pretty nice type. He has certainly matured well and he will always be my favorite. He has fathered two litters so far and I hope he will father lots more before he receives an already well-earned comfortable and lavished retirement. 


I bred him back to Tauriel before her health began declining and he recently bred Elvy.

Some pics of Elvy's kits... The last picture is the buck cage, since they've been weaned. As you can tell from the second and third picture, we have an oddball in Elvy's doe kits... I am very intrigued by this young doe's coloring!
Eden also has kits... Five of them...

These little suckers weighed half a pound or MORE at a week and three days... I am very impressed by Eden's ample milk supply and how well she takes care of her kits.

Now, if you have been keeping up with my herd, you'll know that both of my bucks are now related, and in order for nothing freaky or unhealthy to show up, I wanted some does from different lineage. For example, if I were to keep a replacement doe for Tauriel out of Spartan, she would have to be bred back to either her brother or her father, and if I kept one out of Titan, then she would have to be bred either to her father or grandfather. That isn't necessarily unacceptable, however, I would rather be able to breed whoever to whoever I want without having to pause and think, are they related, and if so, how? And if they are brother and sister, will the kits be healthy?? Nobody wants that stress, so I consulted the wonderful world of the Internet, and began my search for a new doe. I saw one doe I liked several times, and she didn't appear to be selling, but I wasn't expecting to get another doe until springtime, and I still wasn't quite sure what I was wanting into my herd. After seeing this doe about four or five times, I asked my mom about her, and it turned out she belonged to a coworker of hers. My mom told them I was interested, and when my parents got home the next night, there were two rabbits in dog crates in their car. One was a tricolored dilute doe that looked like this....
And the other was a very interestingly patterned black and white broken doe, that looked like this... 

They lived on the back porch for a few days, partly as a quarantine, and also so that we could finish the new rabbit barn. The does didn't look sick in the slightest, however I have a very healthy herd so I didn't want to take any chances whatsoever.
The tri-colored doe settled in very nicely. I named her SaraBeth, and within a few hours she was hopping around her cage animatedly, grooming herself, eating hay, and using the bathroom in a regular manner. I was told she was wild and not very nice, however she is the SWEETEST doe I have ever met, very curious and interested in everything I do in her cage, excited to be petted and held, and just very positive mannered in general. She would eat out of my hand very shortly after being moved to the back porch, and was very curious about anything I held in my hand or reached for in her cage, but not pushy at all. In short, I fell in love upon meeting this doe.  
The other doe, however, didn't settle in as gracefully as SaraBeth. She received the name Lacey, and although she seemed healthy, she sat in her cage lethargically, seemed sluggish, and didn't eat, drink, or use the restroom hardly any the entire three days she was on the back porch. By, hardly any, I mean there was no poop that I could see, unless she had been eating it, and she didn't touch her pellets to my knowledge, just nibbled some hay, and didn't drink much, if any, water. As the beginner rabbit raiser that I am, my research immediately led GI stasis to my attention. Out of worry and the, lets say, not so good outlook on rabbits that get it, I started giving Lacey mint, greens, and parsley in small amounts about three times a day. This didn't help her bathroom problems or her pellet eating, but at least she was getting moisture from that green food. By Sunday, we were ready to move rabbits and I was a bit more relaxed, because somehow I knew once we got Lacey out with the other rabbits and she could observe them eating, drinking, hopping, etc, she would want to do the same. After the barn was finished, I moved them to two brand new cages out in the new barn with the other rabbits. SaraBeth settled in at an almost alarming rate, drinking plenty, eating lots of pellets, ANNIHILATING any hay I put in her cage, and pooping very regularly. Lacey caught up slowly, but FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY, after what felt like an eternity, but was only like two days, I started to see small indentations in her pellets when I went to check, and slightly misshapen, but present, poop on the ground. And then as of this morning, she has completely settled in. She is eating plenty of pellets, enjoying human contact better, pooping normally and finally drinking out of her crock! I was ecstatic.  

Perhaps I freaked out a little too much... Okay... I was crazy... But rabbits are kind of confusing sometimes, and you don't always know why the crap they do things that they do... And sometimes research can lead you to think the worst. I'm sure all of you rabbit people out there can relate, am I right?? ;)
Both does had a tiny touch of ear mites, so we gave them a shot of Ivomec, and kept them out of contact with the other rabbits, as I've heard it is very contagious. Now their ears are soft and pink again, no yucky crusties!
 The previous owner said that SaraBeth ate her babies, however I know of several ways to prevent that, and if any of you other rabbit folks out there have any input on those unfortunate incidents, your advice would be greatly appreciated! :) I was also told that Lacey wouldn't take when breeding, so she had never kindled even after being bred to two separate bucks... So again, any information or advice on getting does to take would be appreciated!
Phew! Sorry for such a long post! I'm sure you lovelies don't have much time to sit around reading my book! But anyways, have an amazing Thanksgiving and I'll try not to wait so long before posting again!