Monday, November 23, 2009

Rainy Days

Seems like its been raining alot lately! On rainy days off its nice to sit inside, with a cup of cocoa, read a good book and of course play with ever growing baby Rhinelanders. Working nights and weekends does have its perks!
I submitted my entries for the Richmond Show today, I am officially going now that the money has been sent, I will be bringing 3 senior Rhinelander bucks to show and 2 Belgian hare bucks, one junior and one senior. All the does will be at home either on litters, pregnant, or getting into condition for PaSRBA in February. Neither Hares nor Rhinelanders are sanctioned but as always I bring my bunnies along for breed promotion!
There are over 40 listing at the Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Index, if you haven't submitted your listing yet please do so! Photos, and breed descriptions are still needed too :)
I probably won't be posting until after the holiday, so I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

The goats sing in unision, "WE HATE THE RAIN!!!"

Churro's babies are fully mobile and getting into lots of mischief on their adventures. Fajita's brood's eyes are open and soon they too will be exploring.

Cousin <3

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Raising Imagination Baby Bunnies

I've commented on this before on my old blog at Suburban Bunnies, but one of the best aspects of raising rabbits is that there are many different ways to do so, each having their own unique merits and each fits different lifestyles. From feeding to grooming to housing ask any two breeders and you'll get 2 very different answers as to what is best. Today I'm going to talk about raising baby bunnies.
Large commercial rabbitries typically leave all baby bunny raising up to the momma doe rabbit. Smaller rabbitries like my own tend to take much more active roles in the lives of baby bunnies born at our homes, although how involved a person is varies from rabbitry to rabbitry.
A great template article on how I base my methods of raising baby bunnies can be seen on top English Angora rabbit breeder Betty Chu's website. I do not use all of her suggestions but think the article is a great resource for those who want to take a more active role is raising baby bunnies.
Starting at birth I bring the nestbox inside my home where it is cleaned out and each baby is checked over thoroughly, any dead babies are removed and disposed of. The baby bunnies are returned to their mom in their nestbox for their first feedings, and once they have been fed so begins the nestbox juggle. Each day the nestbox is brought out to momma doe once or twice a day for nursing and then the babies return inside my home where they spend their days until they reach about 2.5-3 weeks old at the earliest. At this age the baby bunnies are usually hopping around in and out of the nestbox so they can be safely left with momma doe for care and rabbit socialization. They still come in the home for several hours in one of my indoor pet bunny cages for human and other animal socialization. (A side note here: I personally do not cull at birth except for defects/health problems that would inhibit the quality of life of the rabbit, I'll talk more about what I do with charlies and sports in Rhinelanders in my next post.)
I find that because of frequent handling and being socialized so young to dogs, cats and people that the baby bunnies usually end up as friendly, calm mannered adult rabbits.
I will mix up my Rhinelander litters and let them spend time together so long as they are close enough in age because they are so uniquely marked and I am easily able to tell them apart. Hare litters are kept separately until they are tattooed in order to prevent confusion and mixing up babies, dots with different colored markers in the ear is just not reliable enough when rabbits are such fastidious cleaners.
Having baby bunnies is the best part of keeping rabbits, they are insanely cute, curious and playful. It is so much fun to be able to hold them in one hand and pet their super soft baby fur. It is rewarding to watch them go from awkward hoppers to morph into beautiful show bunnies with elegant grace. Right now I'm having so much fun with my 8 little Rhinelanders and can't wait until the rest of my litters arrive next month!
Reuben shows off where I normally keep my babies under 2.5 weeks old, an old doll cradle where up to 20 babies can fit at any time.

The babies get bigger every day, Churro's litter has their eyes open and are starting to hop around more now that they are 11 days old. Fajita's babies are almost fully furred at 5 days old, their orange is also starting to blend more with the black which is a good thing, it balances out their color. All 5 marked babies from both litters at this time have excellent show prospects for next year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Faces and Ramblings

The Taylorsville show was ALOT of fun, it was my first North Carolina show and hopefully not my last. The biggest deterrant for going to the southern shows is the drive involved.. it took me almost 6 hours to get there and 5 hours on the way back.. thats just too long of a drive.. perhaps next time I can convince someone to travel with me.. too bad there aren't any local rabbit exhibitors that I know of!
It was a real pleasure to meet some new "old" friends from the wonderful world of rabbit habbit and see some friends I haven't seen in a while too!
I have one more show this December tentatively set, its the Richmond Show which is about as local as it gets for me since I'm pretty sure the show is under 2 hours from my house. (Hey Virginia - we need to get rolling on a state breeders association and advertise our hobby so we can have more local shows! My car would really appreciate that ;o)
My new bunnies are settling in well, they are all very cute and curious, especially my new jr. hare buck from Keep's Rabbitry. I'm pretty sure he's going to be named Bandito Jr. after his daddy a buck I bred from my very first hare litter.
Along with Bandito jr. "Seven" who I'm calling Clown for now is doing great, he's a goofball for sure, loves his toys and the ladies. Along with my new permanent additions I also am borrowing Jasmine a Belgian Hare owned by Keep's Rabbitry and bred by Meg for a while to see if I can get her bred to Duke. She is a very stubborn doe, but my fingers are crossed for success. Duke would match her very nicely, she is short in length and body but Duke has tons of length and body. She has the deep red shade with nice ticking, while Duke is chestnut based. Overall if I can get her bred to him the babies should be stunning!
I got some does bred today, 1 Hare and 2 Rhinelanders, I'm excited for more babies in December. The two Rhinelander litters are doing great, here are photos of some of the new faces in the barn.

The Knoxville Zoo's Seven, he is a beautifully marked buck with lots of spunk, he will be showing next year, he's got nice type!

LLR's Isaac Newton, this buck has a toenail DQ but look at that length!! He's overposed because his front legs are really that long and straight!! He was re-bred to Trixie and hopefully she takes this time around. (Oh and yes the pit bulls are wrestling in the background)

Whitehouse's Jasmine, she's a bit broody after her litter but she has good parts to her, nice color and ticking. She really lacks in length to limb and extension overall, but she should produce some nice babies with Duke. She isn't a fan of being posed so this picture doesn't really do her justice!

Keep's Bandit Jr. a cute little just 4 month old buck, he's a bit short in limb and body too but he should develop nicely, I like the arch he has developing and his smooth HQ.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fajita's New Babies

Fajita kindled on day 32 just like she usually does while I was at the show today. She did a fantastic job and had the babies in their box and covered with fur.. she also built another HUGE mountain of shavings around the nestbox.. it looked a bit like a volcano with the nestbox being the crater.. she'll be moving back to a wire cage once her feet are thickly furred again so she can't keep building, its rather frustrating to spread the shavings out only to have them arranged in a pile 5 minutes later around the nestbox...
Looks like 3 showable marked babies, all rather orange and 2 charlies.
I had a great time in Taylorsville today and hope to have a full report on the southern showing experience this week! It was nice to see you all!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 5

The baby rhinelanders are doing well, here are some new photos to enjoy!
The Rabbit & Cavy Directory launch has been postponed until mid-week next week. Sorry for the delay, just too much going on at the moment to get it up by this weekend.
See you all at the T-Ville show this weekend in NC! :)

Pepper and Reuben guard the trio, naughty baby napper Griffyn watches from above.

Gurading babiesis hard work.

Reuben likes the marked babies best.

Pretty good markings so far

Looks like there are 2 orange spots coming in to make the lightly marked baby showable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just a quick one

Getting adjusted to working nights is going well, working emergency vet medicine is definetely intense but rewarding when patients are saved and will recover.

In the bunny barn things are quite stable at the moment. Churro's 3 babies are getting fatter and fatter each day, since its such a small litter they are absolutely getting the maximum amount of milk possible and so the excellent nourishment they're getting is enabling them to thrive. They have doubled in size from their birthweights and are almost fully furred already! Churro is a fabulous momma doe, she has a great milk supply and she is extremely docile and sweet in regards to me handling her nestbox and her babies. Many does can get boxy and territorial about messing with their boxes, and in my case taking it in and out all the time for feedings. But Churro is as easy going as can be, she's even been binkying around her cage like a maniac when I bring her babies to her.

The two marked kits both have enough spots to show and no visible marking DQs. It will be fun to see how they develop type wise. Rupert although unshowable due to his missing spot is the most beautifully typed Rhinelander in my barn besides Sage. Churro doesn't have bad type but like most of my does she's heavier and more cobby than I'd like. I am very excited for them to grow up but am looking forward to enjoying the "baby" moments over the next few weeks.

Fajita and Trixie are both due this Friday but I'm afraid Trixie has absorbed her litter. She was absolutely bred at 2 weeks but now I am not so sure, if she doesn't kindle she will be re-bred for another litter next week. Fajita is nesting and I do think she has some babies in her based on palpation. I am hopeful this time around she produces a viable litter, she is a good mom when she has live babies, fingers are crossed!

Tomorrow I am embarking on an adventure with the farm, I'm bringing quite a few farm animals (goats, chickens and rabbits) up to the daycare where my mom teaches. This will give the children an opportunity to see some farm critters up close and be able to pet and interact with the furry animals that go along. It should be fun! I'm planning on bringing a variety of rabbits along, faithful Elmo, sweet Ruby the Angora, some Rhinelanders and a Belgian Hare. All 3 goats are going for the ride, hopefully they don't "baaaahhhhh baahhhhh" the whole car ride! ;o)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Photos of Churro's Litter

So far so good with Churro's tiny litter of 3. She is a good momma and doing very well, her babies are cute little bits, very active and wiggly.
Here are their first photos:

The whole litter, all 3 babies. 3 is a very small litter size for Rhinelanders.

Marked baby #1 face shot, the lighter areas will fill in with orange as the baby's fur grows in.

Marked baby #1 good tapering of the spine marking, clean face, one side has nice spots the other is lightly marked making the baby off balance on the side markings.

Marked baby # 2 heavier marked with stray spots on its head, side markings are well balanced.

Unshowable harlequin sport baby, note the already apparent brindling of the orange with the black.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Churro's first litter!

Churro kindled this afternoon around 1ish to 3 healthy baby kits. There are 2 marked babies, one is heavily marked with black but the spots are mostly seperated, wether or not it is showable will depend on how its orange comes in, the other marked baby has one gorgeous side of nicely seperated black spots the other side has one large black marking.. so balance is off already but hopefully the orange that comes in will help offset that. The third baby is a sport, in Rhinelanders sports are harlequin colored but they tend to be more brindled than having any real seperation of pattern the way true harlequins are. I'll try and get a photo of the new litter early this week when they have more fur...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Some Old Faces...

If you've followed my blog from the begining, all the way back to my blog at Suburban Bunnies you probably know that the wonderful world of rabbits began for me with pet bunnies just like most other rabbit breeders.

2010 will mark my 8th year of living with rabbits and what an experience the last 8 years of keeping rabbits has been, full of incredible ups and quite a few downs. My first rabbit Ezra passed away over a year ago now, he is still sorely missed but I can look back on many fond memories when I think about him. I am fortunate to still have quite a few of my "original" pet bunnies, at one time my largest group of pet bunnies included 6 spayed and neutered bunnies living harmoniously together.

Avery the "glue," and peacemaker of my pet bunny group was put to sleep earlier this year and since his passing things in the group never have been quite the same. Shelby my oldest bunny (8 yrs+) and my 2nd rabbit ever was picked on, and essentially cast out from the group. (Rabbits have very complex social hierarchy when living in groups.) She spent some time living alone, rather depressed at my house, then she was joined by and pretty much raised my solo Rhinelander kit baby Uno, but once he was placed in a new home she was alone again. After much thought she moved into a new home, she is now living with a family friend as an only spoiled house rabbit. She is enjoying the one on one attention she deserves and is no longer being picked on by the 4 remaining "bullies," of the pet group. I get regular updates on her, and apart from chewing on a lamp cord she has been very well behaved and made herself quite at home. I hope she continues to do well in her new home, she couldn't have a better place to live out her twilight years.

The rest of the pet group has been stabilized at 4 rabbits since Shelby was pulled out. They were living at my mom's house while I got their barn in order. Unfortunately the barn never got worked out to be exactly as I wanted it for them but its in good enough shape for them to live in until spring when some renovations will need to be made. The group moved down yesterday and after a night of getting adjusted they seem quite comfortable in their new home. They live in a large run inside their barn where they romp together freely. The group consists of Jules and Melody 6 year old spayed Mini Lops, Elmo a 2 year old neutered French Lop and Cinder a 2 year old neutered Flemish Giant.

Today all 4 got a much needed grooming, nail trims, and a romp in the goat paddock. Jules who has had a chronic ear infection since I adopted her is being treated with some new medications in the hopes that she will finally be ear infection free. She is a very good patient! Cinder still is quite flighty even after having him a year, he is extremely active when he runs about the paddock and makes the most enormous giant rabbit binkies.. Elmo is a relaxed, quiet rabbit who came from Lynn at Spanish Oak Rabbitry, he spends much of his time napping, or just watching things go by, nothing phases French Lops. Melody is the brains of the group, and though she is the smallest she is the leader, today she seemed content to stay at Elmo's side and watch Jules and Cinder dance about.

Its nice to have the last batch of my bunnies home, a very special thanks to my mom for looking after them for the last 5 months!

Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Directory News: The goal is to have the entire website launched and ready to go this coming week of November, just a few more details left to finalize, the launch date is tentatively set for Friday the 13th!


My two pit bulls, Pepper and Reuben. Reuben celebrates his 1 year birthday today! Happy Birthday big boy!

A very angry but still pretty Jules after having her right ear flushed, medication poured in and a pen g sub-q injection..

Melody the leader with her beloved Elmo.

Melody blinded by the sun, she's a feisty gal.

Elmo, he's very molty at the moment.

Cinder posing like a real Flemish Giant

Cinder, a very handsome bunny.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More photos!

The days of nearly daily blog posts will be ending soon.. I'm returning to work part time at a local emegency vet clinic this weekend. I've gotten alot in order on the farm front during my time off from work and am looking forward to tending to sick and injured animals again. Here are some new photos to enjoy since there isn't much to report.

Pepper and Griffyn about to "tango."

Pepper and her growing flock.

Pretty GC Imagination's Maeve

The goats like their new deck

Emmer, Maeve's sister, very pretty too!

Emmer with her friend Fiddle having a conversation.

The 4 Dominique hens, runty is on the far right.