Friday, April 29, 2011

Being Responsible - The Limitations

Breeders of any animal be it a dog, cat or rabbit are often targeted as the reason why there are so many homeless animals in shelters.

While I do sympathize with the millions of pets stuck in animal shelters throughout the world I do have to say that as a breeder I cannot be held responsible for those animals. Pet owners who choose to purchase or adopt an animal without doing research or without consideration for the lifetime commitment they are making for the pet are the reason why there are so many animals in shelters. Are there bad breeders out there? Of course, puppy mills and unethical people who pump out litter after litter come to mind, but I will not allow myself to be lumped in with the bad eggs when I take every precaution to ensure that the animals I produce do not end up in shelters.

My sales policies state I will always take an animal I have sold back no questions asked. I especially expect pet buyers to utilize this part of the sales policy should they no longer be able to care for their animal. With that said the only exception to taking an animal back is if it is infected with some sort of contaigous pathogen. In this case I will make every effort to assist my buyer with rehoming or euthanizing their animal if it is too ill to be treated.

Perhaps I'm lucky that I raise farm animals, and YES bunnies are farm animals. While bunnies are a popular pet throughout the nation, make no mistake rabbits are multipurpose agricultural animals that fill a variety of purposes from beloved pet, to healthy dinner on the table, all the way to lab animal fascilitating breakthroughs in medicine.

I am VERY supportive of all uses of the domestic rabbit which is why I am an ARBA member - an organization that promotes all aspects of the domestic rabbit. I am extremely leery of PETA like organizations such as the House Rabbit Society which are bunny terrorists in my opinion. Have I owned "house rabbits," in the past? Absolutely! Do I have pet rabbits now? Yes!

The key difference with me is that even though some of my rabbits are pets, the majority of them are considered livestock and while they are all treated with dignity and respect, and spoiled absolutely rotten with toys, treats, and playtime, each agricultural rabbit serves a purpose be it show animal, brood animal, or food animal. Whether a rabbit is destined for slaughter for meat purposes or the show table the way they are treated is the same. They all live happy lives in large cages with play time, adequate nutrition and mental stimulation. For the rabbits that are going to be processed to feed my dogs, they are humanely euthanized by an AVMA accepted method and after death are quickly dressed.

I am a firm believer in not inflating the already full pet marked with rabbits. While I do sell rabbits as pets from time to time, the majority of my sales are to fellow breeders which I prefer. I am well aware of the many rabbits that are dumped into animal shelters or set loose this time of year after Easter. Instead of selling rabbits as pets I have the option of processing them for meat where they serve a greater purpose by providing my dogs with a healthy meat source saving me money on their rather expensive premium dog food. I am of the opinion that it is far better to live a short happy life then a long life of neglect that far too many bunnies live when their owners' become bored or the family forgets about the bunny living in the outside hutch. I process a steady number of rabbits each month, each of these bunnies are not displacing a shelter rabbit from a home as so many "only adopt, don't buy," campaigns claim.

What prompted me to blog about the measures I take to ensure I'm not having rabbits I produced end up in shelters is this little bunny below.

The gray area of being a responsible breeder is what do you do with the homeless bunnies out there?

Should we take in rescue rabbits? What if someone you know approaches you about a rabbit they don't want or can't keep? I always avoid these scenarios as much as possible as I feel if a person signs over the rights to the bunny as an owner to me then I can do what I see fit with the rabbit, be it rehome it, or euthanize it for meat.

I was contacted by a neighbor the other day about a bunny they had found hopping loose in the parking lot of a McDonalds. The bunny above is that bunny, an agouti and white 4-5 lb. Lionhead mix of some sort (he has a small mowhawk.) This intact male rabbit would never have survived for long and he was friendly enough that he was easily caught.

Most animal shelters around here aren't prepared to house rabbits let alone try to adopt them out and with Easter just a few days past their intake on rabbits is high which means a great number are euthanized. Personally I hate to see a healthy rabbit injected with a euthanasia solution when it could be euthanized with another humane method and then processed to feed another animal. What a waste to inject a meat producing animal with a toxic substance making their yield worthless. I agreed to take in this rabbit they named "Honey Bunny," to spare him an instant injection of death in a scary shelter. Instead he can live out a week at my farm where he can eat as much as he wants in a stable rabbit savy environment while I see if I can find him a home. If not, then after the week I give him I can humanely euthanize him and process him for meat.

I didn't breed this mixed breed rabbit, and I'm of the opinion that it is not my responsibility to take him in and rehome him. Yet, I did take him in and now that he's here I have to figure an appropriate end for him wether it be in another screened pet home or a humane end with a purpose.

While some people may not like the fact that the rabbit may end up being used for meat, I just say to those people that every day thousands of animals are euthanized because there aren't enough homes. Isn't it better that the rabbit be used to feed another animal rather then euthanized and thrown away?

What to do in a situation like this is something every breeder should think about..

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Photos and more photos!

Here's a bunch of photos from my family visiting this weekend for my birthday, we had a whole lot of fun!

Ritz is getting so big!

My adorable nephew Miles at 10 months of age. So fluffy and cute.

It got HOT, so Pumba went for a swim in the baby pool

Miles is convinced that Pumba will one day play with him...

HAPPY piggie!

Pumba was doing a "dog shake," in this photo, he sprayed Miles with water!

My grandparents checking out the goat paddock

My huge puppy Ritz and my beautiful sister

My grandma giving Tiger the bunny some love

Pumba enjoying a treat from my sister

My grandma needs more arms, all the goats wanted attention at the same time!

My lovely niece, Lexy almost 3 years old

My nosey goats.. a pregnant Caddy up front

Goats right off the front porch = fun

Pumba getting some num nums from grandma

Some VERY tired doggies

Ritz looking cute on the deck

My grandpa and Ritz on the sofa

Goats resting by the cars

My grandma and Dude the goat on the front porch

My sister and her two adorable fur babies

Family photo

The only photo with me in it! ;)

All in all it was a great weekend. I have another hectic week ahead but if the weather agrees with me on Wednesday I'll get new photos of the junior Rhinelanders and possibly some of the goats.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


To celebrate my birthday today I worked the overnight last night and will work the overnight again tonight.. LOL I know how to have a good time, right?

On the plus side I have tomorrow off and my family is coming to visit which should be alot of fun. My niece and nephew the fluffy goldendoodles Lexy and Miles are coming down with my sister and her fiance, I can't wait to let them run around and walk in the woods. They're city dogs so they should have alot of fun on their trip to the country.

Two Rhinelander juniors departed to a new home today, its always exciting to place Rhinelanders in homes with new exhibitors. I'm always hopeful that new folks will stick with the breed even though it can be a challenge to get showable babies. I wish them and their new family lots of luck.

I'm starting to look over Nutmeg's showable marked kits and make some decisions, a few of the girls are very promising even though their faces are dark - their side spots and clean marking pattern make up for the lack of color balance on their faces. I'm excited to see how they grow and develop.. next week new photos of them all - I promise ;)

I took a few "fun" photos today while out and about around the farm.

A very promising junior doe in Nutmeg's litter. I just hope her dirty ear base stays an ear base and doesn't become a shoulder spot. She is beautiful and my POL at the moment.

Imagination's unnamed.. I was going to name him Scout but I have a goat named Scout coming home in a few weeks.. he has a suspicious shoulder spot like marking but I'm growing him out to be certain. He is VERY friendly and actually likes being held and handled which is uncommon in Rhinelanders which normally like head rubs and petting but not to be carried about.

Imagination's Wish - 12 week old jr. doe - promising little lady

Imagination's Dream - Wish's sister, promising, LOVE her type - check out that arch!

And then of course there's the pit bulls here's cate training at its finest..

Things have stabilized a bit with the dogs. I'm continuing to keep Pepper and Lady separated most of the time unless I can keep a close eye on them and monitor their interactions together. The dog kennels are halfway completed and are turning out to be very useful. I'll have photos of the kennels put up once they're a bit more complete.

And before I sign off, thank you very much for all the birthday wishes! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday/Easter

This weekend is my birthday and since I'm working my mom was kind enough to celebrate with me today and then the rest of family is coming down on Sunday to celebrate some more.

My mom found this awesome cake with funny bunny glasses on it.. dog torture followed of course..

Hopefully some time in between work and animal fun this coming week I'll have a chance to snap updated photos of the junior Rhinelanders and update my sales page. The junior Rhinelannders get cuter every day. Its hard to believe in another week and a half my first "official," ARBA Convention litters are due too!

Spring has absolutely sprung here on the farm, now that the construction projects are winding down slightly (goat barn updates start in a few weeks) I need to get the garden rolling, I'm very behind on that this year but hope to get at least a few pots planted and something in the raised bed..

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it and I'll try and post again soon. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Still here!

I've been neglectful of website updates and blog posts! My apologies, I'm working day practice and emergency at the moment so I'm working about 6 days a week and that doesn't leave much time for internet updates, all my free time goes to making sure the animals are well cared for.

The new bunny barn is working out even better than expected. The amount of time I save with no longer having to clean trays is really incredible. Also having all the bunnies at the same level enables me to really play and interact with each bunny as I feed and hay them each day. I'm having a new longer running board installed, I can't wait to get some of juniors on it to get them trained for the show table.

I haven't updated the wesbite yet but all the sale rabbits are sold. I'll be sorting through Nutmeg's bunch of kits next, although at the moment I'm planning to hold on to all of the showable kits. There is a baby with a double cheek spot and a baby missing a cheek spot that will be for sale, both bucks if I remember correctly. All of Churro's kits which are 2 charlie does and a sport buck will be for sale. I'll try and get updated photos of them this coming week if I have time.

In other farm news I took Ritz to a UKC dog show and entered him in the novice puppy class, he had a great time and we got to see lots of beautiful dogs. The goats are nearing the end of their pregnancies, we have about a month and half to go til the first babies are born in June. All 5 goat does are begining to develop udders and are looking pretty big, it will be so much fun to have goat kids on the farm again. My fainting goat trio of kids I reserved will also be coming home in early May so lots of goatie excitement is soon to come.

Here are some recent farm photos:

This pretty gal took 1st place in the novice puppy class, she turned 6 months old the next day and got to compete in the puppy class for points!

Ritz is getting very big, here he is playing tug with Lady

Here is Ritz and Reuben with a bunch of goaties grazing in the backyard

That scruffy looking goat is Dude, he's shedding his winter coat at the moment and there's Ritz bouncing about.

Ritz would really like to chew on the nylabone Reuben has

I thought this was a neat shot of Lady and Dude the goat

Here's a pregnant Almond Joy, she has a tiny little udder developing! (Ritz is in the background..)

The goats are mowing the back lawn in this shot. Its so nice that everything has turned green again, I love spring!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bunny Faces

Here are some faces within the new bunny barn.

Anyone who's been following my blog both here and my old Suburban Bunnies blog will recognize this floofy face, its Ruby my beautiful pet English Angora! Ruby's experienced alot of change over the past few years and she's taken it all in stride. She's the BEST! <3

Ferchaud's Blues being an asbolute goofus! She is pregnant and due in early May, can't wait for this litter, its my first possibility of blue Rhinelander kits.
Imagination's Pumpkin being antisocial in the back of her cage.. She is also pregnant, she is Nutmeg's sister so I'm hoping for a bunch of beautiful babies just like Nutmeg.

Eeyore's Rupert, my favorite Rhinelander in the whole world. He is such a sweetie.

Imagination's Charlie stretched out, this is my best hopping rabbit. I have some videos I'll have to share of him, he's made alot of progress.

Padlina's Confetti showing off her bootay.. she is pregnant too and not amused by cameras.

Mister Bumble, he is a fiesty fellow!

I still have a bazillion things to do this week on the farm but everything is going slowly.. As the bunny projects wind down and get completed it means its almost time to get started on a bunch of goat projects, seeding the doe and buck paddocks, building the new doe barn, improving the fencing for the upcoming summer goat kids, etc.

One thing is for certain when you live on a farm there is always something to improve!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bunny Barn 2.0

Here are a few photos of the in progress and functioning Bunny Barn 2.0!

Life without dropping trays is pure bliss!

One side of the bunny barn where the autowatering pressure regulators are mounted.

One of the 2 pressure regulators for the auto watering system. These are connected directly to buried hoses so the bunnies have a constant supply of fresh water. One of the sides of the bunny barn, Sage is up front on the right. There are 16 cages on this side. The other side of the cages, still a work in progress, there will be 32 holes total inside the barn. Sage in her cage, and Bumble in the back The lighting inside the barn along with ceiling fans!