I haven’t posted about rabbits for awhile, especially considering the name of this site. There have been a lot of changes in the past few months.
The biggest and best change is that I finally replaced the roof on my barn. For two years whenever it rained the poor bunnies had to live with the occasional drip which slowly turned into a constant drizzle as the tarp I put up weathered away. I even lost a whole litter once when they were drowned by accident. That was a horrible experience. Now I’ve installed a nice new metal roof that I’m proud to say I built myself and learned a lot in the process. I still have work to do on it yet like fascia boards but at least things are now watertight. You wouldn’t believe the constant anxiety it was causing me knowing the rabbits were living without a proper roof! Summers were fine but spring and fall are very wet here. Soon I will be replacing the old falling-off, flip-up garage door with some nice dutch barn doors. To these I would also like to add a dog/cat door so my team can maintain a constant mouse vigil.
I also went through a paring down process with the rabbits themselves. My first purebred rabbits here were Silver Martens, as that was all I could get at the time. While they were nice rabbits, they just didn’t grow fast enough or large enough for me to be viable as meat rabbits. So I got rid of them.
Now I’m down to four does and two bucks. I have Esther, my reliable Creme d’Argent doe, Samphire, my Californian doe, Tuna, my Black Otter Standard Rex doe and Bluefin, her daughter, a Blue Otter Standard Rex. My bucks are Scorch, the Californian and Timmy the Black Otter Rex. It’s a nice variety and a good number for me right now I think.
As of this moment all of my does are (fingers-crossed) bred. I’m expecting a litter of Cal/Creme meat hybrids, a litter of pure Cals, and hopefully two litters of Standard Rex. Three of those litters are due this Wednesday. Nest boxes go in tomorrow.
I resisted getting Californian rabbits at first. Not sure why, I guess they looked kind of boring to me as predominantly white rabbits. Now I’ve changed my mind, and I really like my Cal pair. They were skittish at first, but have calmed down a lot as adults and seem to enjoy petting. They are never, ever aggressive. I also love Esther, my Creme doe. She’s been with me from the beginning and was a gift from a local rabbit breeder. She’s a big, beautiful, sweet girl who is a fantastic mother, does excellent on forage and has never shown a hint of aggression, ever.
Then there are the Rexes. While Timmy, who is an ex-pet rabbit would never think of being mean (he is also the only rabbit who I can free range in the yard and trust to return to his cage), the girls have had their moments. Both Rex does have stomped, growled, boxed and lunged at me, although I’ve never been bitten. I’m kind of split on the issue because I really like both of them as breeders (not that they’ve proven to be reliable mothers yet at this point), but I also don’t see the point of having aggressive rabbits here at all. It’s possible they act out primarily when hormonal, so I’ll have to be mindful of that. They’ll have a chance to prove themselves as moms in the next few weeks and that will help my decision, I’m sure. At least I hope it does.
They’ve been very good lately, but that may be because spring brings lots of fresh treats. If they continue to be aggressive with me once they have kits, I think I’ll have no choice but to cull once the kits are weaned. I do not want to be bitten by a rabbit.
Check back soon for baby bunnies!