New Garden Resident


I finally bit the bullet and ordered a few yards of mulch and fish compost today. Boy I love a big, black pile of dirt! While spreading fresh mulch in my front gardens I noticed this little green fellow sitting on a rhubarb leaf. He looks like a tree frog. I wonder how he got here?

I do know that the only reason he can exist here is because of my new garden. There are many more cool hiding spaces, bugs and worms now. Before I moved here there would have been nowhere at all for him to stay. It’s nice knowing that my gardening efforts have attracted admirers! I hope he sticks around.


Even the frogs have cat hair on them around here

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The Creme d’Argent/Standard Rex Litter

DSC_0031These little guys are four days old now and their colors are coming in. This is my first time breeding Esther to Timmy, and I’m a little surprised with the results. Four of the nine kits are a dark agouti or wild type, which is not a shock. The other five look for all the world like purebred Creme d’Argents!
DSC_0030DSC_0032Although his phenotype is black otter, I know that Timmy carries some light genes because he produces a lot of blues and has even sired a tort. This breeding confirms that even further. I’m not sure if these fawn kits will show silvering like their mom, though I do know it’s a dominant trait and almost always shows up when she throws blacks, although does not appear on the agoutis.




DSC_0034If the fawn kits do grow up to look like purebred Cremes, I might hold on to a couple. It’s not an ideal situation, but there’s nowhere else to get a Creme d’Argent around here and my first effort to breed pure Cremes failed, with two kits that were both ultimately infertile and no further access to the buck who was owned by another breeder.

Of course breeding these kits would likely have some recessive traits show up like Rex fur, but I can weed those out. I’d be interested to see what a sibling breeding would produce. Maybe I can create my own Creme d’Argents?

Every commercial rabbit breed today began as a mix of breeds. Occasionally people will toss a different breed of rabbit into their purebred program to improve some trait or reduce another. As long as everything is recorded on the pedigree I don’t see a problem.

I wish I had more cages so I could do more breeding experiments. It’s a great, first-hand way of understanding rabbit coat color genetics, and I like being surprised by interesting kits. With solely purebred bunnies, you pretty much get the same thing every time.


Look at those cute little teeth!

More New Bunnies


Esther’s kits next to my lupines and mint

Well my girls came through. Esther kindled nine bunnies and Tuna kindled ten. That’s what you call a twenty-nine rabbit long weekend.

Esther’s kits had already arrived when I went in to check this morning. She had a combination of half light ginger kits and half what looks to me like black otter. I can’t wait to see how they turn out. As usual she pulled enough fur to line a hot tub.


One of Esther’s ginger kits

I was so busy getting excited over Esther’s kits that I barely noticed that Tuna was in labor. She ignored her fresh bunch of grass so that should have been the first indication. As I watched her over about a half hour period, she methodically gave birth to her large litter of healthy kits. Here they are just moments after being born, you can still see some placenta that hasn’t been cleaned out yet. These are some big litters so I’m hoping the predominantly fresh diet will keep all the kits alive. We shall see.


Tuna’s litter

The Garden


New baby rabbits and new baby plants

The garden this year has been doing very well. I’m sure the constant application of rabbit manure over a two year period is mostly responsible. I was lucky enough to score about 25 giant black plastic containers for free from a neighbor putting in a hedge, I think they’re about 10-15 gallons each, and so I’ve been filling them with compost and planting everything my heart desires. I have yacon, sunchokes, mammoth russian sunflowers, dill, tomatillos, baby doll watermelon, and delphiniums right now waiting to sprout. In my smaller flats I have phacelia, pickling cukes, red and green shiso, jalapenos and sweet peppers, celeriac and eggplant. I plan to put a few tomatoes of each kind in a pot full of compost as well to see how they compare to my tomatoes in the ground.

Last year I planted too many tomatoes and ended up not getting any, really. I got a lot of tasteless yellow cherry tomatoes that had self seeded, and most of my heirlooms went to rot before I could gather them. It was a sad time.

This year I am more disciplined. I have restricted myself to three types of tomato and started all the seeds in early March, outdoors in a cold-sowing operation. By that I mean they were started in plastic milk jugs. They did well and sprouted, now I have a good dozen seedlings of each kind: Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Japanese Black Trifele, and Brandywine. When it comes to tomatoes, I don’t care how they look. I want ones that taste good.


Grapes turning pink


Volunteer lavender plant in the asparagus bed


Blue columbines


Bachelor’s buttons


Patio peach tree


Peonies, finally!


More columbines


Edible violets


Perennial pansies


Lovely rhubarb


Double white lilacs




Valerian flower, such a sweet fragrance


Blue Veronica, getting ready to bloom


My asiatic lily patch, getting there!


My yellow climbing rose


The coop and hop vine


Backyard veggie garden progress


Poor white chicken is moulting


Old heritage rose


Love these big red poppies


Smaller white poppies are good too

New Bunnies Day

DSC_0044 Today was the due date for Esther, Samphire and Tuna; but when I went out to the barn for chores this evening, only one nest was furry and that was Sam’s. She kindled ten pink and healthy purebred Californian kits. Here they are next to my purple and orange cauliflower starts that need to get put in the ground ASAP.

As for Tuna, nothing. She just wanted her grass and treats and that’s that. I was a little surprised because I remember the breeding going very well. She hasn’t used her nestbox as a toilet yet though, so I’m still hopeful. Maybe tomorrow.

Esther sometimes kindles on day 32, so it’s not that unusual that her box was still empty. Once I had just about finished my barn chores, around dusk, I noticed her going into birthing mode. She was acting restless and breathing very rapidly and heavily. Then she started pulling fur. I sat down and watched her for awhile since it’s not something I usually see. She pulled it rhythmically from her dewlap and also from down both her sides. Then she gathered it all up and put it into the nest box. It’s nice that my rabbits have become comfortable enough with me that I get to witness these private moments more and more.


Resting in between fur-pulling sessions

It’s been a few hours since then so I’ll bet she has a litter out there right now. I’m very excited to see what she’ll throw since this is my first Standard Rex/Creme d’Argent litter. I don’t think we’ll have any Rex-furred kits this generation, but I’m hoping for some interesting colors. I’m also interested in finding out how this hybrid combo compares to the others as far as grow out is concerned.

Here’s an idea of the amount of greens the bunnies get fed every day during this time of year. The grass is growing so fast they can scarcely keep up. I have one tractor of four bunnies who have a low roof and a huge bundle of grass placed on top for them every day where they can pull it down and eat it. These particular bunnies have eaten almost no pellets and have only made it through one quarter of a 32 oz water bottle in ONE WHOLE WEEK. I will be constructing more low-roof tractors so that I can capitalize on this. I love the more natural diet, the fact that it’s free, and the added health benefits both for the rabbits and for the eventual consumer of the rabbits. Me.


Youngest Rex Litter Ready to Go


Bucks on the left, does on the right

Bluefin’s kits are now six weeks old and ready to go to new homes. I checked them today and there are two blue otter does, one blue otter buck and two black otter bucks. The tort doe has been reserved. Bucks are $25, and does are $30.

These little guys are forage fiends and I probably fill their cage with fresh grasses three times during the hour span of my daily barn chores, they just can’t get enough.

Sometimes with the adult rabbits, I’ll put an additional pile of greens on top of their cages for them to pull down and eat at their leisure. Apparently Mushrooms thought I was preparing a nice cool bed for her and settled in for a nap on top of Scorch’s abode.


First Rabbit Tattoos


This guy was my guinea pig, I’ll bet you thought he was a rabbit

Recently I bought myself a KBTatts tattoo pen, so I could keep better track of my rabbits. Today it was put to use for the first time. This hybrid buck was my first test subject, and was bundled up into a towel snugly so he couldn’t move. His left ear was swabbed with rubbing alcohol, his number was stenciled in with a sharpie, and I gave the stencil a thin coating of coconut oil since I don’t have petroleum jelly. Then it was just a matter of going over the lines until the desired thickness was achieved. This little trooper didn’t even flinch once!


My first tattoo, folks

My protocol with ID tattoos will be an A for my rabbitry, followed by the year the rabbit was born, followed by the number of rabbit they are to be tattooed that year. So this guy got A151.

DSC_0038A pair of Standard Rex kits have been reserved, so they were next. The blue otter buck went first with minimal flinching and became A152.


Looking handsome

DSC_0041Possibly you notice something peeking out from the right ear? Normally the right ear is reserved for ARBA identification if the rabbit gets registered. However my customer wasn’t too concerned with showing her rabbits so she had a special request for their right ears…

DSC_0040A little heart. So both these cuties go home with something extra special.

DSC_0050Even the little six week old tortoiseshell doe was very good for her tattoos. I don’t think they feel very much during the tattooing, but they were very happy to be back in their cages with fresh treats after their ordeal.

I’m so glad to finally have my own tattoo machine so I can keep proper records. It’s a bit more work than a clamp style tattoo machine and requires a steady hand, but I think it’s more comfortable for the rabbit. I’ve seen the clamps in use and most rabbits will really jump when you clamp down. Also, I’ve seen those kinds of tattoos fade over the years. Hopefully these will stay nice and legible. If not, I can always touch them up.