Opal’s Latest Litter

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This little litter of five are just over three weeks old now. They are one of those exceptionally calm litters of bunnies we occasionally get, and we even had a couple of rare colors show up.

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Blue otter

I think we might have our very first broken blue otter, I believe all the others turned out to be broken opals in past litters. There is also another stunning solid blue otter, the color that a few families were fighting over last time. The photo makes him/her look a bit washed out but he/she is definitely a blue.

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Broken blue otter

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Broken black otter

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Opal #1

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Opal #2

I really like the broken black otters, and we got another one this time as well as two opals, one much lighter than the other. If you can believe it, I even noticed the broken blue trying to hump his or her siblings between takes! Three weeks is now officially the youngest I’ve ever seen that happen, by a long shot. I flipped him/her over for a quick check, looks like a doe but a bit early to know for sure. Hopefully!

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Look at that little face!

These cuties were a pleasure to work with today and enjoyed their first nibbles of fresh greens while waiting to have their pictures taken. This litter will be ready for new homes on November 12th and will make excellent pets.

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Downsizing the Rabbitry

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Scorch

I’ve decided that I have a few more rabbits than I really need, and I’d like to concentrate my efforts on just a couple of breeds. Therefore, I have some really nice breeding stock for sale!

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Samphire

Although I love them, I will be getting out of Californians. They are superb bunnies for beginners, gentle and easy to handle and great breeders and mothers. My young breeding pair, Samphire and Scorch, never let me down. They are purebred bunnies but do not come with pedigrees because I was never able to get them from the seller. Breed them for four generations and you will be able to create your own pedigrees though. They are both 11.5 pounds and about two years old. They are unrelated.

I also have two beautiful 12 week old does from their latest litter ready to go. Breed them pure to sell as breeding stock or cross them with another commercial breed for fast growing meat hybrids.

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12 week old doe

If you’re interested in any of these superb bunnies, please get in touch! I will be selling Sam and Scorch for $40 each and the two young does are $30 each. I’ll sell you all four together for $120.

 

Rex Litters at Four Weeks

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Enjoying bamboo and blackberry today

The babies are currently at their cutest stage where they become quite active and look like miniature versions of their parents.

Running around eating everything is their greatest joy so I keep them all well stocked with organic forage from the gardens.

These litters have developed a special fondness for arugula and Red Russian kale, which has self seeded everywhere this year and is in particular abundance right now.

There are three broken opals from Fire Opal’s litter:

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And there is one little broken castor and a solid castor:

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There is also a lovely blue otter with a nice, deep colored coat. This bunny is really blue!:

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Then we have two solid opals and a broken black otter:

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Five Spice’s litter consists of two solid castors, two broken castors and a solid opal. I don’t have individual photos of absolutely everyone but you get the idea!:

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Five Spice with her kits

Hybrid Bunnies at 10 Weeks

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Triple hybrid buck still silvering out

The meat cross bunnies are now a little over ten weeks old. Many have been sold, but I still have chestnut agoutis of both sexes in various stages of silvering.

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A close up of his color layering

Some have turned really white, mostly the bucks, although there are a couple true agoutis with a few errant white hairs and the triple crosses also have some black guard hairs mixed in with their overall white. Many of them resemble Argente Bruns to me.

The one double hybrid Creme/Champagne doe left has developed the most amazing silvered pelt with a bright caramel undercoat and no black guard hairs.

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Creme/Champagne doe

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Creme/Champagne doe top view

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Creme/Champagne doe caramel undercoat

As for weigh ins, we have again broken our previous record and these are now the largest meat bunnies we have ever produced here at Abernathy’s! I only weighed two does today, but they came in at 2286g (5.04lbs) and 2543g (5.6lbs).

5.6 pounds at ten weeks! That’s a new record, and I still have at least a dozen more bunnies to put on the scale. Many that appear to be of a similar size or even larger. Not bad!

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Triple hybrid doe

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Triple hybrid doe top view

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You can just barely see some of the black guard hairs if you look closely

 

Latest Rex Litters

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Opal’s litter

We have two new Rex litters that are about a week old now. Opal kindled ten kits, and her daughter Five Spice kindled for the first time, and produced six. All born in the nest on day 32, like mother like daughter.

Five Spice nearly tricked me with her first litter, I was checking nests every day to see if kits had arrived, and on day 32 her nest still looked undisturbed. Unusual for a first timer, usually they make quite a mess. I assumed she had not taken this time… I even put my hand in the nest and felt no warm, squirmy rabbit bodies.

When I went in and stroked her, she flattened out and stuck her hind end in the air, very evidently keen to breed. That was the clincher, I assumed no way would anyone want to breed if they were about to give birth, so I figured I would waste no time and put her back in with the buck.

While they were cavorting, I tidied up her cage and refreshed her food and water. I was removing the nestbox when I saw that there was a tiny bit of fluff in the back corner. Fur in the nest? Sure enough, six perfect little kits were all scrunched up in the far corner.

We have quite a nice color assortment this time, there are many brokens and solids to choose from. Five Spice produced two solid castors, two broken castors and a couple of opals. Five Spice is a solid castor and the sire is a broken castor, so no real surprise there.

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Five Spice’s litter

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Broken castor

Opal has a broken black otter, a few broken opals, a broken castor, a solid castor, some solid opals and what looks like a blue otter.

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Broken black otter

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Broken opal

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Solid castor

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Blue otter

Update on Rabbit Scammer – Desiree Michaels

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Well, it looks like the lady who scammed me out of rabbit pedigrees a couple of years ago and had all her rabbits seized by the SPCA last spring has now joined the bee club. My bee club.

I attended a bee workshop this morning to observe some packages being split and of course, who shows up but Desiree Michaels.

I suppose when you keep people’s money and never give them what they paid for, you can save up some funds and use it get into a new hobby. I’m sure she has much more free time and money on her hands now as well since the taxpayers have funded the removal, medical care, euthanasia, spaying/neutering and rehoming of at least 50 of her horribly neglected rabbits. The news article and video can be found here:

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/50-rabbits-seized-from-deplorable-conditions-near-nanaimo-1.2339872

It was the largest rabbit cruelty seizure that Nanaimo has ever seen. The SPCA is quoted as saying:

“Animals were living next to deceased animals… horrible conditions. Many of them were underweight. Others had overgrown nails that were curled and coiled and dental issues…”

And:

“Photos taken by staff were so appalling that the public would not want to see them…”

This is the woman who now wants to get involved in beekeeping.

I am at least comforted by the fact that you cannot exactly abuse and neglect bees unless you expect to be abused back and your colonies to die in short order. What concerns me is that she may now try to rip off other local beekeepers who do not know how dishonest and heartless she is.

At least I was able to snap a photo of her today, so bee friends please “bee” warned.

 

 

Hybrid Bunnies Silvering Up

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This boy was all brown a week ago

Well lo and behold, the addition of a Champagne d’Argent stud has led to some pretty serious silvering in the offspring!

We got some very cute silvered black hybrids who had their ticking from day one resembling Silver Martens, and have recently begun to lighten up even more. Most of the blacks have sold due to their impossible cuteness but a couple of bucks remain. The real surprise is all the chestnut agouti buns that are starting to look a little snow-covered. How sweet!

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Ears have already turned white on this little buck

Oddly, only Caraway’s kits are showing silvering, she is my Creme/Rex hybrid so her kits are a mix of three breeds. Her mother’s kits which are half Creme and half Champagne do not show any silvering yet and may not at all.

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I have to say that I find the coloration to be quite lovely, and I expect these agouti buns to end up quite frosty-looking with a brown head and undertones. A bit like an Arctic hare changing from their summer to winter coats.

Bunny Update

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Broken blue otter Rex buck

The babies are now a little over a month old and looking very cute. They are eating piles of fresh wild forage each day from our little organic field, which has really been taking off. They hardly eat any pellets at all, and I find this makes them extra healthy and friendly as they look forward to their daily greens.

I did a quick once over and so far it seems like all the bunnies I picked out for the shoot today are bucks except for the little Californian at the end. The photos represent all the colors we have in the current four litters. I have multiple chestnut agouti kits as well as the ticked black. Enjoy!

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Broken blue otter Rex buck, right side

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Broken black otter Rex buck

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Broken black otter Rex, left side

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Opal Rex buck

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Opal Rex buck, left side

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Creme/Rex/Champagne buck

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Creme/Rex/Champagne buck, left side

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Chestnut agouti Creme/Champagne buck

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Chestnut agouti Creme/Champagne buck, right side

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Californian doe

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Californian doe, right side

 

 

Easter Bunnies Update

The first spring litters are now almost three weeks old and everyone is doing great. All kits are fat and happy and just starting to foray out of the nest boxes. Soon they’ll be munching fresh greens alongside their moms.

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This first litter is out of Caraway and they are half Champagne d’Agent, a quarter Standard Rex and a quarter Creme d’Argent. Half the kits came out agouti with a little white spot on their foreheads, and the other half came out looking like black otter Rexes (which is what their grandsire was), with some frosting on their bums that is very similar to Silver Marten markings.

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The next litter is out of Esther, and they are the Creme d’Argent/Champagne d’Argent crosses. They all came out agouti colored but I’ll be interested to see if they develop any white frosting as they mature. The one white kit in the nest is a Californian baby that was transferred as a day old to even out the litter sizes.

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Litter three is out of Samphire, and are our pure Californian bunnies. These little guys are just starting to get their dark points coming in.

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And finally, litter number four is out of Fire Opal and are the purebred Standard Rex buns. She only threw three bunnies this time, so I took four bunnies away from Caraway (she had 11) on day one and transferred them to Opal’s nest. They are the agouti and solid black colored ones.

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It looks like the solid Rex kit is an opal like mom, which is a blue coat with a reddish undertone and cream belly. Very pretty.

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Kit number two is either a broken blue otter, or a broken opal. Also very pretty with a nice pattern.

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And lastly, the third Rex kit appears to be a broken black otter. You can see the snips of tan around the nostrils, eyes and ears that give it away.

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DSC_0069.JPGHappy Easter everyone!

Free Rabbit Food: Purple Dead Nettle

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This is the first post in a series where I show you the seasonal wild, free foods that I feed to my rabbit herd. It’s good for them and cheap for me, so it makes us all happy!

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Purple dead nettle, also known as purple archangel or Lamium purpureum, is a herbaceous flowering member of the mint family common to North America, Europe and Asia. It’s edible to humans both cooked and raw and contains vitamins C, iron and fiber as well as flavonoids and minerals. It’s known in the herbal world as an astringent, diuretic, diaphoretic and purgative.  It’s also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.  The leaves can be used on external wounds or cuts, or as a poultice.

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I have a whole field of this stuff popping up this spring, and the bunnies are loving it. I’ve been giving them all a great big handful each day and it disappears fast. Maybe your bunny would enjoy it too?

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Caraway is about to mow down this pile to nothing