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.
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.
Broken blue otter
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!
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.
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:
And there is one little broken castor and a solid castor:
There is also a lovely blue otter with a nice, deep colored coat. This bunny is really blue!:
Then we have two solid opals and a broken black otter:
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!:
Five Spice with her kits
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.
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.
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!
Triple hybrid doe top view
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.
Five Spice’s litter
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.
Broken black otter
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kit number two is either a broken blue otter, or a broken opal. Also very pretty with a nice pattern.
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.
Happy Easter everyone!
Okay these kits are just beautiful!
This first photo is of the one solid castor Rex kit who has turned out to be a doe, and will be staying at the rabbitry as a new breeder. Isn’t she lovely? Look at those little fat rolls already developing!
There is also a darling broken castor doe, a broken black otter doe, and an opal doe. Pictured below:
Of course there are also boys! A nice broken blue otter buck, a broken opal buck, a broken black otter buck, as well as some false opals and some mismarked black otters. I don’t have photos of these guys because my camera ran out of juice! Rest assured they are as cute as the buns pictured.
These bunnies are just about three weeks old now, and very cute. They’re starting to nibble on hay and are adept at jumping out of the nestbox to pester their mothers.
Ironically it seems that my opal doe gave me blues and my blue doe gave me opals.
You can see in the above photo two solid opal kits as well as a broken blue. The opals have the tan undercoat that peeks through the blue while the broken blue does not. There are also two black otter kits, a broken castor and a broken opal pictured above. These are Bluefin’s babies.
This is Opal’s litter. The solid castor kit seems to be a doe, which basically means I have to keep her. The Rex castor coat is just to die for. Also pictured are two broken blues, two broken black otters and a broken castor. Such cute!
Broken castor Rex kit
These bunnies are growing fast!
I’ve noticed that at about one week of age, their intricate spotted patterns begin to coalesce into larger areas of color. I sort of expected this to happen because you just don’t see adult rabbits with such well-defined spots. That’s ok.
Solid castor Rex kit
Black otter Rex kit
Broken opal or blue otter Rex kit
Broken castor Rex kit
The colors are really starting to come in on these little guys, and I have a better idea of what we’ve got. Opal has a gorgeous solid castor, broken castor, broken black otter, and what may be broken opal. Bluefin’s litter contains broken opal, opal, what looks like broken blue otter, as well as a couple of black otters.
Opal Rex kit
Broken castor Rex kit
If I had my way I’d keep a half dozen of these beauties. Right now I’m very tempted to keep the full castor kit as the Rex castor fur is exactly like a luxurious beaver pelt.
The hybrid babies are ten weeks old now and their color patterns have turned out to be quite interesting. I have about five or six bunnies that look like this. Doesn’t it look a whole lot like a Silver Marten rabbit to you?
The bunny pictured above is a cross between a black otter Standard Rex dam and a pure Californian sire. She has the white eyeliner, belly, tail, nose-shading, neck triangle, inner ears, chin and white ticking, just like a Silver Marten.
If I saw this rabbit at a show, I would think it was a Silver Marten with below average ticking, as it’s supposed to come up over the entire hindquarters. It’s hard to see in the photo but her black fur is also a little bit grayish and not as dark and lustrous as Silver Marten fur should be.
For comparison, here’s a young Silver Marten kit from a couple of years ago before I stopped breeding them:
He’s quite young here, but you can see the basic coloration he has. Some SMs are born with lots of ticking and some with less. I have had kits who only had it go up a few inches, much like the hybrid doe in the first shot.
Back view of her white ticking. It doesn’t go up very far, but it’s there.
It’s interesting to me to think about the origins of rabbit breeds and how they were initially developed. We seem to accept that no new breeds are being created, although I know there are people working on new colors within existing parameters. It’s mostly about ‘perfecting’ the breed you already have.
I wonder what would happen if I took one of these hybrids to a rabbit show and entered it as a Silver Marten. Could I breed my own version of the Silver Marten using totally disparate breeds? It’s an interesting thing to think about.