I finally got some good bunny pictures so you can see our rabbits. All of our working rabbits are in 24″x36″x18″ cages so they have room to stretch out and stand up. It also gives enough room for the does to raise their kits to a point.
The first rabbit of our meat rabbit herd to come along was Thumper. He was abandoned by his family — set free outside. Many people think it’s humane and desirable to set a domesticated bunny free so they can roam wild and happy. Nice thoughts, but it doesn’t work that way. Usually, a freed domesticated rabbit will end up meeting a quick and painful end as prey for some dog, owl, or hawk. Those that don’t become prey establish feral colonies that then begin destroying people’s gardens and undermining their homes.
Thumper managed to survive for a couple of weeks before Shay finally caught him. For a while, Shay thought he was a wild rabbit because of his coloring. It dawned on him one day, though, that wild rabbits don’t have lop ears!
I think Thumper was a 2009 Easter bunny, given to a child for Easter and then set loose when the family moved. He is a very sweet bunny, and likes to be held, and loves, loves, LOVES to be petted. He is a minilop, I believe, though I have no real way of knowing. He grew after we acquired him, so that’s why I think he is now about 1 1/2 years old instead of older. Thumper is our daughter’s baby.
A little later, we went to Craigslist and found Pearl, a Flemish giant cross. Our son just fell in love with the picture of the black-eyed white doe. So off to the farm we went, and bought her. She’s not as friendly as Thumper, but still is a big sucker for having her head rubbed. Pretty good for a farm bunny. Our son spent hours sitting in front of her cage playing with the hay and petting Pearl, and she warmed up pretty well over time. She has given us one litter of 8 so far, and is hopefully on her second now (we’ll find out in a few weeks!). She raised her first litter very well, and we processed six of them a few weeks ago. They were a bit older than they should have been, but we didn’t have the chance to send them to freezer camp before that.
We told the kids they could each choose a doe to keep from that first litter to fill out our rabbitry. Unfortunately, they both picked immediately, way before I could tell girls from boys. Our daughter’s did turn out to be a doe, but our son’s favorite is a buck. So we’re looking for a home for him. Meanwhile, our son can pick a doe from the next litter (hopefully we get a female version of that buck). Anyway, the one our daughter chose started out chestnut like her daddy, but then slowly lost almost all of the red and brown, so that now she is chinchilla:
Yes, her name is Squeak. She earned it early on, being the only popple in the nest that would start squeaking when you picked her up. She doesn’t squeak any more, though. Now if only she were built like her mother instead of her father. *sigh* Maybe she’ll produce like her mama! We will be breeding her (hopefully) for the first time this weekend.
Looking for a home, with one ear up and one ear down like his sister:
Pinto - young buck in need of a home.
I had a lady lined up to take him, but she hasn’t responded in a while. Maybe we’ll find someone in 4-H. Or maybe you would like him. Come on… look at him! He’s terribly cute!
I have told the kids that once we have our third doe, any of those four that dies will be replaced by a purchased or otherwise acquired rabbit that is more substantial for meat production. And, preferably, a purebreed, so that we can perhaps eventually show. So we’ve been looking at rabbit meat breeds that can still give us a color variety.