Kaiusagi Rabbitry

Mini rex and argente rabbits

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a pet rant again

Over the years of going from farm kid to breeder to rescuer and foster then back to breeder and farm owner I have come to realize our entire system to fight homeless pets is completely flawed.  We could spend the next 100 years trying to adopt out all the pets in shelters and rescues and we’d never get ahead because we are doing it from the wrong direction.  Cleaning up after the irresponsible breeders does not make less pets appear in shelters.  It makes space so the rescuers can go empty out a millbreeder of a bunch of animals they are threatening to PTS so that they can breed more.  I actually was on the receiving end of some dogs from just such a case where the rescuers practically killed themselves and cut all adoption prices to find homes faster.  All in order to bail out this millbreeder who had no intention of stopping breeding and would just refill the cages with something he thought he could sell better.  So long as there is somewhere for the bad breeders to dump their excess and accidents they will never stop breeding.   Even if we make it so that it’s impossible to make money breeding people will still do it and some on a grand scale just to do it or just to avoid neutering their animal that they never supervise.  It’s a dead end road.

What I think the solution is goes entirely against the rescue crowd.  If we encouraged buying from responsible breeders and researching responsible breeders people would stop impulse buying and the good breeders could determine what and who should be breeding.  The breeders who are willing to educate people, make sure their animals are not going to a home where they are likely to end up in a shelter(I know you can’t guarantee it), and want to improve something on the breed.  I don’t agree with having to breed to standard only but producing something that is going to be useful for the purpose you are selling it for I think falls under responsible.  Pairing up buyers and animals because you know what you are breeding is also responsible.  If we did that people would do more research before buying because it would be stressed on them to find a good breeder, the quality of the animals would go up both by health and personality, and as a result fewer of those animals would end up in shelters.  If we also had mostly breeders who would always take back any animal for any reason (I’m not saying they have to refund money) then we could probably narrow down our use of shelters/rescues to mostly small breed rescues that exist for when an owner and the breeder are truly in a bad situations rather than the people who are just looking to get out from under an animal so they can make more.  If dog and cat owners, or other animals that aren’t far too cost prohibitive to alter, had neuter agreements in place where they decided whether what they sold needed neutered or was breeding quality and could reclaim any animals not neutered by an agreed upon age or that are bred outside the agreement then accidental litters could nearly be erased.  We could eliminate impulse buying, millbreeders, and accidents just by making it socially correct to find a responsible breeder.

It will never happen though because the organizations that concentrate on pet welfare think the solution to bad breeding is no breeding instead.  They will always stress adopting and making room for irresponsible breeders to keep dumping their extras rather than encouraging the responsible breeders.  They will keep making even the best breeders who really aren’t contributing to pet overpopulation in to villians.  Personally when it comes to pretty much everything but meat animals I am never getting an animal from anywhere except a responsible breeder with pedigreed or registered animals again.  Adoption and antibreeding propaganda is never going to solve the problems in the pet trade.

pet vs meat

You know what is highly annoying… The fact I can’t post about my rabbits anywhere online except maybe 2 locations.  As soon as someone finds out some of your rabbits get butchered everything hits the fan and the pet forums ban the discussion.  It’s not like my rabbits are raised any differently.  They are fed treats, given nicknames, even played with on the bed, and hauled around in coat hoods in the winter.  Many are sold for pets and show.  It wouldn’t matter though if I sold 99% and butchered that 1%.  Rabbits can’t be pets and meat.  Generally they shouldn’t be meat according to people.  If you compare it to other livestock people say those aren’t pets but the people raising bottle calves and goats would probably argue some with you.  They are cared for and handled like pets.  Chickens sit on that line too.  Some keep them as pets, some keep them for pets and eggs, some keep them just for eggs, some keep them for meat, and some keep them for all 3.  I have no problem seeing it as a pet right until the day it needs to serve another purpose.  They are both and all of the above.  There is no less level of care, work, or knowledge put in to them.  Even if I were vegetarian my dogs and cats are not.  They are obligate carnivores and while I could feed them kibble and canned made of mystery meat that would be far crueler to the animals used for pet food and I find it horrible that people have no problems remaining ignorant of the animals that died to keep others alive.  Why should it be acceptable to feed meat to anything when you protest the butchering of a well raised and cared for animal?  Why can my breeding and young animals not be pets?  How much more do I have to spoil them and enjoy them before they equal pets?

update

The d’argent x mini rex crosses butchered out pretty well at 4.5-5lbs at 3months old.  We are letting the second batch go 4months to see if they get a little bigger.  In the meantime we have a litter of 5 champagnes and the creme doe was bred to the champagne buck.  She was carrying hay around today.  We are moving so we sold the mini rex down to my pet doe Amako, a lilac buck I plan to use for future breeding, his full sister Tsuya, and a broken blue buck from demon rabbit and Mocha.  I plan to breed Tsuya to the blue and keep a broken doe, preferably chocolate, to breed with the lilac.  I think that will dilute demon rabbit’s line enough to make sane rabbits.  Tomorrow is potentially going to be a record high for this time of year so hopefully everyone stays cool enough.

 

Champagne kits

colony changes

The past month has been a little crazy.  We’ve decided to move out of the house we are renting in the country to my husband’s condo in a nearby town.  That means the rabbits are being pared down to the necessity.  I am keeping my pet mini rex amako and a lilac buck out of Ashige and Twix so we can have an occasional litter of broken chocolates.  The meat rabbit colony got a make over.  They are staying at the horse stable but we are further doing away with cages.  We split the 12×24′ stall in half with chicken wire (already on hand or I would have used something sturdier).  One side will be the pair of champagnes with pure champagne offspring.  Some of these will go in to cages for growout so we can avoid early pregnancy and sell them.  The other side will have the creme d’argent/new zealand mix doe with the rest of the offspring for butchering.  We will see if this will work out or if we need to further divide in order to avoid too many lost kits from early pregnancies.  I’d like to try to be a bit more hands off and while I dislike the new zealand look the creme doe has she can definitely raise colony kits so we are going to leave her to it.

We are using chicken feeders and waterers set on blocks.  They also have horse mineral blocks.  We are currently trying out using a pelleted horse feed that is beet pulp and wheat based and much cheaper than the rabbit pellets.  Since we are free feeding organic clover/alfalfa hay there’s no point spending money on all the alfalfa in the $15/50lb bag of rabbit pellets but I wanted something with added vitamins and minerals instead of the straight grains.

Our first 2011 kit lives

It was a close call with Twix being all upset about the cage changes and no does due for at least a couple days.  Finally she calmed down and the nestbox with kit could be put back in.  After holding her over it once she then fed the kit sometime in the night.  Here she is(I’m guessing and hoping it’s a doe):

This is out of Twix(chocolate) and Ashige(blue) making it also Ashige’s first kit.  I’m thinking she’s blue.

Oops

I have a doe inside in the solid bottom cage that I have marked down as due on the 8th so I just went to clean the cage and put the nestbox in.  As I got to the last corner a  little wriggly black kit fell out of the pile of hay.  It has fur…  I can’t believe my dates are that wrong…  Maybe I accidentally marked the wrong week down on breeding day…  I’m just don’t know.  Anyway it is healthy, full of milk, but after sifting through the bedding handful by handful I found that it’s alone and it wasn’t very warm.  I filled the nestbox with fluffy shavings, straw, and made an indent.  Then stuck the kit with what fur I salvaged in to the indent and put the nestbox in the corner I found the kit.  Then packed the cage full of shavings so I could partially bury the nestbox.  I’m hoping it stays warm and I”m hoping Twix continues feeding it after this complete upset and change in her situation.

Now I’m questioning my due date for the whole colony especially since Amako was set on nesting last night and I don’t have them due for another week and a half.  I’m wondering if all my dates are a week off somehow.  I have to go play musical cages now so I can get everyone where I want them before they pop out kits.

new meat rabbit experiment

So far we’ve gotten 3 d’argent does that were supposedly pregnant.  2 champagne and 1 creme with a bit of new zealand in her.  1 champagne died of a prolasped uterus after giving birth to 7 half mini rex kits and the other 2 does who were bred to d’argent bucks failed to produce any kits.  In the mean time Mocha, the chocolate mini rex buck, has been popping out babies with multiple does.  Aside from being a good breeder Mocha is also extremely laid back, easy to handle, and eats and drinks minimal amounts.  Not having a large buck yet we decided to put Mocha on the floor with the d’argent does and a couple mini rex to pretty much gurantee us some kits who hopefully have a bit of size on Mocha but aren’t bottomless pits who can inhale half a bag of feed a day like the big does will if you let them.  The 2 remaining does probably eat as much as all 8 mini rex together.  They may produce more meat at once but they sure don’t do it efficiently.  We’ll see in another 2 weeks if we finally get some meat rabbits for the spring and what size they grow to be.

round 2

Someone is buying 3 of our 4 kits today and then Twix and demon rabbit are due tomorrow and saturday.  Twix took apart her nestbox so it only has a layer of shavings in it.  I’m not sure what she’s planning.  She’s been increasingly less active since then.  I have no idea about Yukiko since she’s out in the colony.  She’s been sleeping with the champagne doe, Miyuki, in the covered cat box I shoved full of hay.  Miyuki is also due soon with half mini rex kits by Mocha.  Since we have had such poor luck getting purebred D’argents for meat rabbits I decided to see if I get anything worthwhile out of crossing to my very fertile mini rex’s.

The insatiable champagne does

Pellet storage lesson one:  Do not set the bucket of pellets on the floor within reach of the big does while dishing out pellets.  They will have it tipped before you can blink.

Lesson two: Champagnes can apparently fly because even if you set the bucket 4′+ high they will get it down.

Lesson three: Leaving the new bag of pellets on the floor of the colony while you decide where to store it is a bad idea.  They will not just slowly damage the layers of the bag.  They will quite happily rip out both sides and spill/eat about 20lbs of pellets.

Lesson four: Luckily champagnes seem to have more than average stomach durability and so long as they have hay around they do not seem to bloat while you learn lessons 1-3.

As a bonus here’s Twix’s insanely cute lilac kit

breeding demon rabbit

Demon rabbit and I had a discussion on her purpose in life today.  I was content to leave her be until spring but she started making trouble in the colony and got caged again.  I’m not separately feeding, watering, and cleaning a cage for her to do nothing all winter so since she’s a bit over 5 months now I put her with my very experienced buck.  This did not go nearly as well as Mocha and I hoped.  He gave it his best shot and I actually held her in place a few times.  She did everything imaginable to keep from being bred short of attacking my buck.  If it were any other rabbit I would have written her off as not being ready to breed but this is demon rabbit.  She doesn’t do anything willingly, hates to be handled, and hates to have the other rabbits encroach on her personal bubble irregardless of gender.  After trying in various ways to line up her hindquarters for Mocha he did manage it once I think.  I left them together with her making about as much racket as usual when anyone is around while I fed and watered the others but Mocha made no more progress and his sides were heaving from the effort.  I tried to get her to lift again but I only succeeded in providing her with an escape route.  I had to go collect her from terrorizing the younger rabbits in the colony while the champagne does followed along out of curiosity.  Demon rabbit was returned to her cage to thump and scream about it all.  I feel sorry for the little buck in the cage next to her.   We have decided her purpose in life is to make mine more interesting.  I still say her pretty broken blue fur would be just as pretty when it’s not attached to a psychotic attack rabbit who ripped my arm open tonight for probably the 20th time.  Maybe her real reason for existence is to frustrate me in to being able to go through with my meat rabbit plans.
I do have to comment on the laid back attitude of the champagnes.  Aside from the younger doe’s shock at suddenly being loose on the ground with her older sister the first day I have yet to hear one of them thump or express disagreement.  Tonight’s events were just entertainment to them while they begged for peppermint treats.  The mini rex kits who are hardly bigger than their heads follow them about copying everything they do, grooming their fur, getting underfoot, and occasionally climbing on them.  The mini rex does seem to think this is a nice arrangement since even Amako who took very good care of her kits would rather they never bothered her except when she decided to feed them.