The Wabbit Warren

Warren of Wonderful Wabbits

Kit News

First off, here are updated weights:

Orange left: 0.71. Buck, has white spot

Orange right:0.80lb. Buck, 2 white hairs

Blue left: 0.44lb. Doe, runt, white spot

Blue right: 0.84lb. Doe, white speck

Green left: 0.86lb. Doe, no white hairs

Green right: 0.79lb. Doe, no white hairs.

They are 27 days old.

So, I found a very shallow bite wound on Green Left’s ear. The wound is not very deep at all, and is healing nicely on its own (although I did help today by cleaning it and applying Neosporin). Orange Left had a sore ear with one tiny wound last week. It’s completely healed now. I think that Bludo’s dominance combined with crankiness from being pregnant made her touchy. I haven’t seen Bludo bite, but I’m pretty sure that’s who bit the kits. In the future, I will have Bludo kindle before or at the same time as the other does so that Bludo is not hormonal while there are kits around.

Other precautions I take include making sure that entrances to things are large, making sure that there are some kit-sized hiding places, and making sure that there is plenty of room for everyone. I do have to say that sometimes the kits can be a bit stubborn and dense… I’ve seen them standing right in the middle of an entrance or exit to a hiding hole or hutch or ramp. When a grown doe comes up, wanting to pass, the doe waits a bit and the kit doesn’t budge an inch. It’s amazing how a tiny kit can effectively block an entrance. The does end up leaping over the kits.

Kits’ Progress Report

Updated weights, and sexes! The kits are 20 days old.
I marked each one with a marker in one ear to differentiate them. We’ll see how long those marks last. I’m guessing two weeks before the marks are completely gone. I’ll probably remark them every week.

Green mark Left ear: doe, 0.67lb
Blue mark Left ear (runt): doe, 0.38lb
Orange mark Left ear (some white hairs on forehead): buck, 0.56lb
Green mark Right ear: doe, 0.56lb
Blue mark Right ear (some white hairs on forehead): doe, 0.69lb
Orange mark Right ear (a few white hairs on forehead): buck, 0.63lb

They all run around the hutches, and even go down the ramp and into the run on the ground. They quite often nibble on greens and hay- I haven’t seen any one of them try the grain yet. I’m going to try to handle them (flip them over, carry them around, touch their feet, ect.) every day because they are already getting skittish when I reach for them. They are tiny and fast, and thus really hard to catch!

Pictures– warning: cuteness overload!

While I was weighing the kits, I got very distracted by their cuteness. Here are some of the pictures I took.

 

Happy News!

Happy news: Bludo was bred sucessfully to Quasar 3 times on July 3rd! So, we should be expecting popples in early August or really  late July. I’m expecting all black kits since Quasar has only blacks in his pedigree. So, no blue kits unfortunately.

Other happy news: All six kits are doing very well!! I started calling the black doe “Little Momma”. She’s not a very big Silver Fox, and her personally is similar to her mother’s (Ink Blot), and she’s been doing a very good job with her kits. Even the runt is well fed and active, although it remains half the size of its littermates.

Here are the kits’ weights, taken today (they are 2 weeks old):

Kit with white dot on forehead: 7.5 oz

Kit with no white hairs on forehead: 9.0 oz

Kit with 2 white hairs on forehead: 9.2 oz

Kit with 3 white hairs on forehead: 9.3 oz

Smaller kit with 3 white hairs on forehead: 7.5 oz

Runt (who has a white dot on forehead): 4.4 oz

One interesting thing is how all but one kit has a white mark of some sort. All the kits will most likely grow out of the white markings- Ink Blot grew out of hers and Little Momma grew out of hers. It’s sort of surprising that so many of the kits have white stray hairs because that’s a trait from the Ink Blot side, not the Jasper side.

Popples Present!

We have popples!! Our black doe (Ink Blot x Jasper) kindled yesterday. She has 5 normal healthy kits and 1 runt. I also found 1 dead kit in the nest- but it looked like it had been born healthy and even had a full stomache, so I believe it had been stepped on.

The sad thing happened a week ago. A dead kit was born early- it hadn’t quite fully developed. There was probably something wrong with that early kit. It really scared me. I thought that the black doe was going to have more still-borns, or have all the kits early, or kindle outside the nest, or have a really hard birth, or absorb the other kits, or whatever else could go wrong.But thankfully, the black doe still gave birth to healthy kits this week.

The doe is being a good mother. Everyone has full bellies. She let’s me handle the kits, but does show concern when I handle them too long. She hopped into the nest to check on her kits every time I handled them. She built a good nest- she pulled fur, but not too much since it’s been so, so, so hot. She picked a good location for her nest (the hutch off the ground that has 3 wooden sides and is in the shade all day). She had Bludo still have their normal relationship; Bludo is not trying to kill the kits, and the black doe is not trying to attack Bludo. The bad mothering traits (that Ink Blot never displayed) are the birth of the dead kit a week earlier, the birth of a runt, and the death of 1 kit (proabably from being squashed). We’ll see if that was just bad luck this time or if those traits are more genetic when I breed her a second time later this year.

Here’s the pics:

This one shows one of the normal healthy kits and the one runt. I don’t know if the runt will survive. It’s literally half the size it should be. However, it’s getting fed well- it has a full belly. If it does live, I  won’t breed it since I do not want that trait in my lines.

2 kits of Black doe x Jasper

Here’s the whole litter, all cuddled up in the nest.

Black doe x Jasper litter

Long time, no updates…

Well, I haven’t been keeping up with any online rabbit things- my website, my facebook, my blog, or even my rabbittalk account. I’ve been pretty busy, but now I’m going to attempt to keep on top of those things (in addition to staying busy lol).

Good news first: Jasper x Ink Blot was bred back to Jasper. She was very willing and good, and Jasper covered her three times within a few minutes. Good breeders!! That’s a trait I definitely want to keep. I’m hoping that she has Ink Blot’s awesome mothering skills. I also bred Zodiac to Bludo. He mounted a lot of times, and she was willing and lifted, but he never fell off. So, I’m not entirely sure if that was successful. I will palpate her next weekend.

The average news: There’s always some building project going on. The winter weather took down the net roofing over the rabbit run, and collapsed a few bamboo roof supports. We’ll be rebuilding the roof of the runs with no netting- so the leaves and snow won’t build up (the weight of the snow last winter is what cracked some of the supports). It’ll be much taller. The supports will be close enough together that hawks can’t fly in. I might add “wire netting”, which is a light gauge, cheap wire that’s slightly stronger than chicken wire. Although, I don’t think the roof will need it. We’ll see.

And now the bad news: I’m extremely sad to report that Zodiac is deceased. The Friday before Memorial Day weekend, I found Zodiac dead. With the roof in the middle of being rebuilt, there was a substantial hole in the roof above Zodiac’s run. He was in the hutch (off the ground) and the step he uses to enter the hutch was cracked as if he sprang up onto it with a lot of force. We autopsied him, and found completely healthy innards, except for his heart. The coloring of his heart indicated that he bursted something in his heart. We concluded that something attempted to enter his run and Zodiac freaked out. He became so scared that he burst a blood vessel or something else in his heart. That killed him. Zodiac’s in a better place now! We’ll miss him. I’m rebuilding the roof, and the new structure will be much more secure. I’m also going to add hardiness to my list of traits I’m breeding for. I want my rabbits like Jasper, who will not be easily frightened. I’ve seen Jasper fight off a copperhead.

And my plans for the future:

Hopefully, Bludo is carrying Zodiac’s babies and I will be able to have Zodiac’s genes in my lines. If she is not pregnant, then I will breed her to Quasar. I want two unrelated litters this summer. I plan on keeping one doe from each litter. I’m going to attempt to have litters in the fall and winter and spring and next summer…. we’ll see if I’ll have the time to do that.

Also, I’m hoping to build hay holders so that each buck has a half of a square bale of alfalfa hay and the doe run has a full alfalfa bale. I do not like having to replenish their hay frequently.  I often spill some small loose pieces of hay and get hay all over my clothing. I also do not like having the hay in the hutches, which have wire floors. The rabbits drop lots of hay on the ground. It’s not wasted since I compost it, but that’s rather expensive compost material. I’d much rather have the rabbits eat the hay! I think I will go to Home Restore and find old furniture (ex. tables, benches, cabinets, ect.) in which I could put the hay. I’d want the hay off the ground and protected from rain, and the rabbits must be able to access at least part of the bale.

Raccoon and Copperhead Attack

I have some disturbing news to share. This morning, I found Ink Blot dead, and one of her doe kits injured.

Using clues such as scat, torn tarp over a hiding box, and the nature of the injuries/death, we’ve managed to piece together the story. I know some people don’t feel this way, but I feel better knowing exactly what happened, even if it’s gory. Also, this story illustrates Ink Blot’s amazing protectiveness.

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, a raccoon (or perhaps a cat, but more likely a raccoon) climbed up the wire walls of the doe colony and slipped underneath the netting roof. The raccoon jumped down onto a hiding box, on top of which a doeling was resting. The doeling was grabbed by the face (she has a scratch over one eye, and got a glancing scratch on the other). She kicked out, and so the raccoon bit her leg. Then, Ink Blot- the alpha of the colony, and the mother of the doeling- charged the raccoon. The raccoon bit Ink Blot’s head, and Ink Blot fought back. The raccoon snapped her neck. However, the raccoon was badly injured, and decided that it was not worth it to stop and feed, or to kill the now-easy prey (the hurt doeling). The raccoon turned and fled. While all this was happening, I think my other two does were safely in the hutch. Or, they charged when Ink Blot charged and helped convince the raccoon to leave when s/he left.

Ink Blot gave her life to protect her herd.

That same night, I went out after dark to check on the rabbits. I wanted to shut off access to the run in the doe colony, and keep everyone safe in the hutches. The does were freaking out, and I thought “well, maybe they think I’m going to attack them like the raccoon”. Then, Jasper sniffed cautiously at something, sprang into the air, stamped on the ground, and propelled himself backwards. I heard a rattling in his run. I ran inside, grabbed a flashlight, and ran back out to Jasper’s run. Jasper was fighting a copperhead!! The rattling was the copperhead’s imitation of a rattlesnake. I ran back inside, got my dad and a fishing pole. We killed the copperhead by using the fishing pole like a flail. I’m pretty sure Jasper would’ve killed it if we hadn’t. He was jumping on it and breaking it’s back, just like what happens when we kill it with a fishing pole. It’s a very fast and easy way to kill snakes without getting in striking range.

My rabbits are the bravest and most daring rabbits I’ve ever heard of!!

So, now what? I performed an autopsy of Ink Blot. I want to make sure there was nothing else wrong. Everything looked fine; she died due to her wounds from the fight. The injured doeling will be nursed back to health- she has a bite, a scratch, and an irritated eye. She’s not tooth-grinding, she’s limping but still able to hop around a lot, and she’ll let me pick her up without complaining. We can’t afford to take her to the vet, but I will talk to the vets I volunteer with. She’ll recover, as long as she doesn’t have rabies. The risk of rabies is why we’ve put her in quarantine. I will be keeping a close eye on her to make sure she’s healing well and doesn’t have any overlooked issues. I’ll probably make a new post later that details her healing process, so people can learn from what we’re doing. Also, I will put a four-foot tall layer of rabbit wire on the wire wall. Right now, there’s chicken wire with rabbit wire reenforcement on the bottom 2ft. I will just add the rabbit wire on top of the chicken wire. I’ve been planning for a while to do this, but now I’m motivated by urgency. I will sew the netting roof to the wire wall so that nothing can slip under the netting. Additionally, we set up traps for the raccoons.

Photos and Weights of the Adults

Ink Blot weighs 7.20lbs

Jasper weighs 9.75lbs

Quasar weighs  6.78lbs

Zodiac weighs 6.88lbs

The blue doe (around 4 months old now) weighs 4.72lbs

And, Quasar and Zodiac were posed. Zodiac sat wonderfully still and allowed himself to be adjusted. Quasar was squirmy (living up to the reason behind his name…). Anyway, here are the photos:

Qusar:

photo(21)

 

Zodiac:photo(20) photo(19)

Blue Doe: photo(15)photo(16)

I’m excited about the blue doe’s body type. She’s the best out of my rabbits, I think. However, I’ll be selling her and keeping her offspring because she’s not the size I want.

IBxJ updated weights!

I weighed the Ink Blot x Jasper litter today (excepting, of course, the buck that was sold). And, just to remind you all, the colors refer to the ear mark not the actual coat color. All of them are black.

Blue buck (For Sale!): 4.81lbs

Green buck (For Sale!): 3.84lbs

Orange doe (For Sale!): 4.01lbs

Red doe (I’m keeping): 4.40lbs

These weights are way smaller than I’d like. I’m thinking that these guys inherited more of their mother’s genes than their father’s genes in regard to growth and weight… It will be interesting to compare this litter to the next IBxJ litter (I’m thinking that will be sometime next year. First, Ink Blot is going to be bred to Zodiac).

Here’s the orange doe posed as best as I could get her.

photo(18) photo(17)

My set up

I’ve decided to do a brief picture tour of my set up.

Here’s the whole thing:from windowThe doe run is on the right. The left side is divided into two sections- the back section has 3 separate buck runs. The front section is the newest addition, and will eventually be opened up to does/kits, or grow outs. And yes, we did put a rabbit banner and two pennants up! It makes it look less like a prison and more like a castle for the rabbits.

If you notice, the right side’s (doe run’s) roof is drooping- we made the roof supports with (free) bamboo, but they cracked in the winter ice. I temporarily fixed them, and will someday replace them with aluminum poles. In the new section, we’ve improved our design a lot: there’s aluminum poles as roof supports, wire netting (similar to large chicken wire) instead of wildlife netting as a roof, and the entire wall is made of rabbit wire instead of chicken wire with rabbit wire on the bottom only.

2 buck run

This is a view of the 2 of the buck runs. You can see, there is a hutch with a ramp leading into a run for each buck. A 5ft wire wall separates them. These hutches were made from free uncompleted dog houses we found at Home Restore. You can also see some hidey holes for each buck.buck runs

Here’s the side view of the buck runs. The third buck run is visible in this picture, but you can’t see the hutch. The hutch is long and narrow- a craigslist find. I couldn’t get a good picture of the third buck run because it’s half in shade and half in sun.doehutches

These are the doe hutches. The doe hutches are supported by two-by-fours between two trees (there’s one hutch not shown in the picture that connects to the tree on the right). The hutch not shown is wooden on three sides, and serves as a “cozy box” in the winter.doe hutches

Each of the does’ hutches are connected, as shown here. You could make a colony with just connected hutches and no run, if you wanted them to stay off the ground. Just be sure the openings between each hutch are escape-proof, and big enough for 2 rabbits to pass through at once (although, you’d be surprised at how small of a space rabbits can squeeze through- I’ve one opening that looks small for just one rabbit, and I’ve seen two rabbits hop through at once!)doe ramp

This is the ramp from the doe hutches to the run. It’s made from lashing sticks together, and then I tucked in some carpet scraps to give the rabbits more traction. This is the steepest ramp in all of my set up.

 

Feel free to ask questions about my set up! I hope this inspires some of you to make your own colony! Mine is really elaborate- it’s way bigger than it needs to be. A general rule is 10 square feet per adult rabbit, and I have 200 square feet… :)