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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#46  Unread postby Ferra » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:39 pm


-------
Friday Feb 3, 2017

I have some fantastic, weird buns! I am having a lot of fun with this.

In an example of this "plans? What plans!" Gripe, look back to post #32 where I though maybe I should keep the chilchilla buck to introduce chinchilla genetics to Onyx's line...

So now that I seem to have a magpie in this litter, it would appear that where chinchilla genes are concerned, little Onyx has already got one! So much for that plan!

Also: tonight is day 7 for Onyx's litter. So it is a schedule bunny play day. I will see if they got any fluffier or cuter. Or if the "Blaze 2" kit has grown out of it's unusually short, plush feeling hair. Was just so much less hairy feeling than the other kits.

___________
Monday Feb 6, 2017
___________

Terrible news: Lost my first kit ever today. It was Blazeaquin, the Vienna marked Harli from the young litter. A shame because it was one of the beefier kits in the litter, and creatively marked to boot. Looks like the little thing got hauled out of the nest box sometime after my morning visit today, and promptly froze to death. It probably didn't take long, it is -22C/-7.6F here. It's something I knew *could* happen... but I still panicked when I saw the kit laying out in the cage. I *thought* maybe I could save it, at least, until I touched it and found it was frozen stiffer than a brick... *sigh*

Everyone else is doing okay. Half of the new litter has their eyes open, no nest box eye so far. I tried sexing the little ones, and made some guesses for kicks. We'll see if they're correct in a few weeks.

The elder kits are two days shy of 7 weeks old, and still healthy and hoppy. I'm getting a little concerned about my head space and the Chinchilla kit... the kit is taking after his father - just too darn friendly. That's what saved his sire, Dolomite, from freezer camp - He was slated to head out in two weeks, but I bought him for my herd sire instead. And because the little guy is friendly, he's also totally my favourite. But I don't NEED a second buck... and if I'm going to be honest, even if I DID, based on growth rate, I should probably choose his sibling: a buckling nicknamed "Gandalf" by a friend - he's a much beefier rabbit in all respects. So the kits are headed to freezer camp likely between 1-3 weeks from now, and while I know intellectually that I can't keep my favourite (I mean, what would I DO with him?! He's not a prime specimen, just egregiously cuddly), I'm still feeling just a little on the fence about this.

A friend had suggested trying to sell him off as a pet, but there are a few problems with that plan: As a meat-mutt kit he's already 2.5+ lbs and kinda past the "Cute ball of floof" stage. He's going to grow to around 8+lbs which isn't prime pet size around here. And last, but not least, with this little lead time, I'd probably have to send him off to live with some random I found on Kijiji - and I'm not under any illusions about the quality of pet-keeper I'm likely to find there. I don't want to send the little guy off to a lifetime of neglect.

I totally knew what I was signing up for - and I've sent a few young rabbits to camp already: but not any that I've home raised. I feel like backing out and keeping a rabbit I have no use for is a bit of a cop out, and just one step towards rabbit hording. Hrm. I will probably just figuratively speaking, "man-up" and send the buckling off to camp in the end, but I REALLY don't want to.

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#47  Unread postby AnnClaire » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:25 am


I regularly wean my kits at 4 weeks. By that time they are munching on pellets from moms j-feeder and it is easier to shift them to a growout cage with the larger j-feeders (2 per growout cage + 4 water fine).

I also provide free feed horse quality grass hay and that also helps the transition away from mom.
cheers - AnnClaire

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#48  Unread postby Ferra » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:54 pm


Thanks for the advice, though I'll admit it's not foremost on my mind at the moment. Mithril weaned her kits for me; this is what the boxing was apparently about. And I'd be surprised if any kit was ever easier to wean than a 10 day old bunsicle. -/-(

__________Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:54 pm ___________

Mon. March 6th.

Cages were re-arranged last week: Mithril has lost "Bottom Cage Syndrome" as an excuse for poor behavior. I thought she was doing much better over the past week, as she was responding to handling-training and not making lunges for me. So I reached in glove less to give her head-pats and a raisin tonight. Bad plan. I am, yet again, bleeding from rake-marks. I am so frustrated with that doe... but she makes some hefty bunnies. Her second litter is here, and she has a monster kit weighing in at 154g (5.5oz) at 7 days old. This is from a batch of 7 (originally 8 - lost one "bunsickle") and the rest of the litter is averaging around 137g. She's trouncing her records from her first litter of five, as well as Onyx's first litter. Great producer - awful attitude.

Whereas Onyx is holding her ground against Mithril's first litter, at least, in so long as you compare total litter weights as she had 8 in her first litter, whereas Mithril had only 5. Onyx is a sweetheart rabbit these days. I busted the little doe nursing and grooming her 5 week old litter tonight (I thought I had a dead kit or three, feet all up in the air like that!), immediately after which she came over for head-pats and a raisin. She's taming down nicely using the MamaSheepDog Method, and is pretty good about nail trimming these days. She's also never threatened me with violence - she typically stops at a look of deep concern when I'm handling her kits. *sigh*

It's hard deciding where I want my little meat herd to go... Ideally, high production and good efficiency is where I want to go with this, but is it worth it to trade it for the enjoyment I typically get handling my rabbits? Feeding Dolomite, Onyx, and the kits is usually it's own reward; I can't generally say the same thing of Mithril. The upside of pushing things towards Onyx and Dolomite's genetics in the long run would be the fantastic colors... If I started retaining some of their doe kits, I would expect reds and torts to start popping up, in addition to the harlequins, magpies, otters, and sable-shaded colors I have seen in this litter.

I've decided I won't make any final decisions until perhaps June or July - I plan to breed these two does at the same time and then "switch" some kits around as a final test. We'll see if there is any genetic basis to Mithril's monster-sized kits (independent of her milk production), and if there is, see if maybe they pick up some of their foster mom's doting personality. If not, maybe I don't have to feel so bad about my plan to exclude Mithril's genetics from my future herd. Apparently milk production isn't super heritable, so keeping future hold backs from Mithril's line wouldn't guarantee the same production she enjoys, if that's the only factor behind it. For the time being, I'll grow out and assess whichever 1 or 2 does do best from Onyx's litter. (The skunk-otter is a strong contender, but the Tiger-harlequin is close behind.) and I'll watch Mithril's upcoming litter for promising candidates to join the pool of applicants, just in case she proves herself so blatantly superior that I have to at least try and rear daughters of hers.

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#49  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:46 am


I love your approach. Analytical, fair with just the right thoughts about attitude and mothering ability. Short term goals to reach long term goals and enjoy the process. Right"

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#50  Unread postby Ferra » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:49 pm


Today is week 6 for Onyx's kits, and day 12 for the newest litter, so I weighed and handled all the bunnies today.

I'm getting a better idea of the does I could possibly hold back. The "Skunk-kit" (blaze-marked black otter), has grown up to be the heaviest doe in the litter. She's also quite personable, and is a bit of a trouble-maker. I found her loose in the shed two days ago: Squirmed out of a 2" hole for the water dish, and hopped 5 feet down to explore. No sign of injuries, thankfully. The other option is one of the Harlequin does, nick-named "Tiger-bun" for the stripe pattern on her left flank. This one is my husband's favorite - he fell in love the moment we found this bunny 12 inches up, shoved into the hay rack, snacking viciously (I am STILL not sure how she gets in there).

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I also have a few hefty bucklings in the litter, but I'm not considering keeping them: They'd have to dethrone their dad, and I just don't think they've got what it takes.

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#51  Unread postby SixGun » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:23 am


My husband loves "Skunk"! They're growing up so big!!! Crazy how that happens.

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#52  Unread postby Ferra » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:52 am


SixGun wrote:My husband loves "Skunk"! They're growing up so big!!! Crazy how that happens.


I've opted to keep her as a breeding doe! She is a MONSTEROUS doe... Her mother and half-aunt are now around 7-7.3lbs fully grown; not big rabbits, might be the lionhead in their background maybe. Her father is a 10lb NZW buck who is a very nice buck, always down for head-scratches and super into the ladies.

She's now bigger than her father was... at 13 weeks she's now 5.7lbs (he didn't hit that size until 16 weeks), and a very good looking rabbit, I think. I don't have an official rabbitry name for her yet, still working on that. Not super photogenic, but a nice doe.

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I'm also keeping her brother, who she's ever so slightly outgrown. He'll be my harlequin carrier for the next little bit, for my "harlequin patterned NZ cross" plan. Unfortunately his mother is being moved out of production due to a particularly vicious bite when she was re-bred last month :( . He's a little more relaxed. He's also good at making foul smells, so my husband dubbed him "Brimstone"

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#53  Unread postby SixGun » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:41 pm


They are sooo cute.
Brimstone... has longish fur... but love the circles around his eyes. Cute as all get out!

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Re: New Member - New mini-rabbitry

Post Number:#54  Unread postby Ferra » Thu May 18, 2017 10:09 pm


The kit swapping experiment is underway.

So far, the results seem to track more to the starting weight of the kit and the milking ability of the mother more than any independent growth genetics, at least so far during this the first week of growth.

And I got a weird surprise! Mithril seems to have produced one sallander kit and one frosty kit. (I'll have to confirm the frosty when it's eyes open, but I SWEAR I see little black hairs on the nose and ear tips... The sallander kit is obviously grey in a tort-marking pattern: ears, nose, flanks, and feets): So I guess she's carrying non-extension. This is quite amusing to me!

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