Hello from Humboldt

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Hello Rabbit Talk!
This is my first time joining any kind of online group and I am finding it very helpful. So, I would like to introduce myself to become a better member.
I am 36 in Eureka, Ca.
Almost 10 years ago we owned a gardening companion for the forest garden my partner has developed in our yard. He was a French Angora that was purchased from a guilt trip from 4H at the county fair. Fuzzy Bunny lived a long happy life until a horrible eye infection.
Fast forward to Covid and the cliche of getting a pet for the kid, and a replacement gardner, became reality.
This time I went to a breeder and purchased two young females. One Harlequin Rex, Cinnamon, the other Flemish Giant Chinchilla, Daisy.
They lived in a hutch on the ground inside a larger corral. With no fencing on the corral floor they liked to dig. At first I detoured it, but then being a fan of promoting natural behavior, and with several holes filled in everywhere, I figured I would let them have one. Happy bunnies!
Sorry, long story. Getting all the details of the drama that has been these bunnies. Here we go...
So, not long after when playing in the forest garden Cinnamon found a tiny hole in the wooden property fence among the ivy and escaped! We looked forever but couldn't find her.
Worried that Daisy would be friendless and would grow too old to bond I looked for another rabbit. I went to another woman who did not have any females I liked, but there was Gus. A beautiful black and white mut that was so friendly. I fell in love and decided to get him and start breeding sooner than I intended.
I brought him home and gave home his own corral. That evening a knock at the door revealed Cinnamon behind it, all dirty and ruffled from her travels.
And then there were three.
I did a few supervised introductions but nothing serious.
Then, only about a week later, Gus was acting a little lethargic. I let him into the Garden to see what he needed and he had a massive seizure while resting between the Pineapple Sage, Chilean Guava, and Lavender.
We buried him there.
Still going....
Not long after I saw what I thought were gophers sharing the burrow in Daisy and Cinnamon's corral. It was only for a second, so I couldn't be sure. Then, my partner heard rustling in a bendable plastic tube in the corral. He lifted it up and came running to me.
"I caught the hamster!" He yelled.
Having never seen an apx. 3 week old baby bunny before, it took some convincing for us. But there she was.
We figured it must have been Gus and I was not as careful as I thought.
We never found any more bunnies.
Maple, became the house rabbit. She lived in my daughter's room, but ruled the house. I never got anything done because I was always watching her cuteness.
One month later more babies are spotted by the burrow!! What!?
I run to Daisy and check her parts. There they are. Teeny, tiny, working testes.
I just thought Daisy was more active and Cinnamon liked to eat more. I even made fun of her for being a pig. I was so blind!
After further examination it was clear she was also pregnant again with a burrow full.
This time, I know they are in there. I fashion a device (this story is long enough, I won't tell you how) and recovered 9 babies.
I fill in the burrow, move the corral and Cinnamon successfully kindled 12 kits in her cage.
Not long after, a fencing mishap and she is pregnant again. Aaaahhhhh!
I was successful in selling the first nine through craigslist mostly, until they banned me.
With 12 in cages and more on the way, I had to do something. I was introduced to a wonderful local mobile butcher who was willing to teach me to butcher rabbits. She was amazing! So inspiring.
So now I keep pets that I love, but I am also thoroughly enjoying producing my own meat for my family and neighbors, and it is delicious!
Shall I keep going....?
One of the 12 got nest box eye. I was treating it daily, but it wasn't getting better, so inside she came. I was new to the rabbit game and had a different outlook. Plus, Maple needed a friend.
It worked well for a while, but as they grew, not so much. Nutmeg, the one-eyed one, did not take to potty training as well as Maple. They also began eating the redwood trim and baseboards despite other offerings.
One morning after an unexpected poop between the toes, my partner kicked them out. We quickly built a 9'x4' corral with 1"x2" fencing and wire clips, a few wooden braces and a pallet tarp configuration for a roof.
Later, while working on the roof I stepped away for a moment. The tarp blew inside the corral and Maple used it to crawl out. There was Daisy, her dad.
Now she is pregnant.
I posted this dilemma under "can pregnant doe stay with her sister?" And it was very helpful.
So, currently I have one area with Maple, Nutmeg, and eight 3 week old babies, a second area with Cinnamon and ten 4 week old babies, and a third area for Daisy. And a fourth 6x6 playhouse converted to grow out cage with nine 2 month olds.
Now we have 31.
I have not touched on my soft spot... Daisy. He is so great. He is the most respectful garden rabbit ever. He only digs in acceptable areas, doesn't over eat, is soooo friendly, and just a general delight. The ladies are always getting into garden beds and digging.
When Daisy is locked in his corral, he gets so depressed. He just lays sprawled out staring at me motionless when I bring him a treat. Finally when I let him out he will spray me as he hops away. He shortly forgives me as he comes over for some pets.
Needless to say, he is out a lot because he can be unsupervised.
I am now trying to figure out how to simplify my system, give the animals what they want, and prepare for rain. I am going to post about colony style. That is a new thought.
Thank you for reading my long story!
 

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ThunderHill

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Welcome! Thanks for sharing your story! Sounds like you've had quite an adventure, but your bunnies look great and it's clear you really care about them! Glad you were able to make the best of things and learn to process for meat, make some sales, and adapt to the changes! I wish you continued success with your rabbits!
 

Kay2322

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Welcome!

I hope everything goes succesfully now and in the future! Your rabbits are very beautiful!
 
Joined
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I have had a similar experience with finding babies unexpectedly. It was surprising! Maybe I'll post about it sometime. Keep us posted on what you decide to do! I guess you could say I have a colony set up. They free roam in my backyard. I have noticed my does dig a lot more than my buck. I wonder if it's a nesting instinct. One of my does consistently kindles her litters in an underground nest tunnel. Luckily it's short enough that I can uncover the entrance and pull them out to count and check on them. We keep our two does and their babies together. My buck is kept separate from the does except for supervised visits. I haven't felt a need to separate the male and female babies yet. We've sold most as they get older, lost a couple to hawks (all are now caged at night, except for one doe who has a litter underground), and our oldest kit is a 10 week old buck who I need to figure out what to do with. Currently he sleeps in his dad's hutch with no problems and they keep each other company. It's a fun adventure for sure!
 
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