Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rabbit Update

I was very much hoping that this update would include pictures of kits from Skittles (which were supposedly due last Wednesday/Thursday). Alas, as it turns out she did NOT have any kits. So, yesterday and today, I am re-breeding her to Coconut.

In two weeks, we'll find out whether or not Starburst (our second Californian doe) is pregnant or not. We bred her two weeks after Skittles, and with a 30-day gestation, we should finally be seeing kits in a fortnight. Starburst is the only "proven" rabbit we have, so I do hope it's not Coconut that is the, ahem, weak link here.

Starburst, left, and Coconut, right, lounging with ice packs.
We've replaced the ice bags with frozen plastics containers. They chewed both.
We now freeze bricks to keep them cool.
It's also been getting quite hot, so we've been freezing bricks to set out in their cages at mid-day. They sprawl out and rest their heads near the bricks like clockwork, so I know it's helping them maintain temperature in the Southern heat.

I also worked on getting the rabbitry one step closer to being done.

Yesterday, I continued work on building the homemade rabbitry system. It's a series of re-claimed fence posts set up and fastened together to make a grid base.

The new "rabbitry" has cages raised a few feet off the ground for easier manure collection,
better air circulation, cleaner cages, and better predator protection.
The two rails above the cages picture will hold the two additional cages I have.
It will end up being a cube-like structure when it's finished. It's made of all metal, so that the rabbits' natural bodily functions do not damage any wood. In other words, it's easily cleanable. The two extra cages will go above the ones pictured. Once the kits are ready to wean, I will simply remove the doe and place her in an empty one to start the process again. I also am housing Coconut separately, since his cage is the 5th wheel, so to speak, and is differently sized than the other 4. I have yet to work out his arrangements. So, it's all a work-in-progress, yes, but it will be finished by the end of the summer.

Here's a shot from another angle:

The rabbit in front on this shot is Starburst. Skittles is in the background.
The big challenge was getting the posts lined up square. They're not.  :/  The rocky terrain forced me to offset some posts from the others, and one sticks out much higher because I could only go down about 10 inches before hitting rock. Yay.

Eventually, this will be a "compartment" in the "calf barn," which will be roofed, fenced, and secured from the rest of the yard. It will be a mirror image (nearly) of Bridget's barn area, which is on the other side of the shed. We've got a neat little animal complex under construction. For now, the rabbitry is just next to the shed.

And hopefully, in two weeks, I'll be posting about new kits!

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