Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Catching Up: Rabbits

The rabbits have been beyond disappointing thus far. Since acquiring the original buck and two does five months ago, we have yet to produce a single litter.

I've tried every trick in the book. I tried breeding at different times of day. I swapped the buck and doe cages so them could smell each other first (in fact, I did this every day for a week with no success). I took her to his cage, and him to her cage. I took them to a neutral, unused cage. I changed their feed. I restrained the does. I did everything but crack a bottle of wine and turn on some Barry White by the fireplace.

No kits. Zero. Nada. Niet.

I really wanted to be enjoying some rabbit dinners by now. So, yesterday, I bought a new buck. Meet Cap'n Jack Sparrow:

Cap'n Jack Sparrow is our new New Zealand white buck.
He's 2 years old, proven, and has only one eye.
I also bought two extra does in an apparent rabbit close-out special.

But first, here's another shot of Cap'n Jack Sparrow.

Cap'n Jack Sparrow is a hot mess.
He lost his right eye when he escaped from his original owners for three days last year.
He needs a nail trim really bad.
But, he is on record producing 8-12 kits per litter over the last year.
Yeah, he's not a looker. But really, there's only 1 part on the buck that I really care about properly functioning. And apparently, it isn't functional on Coconut. We'll give Cap'n Jack a week to settle in before breeding. The heat will be down next week (from the mid-90s to the 80s), and I am SO ready for these buns to produce.

We also picked up two additional proven NZ white does. They were cheap, and I figured with the extra two cages, I might as well make up for lost time. The owners were selling their whole setup as they were advancing in age. The looked to be downsizing everything, perhaps were simply getting too old to handle it all. Their son helped catch the buns for them and load them for me.

The two new girls, still in their small game traps carrying cages.
They are yet to be named.

The new girls, housed in their cages and resting on their ceramic tiles.
It was kind of unexpected, but the price on them was the best I'd ever seen in this area. So, I jumped and got them. It forced my hand a bit to provide a roof I was unprepared to add. A few bricks and a strip of roofing underlayment did the trick in a pinch.

The rabbitry as of yesterday. With the makeshift roof, it lacks a bit of the curb appeal
we'd like to see. But we'll be adding a larger roof over the whole area this fall,
so this setup is quite temporary.
The original Californian does are still in the bottom cages.

Coconut is off to the side in this^ picture, awaiting his fate in a separate cage. I haven't decided if I want to butcher him or try to sell him as-is. I feel leery of selling this issue off to someone else, though. But I'm not prepared to butcher quite yet. (I can be in a few days.) I thought I'd have an extra cage to keep him for the time being, but with the new does at a great deal, I'm having to make do right now.

In the meantime, the new blood has ignited in me a new excitement in the rabbits. I will breeding them in a rotation beginning next week, starting with the newest (who have all, ahem, known each other already) and finishing with our Cali does. Maybe, this whole time, they just needed an experienced buck who wasn't a little crazy to boot.

No comments:

Post a Comment