Monday, March 01, 2010

Bird Netting and Snow


We have bird netting over the rabbit colony, to keep winged predators at bay. Some people think the netting will discourage raccoons and similar, but a raccoon will tear right through bird netting or even chicken wire. For them, we have electric scare wires. But for hawks and owls we have bird netting.

The first year we didn't have any problem with hawks and owls but the second year they all but decimated the colony in two or three nights. That's when we decided to put up bird netting. It worked beautifully.

After two or three years, the netting was getting old and tatty, all torn and fallen down in places. I kept thinking "I need to replace that netting..." but never quite got around to it. Then overnight I was down to four rabbits! When owls strike, they are effective. So I made a trip to the hardware store and got bird netting and put it up. Within a couple of weeks it snowed... and snowed... and snowed. And the bird netting fell down. I had strung it up on old clothes line that I ran up the middle of the colony from a gate post to a tree, and secured it to the fencing with regular old string. The weight of the snow was just too much.

This photo was taken in January. When the snow finally melted enough to dig the netting out, I re-hung it. It was down again within the week. It's been a trying winter in the rabbit colony. If/when we build another one I think we'll construct the "roof" of 2x4 or 4x4 welded wire on a wooden frame.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Snow Critters

Rabbits hanging around in and on their favorite hidey-hole. They don't mind the cold at all. They'll lie out there on the ground in sub-freezing weather like it's the most comfortable thing in the world.

The chickens, on the other hand, are distrustful of the snow, mostly because it's different. They stand and stare at it for a long time before setting foot in it. Once out, they'll walk kind of funny, trying to keep their feet out of the snow. But Speckled Sussex are insatiably curious and love to scratch and be outside, so eventually they just get out in it and do their chickeny things.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Alien Devil Rabbits

I was playing around with the camera at dusk the other night. In this photo you can see how truly evil fluffy little bunnies can be. If you don't believe me, click to view a larger image.

When they detect your presence, they all turn and advance, slowly, menacingly, and with an other-worldly mechanical synchronization. Or maybe they're just wondering "Hey, what's up with that bright light thingie?"

This is a rabbit getting a drink and another rabbit curiously sniffing the water jugs. It's blurry because of the low light but still interesting 'cause it shows my rabbits just being normal. It's hard to catch them just being normal sometimes.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Rabbit Ear Problem


I have something weird going on in the rabbitry. A few of the rabbits look like their ears have been bitten and chewed on. Wednesday I was able to grab the worst and we took photos of its ears. They're not the best quality photos, because it's surprisingly difficult to photograph a rabbit's ears. No flash, and they're blurry. Flash, and they wash out. ANYway.


Here's another shot of that same ear. I thought perhaps the problem was overcrowding, and they were nibbling on one another's ears. I have about 21 or 24 rabbits in there, plus one litter coming above ground. Now that I've beat the rat problem, I have lots of rabbits. I have some ready to butcher this weekend or next, so that will relieve some of the stress from crowding.


But then look at this. This doesn't look like chewing on ears, does it? I'm not sure what I'm dealing with. Maybe a fungus or a parasite?


Another shot of that right ear. I'm going to ask my rabbit buddies on the Homesteading Today forums what they think.

I have about 5 rabbits affected by this, but only this one has the bad spot in the middle of the ear, and only this one looks so chewed up. The others are just slightly chewed looking and for the most part it's right on the tips. I do have one other one that has a naked spot on its ear where the fur has come out but it's totally naked, not messed up like this one.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Burrow Digging

It was raining the morning I took these pictures. Despite the warmer temperatures (high 40's, creeping to 60), there are still pockets of ice and snow on the ground. So I was surprised to see one of the does digging like a crazy thing under a feeder hutch. That's her and her new burrow in the photo above; she's being camera-shy. Even though it's just the beginnings of a new burrow, she's moved LOTS of dirt in the early hours. Last night there was no activity at all under the feeder hutch.

Maybe she wasn't shy. Maybe she just suddenly realized how HUNGRY she was after all that work. Look at those muddy little feet.

The weird thing about her digging is that she just kindled a week ago, in a burrow under the feeder hutch. That little hole to the right is where the new kits are. I'm not sure if she is digging a better entrance or what. I'll just keep on watching and learning. I really enjoy pondering the rabbits and their behaviors.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Field Corn and Rabbits

This summer I tried a Three Sisters garden and while it didn't do well due to the drought and my neglect, I did stash a few ears of field corn in a box.


Field corn is also called "dent corn" and it's grown primarily for animal feed and sometimes it's ground into cornmeal. I planted Hickory King which can also be eaten on the cob in its early stages.


On cold mornings I sometimes take an ear out of the box and carry it to the rabbit colony when I give them food and fresh water. They snuffle around the corn but don't go crazy over it. Yet, when I go back later, all that's left is the cob (if that).

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Water and Cold Weather


When it gets real cold here, the water gets a skim of ice on top. If it's snowing, sometimes the water turns slushy. If it's real cold, the water freezes pretty thick on top (an inch or so). Thick enough to support a rabbit, anyway.

The rabbits leave the water dish all nasty with muddy footprints and little poop berries frozen into their water.



We got these little three gallon rubber dishes from our feed store. They were $8.99 each. We use one for the rabbits and one for the chickens. They stay very flexible even in extremely cold weather. I just turn them upside down and step on the bottom a bit. The water and most of the ice come out. Then I pick it up and, holding it upside down, I flex the sides and the rest of the ice just pops out. It couldn't be any easier!

I take them fresh water to the animals in the morning and evening, summer and winter. In the winter if it's REAL cold, I take water at midday too.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One Way Rabbit Door

Okay, I wish I could take credit for this idea but I can't. It comes from a person who posts on the Homesteading Today forums under the name of "Thatch". Thatch came up with the idea of making a one-way rabbit door out of PVC pipe. We did modify the door/hinge but the basic concept was Thatch's. The PVC pipe is 4" diameter.

Sorry about the shadow; the flash on my camera is poorly positioned for close up shots. The door is made out of 1/2" hardware cloth cut to fit the opening of the PVC pipe. The "hinge" is made by drilling two holes in the PVC pipe, sticking a length of coat hanger wire through, and bending the hardware cloth stems so they wrap around the coat hanger wire. As with all photos on this blog, you can click the picture for a larger version.

This shows more or less how the door is positioned in the fence. It looks a heck of a lot larger than 4", doesn't it? Anyway, I cut a hole in the fence, fit the door into the fence, drilled a couple more holes in the pipe, and used zip ties to secure it to the fence.

Now when rabbits escape (and THREE of them did, last night!) they can get back into the colony. They are usually surprised to find themselves outside the colony and spend a lot of time and effort circumnavigating the fence looking for a way in.

The three last night got out by digging up from one of the main burrows which extends pretty far beyond the fence. My NEXT colony is going to have the fencing sunk a couple of feet into the ground to prevent dig outs.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rabbits in the Colony

video
Blogger has the capability to show videos now. This is a video of the rabbits in the colony last fall, before we put up bird netting.

The buck is a Californian; he has dark ears.
The does are New Zealand Whites; they have white ears.
The kits in this video were probably about 3 weeks old.

The video is about two minutes long.
The original file was a .mpeg, 13.5 MB. I think it's a bit long/large for including in a blog, but it's what I had available.

I'd love feedback on if you could view it easily and quickly or if it took forever to play, etc. I'd like to put videos on here from time to time but not if it makes the blog painful to view.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Baby Kits


I just discovered these kits this morning. Usually I don't get to see kits until they leave the burrow. We have been having perfect rabbit weather. Highs in the mid 70's, lows in the low 50's, and no rain. So this burrow is nice and open, and the kits are on top of the nest rather than snuggled down underneath.


I don't know how hold these kits are. I've asked the kind folks at Homesteading Today's rabbit forum to take a look and see what they think.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Broccoli Bunny Breakfast


Our broccoli is pretty much harvested now. About every second or third day, I pull a broccoli plant out of the garden and take it to the rabbit colony. They really like that!


I do this either early in the morning or late in the evening. During the day it's just too hot for them to want to eat.

In the group photo, the dirty one is one of the senior does. They stay kind of dirty from digging burrows and going in burrows to nurse their kits. The rest of the rabbits stay pretty clean. They're getting, uh, kinda big.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rabbits Kindling in Burrows


A while back I wrote about a doe that kindled under a hutch, on top of the ground. Usually the does kindle in burrows they've dug into the ground. Above is a photograph of what I call "the fence burrow" because it is dug right beside the fence. Usually it's open and the kits run in and out of it. The older rabbits don't utilize burrows.

Here's the fence burrow after a doe has kindled and there are kits hidden inside. The does close the holes up until the kits are three or four weeks old and ready to venture out. This keeps them from wandering out and getting lost or eaten, and it keeps other rabbits from getting in the burrow and stepping on the kits and killing them. I imagine in the wild it also helps hide them from predators.

The first time one of our does kindled, I saw the closed up entrance and thought all the kits must have been born dead, for her to seal off the burrow like that. I was sad. Now I know better, and I look for a closed off burrow and fur on the ground as a sign that a doe has kindled.

This burrow was used again recently, but the ground was frozen solid. There was fur around the entrance to the burrow but the ground was too hard for the doe to dig up and seal off the opening. Eventually we got a good layer of fresh snow and she used that to seal up the burrow.

The does only visit the burrows once or twice per day to nurse the kits. Other than that they ignore the burrow completely. I've read that wild rabbits do this too, and it helps avoid advertising the presence of the burrows to predators.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Rabbit Losses

We have been exceedingly busy at Palazzo Rospo. There is too much to tell. I'll hit the highlights and try to post more regularly so I don't get overwhelmed and think "There's no way I can remember/tell it all, so why even bother?" Most of the activity has been with the rabbits, so I'll tell about them.

We had an owl or owls take *all* of our baby rabbits over one or two nights around March 8th. That was probably about 15 kits, as we had two litters (10 kits) running around the colony plus another litter due to make an appearance above ground but I never saw them. The older kits were just a couple of weeks from butchering age, which really ticks me off because we had the expense of feeding them and the effort of caring for them and then an owl family had a major feast thanks to the sweat of our brow.

This is the time of year that owls have their babies, apparently, and so there are lots of hungry mouths to feed. We have LOTS of owls around here. We've seen a huge white one in the daytime - a white diurnal owl suggests asnowy owl but we're much too far south, so maybe a confused barn owl (barn owls are supposed to be nocturnal). We have heard barred owls, hoot owls, and screech owls, and heard/seen others that we can't identify. We hear 3 or 4 of each type at a time. We can hear them calling from different places up and down the valley so we know it's multiple owls.

Fortunately, about a week before the great kit loss of '07, one of the does was collecting straw and taking it into the main burrow beneath a dog-crate half. This usually means kits are going to be born in a day or two. Those kits would be 3.5 weeks old now, and I'm anxiously watching the colony for their appearance.

I put up bird netting where I could, but there are trees in the colony and shrubby things so I couldn't net everywhere. I'm hoping that what I could manage was good enough. The netting was knocked down the second night after I put it in, and it was torn in a couple of places. Since then it hasn't been messed with. I'm hoping that the owls will be deterred and that they haven't found easy access where the trees are. It makes me nervous that I haven't seen those kits yet.

We also had a doe get caked mammary glands - that's where the glands clog up and the milk "backs up" and she gets lumps around her nipples. Some of her lumps have ruptured and scabbed over. She is obviously in distress as she barely hops around and when she does her gait is awkward. The buck was mounting her non-stop and she was trying to get away and whimpering. Now the buck is in solitary confinement in a dog crate on the front porch, and the doe just completed three days of subcutaneous injections of 1/4 cc penicillin. I held her and my husband gave the injections. I luuuuuv him!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Rabbit Nest


I mentioned that one of the does recently kindled on the ground but under one of the dog crate halves that we have in their pen for shelter. This is a photograph of the doe's nest. She took in straw and piled it in the corner. Then she pulled a lot of fur and piled it on top of the straw.

Sometimes when I peeked in, I could see the fur pile wiggling a little bit. One day when the kits were very young - maybe a few days old - I peeked in and saw an ear poking out of the pile! It was covered with fur, which was amazing to me. Then the ear came up higher and I saw a bright eye looking at me. Hang on, I thought, kits this young don't have full fur and open eyes. Then the kit came completely out of the nest and hopped out of the crate and away. It was one of the batch that had been born a few weeks earlier, hanging out in the cozy warmth of the new kits' nest. Cheeky devil.

Well I'm happy to report that all but one of the kits born in this nest survived. The one that didn't make it drowned in the water dish. He had an adventurous spirit, as I'd found him a week prior to his death shivering out in the colony, eyes still closed. I held him close to me until I was certain he wasn't chilled to the bone, then tucked him into the nest. Within a week he was out again and drowned. All the other kits are now mingling with the older batch. I think there are four older ones and five younger ones but as they're staying underground a lot in these cold temps it's hard to be certain.

The kits that were born in this nest survived many single digit nights and one night that was eight below zero (fahrenheit).

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Rabbits in the Snow


So, what do rabbits do when it's snowing , besides pee orange pee and freak out their caregivers? I'd always read that cold doesn't bother rabbits (but heat does). Well our rabbits stayed outside in the snow and enjoyed it. One rabbit rolled around in it while it was fresh, making little snow angels. The one pictured above is meditating and thinking rabbity thoughts.


Here you can see them at one of their favorite hangouts. They've melted the snow there with their body heat. The rabbit on the right is grooming. They spend a lot of time grooming.


Here is one of the kits from the main burrow, about 3 or 4 weeks old. Two of them have come out of the burrow so far. Well, I've seen two at once. I could be seeing a hundred rabbits one at a time. This little guy has been all over the colony. He doesn't mind the snow a bit. This morning he was in the feeder hutch sitting in the J-feeder munching away beside the big rabbits. He's a little smaller than their heads.

Speaking of kits, I checked on the nest under the dog crate (the one on the ground rather than in a burrow) and it moved a little bit. So far, so good!

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Mystery in the Rabbit Colony

Yesterday morning when I went out to feed the rabbits I noticed some blood on the straw in several places and also up the ramp to the feeder hutch. The blood seemed diluted, not bright red and thick and sticky but kind of like blood in urine, only too colorful for that. It was also on the three senior does, in a stream, almost as if they'd been peed on. I picked them each up and gave them a good look but didn't see anything amiss. I also checked out the senior buck, and he looked fine. The kits are hard to catch without a treat to distract them, so I just observed them all for a while. Everyone seemed fine.


It snowed all day yesterday. This morning there was lots of color on the snow in the rabbit colony. It's orange, though, not red. Clearly not blood. We can't figure out what it is. We didn't notice it when we fed the rabbits yesterday evening, because the snow was still falling and covering everything up. It isn't seeping up from the earth, because we dug down a bit and the snow gets white underneath. It isn't dripping from trees because it's in places incongruent with that theory.


Strangest of all: although the orange pigment is located mostly inside the colony, it does cross the fence line in about three places. In one place it extends about six feet away from the fence line (going downhill). The *only* theory we can come up with that is even remotely plausible is that they've chewed up some root and then thrown up and their saliva or stomach acid is colored orange. They'd have to be able to spit a fairly long stream, though. We didn't find any root or bark bits in the orange, either. Whatever it is, it's awfully strange. The rabbits seem happy as little clams so we're just waiting and watching.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Rabbit Colony Update


I haven't talked about the rabbits in a while. That's their enclosure in the photo. On the left is their feeder hutch, then you can kind of see a piece of particle board propped against what used to be a straw bale but is now mostly disintegrated. Behind the gate you can see half a dog crate and maybe if your eyes are sharp you can see the other half a dog crate at the top of the hill just to the left of the gate. If you view large you can see all of this easily, plus the solar electric fence charger.

Right now we have fourteen rabbits that frolic in the enclosure. Four seniors (three does and a buck) plus ten kits that really need to be butchered before they start having babies of their own. We also have a litter (maybe two) underground and two of those teensy babies made their debut appearance yesterday. AND one of the does kindled (gave birth) yesterday but I'm not sure that litter will survive, because she built her nest under the lower dog crate but on top of the ground rather than in a burrow.

The rabbits hanging out around the feeder hutch. They have a little ramp to go up with boards across it for traction in case it's snowy or icy. They have a little "hay silo" inside made of 2x4 welded wire so they can pull the hay out but not climb in it and pee and poop all over it. The little bitty ones climb in there, though! The rabbits eat pellets from a couple of "J" feeders set back to back and fastened to some 2x6 board. That board beside the ramp serves no purpose. It was just propped there when I took the picture; I think it's left over from when I built the hutch.

There is a bag of wood shavings leaning against the feeder hutch. I scatter this on their poo piles beside their water dish. I'm not using the little bottle-with-a-metal-straw-and-ball waterers now, because it's too cold and those metal tubes freeze in a matter of minutes. They're drinking from a plastic casserole-sized dish (about 9x13x3) because it's what we had on hand when freezing temps first hit us. I swear, they just sit there and drink and poo, poo and drink. In the spring I'll shovel up the poo/wood shaving mixture and put it in the garden.

In the foreground you can see the particle board propped against the old straw bale. They have made a burrow under here. It's real muddy in this photo because we'd had a solid week of nothing but rain. Shortly after I took these pictures I took a straw bale to their enclosure and distributed about half of it around the colony and left half of it intact near the top of the hill. They like munching on it and climbing on it. I figure it will work its way down the hill as they scatter it.


Here are a couple of the senior does in the upper dog crate, and the buck on a straw bale grooming himself. This upper crate is where the original burrow is; it's the largest burrow and it's the one I caved in a while back when putting welded wire along the bottom of their fence. This is where the seniors prefer to hang out. They've done repairs to the burrow and this is where the two babies popped out of yesterday. I'm not sure if there are one or two litters down there right now. Time will tell.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rabbit Lessons :(


These chickens and rabbits are enjoying apple peels and cores left over from the other day when I made the cinnamon red hot apple wedge thingies. The rabbits prefer the peels and the chickens prefer the cores. It works out well. I thought I'd put a happy picture here because the rest of this entry turns sad. But, I don't like the idea of only blogging the happy stuff. The lessons are important too, even when they're tough ones.

We're not intentionally free-ranging our rabbits, despite whatever impression the photograph may convey. The plan is that the kits stay inside the colony. I don't think the young rabbits got the memo, though. It's supposed to be like this:The colony is fenced with 2x4 welded wire, and has chicken wire on the bottom foot. The "baby" rabbits (now about eight weeks old) go through the fencing like it's not even there. Granted, they have to wriggle a bit now but it still doesn't deter them.

We set out to put hardware cloth (the stuff that is used for the bottom of rabbit hutches) along the bottom foot of the colony fence. The burrow where a doe kindled on Halloween is right on the fence, though, so we didn't put hardware cloth in that area. So, the kits still go in and out of the colony and we're down to four kits now out of the original double litter. We figure that's part of us learning how to raise rabbits in a colony and we're learning from our mistakes.

The sad part is that when we were putting up the hardware cloth, I stepped on the original burrow that two does shared for the first-ever litters of kits we had here at Palazzo Rospo. One of the does had been digging in it and I was pretty sure she was pregnant and going to use it to kindle. She was distraught when it caved in. I got a bale of straw and put it over the hole, so the burrow would have a roof again and some insulation. I didn't know what else to do. She sniffed around the straw bale and eventually went back to digging out the burrow. I figured all was well. That was about ten days ago.

The last couple of days she'd been pulling straw out of the bale and although I didn't see her carrying any into the burrow, I figured she was building a nest and would kindle soon.

Yesterday morning I went out to feed and water the rabbits, and found little naked newborn kits lying dead all over the ground. She kindled outside the burrow for some reason. I figure she just didn't have time to dig a new burrow or get the old one rebuilt to her satisfaction. It was really sad putting those little purple-pink bodies into a grocery bag :(

If a deer had come close by the fence, caved in a burrow, and we'd lost a litter of kits, I'd have been disappointed but sucked it up and figured that's part of life. Having been personally responsible for this incident, though, makes me feel ill. Not only because of the loss of the kits, but also for the doe who was probably quite upset by it all and now has milk but no babies to nurse.

In retrospect, I should have been much more careful around burrows when I wasn't sure where they went underground. I should have spread out plywood or something to distribute my weight better.

We've decided to enlarge the colony to about three times its current size. The expansion will cause the Halloween burrow to be in the central area of the colony rather than right on the fence line. That way we won't have to get anywhere near it to put up hardware cloth.

On a brighter note, I did see one of the Halloween kits yesterday. It came out of the burrow, looked around, and went back in. It's pretty big at only three weeks old.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Baby Rabbits


Back around the 9th I posted that we had discovered there were kits in the burrow dug by a couple of the does. Someone said they thought the kits looked about 16 days old back then. These photos were taken on the 25th so I'm guessing the babies are around 4.5 weeks old in these photos. The does are definitely sharing a burrow and I think they're not too picky about whose babies they nurse. I know I saw one baby approach both does to nurse (but at the time, neither doe was particularly interested and they pushed it away).


I know for certain at one time we had seven babies running around. The most I've seen and been able to count recently is five at a time. They get through the fence, so it's possible we've lost a couple to predators. I'm planning to put hardware cloth along the bottom of the fencing as soon as I get time and the rain lets up. The babies are eating lots of solid food now. They eat pellets, dry leaves that fall from the trees, and grass. I think they sneak out of the fencing to get to the grass and other delectables.

Here's the daddy, a Californian buck, with a couple of the kits. The Moms are New Zealand White does.

If you look at the kit in front, you might notice he's blind in his left eye. We have two kits like that and we think it's because the does picked them up by their heads. It's just a guess, but it's all we can come up with. They seem to get around just fine, and their eyes were like that the first time I saw them, before they'd ventured out of their burrow.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Kits!!!



We have kits at Palazzo Rospo! This is the most exciting thing we've had happen here in a long time. I knew two of the three does were pregnant, and I knew they'd dug burrows. I thought this litter had died, though, because the doe pretty much sealed up the burrow for several days. I'd read that if a litter dies the doe will "bury" them in the burrow. So I was sad, but she's awfully young so I figured better luck next time.

Well yesterday I noticed the burrow was opened back up. And TODAY I saw kits in there! Their eyes are open and they came out and nursed a bit under the dog crate hutch.



After they'd nursed a bit, the doe hopped down to get a drink of water and nibble on some strawberry plants I'd brought up from the garden and put in their feeding hutch. She just left the babies there in plain site, and I got a couple of shots of them before they went back down into the burrow.

There are at least three live kits and one dead one The dead one is easily visible lying on the ground just inside the entrance to the burrow. I didn't mess with it. I figure if it's still there after the kits are well and truly out and about I'll dispose of it then. I didn't want to mess too much today on their first day out.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

The Buck Stops Here


We got a buck about a month ago, to keep our does company. Here he is, in all his red-eyed evilness. After a small initial skirmish, they've decided they like him, and he likes them. Yay!

He's a Californian (the three does are New Zealand Whites). He is white with dark ears and nose, and gray tail. His toes have a tiny bit of darkness to them. Some Californians have really dark ears, feet, and tails.

Californian bucks and NZW does are supposed to produce some good meat rabbits, with a good meat to bone ratio and a good feed to meat conversion. I have no idea what the kits will look like.

The does are old enough to get pregnant now, so it's just a matter of time until we see kits. I'm getting excited. Two of the does are getting serious about digging burrows. I'm hoping that means they're nesting. Time will tell.


These pics aren't the greatest, because Mr. Buck is shy and a wee bit skittish. That's kind of odd, because he was in a hutch before we got him (he's about 16 months old) so he was handled plenty. To get these pictures I had to lift up the scrap of particle board he was using as his top-secret hideout, snap the pic, and hope for the best.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Feeder Hutch


This is our rabbits' new feeder hutch. No longer shall they dine beneath the overturned bottom half of a dog crate! And best of all, I built it all by myself. With input from my husband, yes, but every mistake and cut and screw and bit of hardware cloth was done BY ME.

You can tell I'm a total amateur but all carpenters have to start sometime and why not now? I thought a rabbit feeding hutch was a great beginner project. Big enough to make me feel like I'd done something (not like a simple bird house) but not so difficult I'd throw up my hands in despair. And "rough" is okay, so imperfections aren't disastrous: they're merely "personal touches".

It measures two feet deep and four feet wide. It has a vertical welded wire "silo" on the left where we will put hay (timothy with some clover and a wee bit of alfalfa, when we get around to purchasing some). It will also have a pellet hopper eventually but for now it has a dogfood dish to hold the pellets (not visible at this angle). The bottom is hardware cloth because the rabbits really like to poo where they eat, and hopefully this will allow the poo to fall through. There is a gap at the bottom of the walls to facilitate changing of the hardware cloth, should we need to, and to shove poo out, should we need to. There is a nifty ramp that the rabbits don't use (they just jump right up and back down) but maybe kits will use it one day. The top is hinged to make it easier to get into the pellet-hopper-of-the-future (we plan on attaching it to the hutch) and there are latches to keep the hinged roof from blowing off in a storm. I still need to put some kind of roofing material on top but that's all that's lacking.

I guess I could clean up my scraps of 2x4 from the ground too, huh?

Anyway, this is my feeder hutch and I'm pretty darn proud of it, warts and all.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Dig those Rabbits


The rabbits are doing surprisingly well in this hot weather. They have scraped out an area under the top of the dog crate and they like to lie on the dirt to keep cool. They haven't dug any real burrows yet, but they're practicing. The pics today aren't the greatest - sorry about that.


In the back left corner of the dog crate top, you can see a light colored area. That's where they've cleverly dug a back door for sneaky quick getaways. The light is spilling in their back door.


Looking down on the dog crate top, you can kind of see their little back door. Not very well. It doesn't show up as nicely as I'd hoped. But they're digging! This is a good thing, because they'll need a place to keep cool in the summer and keep warm in the winter and have lots of babies with which we can make stew.


The little monkeys dug under the fence in one corner and got out into the big wide world. We put rocks down to block their egress. Thankfully, they're pretty tame and they were relatively easy to catch... twice. The first time we thought we'd found their escape hatch it turns out we were wrong and they just ran out again. This was definitely the escape route. They are pretty darn happy in their enclosure. They groom themselves and run "quick like a bunny" when they feel playful. But we've had some wild rabbits coming around tempting them with promises of rowdy night life. We're looking for a buck...

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