~My Little Sweetie Rabbitry~
Autumn is my favorite season...
Autumn in Redding is so incredibly lovely! I could feel the summer temps cooling down sooner than usual this year and the Fall was a perfectly comfortable and visually pleasurable season to say the least. October seemed the perfect time for the girls to be pregnant so I bred them both on the 5th. They had nice and easy pregnancies with no trouble at all. Both ladies delivered on the night of November 5th... Lexi with 10 and Clouseau with 4 (3 live). Clouseau was hesitant to feed her little ones at first. I laid her on her back on my lap, got her good and relaxed, and let the tiny kits nurse. After several times of this over a couple days, she picked it right up and had not a problem since. Still, most of November was fair to nice weather. The days got shorter and the nights colder. I kept the heat lamps on so that the babies would stay warm and fat and grow nice long ears, and also so the moms wouldn't use up all their extra energy trying to keep warm. From an early age, the babies have come inside during the day to hang out with the family and give moms a break. At first, they were in a shoebox, then a clean litter box, then a laundry basket, then a medium sized indoor cage, and finally a big play yard that takes up a third of the living room. They all have their unique personalities and are so fun to watch. I have often found myself staring at them for 30 minutes or more just fascinated by their cuteness.
As the Bunny World Turns...
Hot dry summers are no stranger to Redding. This summer has been like most others with the exception that it didn't make it to 117' ...thank the Lord! We've had our fill of challenges none the less. Keeping everyone cool has been fairly easy with the misters. Smokey gets ice bottles and on the 110' days, she comes inside. I bought a little chocolate Polish rabbit for my son at the Gridley show in June. He turned out to be quite the hormonal little sucker and bites. I had every intention of bidding him farewell, but my son, and husband, pleaded for his life. Lucky for him, I got him neutered and am still waiting for him to chill out. He is better, but still bites when he's too excited and I pick him up. I've taken to wearing my gardening gloves when I get him out in the yard. It's funny because he'll snuggle for an hour, being totally sweet, and all of a sudden he just flips out! I told him this last time, 'if you don't stop biting soon, you are outta here.' There are too many sweet snuggly buns out there for me to waste my time with a mean bunny.
So, all the buns had been doing so well. I was really pleasantly surprised. Lexi is looking fabulous and has gained back all of her condition since her litter in March. Clouseau has filled out very nicely. Fenton is huge. And, Trinity was looking awesome. I had just registered them all for the Trinity County Fair rabbit show thinking they were going to do great. Quite suddenly, Trinity stopped eating her pellets. She was hardly drinking either. Over a couple days she wouldn't touch her Calf-Manna, oats, nothing but hay, and only a tiny bit at that. I brought her in the house and gave her Nutri-Stat in baby food and Pedialyte by syringe. She still barely ate or drank. I tried yogurt, Simethicone, electrolytes in water... she would take it all really well from me, but would not touch anything in her feeder. She and I spent many hours snuggling in the recliner watching TV over a few days. On Friday morning I took her to the vet. I had palpated what felt like a fetus in her tummy and knew there was really no way she could have gotten pregnant. My concern was that she may have an intestinal blockage since I've head bunnies are prone to such things as GI stasis. The vet did an ultrasound and found that her kidneys were hugely enlarged and full of cysts. She was in renal failure and apparently her kidneys were very bad off. We decided that putting her down was the best choice so she would not suffer any longer. We sent her kidneys to a pathologist for postmortem diagnosis. Trinity had Lymphoma. According to my vet, Lymphoma is neither congenital or caused by anything contagious. I am comforted that her last week was one of being spoiled and loved. Also, I'm relieved to know that my other rabbits are not at risk. Trinity will be missed.
Tomorrow is the fair, and I am taking Bailey, Lexi, Fenton, and Clouseau. I'm hoping for cooler temps and can't wait to see the other animals and hang out in the bunny barn. I love to walk around and check out all the other buns. I need to acquire transport cages for my bunnies and hope there is someone selling some there.
A Very Busy Spring...
Lexi had her first litter on March 18th. She had 10 kits, one was DOA. Of the nine live babies, there were 2 broken bucks, 1 broken doe, 3 solid bucks and 3 solid does. She was a wonderful mother and cared very well for her kits. They all grew up healthy and strong. All but 2 have left to go to their new homes. The remaining juniors, Bailey and Trinity, are here to stay for now. They are both very sweet and beautiful.
Clouseau has spent her spring trying to figure out how to get bred. She was so ready and loved to kiss Fenton through the fence. The two of them seemed very much in love.... at least with the idea of making babies. I am waiting til Fall though. I took Clouseau to a couple of shows and was very pleased with the judge's comments. Although her ears are not as long as I would like, she does have very nice coat, topline and excellent HQ's. I feel that she will be a good match for Fenton. He did well at show also, except for not sitting still for judging. He still has a very soft baby coat and I am hoping he molts out of it before the next shows. His head has gotten very big and he weighs more than the does now.
The summer is officially here. It has been 108' the last several days. The misters run all day and the buns lay around alot. We just got a new freezer in the garage and I have more room to keep frozen water bottles and carrots to keep the buns cool. I am not planning any show trips til September and hopefully it will begin to cool off by then.
A Herd of My Own...
After much planning, networking, and of course caring for my English Lop rabbits, I can finally say I have a herd of my own. I have two beautiful does and a buck. A good start to a wonderful adventure in rabbitry. I've bred my Lexi to grand champion buck, McCloud, belonging to Marie Antos of Stretching Limits Rabbitry in Oregon. I do believe the breeding was successful and am expecting my first litter mid-March. The sire of the litter is a stunning buck and I expect the kits will be very nice! I am also quite pleased with the buck I purchased from Molly of Pease and Carrots Rabbitry. Potato Bug, Fenton, is still a young sprout, but is quite lovely and fits the standard of perfection to a tee. I can't wait to see how he grows.
With warmer weather, I will start travelling to rabbit shows with Clouseau and Fenton, and Lexi once the kits have weaned. I am excited to see what the judges will say about my English lops. The shows will be great fun and I hope to meet many other English lop enthusiasts like myself.
-Feb. 2009 Jenn
How it all began...
Many years ago, when I was young, I raised rabbits and showed my rabbits in 4-H. I had a group of 3 Tans and 1 crossbred rabbit. Chester, the mix, was my favorite. Having raised and trained him from a tiny fluff ball, I was very attached. He and I did very well at our shows. I took first place for showmanship at every show I went to, and occasionally he would win a third or fourth place ribbon for crossbred bunnies.
I have over the last year begun to keep rabbits again. A small obsession you might call it. My first doe, a girl rabbit, is Smokey. She's a Mini Lop with a gorgeous Black Chinchilla coat. At 6 months, she weighed in at 6 lbs and 3 oz. She is a very smart little rabbit. She is litter box trained and uses the pet door to go in and out. I believe she thinks she is one of the dogs. My second doe is Willow. She is a Holland Lop in Chocolate Sable with ruby eyes. She can't be shown, but she is beautiful and very sweet. She is very small too weighing only 2 lb 9 oz at 3 months old. Holland's normally weigh between 3 and 4 1/2 lbs as adults.
as I realized that I wanted to raise rabbits for showing and breeding, as well as companionship, I researched all the different breeds of rabbits. There are almost 200 breeds in the world and 45 that are recognized by the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association). They vary greatly in size, shape, fur, ears, and colors. Here is a list of many of the breeds I looked at...
American . American Fuzzy Lop . American Sable . Angora . Argente . Beveren . Blanc de Hotot . Brazilian . Britannia Petite . Californian . Checkered Giant . Chinchilla . Cinnamon . Dutch . Dwarf Hotot . English Lop . English Spot . Flemish Giant . Florida White . French Lop . German Grey . Havana . Himalayan . Holland Lop . Jersey Wooley . Lilac . Lionhead . Mini Lop . Mini Rex . Mini Satin . Netherland Dwarf . New Zealand . Polish Rabbit . Rex . Rhinelander . Satin . Siberian . Silver . Silver Marten . Silver Fox . Smoke Pearl . Sussex . Tan . Thrianta . Vienna
Of all the rabbits I looked at and read about, I was most excited about the English Lop rabbits. Their long beautiful ears and storybook faces won my heart. They are also known for their sweet temperaments. After talking with several breeders, I chose a pair of sisters from southern California. The first week of August 2008, I brought home Lexi and Clouseau. Lexi was thought to be a lynx, but is definitely a Cream colored bunny and Clouseau is a Blue Tort. They have gorgeous long ears!
-Sept. 2008 Jenn
Please look around my Rabbit site. I plan to expand it to include all kinds of information on rabbits ie. raising rabbits, breeding, grooming, color genetics, feeding, medical care, bonding, hutch building, and more. Thanks so much for visiting and have a great day!