My Little Sweetie ~ Rabbitry Blog

Name: Jenn Badger

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Been a Long Summer...

Wow, it has been a long time since I blogged. Things have been rolling right along here at My Little Sweetie Rabbitry. I found wonderful homes for 7 of Lexi's 9 babies. Some to show homes and some as pets. I kept 2 bunnies here with me, Bailey and Trinity. Fenton went to his first show in Yreka on May 9th. He won BOV and BOSB! On May 17th, Clouseau went to her first show with Fenton in Stockton. The competition was tough against some very nice English Lops brought by Juan and Trina. Clouseau took 2nd place in the first show and I was very proud of her. I love hearing what the judges say, even if my buns don't place. They are always very informative and give an objective opinion of my rabbits. In early June, we attended the Gridley show. I took Lexi, clouseau and Fenton. Surprisingly Clouseau was chosen for BOB! When I asked how she beat Fenton (whom I think is gorgeous), the judge told me she has excellent hindquarters and topline! Good for her!
The last two months of summer, the buns and I have been enjoying rest and peace at home. The Redding heat has been challenging on several days, but far less frequently than most summers have been. The buns stay nice and cool with their misters on and frozen carrots to munch. With the summer coming to an end, the show season is picking up. We start off with the Trinity County Fair on August 28th. I've signed up all the buns and can't wait to go to the show. Next, we hope to drive up and over to Crescent City on the gorgeous California coast for two days of bunny-mania. There are 5 shows in two days! I can't wait to get out of the heat.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy Easter!
The weather is lovely, the grass is green, and there are fluffy little bunnies everywhere! Our nine little kits have grown so much in the last few weeks. I've captured them on video as they've progressed from hairless squirmies to velvety crawlers to fluffy hoppers. Lexi is filling out again and her coat is coming back after all her hair pulling. The nestbox is gone and she and the babes have lots more room to move about their house.
Now that the fur has come in I can see the colors of the bunnies better. I feel so lucky that two of them are blue agouti steel, one is broken. This is in comparison to blue self steel. The agouti's should be quite stunning. there is more about breeding steels in my previous blog. I was able to sex them yesterday and I have 5 does and 4 bucks. For now, I plan to keep three of them... the broken blue steel doe, the broken blue agouti steel buck, and the blue agouti steel doe. I may end up selling a couple of those later, but we'll have to wait and see.
Clouseau has been looking so very nice lately. Her fur has become luxuriously thick and soft. I'm sure it's from the conditioning mix she's been getting with her Purina show bunny pellets. Unfortunately, she got a very long scratch down her ear and was unable to go to Central Point. We cancelled the trip since only Fenton could have shown. Hopefully the scratch will heal nicely and they can both go to Stockton on May 2nd. It's hard to protect those long ears on the English Lops and I refuse to keep her locked up all the time just to be safe. I'd much rather have a happy, exercised bunny than a caged up model.
I am having surgery next week on my back and will be relying on my hubby and the boys to help me with bunny care. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring is in the Air

Oh, to have the sunshine, a light breeze, and birds singing... Spring is wonderful! Lexi and babies are doing great. the little ones are getting bigger by the minute. I have new videos of them on youtube, accessible from my webpage, so please check them out. They should open their eyes this weekend and will be crawling all over after that. Fenton is growing like a weed as well. He is over 7.5 lbs already and his ears are so incredibly long! He is just a sweet, sweet bunny too, loves to snuggle with his mama. Clouseau has a bit of 'bunny spring fever'. She is obviously thinking she should have a litter of her own and her hormones are raging. She is very active when out in the yard... digging under Smokey's cage, trying to dig under the fence, spraying pee around Fenton's play pen, climbing everywhere, and looking for that satisfaction that only a buck can give... but, sorry, Clouseau, we have no bucks and you are not on the breeding schedule for this spring. She is on the show schedule however. Clouseau and Fenton will be going to Central Point, OR, for the Pear Blossom rabbit show. This will be everyone's first show, so wish us luck.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baby Bunnies are Here!

Break out the champagne and cigars! the kits have arrived. On the 31st day of gestation, around 10am, Lexi gave birth to 10 bunnies. One broken blue kit was dead in the box, but the nine remaining kits are quite alive and well. I am so proud of her! She had them all in the nestbox and pulled a lot of fur. She ate all the placentas, cleaned them all, and covered them to keep them cozy and warm. I gave a nice big helping of spinach afterward which she ate thankfully.I also picked her up and snuggled with her for the first time in several days. It was nice to hold her again and she was happy to be given some loves. The weather is sunny and warm for the next couple of days and the nights are getting warmer too. In a couple days they will have grown some fur and won't be at risk of getting cold so much. Til then they will have the heat lamp on at night.
I sing praises to God for protecting Lexi during her pregnancy and the birth of her babes. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing such beautiful healthy baby bunnies into our world and for accepting the soul of the one in to heaven. God has blessed our family in so many ways today and I can't thank Him enough. Alleluia!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Breeding Steels

Well, after reviewing genetics on McCloud and Lexi, I have found that my expectations for color in my new litter are somewhat inaccurate. I had somehow figured I was going to see blue steel, blue, and opal. Upon my new genetic worksheet I find blue steel, cream, blue tort, and opal with Es. What is that? I asked. And I spent several hours researching steels and breeding them, something I obviously should have done before. But, please, let me elaborate...
The steel variant, Es, is dominant over E and e in rabbit genetics. Looking at this allele alone, EsE is stronger than Ese and will give you better ticking. That said, there are other factors that are significant to the role of Es. As one breeder describes it, you would never want to breed a steel to a rabbit with aa genes, or self colored rabbits ie. black, blue, chocolate, lilac. The reason is because the Es gene cannot fully function and therefor you will have limited ticking and possibly none at all. This takes away from the real beauty of Es. When you breed a steel rabbit to a rabbit of the A or agouti gene, the banding is turned solid base color with pronounced, gorgeous ticking covering the rabbit. A black chestnut with Es is then simply called a 'steel'.
So, what about my opal? Opal being my favorite color rabbit, the idea that it could be ruined or become a DQ was upsetting to me. One source said the fawn band is darkened and the tummy is darkened.... I was thinking "DQ! oh no!" But as I researched and thought deeper I could see a beautiful light at the end of this steel tunnel. Opal is simply blue agouti, or blue chestnut, right? So if I have blue chestnut with Es, then I should have a true blue steel. A blue steel with very pronounced, beautiful ticking just the same effect as on the chestnut. The black chestnut with Es looks like a solid black rabbit with gold tipping. Therefor, the blue agouti SHOULD look like a solid blue rabbit with gold tipping, but even better then the typical blue gold tip steels we see most of the time because this one would be agouti based and Es would have the opportunity to play out fully.
Not so fast. All this had me very excited. Firstly, because I learned something new that no one else seemed to point out anywhere and genetics being fairly confusing to the average breeder I felt pretty good about finding some understanding of the concepts. But secondly, I could not find anywhere online so much as a picture or statement saying that this was true. I did find a couple of pictures of blue steel rabbits with very nice ticking and compared them to several others with not so nice. I suspect those are agouti and that is why they are ticked so heavily, but I have no proof. And, none of the genetics sites discussed effect of Es on an opal rabbit. The only problem I find with my particular situation is the fact that my doe is ee. And, as I stated earlier, Ese is not a good combination because the e even though dominated by the Es somehow holds it back from being the shining star it is when paired with a nice big E. So inlies the possibility that my beautiful and heavily ticked blue agouti steel may indeed be not so heavily ticked after all.
I do find all this genetics stuff awfully interesting and fun to learn about though.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Nestbox is in...

The nestbox has been lined with clean cardboard and filled with straw and placed in Lexi's cage as of yesterday. I set up a heat lamp of low wattage hanging above to hopefully ensure that the kits won't get too cold. I'm glad I took this measure because there is a storm that has moved in and is expected to stay for the next couple of days. Today is day 28, the first of possible delivery. I expect her to deliver on the 30th or 31st day based on what I've read is average for kindling. I will give Lexi some raspberry tea and raspberry leaves to eat tomorrow to help ease the delivery. She has been nesting and resting all day today. She is such a sweet girl, I hope and pray that all goes smoothly for her and that her kits are healthy and strong.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting Closer to Babies and Summer

This past week has been one of contemplation, research , and planning. Lexi is getting bigger by the day and will get her nestbox this weekend so she can prepare for her little kits to enter the world. I have been reading on many yahoo groups for breeders for information on the birthing process. I had been under the assumption that rabbits were safe to be given their nestbox, peace and quiet, and left alone to birth in private. Some of the discussions in the groups were far from that. I was actually very nervous that my doe may end up in a scary or even deadly situation. As always, I checked this with my good friend, Marie Antos, of Stretching Limits Rabbitry. Marie assured me that I needn't be concerned and that most of the situations that were being discussed were of dwarf breeds which English lops are far from. She gave me a few suggestions of hoe to ease things along and I feel much better about it now. I am so excited about having our first litter!
I'm trying to rearrange some of my rabbits as well. I have my two pet bunnies, not that any of them are not pets, but these are the two spayed does. I had planned originally for them to be a bonded pair and live together. I had no idea Smokey was going to be such a territorial tyrant! BUT, she and Willow have been spayed for several months now and should, with some time and work, get along. So, I have been visualizing my yard and where everyone lives and where they could be and how I should begin the process of bonding those two and make room for more English Lops as well. My husband, Scott, has graciously offered to help me build more hutches/cages. He and my sons built the structure that is covering the doe's cages now and it has been a perfect home for them through the winter.