Apr 23, 2014

State of the Rabbitry Address

When last I updated everyone on my rabbits, Lisi's and Chesna's litters were just hitting two weeks old, and Sweetie and Aster had just kindled nine kits each.  I am happy to say that all kits have survived.  (I really hadn't been sure that Sweetie and Aster would be able to handle such large litters, since many does can't handle more than 7 or 8, especially since Sweetie's last litter was only two kits).

Sweetie's litter explores the nestbox and beyond at 19-days.
As of today, all nest boxes have been removed (the younger litters are just short of three weeks old, but hopping in and out of the boxes frequently, and I'd rather have them all hopping around the cage than risk one getting stuck out of the box and getting chilled--temperatures are still dropping into the low thirties over night).

Even the youngest of kits are starting to nibble on pellets in the feeder, and are starting to get curious about drinking from the bottle.  Of course, they still try to sneak a few drinks off mom, too.
19-day-old kits eating pellets

Kits learning to drink.

Kit stealing a drink off mom.
Of course, the older kits have got it all down pat. At exactly one month old, they're of an age where many commercial rabbitries would consider weaning them. However, a number of studies have concluded that weaning before 5-6 weeks results in notably less growth, and also puts the kits at a higher risk of weaning enteritis, which is often deadly. Over the next month, I should see an accelerated growth rate from them as they eat more and more while still getting nutrition from their mother's milk.
8 one-month-old Californian kits pile at the feeder.

Month-old Californian kit drinks from water bottle.

Trudy enjoying attention at an Easter Egg Hunt.
(Image taken by The Observer)
In addition to the progress of the current kits, we have a lot of expectant mothers, now.  Mena will get her nest box in a couple days.  Californians Lavender and Laurel; New Zealand Iza; and Rex Mosaic, Princess, and Godiva were all bred on one day.  The goal with the Californians and New Zealands is to have market litters available for nearby counties.  Trudy has been difficult about breeding, but a trip to a nearby Easter Egg Hunt changed her mind (roadtrips can do that to rabbits for some reason, and she really enjoyed all the extra attention).

Another fun happening was that I managed to sell all of my extra bags of manure for about $100!  My "shit list," as some people are referring to it, is now back-ordered.