The Crow Wing County Fair started today. It's exciting to think that the day after tomorrow we'll be bringing our bunnies in (to be judged the following day). My oldest daughter will be showing her new Flemish Giant doe. We'll also be bringing three New Zealands (Porkchop, Cadbury, and Stew) and one Angora bunny (Marshmallow). It should be fun. While they're away at the fair, I'll be re-arranging some of the cages and repairing one of them that needs a nail or two and a wire repair. Staying home will be Pickles (mom of the NZ/Lion/Lop litter), Anakin (who has a silly haircut due to the matting from his previous home), and Sweetheart (who arrived here after the cut off for fair entries). Maybe next year these three can be entered at the fair. We'll wait and see.
I'm thrilled to announce that Obsidian, the black kitten from the Roadside Litter has been adopted! He'll share his home with three little girls who are sure to adore him. Congratulations on your new home Obsidian!!
By a stroke of luck I happened upon an ad for a black Angora doe. The price tag was crazy high, but I figured we'd check her out anyway. We drove three hours round trip to pick her up. She's not in very good condition. She's matted around her neck, base of tail, and her entire tummy, but she's patient and doesn't mind my brushing and pulling. I'm trying to avoid cutting it all off like poor Anakin, as she's not as badly matted. This doe is also drastically underweight. I can feel her spine and hips through her coat. I'm giving her free-feed to get her weight up. The lady I bought her from said she'd put her with a buck and that she's possibly pregnant now. While I hope that she is (as I do want another doe), I don't hold out much hope, especially considering her current lack of weight. Regardless of if she has a litter next month or not, I will not consider her for breeding until next spring at the earliest, and only if she's up to a good weight and her fur is back to what it should be. Today I got half an ounce of fur off of her and she's still looking rough, and matted underneath. She ate about a quarter cup of food and drank 2/3 of a water bottle the first night she was here. I take her appetite as a good sign that her weight issue is something she can recover from, and not a more serious medical issue. I will be putting her into a bigger cage with a built-in nest box just in case her previous breeding did take. For now, I'll continue to free feed her and wait to see how things go.
If anyone is looking for black angora fiber for spinning, I do have the half ounce I pulled off of her today (using a brush and pulling by hand - not cut, so the mats are brushed out). Asking $5 for the 1/2oz, otherwise, I'll be trying to get more off of her tomorrow as well. It'll be $10 per ounce once I get that much. Please keep in mind that although she is a black rabbit, the fur she's dropping is more of a grey color. One ounce of fiber should be enough to spin enough yarn for one scarf (or so I'm sold - I don't spin).
I'm pleased to announce the addition of two Angora/California cross bucks. I had hoped for does, but there were only bucks left. One is a lilac point, and the other is broken black (he has spots on his butt too). Unfortunately, the broken buck was matted pretty bad, so I spent the better part of the afternoon brushing and cutting his beautiful fur to get him to the point where he'll be comfortable and able to grow out a healthy mat-free coat. Since I have no angora does, when they're older they may be available for stud services. As for right now, they're settling in and will be raised for their fur (which will be trimmed and sold every 4-5 months).
Trouble went to his new home today. He was one of the 4/24/13 twins. I'm excited to see him go to an active young family who will put the time into handling him and taking excellent care of him.
In other chinchilla news, three new arrivals made their debut yesterday. One beige male, one white female, and one (I assume) standard male. He looks like a standard, but his tail is oddly white, which could be just a fluke, or it could mean that he's a reverse mosaic. We'll see how he looks as he gets older.
The baby bunnies are continuing to grow. There are three that are bigger than the rest (milk hogs), but otherwise, nobody is noticeably behind (no runt). I tentatively sexed them as 4 males, 3 females and one that I'm still not sure about. They'll be re-checked as they get older and bigger.
Four of our five rabbits are now signed up to be shown at the county fair next week (Pickles will be staying home with her babies). Hopefully we can take home a ribbon or two. Since we're mostly breeding for meat and pet, show potential isn't a huge thing for us, but it'll be a fun experience for the kids.
Tomorrow we're going to check out some new bunnies that we may be adding to the herd for fiber potential (harvesting their fur regularly to be sold for yarn making and felting crafts). What a fun new potential venture! We aren't planning to breed fiber rabbits (angora) right now due to lack of cage space, but maybe in the future.
The baby bunnies are growing so quickly! Most of them have their eyes open now, and they are wandering out of the nest house and out into the wire portion of the cage. Today was the first time the babies (those brave enough to leave the box) got to discover a frozen water bottle. It was super hot today, but the babies (and mom) are just fine. They're getting handled every day, and now the kids are handling them too. Here are some updated photos from today (12 days old).
The odd colored bunny. If this one is a doe, I'm considering keeping it (her) back. This one is gorgeous and continues to get prettier by the day! The nose is dark, eye rings are light, and it's starting to get agouti ticking throughout the coat. Not sure what color this is considered, but I like it!
The big rain storm today coupled with the wind ended up sending rain sideways into the enclosed nesting box, effectively soaking the baby bunnies and matting all of the soft nest fur to the bottom of the box. Thankfully I check on them every day before I go to bed, and I was able to bring them in the house and get them dry. I added pine bedding to the box to give them something to nest in, and I put a tarp over the entire cage for the night. Hopefully the rain will let up tomorrow so I can modify the cage to prevent this from happening again in the future. Crossing my fingers that the baby bunnies will be alright. One was cold when I found them, but all were warm and dry when they were returned to the box, and since it's now covered, even if they wander out of the box, or the rain picks up again, they should be alright for the night.
Baby bunnies are officially one week old today! Some of their ears are starting to open up so they're not all pushed back (see the blue baby in the photo below).
In other exciting bunny news, father of this litter, Dark Chocolate Thunder (half lionhead, half mini lop) went to his new home today. No babies and no nesting going on with Stew, so I'm assuming there will be no babies from her. That's alright though, we'll just put her in the fair and breed her again afterwards. I think eight baby bunnies is enough to keep us busy for the next 5 weeks.
The baby bunnies are doing well and are growing so quickly! Here's an updated photo taken today (5 days old).
I also updated their dad's photo. The picture I'd been using was taken as soon as I got him home from the auction, so it was definitely past due to get an update on him as well. Here's the father, Dark Chocolate Thunder... He's a lionhead / mini lop.
And if anyone was interested in taking a peek... Here's the mom bunny (Pickles). She's a New Zealand Red. I owned both of her parents as well.
I did my daily inspection of the baby bunnies today and to my surprise, our little litter went from seven to eight! I don't know where the last bunny was hiding, but there are definitely now eight babies in the nest! Here is their photo (3 days old). Most of the black babies are turning brown (chestnut agouti), starting on the tops of their heads and working down their backs.
Follow along with the joys and heartbreaks of one small-time hobby breeder.