The last two gerbils went to their new home today. They'll be traveling all the way out to Wisconsin, to an eager young lady who's been waiting for them. Congratulations Kelly and family on your new boys!
Yesterday, one of Paris's babies (my personal favorite - and one that could potentially take her place in the future) somehow got out of the nest box, out of the cage, and onto the floor, where it was eagerly picked up (and chewed on) by the dog before she (the dog) decided to bury the baby (still alive). I caught the dog digging by the bunny cage and went to reprimand her, only to find a gasping, dirt-covered baby bunny with a gash on one flank. I wiped the dirt off as best I could, warmed the baby in my hands, and returned it to the nest box, expecting to find it dead by morning. I added extra baby-wire to the cage to prevent future adventuring.
This morning, I opened the nest box and counted three babies. The one from yesterday was warm and wiggling, and appeared fine other than the gash on one side. I found the fourth baby out on the wire. The fourth baby was missing the skin across the rump, tail and groin and was already cold. I have to assume Paris accidentally flayed the baby attempting to get it back to the nest box. I'm hopeful, but still not expecting the dog-damaged baby to survive. I can only wait, watch, and hope for the best. Her already small litter of 4 is down to 3, and possibly 2 if my favorite one doesn't pull through.
Today was auction day, so I loaded up the last of the hamsters and gerbils, and a couple extra bunnies and left for the day. The turn-out at the auction was surprisingly small, and the prices were dismal. If I weren't so terribly allergic to the hamsters and gerbils right now, I'd have waited for the spring sale where they'd have easily fetched twice as much or more, and been more likely to be guaranteed pet homes. I immediately had seller's remorse on one of the rabbits that I had had second thoughts about selling. I wish I'd have kept that one back, especially for the $3 she sold for. Lesson learned - if there's even a hint of a second thought about selling - I won't.
To make the situation worse, right after all of my animals sold for abysmally low prices to people I couldn't be sure weren't intending them harm... my husband sent me a text to tell me that Sweetheart (the Angora doe) had given birth to six babies, which were scattered throughout the cage, all of them dead. Absolutely heartbreaking.
Back to the auction, I came with the intent to bring home two new bucks. One to replace Porkchop, following his temperament change due to a dog attack, and one to replace Death Knight, as I needed a suitable buck for Jean (Flemish Giant doe). I did manage to find both at the auction. I picked up a very friendly 12-week-old light grey Flemish Giant buck, and a very colorful buck to replace Porkchop. At first I thought the colorful buck was some kind of rex mix. He's white with black and tan spots across his back and down his rump. His fur reminds me of a Polish bunny (not short and close-cropped, but not long and shaggy either). The guy sitting next to me said it was a Rhinelander rabbit. I've heard of the breed, but never seen one in person. When I got home, I looked up the breed, and found that even if this one is a purebred, he'd be disqualified for having too many rump spots, and not enough white between them. That's fine by me, as I plan to pair him with the New Zealand does and the Harlequin does next year.
And who can go to an auction without an impulse buy? Yes, it's true, I've been doing some looking at Holland lops - but it was purely window shopping. Then I saw this adorable pair of Holland lops at the auction, and much to my surprise, nobody outbid me. They were labeled as "proven breeding pair" and had one torte bunny and one blue-eyed broken bunny. When I got them home, I moved Sweetheart out of the baby-proofed cage and moved the lops in. The buck seems friendly enough, and the doe is pretty round in the middle. I cleaned out the nest box and returned it for them, since they're housed together, I don't know when babies may be expected. I've also decided to use them as a bit of an experiment. Because they're so much smaller than my other rabbits, I'm going to leave them together for the winter to keep each other warm. If at any point she seems to be distressed or losing condition, I will separate them and give her a break from breeding. I'm concerned with this being our first attempt with small rabbits over the winter.
The Bunny Barn is still a work in progress. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high of 57, so hopefully we can get the shingles on the roof and get some form of wall structure in place before winter hits us full force.
This next week will be a busy one! Tomorrow Buck 4 is scheduled to meet a potential new home. Monday I plan to buy the last of the lumber needed to put the roof on the bunny barn. New bunnies should arrive this week as well (Wednesday through Friday). Then there's the auction Saturday.
I've fought with myself for the last several months about this upcoming auction. I had planned to go and buy a few new animals if I can find the kinds I'm looking for. Unfortunately, due to ongoing issues with my allergies, which have escalated from sneezing and occasional itchy eyes to now throat swelling whenever I'm in the room with the hamsters and gerbils, I am now faced with having to sell them at the auction. I don't want to sell them via auction, but despite dropping prices, advertising in multiple venues, and taking updated photos, I can't seem to find anyone looking for a hamster or gerbil. Sadly, with my allergies getting more and more severe, even my doctor has advised me to get rid of them as quickly as possible, since limiting exposure isn't much of an option as we share a house with them.
If you know anyone looking for a hamster or a gerbil, please let them know that I have several available right now (5 dwarf hamsters, 1 teddy bear hamster, and 11 gerbils) that need homes by Friday, or I will be forced to sell them at auction to unknown fates. I worry they'll become snake food. If you've ever wanted one - now is the time! With the local pet store now closed, there's really nowhere else to get them in the Brainerd area, and I won't be getting back into them in the foreseeable future. I'll be focusing my attention on the rabbits and the chinchillas, and the kids will be focusing more on the guinea pigs.
Either way, this week will be a busy one, sure to be filled with joy (new babies) and heartbreak (forced sell-off of all the hamsters and gerbils).
Today I added new photos (taken today) of the New Zealand/Harlequin litter. They're out of the next box now and checking out the rest of the cage. I expect them to start eating pellets and trying the water bottle any day now. I also checked gender, and it looks like #1 and #3 are boys, and #2 is a girl.
Yesterday the black male gerbil went to his new home. He's going to be well loved by a couple little boys who were very excited to pick him up!
I took new photos today of the Harlequin / New Zealand litter, the gerbil breeding trio, the two black gerbil babies that were just weaned, the gerbil litter that is still nursing (as best I could), and the baby guinea pig. I feel accomplished being able to update the website again. I just need a few more photos to finish the Meet The Animals page, but I forgot all about that today while I was taking photos.
My main goal right now is to find homes for all of the hamsters, all of the gerbils, and all of the kitties. I'm not as worried about chinchillas and rabbits and guinea pigs right now. So if you (yes, you - the person reading this post), happen to know someone looking for a hamster or a gerbil or a kitty... the prices on those three types of animals are negotiable to appropriate homes - so let them know there are animals looking for new homes here!
I've decided to get out of hamster breeding all together. My son's attempts to breed the teddy bears did not result in any babies. The dwarf hamsters have not been selling as quickly as they once were, and the number of cages we're having to clean simply takes up too much time. As a result, I now have three female dwarf hamsters, five male dwarf hamsters, one grey female teddy bear and one black and white male teddy bear hamster in need of permanent homes (my son decided to keep the sable female teddy bear as a pet). None are currently pregnant or paired male/female. Photos have been uploaded to the hamster tab. The male teddy bear is healing from a whooping he got from one of the girls, but he will be available as soon as he is healed.
I'm also planning to scale back on gerbils. I'll be going from two breeder cages to one. Sam and Ruby (agouti and lilac) are officially for sale now too. They're a proven pair, but Sam is an escape artist, so he'll need a secure cage.
Next week I expect one or two litters of bunnies. I put both girls with a male, but only one of the girls is pulling her fur and making a nest as of yet. One litter will be a cross between a New Zealand Red and a lionhead/mini lop (black/otter). I'm excited to see how that pairing comes out. The other litter (that isn't pulling fur yet) should be a cross between a New Zealand Red and a New Zealand White. The kids want to put two of the bucks in the fair this year. If the second female didn't take (unlikely, but possible), she may be heading to the fair too.
My apologies for not updating the blog section lately. Life has been increasingly hectic with the last weeks of school and now summer vacation. I've been busily making decisions about which animals to breed and which to retire. All of our younger female guinea pigs are now of age to start breeding, so two of the three have been put in with the males. Two more may or may not be pregnant. They were with a young male, and if no babies by Friday, then we'll have to decide if they'll be kept in the female only cage to wait, or in with the males to breed.
Chinchillas are about to be switched out as babies are due soon (earliest possible dates). I'm excited to see what my ebony/blue-eyed white pairing will produce. The other pair (mosaic/beige) is a repeat breeding, so I expect similar results from last time.
My son has suddenly decided to pick up with breeding the Syrian hamsters again. I was ready to retire them all and stop working with them. He's put both females with the male, so we'll see if either one ends up having babies (male is proven, one female has had small litters before and the other female has bred multiple times without success to another male).
The gerbils are breeding like crazy! I currently have three litters ready to go and two more litters nursing. I can't seem to move them fast enough, so I may have to sell off one pair.
I've completely switched out my rabbits and have the does from the 1/9/13 litter ready to be bred to a new NZ Red buck (he's handsome), and we may be trying out breeding one of the NZ does to the lionhead/lop buck just to see what we get from it. The kids have decided they want to try their hand at showing rabbits, so we'll see what we have by fall.
With a sudden explosion of babies, and a warm up in the weather forecast, I believe it may actually be spring!
On 4/20 a new litter of gerbils arrived. I believe there are six, and so far it looks like three are dark (agouti) and three are light (argente). Then 4/22 brought the arrival of another litter of gerbils. I believe there are seven and all should be colorpoint.
Today (4/24) the brown velvet chinchilla I worried hadn't been pregnant surprised us with tiny twins. She's not the greatest mom, so I am housing her with the homo beige female who just weaned the tan male baby. The twins appear to be one male tan, and one female of undetermined color (beige? tan velvet?). It'll be interesting to see her grow up a bit.
New litters are expected soon from the Dalmatian dwarf hamster, and possibly two of the guinea pig ladies who are pleasantly plump.
In other news, the tan male chinchilla kit and the argente dwarf hamster are now old enough to find forever homes. I've also decided to start retiring my Syrian (teddy bear) hamsters, as I'm not breeding them as much as I used to. I've got three of them listed on the Hamster page.
Yesterday Papa and Chiko the rescue chinchillas finally found a forever home. It sounds like they'll be very well cared for, and definitely well loved.
In the past week I've sold both of the older gerbils (born in January), and all of my female dwarf hamsters. I have one mama dwarf hamster with a single baby, and I'm hopefully expecting a litter of Syrians on Sunday. This male has failed to produce before, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
In rabbit news - The new bucks I purchased are settling in well. I attempted breeding Mama Bun again, so perhaps there will be baby bunnies in the future? I plan a test breeding after the blizzard passes. This time I'm attempting to cross her with a black lionhead/mini lop to see what she'll produce. This is an experimental breeding, as she's normally paired with my New Zealand Red buck. The resulting litter will likely be too small for meat rabbits, but better suited as pets, and just in time for warmer weather (I hope).
I was up all night with sick kids. I'm hunkering down for the big snow storm that's supposed to come through today. Hope everyone out there is warm and safe today!
Wow! Things are busy this week!
On Sunday I was asked to dog-sit for rescue-beagle Summer until Friday, when her family will be moving her back home to Colorado.
Yesterday was Monday which means that all of the black gerbils are six weeks old, separated by gender and officially ready for their new homes!
Today I'm expecting a new litter of dwarf hamsters.
Tomorrow is Wednesday, which is the earliest possible date for gerbil babies from a female I bought that was already pregnant (mystery litter).
Thursday is the official wean date for the Dalmatian dwarf hamster litter, so they'll be ready to leave.
Friday is a crazy busy day because Summer (the foster beagle) goes home, and the new foster family (roadside litter) comes home. Friday is also my last day of work before I'm laid off, so I'll be bringing home the store cat too.
Saturday I've got out of town plans (mini vacation). And Sunday of course is Easter, which also is the due date of another pair of dwarf hamsters.
Check out the new photos of the adorable kittens on the Rescue page! They'll be ready for new homes in May!
Follow along with the joys and heartbreaks of one small-time hobby breeder.