Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Zealands

New Zealands are interesting and practical as a breed, but I've had a concern about the size of the reds in particular. They were purchased from different people and are from different litters originally, but their growth is below expectation thus far. I knew Scorch wouldn't be a big fellow because he was almost full grown when I brought him home and he had also spent some of his time before he joined us out in the wild as I have mentioned on the blog before. The doe, however, I hoped would grow a bit larger and faster. She was the biggest in her litter and had top quality feed and care before and since she has arrived. It seemed like she had a nice growth spurt a month or two ago, but then very little growth since. She is still young at five months old, so I will give her a few more months of growing before I weigh her in as a senior.

On the bright side, the reds feel very muscular and smooth throughout. They also have nice temperaments and their color is gorgeous. They both are more flighty than my Harlies and Mini Lops, but I think that is to be expected in a breed when commercial production has been the focus as opposed to pets and show. Pearl has also really filled a niche here as a nice, large New Zealand white doe with a solid body.

I bred Scorch to Pearl this morning, so fingers crossed for a new litter around the New Year. Pearl lifted without any trouble and was very cooperative, though immediately after she turned on him in a fit. She is a lovely doe, but this is very typical of a female rabbit when they are done with their boyfriend a la ,"GET OUT OF MY FREAKING SPACE!" (Lol.) This is why it is so important for someone to stay with the rabbits when a buck and a doe are introduced to prevent any accidental injury should she decide to be nasty afterwards.

I am hoping that Pearl will kindle in a month with a nice litter. She is supposed to be proven and a good mother, but I bred her once before and it didn't take. If successful, I imagine I will get something like agouti out of this pairing and possibly other things depending on what Pearl has in her background. I don't really care about color for this generation, but I am hoping that she can also add her nice bits (like a full HQ and large size) to the kits. I will likely keep the biggest and best typed kits to breed back to the parents and to Cinnamon later on as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Just thought I'd share a funny story. This morning I was doing some Fall cleaning in between school assignments. I had hauled out some of the stackers and was torching/brushing the wire, doing vinegar washes to the trays, etc. I took them back in, but figured it wouldn't hurt to spritz the clean cages down with sanitizer before I called it quits.

So I started using the spray bottle all over the stacker minding my own business when I hear a strange noise. It sounded like one of the Harlie babies squeaked or something. I stopped to look at them but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. They were all just munching hay and watching me work.

Okay.. back to work, I guess. Then I hear it again a few seconds after I begin, but it sounds like it is coming from two different rabbits at two different times. Squeak... squeak! I stop and look, but I don't see anything still. At this point I am wondering what the heck is going on. Am I so exhausted and stressed from nursing school that I am having auditory hallucinations?

I cautiously start spraying the cage again and this time it is a sound *explosion.* I drop the bottle and spin around only to find every single Harlie baby is screaming as loud as they can! I run over thinking something horrible has happened, but before I even get there they stop and go back to calmly eating hay.

I tentatively pick it up and spritz once.. SQUEAK! Twice.. AHHHHHH! They all start shrieking like the little freakazoids they are and scare the bejeesus out of me until I finally start laughing.

The thing is that they looked perfectly calm even while they were all screeching their heads off. I can only imagine that they think some other rabbit somewhere else is making weird noises like the spritzer makes and they need to join in?

For those of you that haven't heard a rabbit scream, it is VERY loud. It also sounds like someone is being tortured or something. I can only hope no one happened to be walking by when this all happened, lol.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Harlie Litter Update

Harlequin babies just slay me- they are so cute and personable! I have been going through the litter this afternoon in my very small window of free time (thanks to the hour change) after a 12 hour shift at the hospital and here is what I have discovered:

2 Blue Japanese Does
Black Japanese Doe
Lilac Japanese Buck
Blue Japanese Buck

The blue buck looks almost identical to Hikari in markings- it is so cute to see them together. The lilac buck is the smallest in the litter, but he looks to have the nicest type so far. I am also really excited to have him because I didn't think Apollo would have lucked out with the chocolate genetics. The black Japanese doe is the largest followed by one of the blue does- they are beasties.

I was also proud to realize today that this is my second generation breeding as Apollo (the sire- my pride and joy) was born and bred here, too. For now I plan to keep all of them and see how they develop. It feels very strange just planning to have a few rabbits from one breed to work with now that I have made the decision to part with the Mini Lops. At the same time I hope it will reduce my overall anxiety level considerably having them in and I will be able to enjoy them more, too.