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.