Monday, April 30, 2012

Trying our hand at Raising Rabbits

My daughter's friend got a new bunny that she was going to put in 4-H next year.  My daughter wanted to be in another 4-H club besides Dog.  I didn't care that she joined another club, and rabbits seemed like the one to join.  I did a little research and the bunny club only meets once per month, and then the rabbit/s show at fair.  I thought this would be doable, unlike dog club where they meet at least once per week to train the dogs from April 1st to our Fair which is in July.  SSSSOOO, she researched what kind of bunnies she wanted, and I researched the closest place to get them.  2 weeks later, we had one male and one female Holland Lop.  The male already came with a name which was Contraband, and we named the female Holly Berry, they were both 3 month's old.   The male was show quality and the female was pet quality.  I spent several days making awesome cages for them, while they hopped around in my basement.  When I was done, we moved them to their new cages.  Well Holly jumped off of her nest box and hurt herself very badly, I rushed her to the vet and he said she bruised her spine.  He gave me some bunny pain killer and sent her home.  But by that night, it was clear she was not feeling good, and by the time I went to bed, I knew she probably was not going to make it.  The next day she was gone.  I called the vet and he said the blood on her spine probably moved in to her brain.  I described how she was in the final hours and he said that was probably what happened.  When I got home from work, we had a very nice burial for her, with both my daughter and I crying.  My husband even helped with the grave, I think he felt bad too.  We had her approx 2 weeks.  She was the sweetest little bunny.  When we laid the last stone on the grave, a butterfly landed on the stone, which brought on a new wave of tears.

So, back to the breeders we went, she had another bunny newly weaned.  This was on a Sunday.  Brought Buffy home(I wanted to name her Buffy Buffington, but my daughter was not sold on the name, I can't imagine why), and on Monday night  I noticed her belly was big and round.  I emailed the breeder the next day and she drove over and got her, took her home to nurse her back to health.  She had something called muciod enteritis, which is almost always fatal in young rabbits, usually brought on by stress, bad feed, or change in diet.  Well the breeder did her best to save her, bless her heart, but yesterday Buffy passed away.  I never knew Bunnies were so fragile. So currently we still only have the one buck and are being very careful with him.  The breeder has our name on the list for another Doe, so we might just be able to breed bunnies after all.  Unfortunately, the Does have a good chance of losing their first litter.  This ought to be a real treat coming up in the White household.  The reason we want to breed, aside from baby Holland lops are the most adorable things ever, is in our 4-H Club you can only show one purchased rabbit, but up to 11 rabbits that you bred yourself.  Plus the whole rabbit husbandry will be a good learning experience for the whole family.

This past weekend we purchased a cream colored rose bush to put over Holly's grave, my daughter picked it out, it is called Guardian Angel.

Here is a video of "Contra"

Until next time, Beth.


Sheila aka SassyLady said...

I had to watch the video. When my children were young we had bunnies too... Your is just adorable.

Anonymous said...

When I was around 10 or 11, my sister got me 2 black/white bunnies.. (*she assured my mother they were 2 girls*) HAHAHAHA, they ended up being one of each and they were true to their nature.. 40+ bunnies later, it was bunnies from one end of the room to the next.. (had them in one biggggggg open room in our barn with the hens..) We did loose the first batch.. (again, thinking they were both females, then realizing she was prego'd.. and we left the male in the cage.. NOT KNOWING, but the daddy ATE the babies.... lesson learned.. right after momma shows signs of being pregnant... out goes daddy, out of the cage... Oh, I used to have some grand times playing with allllll of those bunnies... They don't fair too well INDOORS either.. they can be susceptable to respitory infections... keep them outside, in a covered/protected area... where they can be close to their original climate.... make sure you keep something like wood or something, they like to CHEW to keep their teeth down... AND they are POTTY TRAINABLE TOO, they will only go in one spot... I'm Weezie13.. not sure if you remember me or not....

Anonymous said...

I see he's already using his bed as his "potty area".... lol!!!
I used to love watching the baby bunnies eat... I used to (when they were first being ween'd from mom) take a cheese grater and grate up beets, apples, carrots, and make a mush for them.... they'd go over there and nibble and lick and it was just soooooooooo gosh darn cute.... They'd have their little noses wiggling and licking their lips... bringing back lot's of great memories... Weezie