Silver Foxes and Americans Galore!

We have so many rabbit kits right now, I feel like I’m swimming in them. The first round of Silver Fox and American kits are of age now that I can start sexing, tattooing, and calling their future owners.

Because of the wonderful Silver Fox stock we got (when we bought Whitmore Farm’s rabbitry), we have a waiting list. For the Silver Foxes from those lines, we’ll be weighing, evaluating and tattooing the rabbits. Any that aren’t up to par will be scheduled for butcher in mid-June. With any luck, the worthy kits (and the American Chinchillas) will be sold before then.

The Americans, although rare, have absolutely no waiting list! That’s six kits hopping around, all for me. I’m not too worried about this, as I want to give them the full 12 weeks to grow out. Any at 12 that look good I will keep for myself, grow out a little longer, or sell at that time. The rest… Well, butcher day is mid-June. While from two weeks ago, below is an adorable picture of the rabbits out in the tractor with mama. We had cages to clean. And you know what? This litter has gotten so darn friendly since I started bringing them bunches of dandelions every day.

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We have another litter of Silver Foxes from our “original” line (Penny and Weatherby). They’re right on track with the others, and huge. A 10-kit litter, and at 6 weeks all of them were at 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. That is great growth. The problem? The dam and sire do not have great type. They both surprised me by carrying blue, and the dam has surprised me by being an absolutely fantastic mother on her first round. The kits are all healthy with not a single loss even in the cold. If there are any solid kits in this litter (a few look promising), we might retain them as breeders for ourselves or sell them. Otherwise, we just have a great line of wonderful meat producers.

Beyond that, we have another kit of rabbits from Whitmore Farm lines growing–two or three weeks behind the rest. And the surprise for today?–

BABY BUNNIES!

Bonbon, our chocolate French Angora doe, was bred about a month ago because she was begging for it. I didn’t leave her and Halo together long, and I was a little dubious of whether the deed was done. When she started digging food out of her feeder a week or so ago, I was a bit more sure. Below are her 8 kits. In the fashion of all of the rabbits here at Morgan Farms, she picked a less-than-ideal day to have them. High of 90, but she wanted to be early and couldn’t wait until nightfall.

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I am a bit worried. Maybe because she’s a first-time mamma and maybe because the Angora learning curve is even higher than the others, but I’m worried about the heat. She had them on the wire in a huge pile of hay. She pulled fur and scattered it about her nest, but seems to be trying. So fingers crossed and, if it gets too worrisome, these little buggers will come inside. 8 adorable kits. I think I may have one lynx, and the rest are either cream, fawn or possibly even REW. They’re too young and I have too much to learn to say for sure. I’ll keep you posted as they grow, though.

And last, but not least, our new doe Sweety had a litter of 10 Americans. Sweety came to us a week ago as a bred doe from Florida. She is a breeder we got to replace Leah (the American doe killed in the dog attack). She has a beautiful deep blue coat and was bred to a black buck–thus the black kits in this litter. Of course, black isn’t a showable color, but it has been used in breeding programs to try and deepen the blue in the American’s coat. Unless the blacks have stellar type, they will be gone from our homestead–but I can’t wait to see what these blues grow into.

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Well, it’s time to shovel poop, and try to convince people they want to buy it. Nothing makes me happier than a phone call from someone asking to buy rabbit poop!

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Chilling Cold

No pics this time; I don’t think you will want to see them.

As many of you may be experiencing, we’re getting a lot of blasts of arctic cold, and a lot of unseasonably cold weather. It was 3 degrees when I woke up this morning, which is usually unheard of in this area–at least not multiple times a year. Our highs rarely get above 30. A 40 degree day is downright toasty. In a normal year, 40 would be a healthy daytime average.

But, well, this wasn’t a normal year!

And, of course, rather than kindling on those warm 30-degree nights last week, my new American doe (Cissy), kindled on the coldest night this week. So when I got up this morning and rushed down to water the rabbits before anyone else, this first time rabbit momma’s heart sunk as she looked into her first time momma’s cage.

Even if it had been a 20-degree night last night, or possibly even a 40-degree night last night, it wouldn’t have saved these kits. This first time, she kindled straight on the wire. No fur in her nest, no fur on the wire, no nothing–even though she’d tamped down her nest.

I have heard of many people who have had successful litters in cold that’s colder than this. What happened was a risk for many or most first-time rabbit moms. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

I am waiting on my Silver Fox doe to see what she does. If she kindles and they survive, it will add a little light to this day.