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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New Site!

So, what do you think? I’m still working on getting data into the pages, but would love to hear from you! Do they need more contact forms? Less? Allow for comments on all the pages? Sidebars? I’ve currently left all pages except the blog here very blank to allow for a “cleaner” look at our site.

The rabbitry and fowl pages will be updated in the coming days as I am able to get pictures of our animals and update it with some great info about the breeds we raise and the state of things here. It’s hard to do with a broken camera lens!

Well, if you haven’t seen yet, we’ve expanded a bit. In the last few months I have added American Blues and French Angoras to the herd. But the surprising move was the purchase of an entire rabbitry. We doubled the number of rabbits here in a matter of two days, from being told I was the “lucky buyer” to getting them delivered and setup on the property. The herd of 16 rabbits (American Chinchilla and Silver Fox) are settling in nicely, and we are deciding which stock we will be keeping and getting rid of, and which are past their prime breeding age. Many of the rabbits are also going through quarantine–keeping three herds of rabbits going and quarantined from each other is a challenge I’ve never considered before.

More details on the goings-on around here later, from goats to bees to chicks and poultry testing, and all the way to boxes full of kits and a late seed start. For now, I have work to do.

20th Post: New Additions!

I have a few posts pending, one especially on hatching eggs, but what’s more appropriate for a 20th “benchmark” post than some pictures of the newest additions?

These are my 9 wheaten/blue wheaten ameraucana chicks. I had 9 out of the 24 eggs I bought hatch, but more on that in my hatching post (later today??). One had pretty severe splayed leg, but after two short stints in a bandaid, he seems to have recovered splendidly and I can just barely pick him out. This was when they were new-new, only just barely fluffed out. These are my July 4 babies. I will only be keeping hens from this batch–so if you’re local to Maryland and will need wheaten/blue wheaten ameraucanas, contact me in a few weeks!

Meet Evie (Evelyn), a Silver Fox doe we picked up on Saturday from Skyview Acres. I will be getting another doe and a buck from them come October, but didn’t want to try and have 3 rabbits (and kits) for someone to take care of after and during the wedding. Picking up one was probably excess, but I love her already. She’s very timid (as rabbits tend to be), but she was the only one I was able to pick up. I tried about 5 other does, some so high-strung I didn’t want to get near them. She’s sweet, calm, but just very afraid. I’ll be getting her pedigree soon, but she is 8-12 weeks old. She will be ready to breed just in time for the wedding to be over when I get the next two rabbits–so it will be perfect timing.

She’s currently being housed in a dog crate elevated in our carport until we put the finishing touches on her permanent home. She was pastured her whole life, and so I’ve been giving her plenty of greens and hay to supplement the feed, and we are starting barley fodder for her and the chickens. We were in a bind Saturday night and put her in with some pine shavings used in the chicken coops, and on Sunday when I raked up some straw/hay to throw in instead, she immediately calmed down–she knows what her element is.

More on Evie and the chicks later!