Saturday, September 12, 2015

Update on Bunnies...bunnies and more bunnies

 Before you get to excited, we still only have 24 bunnies!  But what a blessing!! We still have 24 bunnies!!!!!

First a few pictures before the less exciting details...
Here is Laura holding my special little one from Beauty's bunch.  He has 1/2 his face is gray!  Can you see it??  He was cuddling up in her hand and stuck his face up long enough to get this picture.

 Here is the whole bunch.  Notice how they just love to sleep right on top of each other.  Beauty's bunch seems to sleep and cuddle still alot but the other boxes are full of sleepy heads. 
Yesterday I fed Beauty's bunch fresh grass (that I pull from the yard myself- THEIR FAVORITE THING TO EAT!) and all the little bunnies were enjoying the feast.  So I gave Foxy some fresh grass and took all the little ones out of the box (those lazy sleepyheads) and put them by the grass.  They wanted nothing to do with it and went right for MUM and some milk.  Well this is not something MUM allows.  She only feeds them when SHE  decides.  So slowly I put them back in the box so MUM would be able to relax and eat.
Beauty was having trouble with this also.  So I made her a box she can 'escape' from all her little buns.  She likes it up there.  The babies can climb up there too but there is not much room for anyone except her, so they dont stay long.

 These are some really cute pictures.  One of Foxy's babies cuddles up in Laura's hand to sleep.

Here you can see the box I made for Beauty.  I put some fresh grass on top for her otherwise 10 hungry babies will eat her share too!  Here are the buns eating the fresh grass.


 This is not a pretty sight.  Sorry.  But I had to make a way to capture the pellets from our little 'manure producing factory'.  This is what I could do that would not cost a fortune and I could do without anyone elses help.  The sheet metal that we wanted to use was $70+ which is way too expensive and would have done only two or three cages.  The tarp was only $4 or so.   I feel this will be a good chance to check on how this works before winter. 
I will go in there later today and push all this to one end and empty into a bucket.  I can put it on our unused garden area or, once it dries (if we get a little warmer weather today) package it up and sell it.  A mother and her babies can make as much as a ton of pellets in a year.   More trivia facts for you:  rabbit pellets are cold manure (does not need to compost first) and rabbits make a ton of it- literally!

Here is an update on their weight gain.  I will just give you the averages.  Its hard to tell which bunny is which so this is the only sane way to do this.
The first date is 9-2 and the second weigh date is 9-8 (six days apart)

                                  9-2-15         9-8-15

Beauty's average is  :   5.2    and     6.9  (largest is 7.6 and the gray face is 7.2)
Foxy's average is    :    3.5    and     5.8   their eyes are all open now
Thumper's avearge :     2.5   and     4.4   Remember we have a runt here and he is only 2.9

I do have a concern with a few in Thumpers batch.  There seems to be a white one (other than the runt) whos eyes are not as obvious as the others.  They should have their eyes all open in the next day or so and I will know then if one (a white one) was born without eyes.  It could just be they are not as big as the others.  Lets pray he is just fine and just another lesson to learn that 'LIFE HAS ITS OWN WAY' and we cant always know what is going to happen.  We must pray for the best and let life work out the rest.

Thanks for stopping  to see our WASCALLY WABBITS and hope to see you in a day or so with more good news. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

God is Good

It has been a couple days since my last post.  Today is our family reunion so I dont have much time to blog but wanted to update you on the rabbits.
We will start with the blessing first.  The other day I told you I found a baby on the ground.  Well it seems it might have been the runt.  He is doing better now but seemed to have developed a very swollen eye.  Like the size of a pea!  So I took him inside last night and put some trip. antibiotic on it and it is almost back to the right size again.  It might cause him to have problems seeing out of that eye but i figured we had nothing to loose.  If it would stay the way it was or get worse, I am pretty sure he would have problems.  So I pray he recovers fully AND that he starts to gain some weight.  He looks to be about the same size as when he was born.  His siblings are growing and he is not.  We will continue to watch little squirt.  Yes, that is his name LITTLE SQUIRT!  No pictures of them today because I dont want to disturb the mum today.  Hoping she finds him and feeds him a little extra blessing today!
Next I wanted to show you what I took out of Foxy's nest box the other day.  About half the fur she pulled is in the picture!  Since it was in the 80's and they are getting fur, I did not want to loose the opportunity to reserve this for a furture brood.  Once it is soiled too much, you cant save it.

Next are some of Beauty's babies.  They are 16 days old now!  They have been bouncing in and out of the nest box.  That is good, they are healthy and curious but they bug Beauty for nursing often and she is getting frustrated like any mum of 10 who wants a meal all day long:)
So I tried a few things.  One thing I tried was making hay and pellets available in the cage bottom for them.
There is hey in the tp roll for them to pull out, a carrot in front and pellets in the blue dish next to them.  The black ones seems to be running bigger than the white so far.  They are so cute!

This little black one is eating some of the hay.  This is a good age for them to watch mom eat and try a few things for themselves.  They are not ready to be weaned yet.  One more week or two of the next box and then at 5 weeks they can be weaned.  I have my scale so I will be checking their weight at 3 weeks, 5 weeks and hope they are ready for new homes soon after.  I have several interested folks in our rabbits so I cant wait till they are older.  Tomorrow I have to clean out Foxy's nest box with new bedding.  More pictures then!

So cute!  Please comment and visit again in a few days to see how all our fur balls are doing! 

Future projects: Rabbits: create a pellet collecting system using gutters and sheets of plastic roofing, screen on bottom east side of rabbit house for more ventilation, fan in west side in roof top to pull cool air from bottom east side.

Projects inside: use my new POWER PRESSURE COOKER XL PRO to can for the first time and for cooking stews, soups, roasts and so much more.  Let me know if you have any questions about any of our future projects!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

News for the day, part two

This morning I posted all about the baby on the ground and so I wanted to give another update after letting the mums have a chance to settle.
I went out and weighed the little ones this morning.  Here is a picture from yesterday to help you see what they look like.

Beauty was first.  She kindled 13 days ago.  She is the one that had 10.  Her babies are ranging from 6.2-4.1 oz with average being 5.2.  Now that does not seem like alot but watching them grow from about 2 oz to this, I am excited.  Her kits are on the left.
Next was Foxy.  Here, her babies are on the far right.  Today they are six days old and they are averaging 3.5 oz with one only being 2.9 (weight of Thumpers' 2 day old kits)  but most being 3.8.  Tiny little squirt brings down the average.
Last was Thumper.  Her kits are in the middle and are two days old.  She is the one who had the baby on the ground this morning.  Her average kit is 2.5.  The smalllest one is for sure a runt at 1.8.  He might have been the one who was on the ground??  I will have to watch that one!

I am pretty pleased with most of the weights.  I just hope we have not stressed them by moving them back into the garage.  It was sooooo hot last night that I was afraid if we close the kennel to keep them dry, they would get too hot. 

Things I have learned quickly.
1. dont forget to put bunny protection on your kindling cages!  They can take an unexpected trip out of the box when mom leaves and they will crawl right through the bars looking for warmth of their siblings.
2. To have less stress and work next summer, we will make it so the rabbits will have access to a secured bunker during the heat and daytime if they wish.  Basically it will be a tunnel (tube) that will  lead to a "bucket" under ground.  More to do than we have time for this year because we still are working on the kennnel.
3. Baby bunnies will pee on you when you hold them:)

Since we build a dog kennel that is 10x10 and a shed that is built over that, we are not worried too much about other animals getting into where the babies are.  They are in another cage with their mums which is locked down at night.  So a critter would have to be able to squeeze through chain link fence or dig under 2.5 of walls or where the door closes, squeeze in a 2" space. 
While in the garage, critter could get in because it is a rock floor and they could dig in from a wall.  But we double lock the cages and then fasten them all together for strength.  It is possible but would not be easy for anything to get any of our rabbits.  We are more worried about the heat than a predator so if it would stay in the 70's that would be super!

If the one runt and the one that fell are the same, AND it last a couple more days, I think it will all be fine.  Anyone reading who will pray for these fur balls, pray the heat stays down and all stay healthy.  This adventure so far has not been cheap but I am really enjoying it and will keep with it. 
Not everyone wants to know this but when the young are weaned and weight 5.5# or so, they will be going to Freezer Camp if not already sold as pets. (we have several people interested in pets so far)  Rabbit is very healthy for you.  I know, it wont be easy to see them go but everything on this planet has a life cycle.  We all eventually die.  My bunnies will be enjoying their life cycle being pampered and loved.  Some humans are not so lucky. 

Learned our first hard lesson..... sad and scared.

All of our does had all their babies in their nest boxes.  The first two I put a cardboard trim up around the edges so they could not crawl out of the cage.
The gap for the sides is 1"wide x2" long.  It is nice for being able to stick the fresh grass I give them into the cage without opening the door.  See once I open the door they want me to pet them.  Buck and Beauty are the hardest to get to move away from the door so I can close it.  They just love to be pet.
Anyway so the gap is large enough for new babies to fit through.  It got busy when Thumper had her babies and since she had them all in the nest box, (watched her closely), I did not think I needed the cardboard up.
Well last night we were expecting storms and would have had to close the windows on the house to keep it dry inside.  Well it was way too hot to close it up so we moved them back into the garage (after moving the last of the furniture from my daughters place).  This was hard for me to do since 3 of the four have babies and it really upset the whole bunch.
Ok, so back to the cardboard.  This morning when I went to feel and check, all seemed fine.  I might have been too early in the am, because the mommy bunnies seemed to be wanting to feed, going into the boxes but coming right back out.
Then all of a sudden I heard a bunch of screaming coming from a baby.  I looked down and here a little one was on the ground, dirty and a little cold.  I comforted it a bit and showed it to mom bun and placed back in box.  It squeaked like it was in pain a few times while I was installing the cardboard (to avoid future buns from dropping).  I will check on it later to see how it is doing.  We might have our first loss and if we do, it is because I did not have cardboard on my cage.  Sad but a lesson learned.
Today I will also be weighing all of the babies.  I would like an average weight on each stage eventually as they get older, I will need a weight at time of weaning and sale.
Sorry this post is a little sad so no pictures.  Hope to come back with good news after I check on the box with the dropped bun.  Theresa

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Three stages of babies, variation discovery!

I wanted to show you, side by side, how quick the babies grow and change.

In the container below are Beauty, Foxy and Thumpers' babies at 12 days, 1 days and51 day old.

                         12 days with eyes open and fur,    one day old still pink      and  5 days old little pink

Black and white, white and gray??? and black and white???  We will have to see as they get older if there will be any black ones.

And somewhere in the mix of Beauty's babies there is a black on with a touch of gray on the head.  I went to put two whites back in the nest box this morning and I noticed a half gray/black head on a black one peeking out at me.  
As they get older, I will be investigating for color variations so that I can distinguish between each one.  I will be getting a scale in the next day or so, marking the ear with numbers and weighing them in to see how they are doing.  At that time I will also be getting a weight for each growth stage.    I would like to know how they are doing and so would you I am sure.  If you are one who is planning on getting one for a pet, please let me know as soon as you see one in a picture you like.  Or if you would like to see them in person.  We have had several intereted parties and they are going to go fast!