May 7th, 2017
Success! Our first litter on the new organic diet system! There were five does bred, although they weren’t eating the new organic diet until half way through their pregnancy. Chieri and Petunia had been bred two days after the others, Cheiri has had a litter, although Petunia hasn’t had hers and she’s getting overdue enough that she’s not likely to this time around.
So there’s five babies now and hopefully a lot more later as this year progresses. Just don’t get your hopes up right away, we will most likely be keeping all the females and at least one of the males from this litter since we need to bring the herd numbers up here. We’ve only had one new bunny in the past year and we needed about another fifteen bunnies here to keep up with the demand for Hula Bunny yarn. However, we already have two more does bred as of yesterday and will probably breed two more today so hopefully we will start seeing a whole lot more baby bunnies here this year.
I’ll try posting a picture of them each day as they grow and as soon as their genders are known, then there will be more data on any that might be available. There’s probably at least several males, so we’d only be keeping one of those.
I think it’s time to build a new bunny hutch, too! Yay!
April 25th, 2017
We are much more hopeful about possible litters showing up for the first week of May. After checking the database and comparing previous matings and litter sizes and percentage of litters which don’t show up, it’s become pretty certain that whatever is affecting the lack of litters is something herd wide. Then I’d heard from another bunny breeder here in town who was also having trouble with litters showing up as well. She was using the same feed as the herd here, so a switch in feed has been done.
I’m suspecting the non-organic alfalfa may have something to do with bunny fertility. From what I’ve heard, it is sprayed with a herbicide before harvest so it will all ripen at the same time. This isn’t supposed to harm the animals eating it, although on the garden forums there’s been concern about using manure from animals eating this alfalfa since the herbicide stays in the manure and kills the gardens. !!! Appalling thought! So, considering there’s enough herbicide in alfalfa feed to kill off a garden after it’s become manure, would there be enough herbicide to affect fertility in rabbits? Following that thought, the bunnies are now eating a different feed.
The breeding herd is now on organic alfalfa pellets along with calf manna and black oil sunflower seeds. I’ll add in some whole oats pretty soon, since they didn’t have a complete bunny ration, just the alfalfa pellets in the organic feeds. We also have a visiting buck, Gomez, who hasn’t been eating the same feed as the rest of the herd, hopefully he will be a viable buck. The bunnies were bred when the girls were still eating the suspect feed but hopefully the buck being on a different feed is enough? If it’s the feed at all, of course.
He’s a black buck out of Country Cousin and Nicky Epstein. He may carry the Vienna gene, which sometimes causes white spots on the bunny’s head or front feet which makes them non-showable. Other than that, he doesn’t have any big faults. He got a haircut and met up with some girls.
This is one of Cheiri’s older pictures that shows her nicely groomed. She got a haircut to meet Gomez and isn’t as fluffy at the moment. She was gathering grasses to build a nest so we’re real hopeful about seeing a litter from the two of them.
We don’t know much about Gomez’ color genes, he’s a black bunny out of two black bunnies, so all we know is: aa B_C_D_E_. His sire, Country Cousin only sired black and white bunnies, so his sire at least had the recessive for white. Gomez’ dam had the recessives for chocolate and white. It’s quite probable that Gomez carries the albino (white) recessive, and perhaps the chocolate although less chance of chocolate.
Cheiri is one of the ‘All Blacks’ which was a litter of five bunnies who were all black. Her mom is Maile who was a white doe and her sire is Sherman who is a black tort. So, she has the color genes of: aa B_ Cc D_ Ee. We may have another litter of All Blacks, we will see. At this point any color is good and black bunnies produce fiber for ‘Moonlit Dance’ color of Hula Bunny yarns. If Gomez got the recessive for white from either of his parents, then half this litter could be white.
Gomez also met up with Sandy Storm, a fawn doe. Her genetic color code is: Aa Bb C_ D_ ee. If Gomez has no recessives, we should see half the litter show up as agouti – that’s the wild rabbit color pattern. The other half of the litter would be black. Until we know what recessives Gomez has, we can’t really tell what colors may appear other than black. If he got the recessive for chocolate from his dam, we may see a chocolate baby here, but it’s pretty unlikely.
Gomez also met up with Sirocco.
She’s a chocolate agouti, so she only has the chocolate recessive to give. If Gomez has the recessive, half the litter should be chocolate. Half the litter should be agouti as well.
Gomez also met up with Cocoa Puff
She’s the mother of Gayle, who was the last baby born here. She’s a chocolate doe and we will see if they have anything other than black babies.
Sydney, an agouti buck, (who’s one of the babies in the picture at the top of this page) also met up with Petunia, a Ruby Eyed White (albino) doe. As far as I know, Sydney has all the recessives EXCEPT possibly the one for albino. He’s had nine offspring, none of which were white, although I don’t know if either doe he had the litters with carried white so he could still have the recessive. Petunia has the recessive for chocolate, albino, dilute colors and we don’t know about torts/fawns. There should be some colors in this litter perhaps, we will have to see if she has one first, of course. Sydney has now been put on an organic alfalfa pellet diet, but he hadn’t been on it when he met up with Petunia.
We are hoping for these litters to show up around May 4th.
Baby bunnies are usually looking for their new homes starting at eight weeks old. They have flown off to Oahu, Kauai & Maui as well as found homes on this island, Hawaii Island, too.