Dunno as if Zeus thinks it’s near Halloween or what, but he’s been practicing his gargoyle moves.
He was right up on the front edge of the nest box just about falling off. Dunno as if fluffy and white quite goes along with the whole gargoyle theme, but he’s just a beginning fashionista and still needs to work on a few details.
Zelda was trying out the gargoyle thing too, but nowhere near as convincingly as Zeus.
She just doesn’t have the whole gargoyle thing figured out yet.
Other than fuzzy bunnies, there’s been fuzzy scarves being knit. I’ve started writing out the pattern for it since it may turn out well enough to be knit by other folks perhaps.
This is the front side of the scarf. It’s being knit out of Hula Bunny’s ‘Beach Bunny’ color of yarn. It’s mostly ‘Old Shale’ or ‘Old Shell’ pattern which is sometimes erroneously called feather-n-fan. This is NOT feather and fan, it is Old Shell. Which is sometimes called ‘Old Shale’ because of the accent from when it’s spoken. So, now that we have that clarified, here’s the back of it.
This is the back and because the Hula Bunny yarn gets so soft and fuzzy, a lot of the fine details in a pattern will get lost in the fluff. Which is why a big broad pattern is best with Hula Bunny yarn.
If it were made with an unmodified Old Shell pattern, the back of the scarf would sort of have an overall pebbly texture and no real interest, IMHO. The vertical stripes were added in to make the back nice to look at, too.
At the moment, it’s only half knit since it’s only about three feet long. I’m thinking maybe six or seven feet would be the nicest length.
Not that we need a scarf in the middle of June, but I have to start knitting now so there will be things ready for folks in the fall and winter. More bunny haircuts tomorrow! The bunnies have to help or all kinds of folks will be missing out on toasty ears, necks and noses come next winter.
The little ones can wander in and out of the nest so it’s hard to weigh them properly. Before they were so mobile, one would get weighed and put back in the nest and they’d pretty much stay put. Now, they scoot all over the place and it’s hard to figure out which black one is which.
The Ruby Eyed White is still the biggest one, by .01 ounce. The REW is 7 ounces, the next biggest black is 6.9 ounces. Followed by 6.4 ounces, 5.6 ounces and 4.8 ounces. That’s quite a bit of difference between the largest and the smallest. I think it will even out some when they start eating solid foods.
They’re getting bigger, all but one are now over five ounces. No wonder Cheiri is eating like a little piglet, she’s feeding bigger babies now. For the next two and a half to three weeks is probably the most stress on the mom bun. As the babies get bigger, she has to feed them more. However, they’ll start nibbling on solid food in about two weeks or so.
The little white one is now 5.6 ounces although one of the black ones is now bigger at 5.8 ounces. If we were picking bunnies to keep at this stage, those two would be at the top of the list. But, it’s still very early to see how they’ll be when grown up.
Cheiri could use a bit of grooming, but at this stage, we’re just letting her do nothing other than feed babies. In another three weeks when the babies are more or less weaned, then we will give Cheiri a good grooming since she won’t be all that stressed out anymore.
They are all there and they are ten days old. Most likely they will all survive at this point. Baby bunnies are very delicate and we lose them to being stepped on by the mum bun, being eaten by rats or ants, getting out of the nest or even off by themselves at the other side of the nest and getting chilled and dying, etc. etc. However, at ten days old, they’re becoming much less delicate. They still rely on mum bun for all of their sustenance at this point. Given another week, if they should lose mum, they’d have a chance of surviving but at this time they rely almost entirely on mum.
They’re getting better at moving themselves around and they mostly sleep upright now. They almost have their eyes starting to open, but they aren’t quite open yet. They have little itty bitty teeth although I think they have them almost from birth.
It was a rainy day today so we didn’t get out to visit with the bunnies much. Hopefully tomorrow we will get more pictures and visit with the little ones some more. The babies get picked up and scritched behind the ears, a little belly rub, etc. Being handled now keeps them pretty mellow as adults since they’re used to humans from the very beginning.
We did figure out how to get a countdown calendar for the upcoming litters added to the bottom of the webpage. Now instead of having to count on the calendar, we can just look at the bottom of the page. The Google page had a calendar that would keep counting past the event, but I think this one will just go to the event and then stop. Having one that keeps counting past the time makes it easy to see how old the babies are, maybe one like that will show up at some point. I’m still learning how to manage the website.
This is Cheiri with a grass mustache! Yay! When female rabbits are getting ready to build a nest, they gather up grasses to line the nest. Which gives them a ‘grass mustache’ and is a really good thing if one is hoping for baby bunnies. She’s actually quite a few days early for this, though, usually a doe will build her nest about four days before having babies and she’s not due until May 4th.
Sandy has been pulling wool, which is another thing prospective bunny moms do. So hopefully we may have two litters this round.
Both of them were bred to Gomez, a black buck on loan. He’s been eating a different feed than the Nutrena 18% “Performance” rabbit feed that the rest of the herd has been eating. Since he brought a half bag of his feed with him, he’s been eating the same feed. He met up with Cheiri, Sandy, Sirocco and Cocoa Puff, so he was a busy boy. Two of them, Cheiri and Sandy are making nests so we are really hopeful of some new litters the first week of May.
This is Sirocco, who has also been with Gomez, but she hasn’t started building a nest yet. Still, the other two are days earlier than usual for nest building and some never build a nest at all, so we still don’t know if she will be a mom bunny or not. However, her coat is growing in as an angora coat. She’d molted to a very short coat and had a very clean molt, so I wasn’t quite sure what she was going to do when she grew in her new coat. If she has a litter we will probably keep them all to see if they also will molt cleanly.
Looking back over the database, in the past twelve months, there have been 18 matings. (This doesn’t include the current five we are waiting to see if there will be a litter.) Of those 18 matings, only two produced a litter and both of them were a litter of 3. The first litter was one live birth and two stillborn. The second litter was three live births but then the dam didn’t make any milk to feed them so we lost all three. Which means one new bunny in the past twelve months!
According to our database, we had 23 matings in 2012. Seven of them were unsuccessful, although all but one of the unsuccessful matings were with the same doe. She never did have a litter so it was probably something wrong with her and not the mating procedure. So, figure she’s a barren doe for whatever reason, remove the six matings with her, that leaves 17 matings, only one of which didn’t take. There were 79 offspring in 2012 out of 17 matings. So that’s an average of about five bunnies per litter. Using the same average, we should have had about 85 baby bunnies in the past 12 months.
In 2013, there were six matings, four unsuccessful and the two litters were of 4 and 7. That’s a one out of three average.
In 2014 there were 14 matings and only four of them were successful. Those were a litter of 10, 8, 6 and then 1. That’s one litter out of 3.5 matings, a little higher average than 2013. And a higher litter size of 6.25 average. Wish I would have kept records of what they were being fed at these times.
In 2015 there were 15 matings and only five were successful. That’s back to the one litter in three matings ratio. The results were a litter of 4, 5, 4, 5 and 5. Average litter size of 4.6, so that’s less than 2014.
In 2016 there were 24 matings and only eight were successful. Back to the one in three ratio. The resulting litters were 7, 1, 2, 3, 7, 6, 3 (two stillborn), & 3. That’s an average litter size of 4 if the still borns are included.
Of the litters that were supposed to be born this year, the six early January ones didn’t show up. The four for early April didn’t show up and we are still waiting to see how the ones which are supposed to show up in early May will do. However, Cheiri with a grass mustache is a good hopeful sign.
It’s Dozer’s Birthday! He is now seven years old, not sure what that would be in human years but in bunny years that’s quite elderly.
Grinlow’s DozerDoze is one of the foundation bucks for the herd here, he is one of the three who were imported from the mainland. So, Hoppy Birthday Dozer! He’s enjoying a birthday carrot and ti leaves.
We’re hoping for some new fuzzy faces here hopefully around the first week of April. Dozer’s son, Phineus Phogge, has met up with Ginger and there should be baby bunnies in April. Ginger isn’t the best mom, though, she’s lost litters before by not taking care of them. In hopes of having surrogate mums if necessary, Sandy Storm and Cocoa met up with Sydney.
That was a week ago, I’m thinking maybe Myste wants to meet up with Phineus and maybe Suzie as well. We need more white bunnies and Suzie meeting up with Phin may produce a white baby, if they meet up, maybe we will find out.
What is it they call a type of wine made by the vineyard that grows the grapes? There’s so many wine terms it’s hard to keep track of them, but wine and yarn may have some things in common. There’s the common wines in cardboard boxes and then there’s the good stuff made in small batches? Well, in any case, today’s effort is making a ‘varietal’ yarn of one type of fiber and it is ‘sole sourced’ from one individual bunny. Ha! Maybe we can now make yarn labels about as confusing as an exotic wine label?
For Hula Bunny Yarn, the bunnies get haircuts and all their wool is in one big group sorted by color. Then it’s sent to a small family run mill, blended with some of the softest Merino sheep’s wool for elasticity and with some silk for shine. Then it’s spun into fingering weight yarn. The next batch will hopefully be three ply, so far it’s all been two ply, we will see if the mill was able to do a three ply when it gets back from the mill hopefully sometime this month.
However, there’s also Hillside Farm Yarn which is the handspun yarns made from whatever is produced here and whatever I feel like spinning up at the time. Consistency isn’t exactly what I’m known for so most of the Hillside Farm yarn has a run of maybe four skeins at most of any one type. Usually ‘one skein wonders’ type of patterns are best for Hillside Farm yarn, but maybe consistency will be something to work on this year.
So we start out with one bunny. In this case, it’s Phineus Phogge. He got a haircut the day before yesterday so now he doesn’t look like his picture anymore.
This is Phineus’ fluff becoming a ‘sole source varietal’ yarn. Woot!
It’s not been processed in any fashion other than clipping it off of Phineus. I may card it a bit or I may not, depends on how it looks at the time. It will be washed after it’s spun to set the twist. Then measured, weighed and labeled. I haven’t had much Hillside Farm Yarn available for awhile, it doesn’t last long once it’s made although hopefully there will be some for me to knit with this year. I knit a lot with Hula Bunny yarn so patterns can be made, but there’s not as much Hillside Farm yarn so when it sells, there’s usually not any left for me.
The main difference between the two yarns is the elasticity of Hula Bunny verses the non-elasticity of the Hillside Farm yarn. Also, the Hillside Farm yarn is even softer than Hula Bunny. Hmm, Hillside Farm yarn would make an excellent blanket! That would be a lot of bunny fluff, though. Maybe I’ll make some and try weaving it, I don’t think I’ve ever woven Hillside Farm yarn. That would make an excellent weft yarn, not sure if it would be a good warp yarn, though. Hmm, maybe spin up some cotton for the warp and angora for the weft? Well, I’ll think about that project some more.
See, that’s the thing, when you make your own yarn you can sit there and think about exactly which fibers you want in it and exactly what characteristics you want your yarn to have. I find yarn stores really limiting when all they have is a zillion colors of the exact same yarn.
I’d been spinning the Bleak Hall Sea Island white fiber yesterday and now today the bunny fluff feels much slicker than usual. It doesn’t have the same amount of ‘catch’ that the cotton has. Both fibers are somewhat similar lengths. Both fibers are approximately the same diameter, both being fine fibers. Neither fiber has much elasticity at all. Yet the cotton has a lot more ‘catch’ to it and can spin finer without falling apart in the process.
I’d started with the same setup for yesterday’s cotton spinning and immediately noticed that the tension was set way too high for the angora. Really lowering the tension helped and now we’re spinning up Phineus into a “Varietal” yarn. Maybe I’ll have to think up a better term for yarn made from one specific fiber source? Do wine terms work with yarn? “Single Source” for yarn from one sheep or one bunny? Anyone else know what the terminology would be?
Bleak Hall Sea Island White cotton yarn. Yay! It’s a three ply thick fingering weight, haven’t a clue how many yards are in the skein nor how much the skein weighs. It’s a soft and almost silky feeling yarn, not sure what I’ll make with it yet. Cotton yarn doesn’t have much elasticity to it, so something that drapes instead of clings would be best.
The yarn in the back of the picture was a test skein made with Navajo ply. That essentially creates a three ply yarn, but the lack of stretch in the cotton made the Navajo ply a bit tricky. A true three ply was easier to do with this fiber.
Now I just have to wait for the plant to grow more bolls. Fortunately Sea Island cotton seems to be a perennial cotton and just keeps making more cotton all the time after it gets started. Of course, we’re in the dead of winter right now so there’s a little less sun light so the bolls are slowing down. But, this is Hawaii, so there’s not all that much difference between daylight hours or temperatures throughout the year.
The fiber from yesterday has been spun into yarn. Kinda a sport or even a worsted weight somewhat rustic yarn. It’s soft but has almost no stretch to it at all. Not sure what to make from it.
It was Navajo plied since I didn’t have two or three bobbins full of cotton to ply from. The lack of any elasticity at all made the Navajo ply a bit more tricky than normal. I’d never really thought about how the elasticity of the fibers changes how it’s spun.
It’s very soft, much softer than you’d expect a cotton to be. I think the next skein will be a bit thinner and probably a three ply from bobbins instead of the psuedo-three ply from Navajo ply.
Maybe I’ll make a shirt from it, it would be a comfortable shirt, perhaps? Something that can drape, it doesn’t have any ‘cling’ to it at all. Since it’s 100% cotton, it’s not a particularly warm fiber so a scarf may not be the best use of it.
We’re really advanced with the cotton fiber prep so far. Basically, it’s the kitchen table, a book in a reader, a cup of tea (although in the picture the cup is empty) and the cotton to have the seeds picked out of it. Ginned, I think the word is ‘ginned’ but we have no cotton gin so it’s cotton picking, I guess?