Tag Archives: rabbits

Aaargh! Vienna Gene Again!

See the white spot on the head of the chocolate baby?  That’s an instant disqualification at a bunny show when you’re an English angora bunny.  Sigh!  I’d thought I’d gotten all of this out of the herd earlier when Morpheus and most of his offspring were removed.

I’d also gotten the two black does mixed up.  It gets hard to read the tattoos sometimes after the bunnies get older.  So, the mother of this litter is Janet, NOT Jessie.   Janet could be a Vienna Carrier, but Jessie is of different bloodlines.

Janet’s g’g’g’grandsire was Tails of Paradise Stealth, whom I called ‘Zephyr’ since Tails of Paradise Stealth is a pretty lame name for a rabbit.  Stealth had been owned by someone breeding for Blue Eyed Whites which involves the Vienna gene which along with being necessary to get a blue eyed white rabbit, also causes all these white marks on their heads which makes them unshowable bunnies.

Stealth met up with Bumblebee Acres Forever (another less than stellar name, IMHO but much better than Zephyr’s.  I’d renamed BBA Forever ‘Cloud’ although her pedigree kept the original name).  They produced Hillside Anela who went to live with Dr. Mina in Hilo.  Anela met up with Bumblebeeacres Harry Potter and they produced AJM’s Toffee.  Toffee came to live here at Hillside and met up with Grinlow’s Dozer.  They produced Hillside Nicky Epstein who in turn met up with Hillside Country Cousin and they had Janet.

So, more than likely that white dot on the little chocolate bunnies head is from five generations back.  Maybe I’ll just breed Ruby Eyed White rabbits so they’re all white and I don’t have to worry about if they have any additional white-on-white disqualifying  marks on their head.

Little bunners and excavators

Gayle still has her four little bunnies.  They’re fat and full, so she’d a good mum bunny.

They’re doing well and staying warm.  It’s kinda nice for baby bunnies to be summer babies since it’s not as cold at night.  Although, around here ‘cold’ is anything below sixty.

The other three does who were supposed to have babies this round, Suzie, Sirocco and Jessie, don’t seem to be in the mood.  I’ll give them another day or two before letting them meet up with the boy bunnies again, but it’s looking less likely that they will have any.

baby white bunny on nest box looking down on the four black ones

Didn’t want to forget the first batch of babies now that there’s four new ones.   We may have Zookie Schwartz and Zeus.   The white one may be Zeus since he’s a male and will probably be staying here and the name starts with a ‘Z’?

Hopefully this upcoming week will have a lot of bunny time.  Shear everybunny who needs a haircut, do a deep cleaning on the hutch and maybe start on the buck hutch?  It’s hard to know if it’s worthwhile getting started when the bunnies will be moving yet again sometime soonish maybe.

view after the excavator cleared things

The excavator cleared the line of trees that used to be between us and the neighbors.  That’s going to be a mock orange hedge  now, I think.  Too bad bunnies can’t eat mock orange.

Yay Gayle! Way to go Phineus!

nest with four newborn baby bunnies
Fresh baby bunnies!

Yay Gayl!  Good job, Phineus!  Woot!  Four more baby bunnies!

There’s one pink one (most likely a Ruby Eyed White), one chocolate and two black ones.  This is Gayle’s first litter as well as Phineus’ first litter so we have two first time parents.  Gayle built a nest and put the babies in it.  Although she also put the ti leaf in there, too, so she’s still at the fill the nest stage, I guess.  I gave her some more grasses so she can eat the ti leaf and put the grasses in there.

I had hoped Jessie, Suzie & Sirocco were going to have babies, too, but they don’t seem to have any.  Sirocco hasn’t even bothered to make a nest but Jessie & Suzie had made nests.  There’s still a day or two left before we can figure there won’t be any, but if they do have them they will be taking longer than usual.

another view of the newborn baby bunnies

I didn’t want to take them all out of the nest since they’re still so new, but I think at least some part of all four of them is visible.

So with these babies, we now know that Gayle has the recessives for chocolate and REW and we know that Phineus has the recessive for REW, too.  Yay!  It’s always good to find out more about a bunnies color genetics so we can figure out which colors to expect.

And there’s an excavator in the back yard!

excavator up behind a house with an ocean view in the background

The big pile of brush and trees that had been piled up there earlier is all gone now.  Yay!  Now we just need to figure out what sort of house to build there.   The bunnies will get a bigger and better bunny yard, too.

One Month & One Day

The bunnies aren’t getting any new drastic size changes now that they’re a month old.  When they’re very small, they seem to change quicker.  Now they look like small bunnies instead of baby bunnies, but they still don’t look as fluffy as they will in a couple of weeks.

little black bunny sticking out his tongue

Zookie Schwartz is still being his usual quirky self.  Today he stuck his tongue out at the camera.  Guess he wanted something tasty instead of a flash bulb.

red leaf lettuce in the garden

Not sure why the dark red color doesn’t come through in pictures.  There’s more green in the lettuce along side  of it, too.

crowded leaf lettuces

It’s about time to thin the lettuce in the garden.  Still no beans yet, though.  We’ve had a few messes of beet greens, those are quite tasty.

Down to the last forty eight hours before we can hope to see more baby bunnies!  It seems like it takes forever sometimes, but considering how long folks with horses and cows have to wait to see if there will be babies, I suppose we’d get no sympathy if we complain.

3 weeks 6 days

It’s almost like they’re all in a bunny bunch like when they were tiny bunnies, but now they’re just piled up in the food dish.  They started  out eating and then they just kinda ended up hanging out together.  Guess they’ve spent most of their life so far being in a bunny bunch so maybe it’s what they’re used to and comfortable with?

Grasses on the nest box got them out of their bunny pile up.  At least, all the black ones.

The little Ruby Eyed White decided to run to mama instead of jumping up to the top of the nest box.  But, there were enough grasses for everybunny.

Bunny Games (3weeks 5days)

King of the Mountain - black bunny on nestbox
King of the Mountain, er, well, nest box anyway.

Baby bunnies have Bunny Games.  We’d probably call it ‘King of the Mountain’, but I suppose for them, it’s ‘Bun on the Box’ instead.  Here’s the picture from moments before:

one baby bunny pushing another off the top of the nest box
Bun on the Box

How rude!  Just push your sibling off the box!  But, then he gets to be the head Bun on The Box.  The little stinker.

white baby bunny sitting in the food dish
Bun in the food dish

Sitting in the food dish is either a bunny game or some sort of commentary on empty food dishes.

bunnies eating mulberry branches
Mulberry for dinner again

It’s not exactly leftovers since they’d pretty much eaten all the mulberry from yesterday, but it’s mulberry leaves again today.  Maybe tomorrow they can have some ti leaves or grasses.  They also have their organic alfalfa pellets and supplements of black oil sunflower seeds & calf manna.

I think we have some tentative genders figured out for them.  The white one is a male, I think.  The smallest black one, Zookie Schwartz, (not sure if he’s gonna keep that name) is most likely a male.   The biggest black one is a female and of the other two blacks, one is male and one is female.  So, two black females, two black males and one white male.

We will be keeping the white male and probably both the females.  Part of that depends on what shows up hopefully next week, though.  We’re hoping for two litters next Tuesday and then another one the next day and one the day after.  We will have to wait and see.

Interesting Conversations

chocolate mum rabbit with black baby rabbit
Cocoa with baby Gayle

The last baby bunny born here was baby Gayle in a Litter of One.

I just had an interesting conversation.  It may have started out ‘before coffee’ but it was worth waking up for.   Actually, it wasn’t all that early in the morning, I’d slept in really late.  Ooops!  So it’s not like folks are calling up while it’s still dark out or anything.  But, anyway, I had an interesting chat this morning with another bunny person.

She has several different breeds of bunnies and is hoping for an angora as well sometime soon.  Which is partly why she was calling.  However, she’d been noticing a lack of litters as well as really small litter sizes among her bunnies.  Reliable mum rabbits weren’t having litters at all or instead of eight or ten babies, there’s one or two.   Which is the same problems we’ve been having over here, too.

Talking together, we discovered that she’d switched over to the higher protein feed from the same source we use about a year and a half ago.  Which was several months before she noticed the decreased litter sizes.   We’ve both been using Nutrena’s 18% bunny pellets and we’ve both noticed significantly decreased litter amounts and sizes starting about a year and a half ago.  Of course, this isn’t proof by any means, purely anecdotal ‘evidence’ (also known as gossip, I suppose), however, we both noticed the same thing.

I’d been thinking that the alfalfa the feed is made from has probably been sprayed with a herbicide to cut down on weeds.  You’d think weed free would be a good thing, and presumably the herbicide is not harmful to the creatures eating it.  However, from what we’re experiencing, it may affect fertility.  With horses, how many of them are being bred?  How many are fed a pure pellet diet?  Since the majority of the alfalfa grown would be going to feed horses and cattle (do cattle get fed alfalfa hay and pellets?) or other large animals, I suspect the bunny feed accounts for a very small percentage of the alfalfa crop.  Of the people feeding pellets to bunnies, how many of them are breeding the bunnies?  Well, if they’re growing bunnies for meat, then almost all of them, but if they have a bunny for a pet, then very few of them.  So for the alfalfa growers, decreased fertility among the animals eating the crop probably isn’t a problem.

I’m also suspecting that the folks who make the feed don’t ask the farmers specifically how the alfalfa was grown.  If it shows up clean and weed free, they’re gonna be thrilled, I’d expect.

This had also happened about the same time we’d moved to the new house here, so I’d thought maybe it was the change in location having something to do with decreased litter size.  Maybe the bucks had overheated since they didn’t have as dense of shade as before?  Maybe they didn’t like their new hutches?  Maybe the herd was getting older?  I’d been looking all over for the answer and when kicking around at some other bunny sites online, someone mentioned herbicide used on the crops made into feed and decreased fertility.

I asked our feed store if they knew the source of the alfalfa in the pellets.  They didn’t think even the feed mill would be able to answer that one.  If it was a concern, then ‘organic’ feed would probably (not ‘certainly’ notice, just ‘probably’) would be free of any herbicide residue.

Ah, now I remember.  I originally found out about this on a gardening web site.  They’d said that there was enough herbicide residue in some of the feeds to kill off gardens if you used too much of the manure from animals fed the feed grown with herbicide.  I’d originally been concerned because I use the bunny manure as almost my entire source of fertilizer.  That wasn’t directly related to lack of litters or litter size at all.

I haven’t noticed that effect on the garden, yet.  Perhaps bunny fertility is more sensitive than gardens?

After the conversation, I think I’m gonna have to revise my earlier thinking.  I’d thought that the higher protein feed would be less likely to have herbicide grown alfalfa (if the mills even tracked that sort of thing) since it would be fed to the animals more likely to be bred.  So, I’d been feeding the breeding herd the 18% and giving the regular feed to the non-breeding herd.  After the conversation this morning, she’d said she noticed the lack of fertility from switching to the higher protein feed.  Since both the regular and high protein feeds are made by the same mill, I’m guessing both of them are sourced from the same alfalfa crop.

I’ve been feeding the breeding herd a higher percentage of forage, they may have to switch to entirely forage fed.  I’ll also have to switch to an entirely different brand of feed, but do different mills use alfalfa grown with herbicides?

If bunnies have been fed herbicide laced alfalfa pellets, does the herbicide eventually work it’s way out of their system?  Will they become fertile again on a different diet?  Can bunnies be bred to be fertile while eating herbicide laced feed?  Baby Gayle is the last bunny born here and she came from a litter of one.  If she’s bred will she also have small litters?  Will she have any litters at all?

Gayle is five months old now, she’s about old enough to have a litter now.  Since Gomez joined the herd and has been fed a different brand of pellets, if Gayle meets up with Gomez, will she have a litter?  That would indicate that if the fertility problem is feed based, it’s also a lack of fertility in the males and not the females.

I’ll pick up an entirely different brand of pellets and feed those to the bucks and breeding does along with the increased amount of forage.  I’d switched the breeding herd to the higher protein feet, but now I’m thinking an entirely different brand of feed.  Although, since we don’t know if they don’t all source their feed from alfalfa grown the same way, we don’t know if it will make a difference.

If anyone else out there has noticed the same sorts of things, it would be interesting to hear from you!