Build First Paint Later

I am going to make this short and sweet and to the point.

Would you paint your house before you build it and make sure that the foundation was solid?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

So why on earth would you worry about the markings on a rabbit first? I see so many that become so focused on having a perfectly marked animal that they forget about the body type. Your rabbit isn’t going to win with perfect markings and a crappy body and you aren’t doing the breed justice.

You need to take the time to work on the body type before you worry about the markings. Just like you wouldn’t paint and decorate a house that was on a shaky foundation. You also wouldn’t build a house on sand. You want to make sure you build on a strong steady foundation.

Once you get your foundation built and where it needs to be then you can start painting. Depending on the breed, you still want to avoid certain things even if you have an awesome body because they will pass it onto their offspring.

For example – Dutch with moon eyes/spots on eye/blue eyes will pass on to their offspring. Don’t be afraid to cull and cull hard. You have to be very critical when it comes to what makes the cut. Give your bunnies about 12 weeks and up before you really decide.

Take your bunnies to show and listen to all comments from judges. Make sure to listen to several judges and not just one. They all have their own opinions but it will give you an general idea. Also scope out seasoned breeders, most will be happy to discuss their breeds with you and give you some pointers.

Another thing to really watch for is BARN BLINDNESS. You may be overlooking a key aspect because you have become “blind” to it. Learn to ask for help and advice and learn to take it all into consideration. Don’t keep a rabbit just because it’s momma was your favorite.

As a breeder, you may also end up in the wrong direction, don’t be afraid to cull and step back and start over again. This is a difficult decision but sometimes it is what you have to do in order to breed correctness. This is also where keeping good accurate records will help you.

A true breeder will not only promote their breed but will also continue to strive to create better quality animals.

Best of luck to you and your bunnies!

Working on Project – help me out?

?I am working on a new project and need some really good pictures of the following breeds.? If you can add some fun facts about the breed then that would be great!

If I choose to use your rabbit pictures, you will get a laminated card with your rabbit on it along with your name, Rabbitry and bunny information.

Please send all quality pictures and information to amandagoodwin2011@gmail.com with header being the breed of your rabbit. Pictures need to be free of clutter in the background and good clear quality. By sending picture to email you are agreeing to give me rights to use them. If you don’t see your breed then that means we already have required information.

Thank you for your interest!

American

American Sable

Angora, French

Angora, Giant

Angora, Satin

Argente Brun

Bevern

Blanc de Hotot

Britannia Petite

Champagne D’ Argent

Checkered Giant

Chinchilla, American

Chinchilla, Giant

Chinchilla, Standard

Cinnamon

Dwarf Hotot

English Spot

Florida White

Holland Lop

Lionhead

Lop, English

Lop, Mini

Mini Rex

Mini Satin

New Zealand

Palomino

Polish

Rex

Satin

Silver

Silver Fox

Silver Marten

Thrianta

Tattooing rabbits with pen

Tattooing rabbits is a must for those showing or keeping records on their rabbits. Some use a clamp, but we personally prefer to use a tattoo pen. There is a learning curve on the pen but as I suggest to all those getting started is to practice on your culls. It also takes patience and a steady hand.

The first step is to know what tattoo you want to use on particular rabbit, everyone has their own methods. It may be a date, rabbit name, or a tracking method that you use.

This is what we use for tattooing – It is designed by KBTatts. There are several different types on the market – just find what works best for you.
If you are planning to show rabbit then tattoo will need to be in their left ear. The right ear is reserved for registration tattoo which a registrar would have to do on a qualifying rabbit.

We have discovered that if you use this spray and let it sit for about 3 minutes before tattooing then it makes everything so much easier.

Once the ear has been sprayed with numbing spray and has had time to sit then wipe it gently with a paper towel. Then we wrap bunny up in a tattoo sleeve like the one below.

Tattoo allows bunny to stay still so that you can place tattoo in ear.

Once you have your bunny’s ear numb and he is wrapped up tight like a burrito then you dip the tip of your needle into ink well and start writing tattoo. Some will use a marker or pen of some sorts to write tattoo in ear first then trace with a pen. I prefer to freehand it. I also like to sit at a table with bunny on table so I have more control. It helps to place a finger behind the ear while you are tattooing to help with pressure. Once tattoo is done then I wipe it out with paper towel. Now you have a permanent tattoo in your rabbits ear.

Remember to practice! Good luck!

Breeding Time and Babies

When can I breed my rabbits?

So you are ready to breed your rabbits! There are several factors that go into determining if they are old enough to breed. The first is based on their breed and development. Generally, smaller breeds up to 8 pounds can be bred at 5 to 6 months old. These would include but not limited to Dutch, Netherland Dwarfs, Dwarf Hotots, etc. Examples of medium size breeds would be New Zealands, Californians, etc and can be bred around 6.5 to 7 months old. Your large breeds like Flemish Giants, Giant Chinchillas, etc should be bred around 8 to 9 months old. Please remember this is a general rule and you must learn your bred; example – English Lops don’t need to be bred until 10 lbs and 10 months old. Growth is more important than age, you can stunt a doe’s growth if bred to early.

You always want to take the doe to the buck’s cage unless table breeding. Does can get cage aggressive and injury your buck.

If doe refuses to bred then try again the next day. There are also some great tips here. Once you see the buck fall off ( I will work on video to help explain this), this means a successful mating. The buck will mount the doe and if he ejaculates into her then he will fall to the side. All matings will vary – some will scream, some will grunt, and some just get stiff looking.

You will hear all kinds of methods, tips, and tricks. Keep great records so that you know what works best for you. Some say to only allow the buck to breed same doe twice. Some will tell you to breed buck to a couple does at a time. I will say that every time the buck breeds then it decreases size of litters. Also remember that bucks do go sterile in excessive heat especially in the summer , this is nature’s birth control. If you want babies during the heat then make sure you have a cool barn.

Once you have your doe bred, then on day 18 try test breeding or palpate her. If she refuses buck, starts whining and attempts to escape then that is a good indication that she is bred. Palpating is an art that takes lots of practice and basically means that you are feeling for babies. They will feel like small marbles.

You need to put in a nest box on about day 25 after the doe has been bred. Kits are normally born between 28 to 32 days. Some does will go longer than others. This is another reason to keep great records. Nest boxes are generally made of wood or metal but breeders have been known to use other items including cardboard boxes. You want to make sure you provide some sort of filler. I personally use hay, some use wool, shavings, shredded newspaper, etc – don’t use cedar shavings (it is too strong for them).

Once the kits are born then check the nest and remove all the dead ones. The general rule is don’t expect the doe’s first litter to make it. I am NOT saying that first time litter won’t live, I am just saying that don’t be devastated if it happens. She is a first timer. Check the nest daily and pull out any dead ones that may be in there. You don’t want them making a mess of the box.

Handling the kits from birth will not cause doe to abandoned them. You probably won’t see her nurse the babies. Babies nurse about twice a day. As long as the baby is plump, clean, and sleek then it is being fed.To make sure that the doe is producing adequate milk you can help by giving full feed, oats, and calf manna.

No Easter Bunnies here!

“Every year, rabbits are purchased for Easter and then dumped as soon as the ‘cute factor’ takes a backseat to the reality of all that’s required to care for them properly,” “Some are just dumped outside, where they can’t survive and will die from stress, starvation, dehydration, or attacks by predators. Just because rabbits “live” in the wild does NOT mean that domestic rabbits can. They will die a miserable death. PLEASE DON’T DUMP THEM. Others are abandoned at overburdened animal shelters or bounced around from one home to another, where their needs are often misunderstood — so they often end up being sentenced to solitary confinement in a cage and virtually forgotten.

Unfortunately, every year not long after the Easter holiday, shelters are faced with families who adopt a bunny for some springtime fun, only to return the animal later after the season is over. Rabbits can make great pets, but they are not temporary gifts.

Rabbits are social and smart, they crave affection and activity. Most breeds live to be 8 to 12 years old, some even longer. If you are thinking of welcoming a rabbit into your home this Easter, make sure you and your family are ready for this commitment. I get a lot of calls every year with people in a panic because they don’t know what to do. Please make sure that you have proper cage, feed, toys, etc BEFORE you bring an innocent rabbit home.

If your child is begging for an Easter bunny then please buy them a cute stuffed one that doesn’t need fed, water, or groomed and won’t care if it’s tossed in the corner in a few weeks when the new wears off.

With all that being said — If you do want to get a pet bunny then I will be more than to discuss it and help guide you in the right direction AFTER the Easter holiday.

Best Bunny for Me!

So you want a bunny? That is the first step! Next do your research on breeds, there are 49 breeds that are recognized by ARBA. You can find them here.

You need to decide what you are interested in – they come in all different sizes and several of the breeds require special cages and care.

Maybe you want a small bunny. Examples are Dwarf Hotots, Polish, Netherland Dwarfs or even a Britannia Petite. I wouldn’t recommend Britannia Petite for a beginner or someone wanting a laid back bunny. They are like little rockets ready to go!

Maybe you want a medium size bunny like a sweet laid back Dutch or Himalayan? You have meat breeds and fancy to choose from.

Maybe you want a lop eared bunny? Did you know they come in small and large sizes? The large ones have to have very sturdy bottoms on their cages in order to hold their weights.

Maybe you want a fast moving bunny like a Tan, English spot or even a Belgium Hare – Hares have to have solid bottoms on their cages. Running breeds are also not considered cuddle bunnies and are always on the go.

Maybe you want a large bunny? Great examples of them are Giant Chinchillas, English Lops and Flemish. These are usually very gentle giants but they are too big for young children to place on the tables.

Maybe you want something you can groom daily and even use hair to make things. They also come in small to large – Breed examples are Jersey Woolies and Giant Angoras.

Maybe you want to focus and help preserve a rare breed – the list can be found at https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/conservation-priority-list#Rabbits

If you still don’t have a clue then I suggest visiting a show (shows can be found on arba.net) . Shows will give you a variety of bunnies to look over and most breeders will be more than happy to give you guidance and explain the ins and outs of their breeds. It also gives you an idea how shows are ran.

Once you get an idea on the breed you want then you need to research it! Don’t just look for all the positive things but also the negative side of that breed. That way you know what you are getting yourself into. Example – Dutch very friendly and easy breeders, Downfall is that they have to have correct markings in order to show so you have to have a place for your culls.

Rabbits are not always easy and don’t always breed like they say. Once you figure out your breed then find a breeder and talk to that breeder – ask them questions and get to really understand that breed. You also want to purchase your starter stock from a reputable breeder. If you start out with crap then you are still feeding crap and you will produce crap. Make sure you start out with Quality animals it will save you a lot of heartache in the end.

Good Luck on your rabbit adventures!

I will be happy to help in anyway that I can and help you find some amazing breeders.

Hope to see you at the show!

 

 

No, you can’t visit my barn

We locked our barn down several years ago. This was done for our animals and our protection. This explains it.

I have asked if I could repost the following and was granted permission. She says it best! The following was borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/meadowmunchers/

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Why animal breeders may not invite you in anymore

You’ve probably read somewhere, maybe even from me, that a breeder that won’t let you see where animals are kept or meet your animals is a big red flag.

That breeders who won’t let you meet the animals or see where they are kept must be hiding something.

Well that’s no longer true

Why you ask?

Because there is a vendetta in the USA right now against breeders, even the really good breeders.

Anti breeder types, be they from HSUS or PETA or other animal rights groups or overzealous animal shelter workers or other similar people are making it their life’s work to get breeders animal seized and stop all breeding.

Many times this involves lying, filing false complaints or worse- setting the breeder up.
Sometimes these people even gain the breeder’s trust or work for them.

No matter how clean your animals are.
No matter how well fed and clean your animals are.
No matter how careful you are to only breed the best and most fully health tested animals
No matter how much time and money you put into them and how much money you lose.

These people are looking to get your dogs seized, to get another “horrible breeder” story in the news, to use you and your animals to get restrictive laws passed.

Breeders now must not only do their absolute best , they now must guard against those that would destroy their life’s work and the animals they love for no reason other than hate.

So the next time an animal breeder grills you with questions, or meets you in their driveway or even at the shopping center in their town, don’t hold it against them – they may just be doing all they can to keep hateful people from destroying all they love.

**Side note — ALWAYS MEET IN PUBLIC PLACE and let someone know who you are meeting. If possible take someone with you.

 

Bunnies won’t breed like Bunnies

Contrary to popular belief – Bunnies don’t always breed like we would like them too. Especially if you are anxiously awaiting a litter. It can become very stressful and dishearten when you can’t get rabbits to breed and have babies.

I have learned a few tricks over the years that have helped me.

  • Add “mother” Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – 1 Tablespoon per gallon of water. This will help does come on into cycle. We do this with all our bunnies.
  • Put buck into doe cage.
  • If doe isn’t mean then you can leave buck with her for a few days – I don’t care to do this because it can cause injury and you don’t know 100% if they mated or not.
  • Breed on table – position doe and hold while buck mounts.
  • Another trick is to swap cage with buck and doe – leave them in each other’s cages for a few days then place doe with buck.
  • They say Parsley will help fertility but I have not tested that theory.
  • You can also put them in a carrier and drive around town. There is something about traveling that seems to bring them in.
  • Add light so that they have longer “daylight” time during those shorter days.
  • Feed can also play a major role in breeding and fertility.
  • Doe is considered “in” when her vulva is swollen and red. She will normally raise up on back end if you put your hands on her back.
  • Does will also get very testy and grumpy when cycling.
  • Don’t let virgin bucks get tore up by grumpy doe – it will make him shy and leery of breeding.
  • Also make sure that buck has both set of testicles and doesn’t have spit penis.
  • Another thing is to make sure that the rabbits are of appropriate age to breed depending on breed they are.

If you have any tips or questions- Please feel free to comment here. Don’t give up!