Monday, June 13, 2016

Growing by Hops and Bounds

Those baby bunnies are growing SO very fast.

Day 2!

Within the first week they were practically double in size.

Day 7
Eyes still closed.

Just a short week after that, all their eyes are open, they have fur, they have grown exponentially, and they are beginning to 'hop around' in their little nest box.

14 days.

What an amazing thing to watch. To experience.

The kids are so excited to see each new phase of their development.  Even Bethany is admittedly enjoying the cute, fuzzy, bundles.  They are big enough now that I allow all the kids to hold them each morning.

Our smallest, yet most wiggly little kit.

Their fur is so soft.

Ears so tiny.

Cute little noses twitching as they explore their new world.

Mama rabbit is doing a great job feeding and keeping them the right temperature.

When warm and feeling safe,
they simply burrow down and go to sleep.

Fair is fast approaching and the girls are thrilled to be doing a 'meat pen' to sell 6 of the 7 kits.

Exploring in the nest box.

In addition, we hope to do Get for Sire and Daughter/Dam pairings to get an idea of how our 'breeding program' is progressing. The judge will determine if the good qualities in our breeding duo are being passed along or if not-so-desired qualities are being transferred.  Simply good information to have when one is breeding rabbits.

The 7th kit will either go as a 'fryer' or we'll keep it as Selah's 'rabbit' for 4H next year or possibly sell it as a 'pet' or meat rabbit on-line.

Time will help us make that decision depending on the size/look etc of the baby and if Selah wants to do a 'big meat rabbit' or if she'd rather get a small 'show' rabbit that she could more easily handle.  We could even do Rex rabbits that are technically meat rabbits, but much smaller and more easily managed by little hands.  We'd still have the potential of 'meat', but Selah would have more success in showmanship with a smaller bunny for her wee hands.

Still huddling together to keep warm.
We hope to breed Scarlet, the other doe, late this summer or early fall.  Our research shows we can also re-breed Trixiebelle at that same time.

They are beginning to explore more and more.

A benefit to breeding both does is they can act as 'foster moms' to kits that the other doe rejects.  This is especially important since Scarlet will be a first time mama.  It's not uncommon for first litters to not survive.  With breeding both does, we have the chance of allowing Trixiebelle to 'help' with Scarlet's litter depending on the size of both litters.

What an adventure.

If we successfully get kits again from those breedings, we'll most likely sell some and put some in the freezer to try 'rabbit meat'.

That's going to be quite the experience as these baby bunnies are so stinkin' cute.   How am I ever going to slaughter them?

But.... it's been the goal all along. The rabbits are for the girls' 4H projects but also for food consumption.

One thought of consolation is we'll keep having more kits to replace the ones we sell and pop in the deep freeze and place on our dinner table.

I'm considering having the girls do an indoor poster project about breeding and raising kits.

We'd love to hear your creative ideas to make it Purple Ribbon worthy.

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