Rabbits at Eleven Weeks Old

I am regaining my equilibrium after the death of Queen, although it does make me wonder how I’m going to take butchering day with the rabbits. Not very well, I imagine. I have decided I am going to keep one male and one female of this litter for breeding since Craigslist has completely dried up. I can always trade them later if necessary. I can now definitively tell whether the juniors are boys or girls now, and not because I got better at it through practice, but because at 11 weeks the boys have very distinctive testicles. At 8 weeks, not so much.

I have the male picked out already. He is the biggest and the friendliest junior buck and he has the nicest ears. They stand up straight and don’t have any odd curl overs at the tips. They are wider and rounder and I think that gives them a benefit in hot weather, since their ears are the only way they have of self-regulating their body temps. Since a buck needs to stay cool to perform admirably in the romance department this gives him a boost over the others.

I haven’t quite decided on the female yet. My heart wants to keep the runt and she is the friendliest. She has caught up to her sisters in size. I want a sweet and congenial doe and not one who is going to flip out whenever I try to pick her up. But all three of the does are gentle and loving like that. It’s going to be a hard decision.

Piper is doing well. Her belly seems to be getting bigger. She is 21 days along in pregnancy today so another 6 days and I put the nesting box in and give her lots of straw and hay to build a nest with and wait for her to do her thing. And pray that all of this has not been my imagination and that she actually is pregnant.

Piper is really adapting well to her new cage. She loves to stretch out in every possible direction. She also likes to lay right in front of the door. Today I was trying to open it and it is the kind that pushes in and up and she kept pushing it closed with her nose. I’d get it open about five inches and she’d push it right back down. She did this about five times before I got the tuna can I use for scooping food and put some pellets in it and rattled them. Then she moved away from the door. She’s pretty clever.

Speaking of clever rabbits, I had the top of the cages open on the two Wabbitats last night because I was putting hay in at the same time and they like to stretch up to their full length and poke their noses out of the cages. When I went to get a bit more one of the boys (and coincidentally, this was the one with the biggest recognizable cojones, jumped straight up out of the cage and onto a small horizontal 2 by 4 wall stud. You can see the place where he jumped to in the picture above. This was a 2 foot vertical jump and he was digging his nails into the wall and hanging on for dear life. You could tell he’d freaked himself out and didn’t know how he was going to get himself out of this mess. His whole body was stretched from one stud to the next.

I was able to get to him before he fell and scoop him off the wall. He left claw marks in the wall of the shed. I cuddled him for a bit because he was scared out of his mind still. He had his nose buried in my neck and my hair over his face. Once his heart rate calmed down, I gently put him through the side door. The son had closed the top ones as soon as I’d gotten the bunny down. I knew they could jump but that high vertically? Was crazy. It was one of those things that if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Another thing I saw yesterday was the chickens starting to test each other for who is going to be head hen now that Queen is gone. I was kind of surprised to see that it was Pippy (formerly Pipsqueak) the black australorp and Silver, our largest bird, but lowest in the pecking order hen. They were chest bumping and Silver won. I was quite surprised, as she’s usually so timid, but maybe she finally realizes how big she is and how strong. Patricia ignored them. She may not care to retain her position anymore or she may just be waiting to slap down whoever comes out on top.

I think the chicken yard is going to be an interesting place the next week or so.

Today promises to be sunny so I am going to try to finish weeding the west side of the house food garden and get the rabbit manure dumped down its length. I think there is enough saved now to completely fertilize the entire strip. I’d also like to bring in a pickup load of good 4 in 1 soil to build it up with, too. Then we can rototill and I can start planting. Well, and I’ll need to put fencing up at least high enough to keep out Angel Bunny. The chickens will always find a way to get in no matter what, so I will likely use a row cover until the plants are big enough to take care of themselves against a bite or two from a chicken beak

I’d also like to get the four tires filled with rabbit manure and then good dirt for the tomatoes and bell peppers. It’s probably a little too early to plant them though. We need to wait until the rains have fully stopped or else I’ll need to devise come kind of greenhouse covering or something.

Mostly I just want to get beans and peas and green onions and leeks and lettuces in the ground. It still has to warm up more for almost everything else. But I am so glad May is here. At least now there should be no more hard frosts or snowfalls!


7 thoughts on “Rabbits at Eleven Weeks Old

  1. You can do it! Processing rabbits is not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s amazing how quickly an animal goes in your mind from being fluffy and cute to just meat to be processed when you go in knowing they’ll be meat in the end.
    And I have seen a rabbit jump three feet straight up. Rabbits can jump CRAZY high, given the motivation to do so!

    • LuckyRobin says:

      I’m not sure what his motivation was, other than simple curiosity. That might have been enough come to think of it.

      I will probably be okay after we get into the swing of butchering, but that first one will be hard.

  2. Grace says:

    Yep, I was shocked to see that my 3 month old rabbit had hopped out of his 3 ft.+ tall cage in one leap. All that hard work to make that cage so high and he JUMPS out. Ugh.

    I have a litter of bunnies at the moment and have had litters in the past, so you can message me here if you want help:


  3. LuckyRobin says:

    It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? For some reason I figured they would just jump forward not straight up! And thanks, I will if I have questions.

    • Grace says:

      Oh yeah, Ridiculous with a capital R.

      I am willing to answer any questions you have! I am not TOO educated with rabbits yet, but I definitely know the basics.

  4. On chicken politics: it has been my experience that *any* time there’s a change in the flock, whether adding or subtracting (or even changing living quarters), it’s an opportunity for a complete shake up of the entire structure. Seems that being alpha hen is a tenuous position at best, and there’s always hope for the one on the bottom.

  5. LuckyRobin says:

    I guess that Queen just had it from day one and the only one who ever really challenged her was one that died last summer. So this is the first time I’m seeing it.

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