Piper, who will be three weeks pregnant on Sunday, decided that she was extremely bored staying in her cage all day. So she took two of the four urine guards off her cage. I knew this doe could do major business with her teeth. I’d caught her dragging the nesting box around by them during her last pregnancy, but this was entirely unexpected. We haven’t been taking her outside because we didn’t want to manhandle her while she was pregnant, but we decided to use the bucket method that we’ve trained Leo to use, so we can avoid his back claws when he jumps back into his cage.
We opened her cage door and put the big hay bucket right underneath it and she came right out and got in it. Then we carried her out to the tractors, set the bucket inside one, and slowly tipped it on its side and she hopped right out. It was clearly the right decision because she immediately kicked up her heels and started doing binkies. Of course it was more kick, kick, flop down for five minutes, repeat. She is definitely not as active as before getting pregnant. But she still expressed her appreciation, especially when we brought her a huge pile of fresh clover, raspberry leaves, and lemon balm.
We had planned to leave Sweetie Belle inside today, because she is such a stinker about leaving her cage, and we still need a couple more tractors, but she really wanted to come out today and was up in front of her door with this total, “What about me?” thing going on. So we ended up putting all seven kits in one of the six foot tractors with a big pile of clover and watched to make sure they’d still get along. They did, so we put Sweetie Belle in the spare kit tractor. The first thing the husband needs to do when he comes home is build another of the six foot long tractors so we can get Phoebe and her kits outside. They will be 4.5 weeks old by then. At that point Piper should have kindled and won’t be so bored or wanting to leave her cage.
The kits will be 10 weeks old this Sunday and four of them are quite large. One of those, Andromeda, we are keeping for breeding, but the other three just might be ready to slaughter at 12 weeks old. The three others probably need to go to 14 weeks old. My physical therapist expressed an interest in perhaps buying some rabbit meat, but that she wanted to try some first to see if she likes it. When I thaw out my next rabbit and cook it, I will save out a front leg and thigh quarter to give to her as a sample. If she likes it then that will be two people who will buy some. My chiropractor might be interested as well since he raised rabbits for food when he was a kid. We’ll see.
My new scale should be here on the 23rd along with the alum powder I ordered for tanning. I was hoping the scale would come before I needed to weigh again, but I guess we will have to get by with the ten week weigh in on the smaller scale. We will also be weighing Phoebe’s kits for the first time. Then I can compare weights across litters and see if they are roughly doing about the same with weight gain. I’ll be posting their weights, too. I think it is really important to have that information out there for others getting started in rabbits. I know I searched very hard for kit weight info for New Zealand Whites and found nothing when I was first looking.
By the time we finish slaughtering this litter, I should have enough furs to tan. I will be using a very simple method that I found on youtube. It seems like the best way to do it this first time just to get the experience of doing it. And if it seems like it has good results, then I won’t need to try anything more complicated. I’d like to start sewing a bedspread with the furs, although the first thing I should do is make those gauntlets to protect my forearms!
There is a lady on craigslist who says she will do rabbit ear tattoos and nail clipping. $2 per rabbit, per thing. I am thinking about calling her to do the ear tattoos for the breeding rabbits. I don’t want to do them myself, but I do need to have them done, because they are all starting to look the same. We have labelled each tractor by bunny name and I need to do the same for their cages, but I’m afraid I will mix them up at some point and that will mess up my record keeping. I’d like to try clipping nails myself first, but if I can’t manage it then it’s nice to know I have a relatively cheap backup there, too.
Today was hot, but 75 with a breeze I will take any day over the temps in the 80’s and 90’s we’ve been having. Hopefully it will continue more in that vein. I managed to get a gallon of blueberries picked today and a quart of blackberries. If I wait until 7:30 in the evening it is the perfect temperature to be out in. I just have to remember to use the bug spray. Even unscented Off smells awful. I wonder if just rubbing lemon balm leaves on my arms and legs would work? It sure would smell nicer.