It’s Been a Year

That was lunch today. I was in the mood for a club sandwich. Well, half a club. With one too many slices of bread and no tomato. But close enough for what I was craving. And since I don’t like posting an entry without a photo, you get to see it.

A year ago today I started this blog. It’s hard to believe I’ve been at it this long. It has seriously whizzed by. Lola is also one year old today. Which means we are coming up soon on the one year anniversary of when I first brought the rabbits home, because she was 3 weeks old when I brought her mama Piper, her daddy Leo, and her cousin/half sister Phoebe home to start my rabbitry. Phoebe hit one at the start of the year. Serenity and Starbuck will hit one in another month and then the only junior breeding rabbit I will have left is Andromeda and then of course the ones I will be bringing home on the 1st. The others will all be seniors.

About 3 days after I gave up on Andromeda and decided I was going to sell her, her behavior changed. Maybe this was because my son was sick and didn’t come out to the rabbit shed for 10 days. Andromeda really doesn’t like him. Maybe it was because we put her in a top tier cage. But she began to get friendlier so I spent more time talking to her. And for the last few days she has begged to be pet and has butted my hand with her nose, no teeth, if I stopped, until I resumed. I seriously don’t know what to make of this rabbit anymore.

I did some further research, trying to find out what I could about why she would be dominating her kits at the 7 week mark and it wasn’t easy to find anything. There are all kinds of things about litter mates doing it to each other, but not about mothers doing it to their babies. But what I did manage to find is that some does just want to wean early and those are the signs. They start getting antsy at the six week old mark, and acting out around the seven week old mark. Usually this is a mother with a large litter who just wants space and doesn’t want to nurse anymore, but sometimes it doesn’t matter what the litter size is. If you start to wean them at 6.5 weeks old it circumvents the problem. And Andromeda could just be that way. Come to think of it, she tried to dominate Starbuck the first time they bred.

So…I am going to work with Andromeda a bit more. Mostly just on trying to alter her personality, to make her friendlier, to break the biting issue, and if I can achieve all of that in the next 2 months I will allow her to have another litter and see what the results are. She has finally lost her fat, her baby weight, and is starting to look very trim. Although she still does have the biggest dewlap I have ever seen. It looks almost like she’s wearing a fur necklace. With the trim shape, breeding and going into a pregnancy should be easier for her, and she ought to have more kits. We will see.

I am still thinking about getting rid of her, but if I can sell her as being a sweet, tamed, junior breeding doe who doesn’t bite, instead of a psycho bunny extraordinaire who has to go free to the farm in the country that accepts all farm animals no matter the temperament, I’d much rather do that. Working with her may not work, but hopefully it will.

I need to move Serenity into a top tier cage so I can work with her a little before breeding time. She’s still a little shy of my son and sometimes even of me. Plus I want the babies on the upper level as it is easier to clean those cages more frequently as must be done when they are full of kits. I will swap her and Phoebe out, since Phoebe won’t be bred until the beginning of April. I am going to start with the red buck in the middle tier of the buck and grow out cages side of the rabbit shed. I will move him to a bottom tier cage when it starts to get hot this summer, but it will have to be on the breeding doe side since there isn’t a free bottom cage on the buck side. But I want him on the middle tier to start with so that I can get him used to me and spend more time petting him and getting him used to us.

I am working on coming up with a rabbit hash recipe. My husband and daughter like roast beef hash and corned beef hash, so I figure they will probably like rabbit hash. I don’t make it, though, they get it out of the can which has gone up to $2.50, which is ridiculous. When I do up rabbit for grinding I then take the bones with all the little bits clinging on and throw them in a crock pot full of water, salt and pepper, and cook them on low for 24 hours to get all the little pieces of meat off. We use it on salads or in quesadillas, but there is way more than one would expect from doing seven rabbits. So I am going to try mixing that with leftover mashed potatoes, a bit of onion, a bit of shredded carrots, and maybe some rabbit gravy to moisten it since it is so low in fat. Then I’ll just have to figure out some seasonings and cook it. Salt and pepper for sure. The few rabbit hash recipes I see say to use sage with rabbit, but I prefer sage on turkey, not rabbit. If this doesn’t turn out like a hash than I can only make it into patties and fry it. Either way, if it turns out good I’ll post a recipe with actual amounts in it. And photos.

We’ve had some pretty violent windstorms going on here for the last week. It is roaring loud. The wind chimes had to come down. Someone has to hold onto the screen door while others leave or enter the house so it doesn’t get wrenched off its hinges. We have stopped picking up the stuff in the yard because it will just be blown around again the next day. Our two outdoor worktables are overturned. Empty buckets are stuck against the fence or in one case, lodged in the apple tree. Forget about keeping the compost pile tidy. It is everywhere. One of the chickens tried to fly today, achieved air, and went backwards a good six feet, poor thing!

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3 thoughts on “It’s Been a Year

  1. Keep in mind that in nature rabbits wean at 28 days. You are weaning at twice that age! Like nursing a baby until toddlerhood it can be done… But if it is the right thing or not is debatable at best. I have always started weaning at 5 weeks and finished at 6 weeks… And I never see the kits even trying to nurse at that age… They are just naturally done and are even TRYING to gt away from mama rabbit. So if you have to wean early I would not sweat it one bit. I hope you can turn her into a good breeding doe!

    • LuckyRobin says:

      I knew that wild rabbits were weaned at 4 weeks, but how come the books say 8 weeks for domestics? I always thought they were ready sooner than that, but have been following that as a guideline. Andromeda was still letting them nurse off her. I was surprised because the other mothers did not. But then she fed them 3 or 4 times a day from the start, also very unlike the other rabbits, so maybe she just hadn’t bothered to assert herself with them until she started acting out. if you are regularly weaning them at that age, then I guess I don’t need to worry about it and can just start taking them out at 6 weeks then with her.

      • Because books aren’t always correct. Keep in mind… Books also suggest keeping chickens on medicated feed, dont feed bones or raw meat to dogs, no bread to ducks, not feeding any vegetables in significant quantities to anything, keeping rabbits in 2’X3′ cages at the largest, raising chickens in battery cages, regularly dosing with this that and the other thing… They say a mom will eat her kits if you touch them, that they will be scared to death by loud noises, that they wont breed in the winter, that summer breeding will kill them… Why if these things were the ideal every single one of my animals I have ever owned would be DEAD. Yet they live long lives and I am constantly told, by vets even, how healthy they are… Expert info should be taken with a grain of salt. Even my info should. What works for me does not for everyone.
        8 weeks is a convenient time to wean because the kits stay with their moms a nice even number of months… But it isn’t really practical if you care about how your rabbits behave at all unless they behave nicely for the full 8 weeks. Wean whenever is best for your rabbits. I know some people who do wean at 4 weeks no problem.

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