Cinnabun has come around. All three of the newbies seem to have gotten quite used to me now and seem to look forward to being pet. No, that’s not the hard thing to believe. What is hard to believe is that a year ago today I brought home my first rabbits and started raising them. A year already! Sometimes it seems longer than that and sometimes it seems like it can’t possibly have been this long yet, like I only brought home Piper, her six kits (one of whom grew up to be Lola) and Leo and Phoebe home.
It was a decision that was a long time in coming, yet at the same time came very fast when it was made. I had deliberately kept soft, furry, possibly pet-like animals out of our home. Part of this was an allergy thing, part of this was just that when my cat died in 1996 it devastated me and didn’t ever want to be in the position again. It took me years to even have fish. Then eventually chicks and ducklings came along four years ago. But you can’t pet fish (well, maybe a paca, the vegetarian cousin of the pirahna) and it’s not the easiest thing in the world to pet chickens or ducks. You couldn’t love them like you do a cat or dog. Except…yeah, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
The thing is, those birds opened my heart back up, just a little, just a crack, enough to bring furred creatures into my life again. I told myself I wouldn’t love the rabbits, but you know what? I do. Even the ones that must be slaughtered for food, I do love them. Not with my whole heart, because that would be foolish, to give the ones that won’t stay so much space. But they get some. And…I have been able to cope with life and death just that little bit easier in raising meat rabbits. Sweetie Belle’s death broke my heart, she was supposed to be here for a few years, but it did not break my heart in a way I couldn’t recover from. It broke it just enough to know that I am, finally, almost 18 years after my cat died, willing to accept the possibility of having a dog or a cat or both back in my life again.
These rabbits have brought so much into my life. Enough for me to realize what I have been denying myself and my family. So when we move, I will be ready to find us a farm dog and a barn cat or two. Still not in the house because of allergies, but in my life. And that is a lot.
Now to abruptly change gears, it was slaughter day today. It rained all day Saturday and according to the weather report was supposed to rain all day today, but it didn’t. It was beautiful, 57 degrees, with a light breeze, so we took advantage of it and got seven kits processed. I decided not to save Lola’s boys. They were friendly and sweet, but they both had the ear bend at the tips that I am trying to breed out (Lola has it, she got if from Piper). Andromeda does not have it, nor does her father Leo, but her mother Piper does. Serenity’s daughter I am keeping. I may keep one of Andromeda’s boys to breed to Serenity’s doe. One of them doesn’t have the ear bend.
Final Weights and Dress Out Weights
Lola’s Kits (16 weeks):
1. 6 lb 13.1 oz———–3 lb 9.4 oz Buck
2. 7 lb 3.4 oz————3 lb 12 oz Doe
3. 6 lb 7 oz————–3 lb 11 oz Buck
Phoebe’s Kits (12 weeks)
1. 6 lb 10.2 oz————3 lb 6 oz Buck
2. 6 lb 4.7 oz————-3 lb 2.5 oz Buck
Andromeda’s Kits (12 weeks)
1. 6 lb 12.2 oz————-3 lb 7.7 oz Buck
2. 6 lb 11.7 oz————-3 lb 6.1 oz Buck
Phoebe’s and Andromeda’s kits are the first kits that were fully raised on the 21% protein feed with fodder, plus free choice hay. There is a huge difference in growth. You can see the difference in size between the 16 week bucks and the 12 week bucks is minimal. The 16 week old bucks did not get fodder or higher protein pellets until they were 7 weeks old. Every single one of the 12 week olds (including the does I am growing out a couple more weeks) hit 5 pounds by 11 weeks old. The ones that were slaughtered hit it by 10 weeks old.
What I have left:
1 of Serenity’s does (16 weeks) henceforth referred to as Serena and now listed as a junior doe
2 of Andromeda’s bucks (12 weeks)
3 of Phoebe’s does (12 weeks)
Senior does: Piper, Phoebe, Lola, Serenity, Andromeda
Senior Bucks: Leo, Starbuck, Wildfire
Junior does: Kalia, Serena, Cinnabun, Sienna
We are down to a total of 17 rabbits. It has been a long time since there have been so few bunnies in the shed.