The kits are a month old today. All 20 (!) survived, even though it was touch and go early on with the little white one we call “Waldo” (for his penchant for hiding among his dark-colored cousins). Loretta did a great job fostering Waldo, and now he’s nearly the same size as the others, though he does seem to have a problem with getting poop stuck in his fur…just guessing that’s what happens when you’re frequently at the bottom of a pile of kits. We’re not sure what Waldo’s gender is at this point, so he’s a “he” by default for now
The does have been spending time outside on pasture, which they really seem to enjoy. The recent rain – driving rain last night and sprinkles today – has made the ground pretty soggy, but the grass just keeps getting greener and longer, which is great for raising rabbits on pasture. We also suspect that the kits may already be weaned, since they’re enthusiastically eating hay and pellets, and they’ve stopped pestering the does for milk.
Ava’s kits are all agouti (coloring like that of wild cottontails) or white, which makes sense since she’s white and the sire is Boyd, who is agouti. Loretta is agouti and her kits are black, steel, and agouti; the sire is Sirius, who is black. Sirius, a Silver Fox, likely has some chocolate in his lineage.
The bucks have remained on pasture through the winter, and we’ve observed that the New Zealands (Boyd and Raylan) seem to consume more grass than the Silver Fox (Sirius). We expect that the kits, including those fathered by Sirius, will take to grass better because they’ll be on pasture early in their lives. We’re also looking at adding American Chinchilla, which are supposed to do well on pasture, to our bloodlines in the near future.
Back to the kits – we handle them frequently, but some are more amenable to handling than others. We chose Ava and Loretta not only for their conformation, but also for their friendly dispositions, which makes handling them easier – a trait we hope they’ve passed on to the kits. We’ve already seen personalities emerging: some kits are shy, some are gregarious, and some are simply hyper. If only we could have a fraction of those kits’ energy..!