We wrote this post yesterday, when it was sunny and beautiful out…it’s raining, dark, and gloomy today.
The rabbit kits born in February are 8 weeks old now. Time has flown! We would normally move them out into the tractors sooner (once weaned), but the weather has been unpredictable and there’s recently been heavy rainfall, so we waited until the ground had absorbed the moisture. Today’s 80 degree weather has really helped dry the ground out.
As part of the transition process, we sex the kits to ensure that each grow-out tractor only contains kits of the same gender (so we don’t end up with any unplanned babies). While the does are probably too young to at this point to become pregnant, it’s a risk we choose not to take. In addition, sexing the kits allows us to know how many of each breed and gender we have available for sale. Sexing is not fun – they don’t enjoy it, and neither do we…and we have the scars to prove it.
It’s always fun to watch how the kits react to being in the tractors for the first time. Initially, they’re frozen in fear, flattening out against the ground: there are strange sounds, the breeze blows on them, there’s grass under their feet. All new experiences, and a bit overwhelming. In a few hours, they’re behaving as if they’ve always been in the tractor: eating the greens, running around, jumping up on their house. The next challenge will be for them to get used to being the tractors when they’re moved to new ground. The first time, they have to be watched very carefully to ensure that their feet aren’t dangling so they’re not injured. Again, in a few days, they’ll be old hands at it, and will know how to balance themselves on the floor wire (or they’ll go into their houses) so they’re safe while they’re moved.
It’s gratifying to know that the kits will be safe in their tractors, eating the nutritious greens available in our pastures, breathing in fresh air, and feeling the sunlight on their fur; they’re fertilizing the pastures as they go and we will no longer need to empty and rinse the trays under their cages daily. It’s truly a “win-win” situation. If you’re still mowing your lawn, it’s time to get some rabbits. They love weeds like dandelions and wild onion. Best of all, they mow and fertilize for you!