Silver Fox Rabbits: First-Time Moms

2018-02-23_Rabbits-01

Exciting goings-on here at the farm: we have a group of five blue Silver Fox rabbit does that have either kindled or are expected to kindle their first litters soon!

One sweet doe, Sarah, kindled her first litter on 2/13. Sarah is a particularly friendly girl, likely due in part to an injury she suffered to her leg when she was a young kit: even though there is “baby saver” wire on the floors and up the sides of the kindling cages (our does are brought inside to kindle), she somehow got her foot stuck through the wire and twisted in a way that trapped it. As you can imagine, she was panicked and pulled frantically, causing a laceration all the way around her “ankle”.

Continue reading “Silver Fox Rabbits: First-Time Moms”

Naughty Baby Lagomorphs: The Real Story

Silver Fox Rabbit Kit

The rabbit kits are 2 weeks old now, and their eyes are open. What does that mean? Trouble.

Once they realize they can get out of the nest box, they go pretty much everywhere in the kindling cage. And they constantly harass the does, trying to crawl under them for a meal. Sometimes the mothers look like they’ve just gone to their “happy place”, ignoring the squirmy, hyper kits.

There’s no denying that the kits are incredibly cute at this age. They have fur now, and they check the world out with their bright eyes…eyes full of mischief. They’re deceptively fast, too – they can evade capture like you wouldn’t believe. Once captured, though, you have to cuddle them a little – we like for ours to be used to handling from an early age. Continue reading “Naughty Baby Lagomorphs: The Real Story”

A New Litter of Rabbit Kits

American Chinchilla/New Zealand Cross Rabbit Kits

After a month of anticipation, both of our selected does kindled on Monday the 13th. Sometimes, kindling goes smoothly and both mother and babies are fine…other times, it doesn’t go so well. Happily, we only have good news to share.

Our American Chinchilla doe, Siobhán, kindled first. She had one litter previously, and half of the litter didn’t survive; naturally, we were concerned that it might happen again. Fortunately, she exhibited behaviors this time that showed that she was preparing for the births (like haystaching) and she pulled fur prior to kindling. She had seven healthy, vigorous kits, and they were nestled into a nice bed of fur…on the cage floor. Silly girl! Continue reading “A New Litter of Rabbit Kits”

Goodbye, 2016…Hello, 2017!

2016 Photo CollageIt’s that time again – this year is coming to its end. We like to look back at the year because you can forget how much you learned and during that period. We also like to recognize our accomplishments, as well as identify needed improvements. We characterize 2016 as our year of learning on the farm.

Chickens

2016 started on a sour note, with about half of our small flock of layers lost to predators. We implemented deterrents and learned about the importance of having a vigilant rooster (or two) to keep watch over the flock. We hatched 4 groups of chicks and learned about integrating new chickens into an existing flock. We processed roosters, treated injuries, and let a (surprise) broody hen hatch some eggs.

Ducks

We started with a small group of Muscovies going into 2016, due to some predator losses. We were thrilled when the ducks began laying, and wanted to expand our flock. Continue reading “Goodbye, 2016…Hello, 2017!”

Fall Rabbit Kits

We have new rabbit kits! Our proven REW New Zealand doe, Ava, had 8 healthy kits about ten days ago: 4 white and 4 agouti. Ava is an excellent mother – her kits are well-fed, big, and active. Their eyes will open soon and they’ll be climbing out of the nest box.

One of our new black Silver Fox does, Niamh, kindled a couple of days after Ava did, which was a little later than expected. With first-time moms, there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong, so it’s particularly stressful.

She had been haystaching and looking uncomfortable in the evening, and had started to pull fur. When we checked on her the following morning, she had pulled a lot more fur and had the kits completely covered. After morning chores, we removed the nest box to take a closer look at the kits. Continue reading “Fall Rabbit Kits”

Update On The New Moms (And Sad News)

Oonagh_Kits_boxOur two first-time moms, Siobhán and Oonagh, kindled 9 days ago. Each had 7 kits, and they all appeared healthy. Over the next few days, that changed. 3 of Siobhán’s kits died.

Oonagh is a Silver Fox/New Zealand cross. Our NZ breeding stock is amazing: large litters, excellent mothering instincts, unperturbed by their kits being handled, willing and able fosters. In short, ideal mothers. Though she’s half Silver Fox, Oonagh seems to have retained the NZ mothering attributes – she haystached, pulled fur and lined her nestbox, kindled in the nest box. All 7 of her kits are big and thriving.

Siobhán is a pedigreed American Chinchilla doe, our first of this breed. Unlike Oonagh, she didn’t haystache or show much interest in her nest box. She kindled on some hay she’d spread in a corner of the cage, so we moved the kits into the nest box.  Continue reading “Update On The New Moms (And Sad News)”