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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Apple Cider Vinger

Also entitled "How to make your does want to have babies".

I've had an extremely frustrating time with some of my rabbits, especially the hollands, not wanting to lift for the bucks. This is especially frustrating when it means that same rabbit (or rabbits) have been sitting in the barn for 6 months doing nothing but eating our food and pooping.

Now, this isn't to say the rabbits are treated like baby machines. When they have a litter, the litter is weaned after 8 weeks, and the condition of the mother is evaluated. If she only had 1 baby, she may very well be bred again immediately. With the larger litters, the mama bunny gets more time off to goof around and enjoy being baby free. As always, the health of our does comes before breeding.

However, when a doe has a dead litter, I do prefer for her to be rebred within days. It is these does, that feel that even 6 months later they don't want to have litters, that irk me. C'mon ladies, that's just lazy!

My first question is- is the doe too fat? Sometimes they are getting too much food and don't want to breed, or have trouble getting pregnant because of all the extra baggage they are carrying around. Most of my girls have been on diets, because I have noticed I have a tendency to overfeed. However, even after the diet, not a lot of the cages are rockin'.

Next I wonder- is it too hot? Well, with the highs being in the low 70s, I'm thinking this isn't the problem anymore.

Is the buck trying? Oh yeah, my bucks give it 110%. In fact, I usually have to smack them off when, after about 5 minutes, nothing has been accomplished and I'm tired of squatting next to the cages, poised to remove the doe if she gets aggressive.

So, I've turned to good old Apple Cider Vinegar. This is my first attempt with this remedy, but let me tell you how it's supposed to work.

You put 6 mL of vinegar per liter of water. I've heard it a tablespoon to a gallon, and I have heard of breeders who just dump it in and turn the water pink. I don't suppose it really matters, it's worked for all kinds of folks, using all kinds of measurements. I took the "a dollop'll do ya" approach, just pouring in a small amount in to certain water bottles.

Supposedly, the vinegar in the water tinkers with the hormones of the does, increasing their desire to be bred. Then again, I've also heard it helps make coats shinier, so maybe they just feel prettier. I know after dosing the water of the girls I have who are not pregnant, or nursing (that one whole doe that is nursing one whole baby >.< ), no one was all that eager to guzzle from their water bottles. It may be the strange smell though, because again, I've heard from breeders who use it that rabbits come to really enjoy the "medicated" water.

So we shall see, I'll continue the vinegar until I get the results I'm after. It won't hurt my feelings if it takes a few more days, I like to have at least 2 weeks between groups of breedings. I have 2 does due on the 20th, 4 due in early October, and if I can get the cider to work, hopefully I'll soon have 4 more due at the end of October/early November.

Wish me luck, I'll keep you guys updated on my Vinegar progress!

Keep's Rabbitry

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