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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ignorant Thinking- No, we don't make money.

I recently had to delete a comment off the blog- of course, it was from someone who didn't use their real name, but it was something like "Now breeders will have to go out and get real jobs", in response to the blog about California passing the law prohibiting animals being sold in lots of areas.

Wow- could you possibly be any more ignorant and still be alive?  I've been sitting here trying to think of a breeder I know that doesn't "have a real job".  I'm sure there are some out there that are retired now- you know, after a lifetime of working, now they are show breeders. 

It still amuses me that the general public thinks we make so much money off breeding rabbits.  Especially show rabbits! They don't realize the cost of equipment- cages, carriers, brushes, grooming tables, feeders, water bottles, etc. etc.   They don't realize the cost of show entries- as "low" as $3.50 per rabbit per show and going up as high as $17 per rabbit per show.  They don't take a look at what it costs to put gas in a vehicle that can haul carriers of rabbits hours away.

My barn has electricity- certainly not an extra cost at all- not to mention feed and supplements, toys- etc. etc. etc. The commenter clearly has not read one of the first blogs I ever posted about why you don't make money selling rabbits.

Rabbit breeders are not "bunny mills".  We breed to a standard of perfection.  I'd be perfectly happy to get 1 baby per litter, if it was the best "type wise" that it could be.  Not every rabbit is going to fall close to that and even if it does, we keep those who fall the closest- we don't sell them.  So yes- we keep our most valuable rabbits. We sell those who would be helpful to someone else's herd, true. Not everyone does pet sells.  I find it hard to find suitable homes for pet woolies, so often those go to someone who takes them for free as meat.  I get ZERO profit off any baby that goes to him- despite having put feed and hay in to them.  Some people disagree with rabbits for meat- that's your choice, but I prefer that to having them go to someone who took it because it was free and neglects it until it dies.  That's a different soapbox for a different day.

So in short- no, we don't make money.  My real job helps pay to make sure that my hobby is something I can afford to do.  I have spent more money than I'll ever hope to recoup on the rabbits, whether we are talking about building their dutch barn or specially shipping in their feed- or something entirely different.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Baby Watch

I have four does due at the end of the month- Keep's Nova, Keep's Fiona, Keep's Puzzle and BL's Jiggy.  Puzzle and Jiggy are up first on the 30th, with Nova and Fiona due on the 31st.

As I passed out nestboxes today, Jiggy immediately dove in and started moving around mouthfuls of hay.  EEK!  Fiona was last to get her box and I stood for a moment unsure of where she was in the barn- with the recent moving around of cages, I had lost track of her.  I bent down to ask one "Are you Fiona?" but before I could get more than "Are" out of my mouth, I noticed a huge pile of pulled fur- yep, it was Fiona all right!

I am so excited that the two does are already working on their nests! Hopefully the other two will follow suit and I'll get a 100% baby rate this round.  We can hope anyway.

I checked on Sunset's babies, who are hardly friendly at all.  During some "forced snuggle time", I noticed the little buckling is very skinny.  Meanwhile, the doeling is fat as a pig! I checked my calendar and realized that they are a touch over 6 weeks old now, so as much as I didn't want to, I pulled the doe to wean her.  She has clearly been bullying her smaller brother and I'm hoping that some alone time with mom will help him bulk up a bit before I need to separate him out.

For some reason, mama bunnies don't intervene when there is a clear case of bullying- keeping others away from resources like food or water.  I guess it's one of those "survival of the fittest" instincts, but I'm not going to let this little guy waste away because his sister is a piglet.

Finally, I spent a minute or two with Muse's foster baby, the little chestnut.  Oh it is so adorable- and ran right up to greet me! This is a Poplar kid, so I know it's going to have that same "I'm a ham" personality.  I'm looking forward to watching it grow up!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Taylorsville Show

We had an awesome time at the Taylorsville show today, despite one of our regular exhibitors having to be rushed to the hospital before the show!  Thankfully she is fine- from what I heard, she wasn't too pleased with her husband when he refused to bring her by the showroom- she could have made it for Show B!  That's dedication hehe.

I didn't have much to show as far as variety went- a self buck, a broken buck, three shaded senior bucks and a shaded junior buck. 

It was a hot, hot, hot day and the showroom was getting pretty toasty as the hours passed.  Thankfully the show went really quickly (we were done by 3pm or so). Joni had a box fan and some smaller personal fans that she let us cool off with and our bunnies were able to take advantage of the air circulation as well.

Unfortunately Romeo, the junior buck, was the only shaded junior buck. Blah.

In Show A:
Keep's Panda, the broken senior buck, took BOG! I was thrilled!
Keep's Poplar, the self senior buck, took BOG as well!
Keep's KHA, one of the shaded senior bucks, also took BOG!

Just when I didn't think the day could get better- Keep's Poplar took BOB! Yay for my pretty guy. His picture is featured in the right hand corner of the homepage of the blog!

In Show B:

Keep's Panda took BOSG
Keep's Poplar took BOG
Keep's KHA took BOG, edging out Keep's Little Comment for the class win.

Then Keep's Poplar took BOB- again!

Yayy! I'm so happy that my guy rocked the show today against the beautiful animals the other exhibitors brought.

I brought home Southland's Snickers from Joni- she was nice enough to let me borrow her for a litter.  I had originally intended to breed her to KHA, but he wasn't able to seal the deal quickly enough- and I was very tired after getting up so early for the show today.  She went on a very successful date with Tribute, so fingers crossed for lovely little babies in a month!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bunnies Past

I got an email today from a lady who adopted a rabbit from us in 2007. 

The rabbit was a very special doe, "Bertha" (who Tim named because of her big ole butt).  She was our first mini lop and we loved her very much.  Bertha had several litters with us and then, in the course of time, it was that oh so familiar point at which we started looking for a new home for her.  I often try to retire special, sweet tempered does to pet homes if I can- regardless of if they are still breedable. 

Bertha went to live with this lady and I found out today that she passed away this past March.  I'm so grateful that she lived such a wonderfully long life with her owner and a rescued companion bunny.

I think as rabbit breeders, owners like Bertha had are all we can hope for and more- someone to love and cherish rabbits that we ourselves loved, but couldn't keep.  Owners that can spoil the ones we'd choose to be our pets if we had more space, more time, etc.  Bertha lived her whole life with someone who promised to take care of her and love her- someone that kept their promise.

I'm sad she's gone, but I couldn't have wished for a better life for her.  I know she was happy and that far outweighs the sadness.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Frisky Juniors

I swear, you leave for a week and when you come back, all your babies have forgotten you!

Muse's little foster chestnut is adorable.  Becca, our pet caretaker, had texted me early on in the trip to let me know everyone was doing find and that "the littlest baby has left the nest."  Figures! It waits until we leave to make it's debut.  Not entirely unexpected, but really, the day after we leave you do it?

Sunset's two shadeds are still beautiful.  I haven't sexed them yet, I will wait until I put them in weaning holes to do that, but ohhh my fingers are crossed for a little lady!

Bee's babies are old enough to be weaned today or tomorrow. I am not in love with the little black and the pointed is a foster baby, so I may go on and sell both.  Sometimes that is the best option, especially since I am really excited for some of the other babies.  It's only Bee's first litter and since only one of the two survived, this won't be a fair representation of what she produces anyway.

One of my older juniors is right in the middle of uglies- and boy has he developed an attitude! I tried to pet him and he grumped then growled at me and ran around the cage trying to avoid my hand! Looks like we will have to do some therapeutic cuddling for the next week to see if he can't drop that attitude.  He needs to be brushed anyway, his wool looks like a rat's nest!

At least my seniors were happy to see me- Poplar was begging for head rubs and binkying around his cage. That makes me so happy to see! Of course I had to stop and give him and others head rubs before I could finish the feeding, but it is so worth the extra time to give out lovings to the bunnies that want it!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baby Bummer

Muse's single baby ended up dying.  Thankfully after 12+hours she was able to get a stuck DOA baby out and begin to care for her singleton, but ultimately it didn't make it.

Erb's Indiana dumped a litter of seven on the wire.   They all crawled out of the cage- it was a nightmare! I found one live baby, a little chestnut, then one after another I found the dead babies- they seemed to be never ending.   Indiana built a beautiful nest, for some reason she decided not to use it, though she has been continuing to pull wool.   It was her first time, so I feel sure she'll do better next time.  I gave her baby to Muse to raise.  After a short break, I'll be rebreeding Indiana.

I'm going to have to evict Sunset's babies.  They are 3 weeks old and showing no signs that they ever want to leave their nestbox!  I am not sure what their malfunction is, but it's high time to be out exploring, not hiding in the dark recesses of the nestbox.  These two babies are shadeds- a seal and a siamese sable.

Keep's Harmony pulled a ton of wool.  I don't really understand her- she was the first of the does due on Saturday to start nesting, then she destroyed her nest, ate all the hay....and then nested again?  She ended up having one large DOA.  Ugh.  At least she is finally started, I'll be rebreeding her again very soon.

So this was a depressing time for babies, but I did at least get one live baby and several does are started.