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Monday, February 25, 2013

So proud of the NCYRBA

The North Carolina Youth Rabbit Breeders Association recently went out on a limb. Our kids were looking to raise money so they could go to the ARBA Convention in Pennsylvania. 

Ultimately, they decided to put on their own show. They didn't add a specialty, they literally put on their own show.  The President of the club took youth entries, the Vice President took open entries and away they went.
A big thank you to judge Don Sheets, who donated his time and judging to the kids.  I'm not sure if the other judges did something similar, but I do know he did.

The show turned out beautifully!   The costume contest provided a lot of laughs.  The raffle tables were incredible, with a quality of items rarely seen at smaller shows.  Tim came home with a bucket full of homemade hot sauces from Bel Aire Farms, which has him tickled to death.

The awards were gorgeous rosettes.  I am only sad I didn't win BOB and BOSB in all four shows so I could bring home a complete set.  Keep's Poplar did bring home a BOB, so I guess I should stop being greedy and be happy with the lovely rosette I did get!

Overall, the kids did a great job putting on their first show and it seemed like it must have been a successful fundraiser.  I'm so proud of all the work they did and how generous the exhibitors were- that raffle table was full of tickets, there were six costume contest entries and the bake sale items were eaten with reckless abandon.

Way to go NCYRBA!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Trouble Kindling

My heart has been in my throat for the last 24 hours.

My beloved "Catching Fire" was due with her first litter.  She made a gorgeous nest on the wire, so I worried mostly that the litter would be born there.  Yesterday morning I went out to find a baby dead on the wire, but it had the typical stretched out "first litter, wasn't alive anyway" look.   Oh well, it happens.

When I got home from work, I noticed her grumpily sitting in her nestbox.  I picked her up to look for more babies and found none, but she did show some swelling and had some diarrhea.  Great.

After an hour there was no noticeable change in her condition, that's when I really knew we had a problem.  She was having trouble getting that next kit out.

A friend suggested rolling her gently over on my grooming table in hopes of repositioning the kit.  I slowly rolled her over, then held her on her back for fifteen or twenty seconds, then allowed her to get up.  I followed this treatment up with several minutes of belly massages, then repeated it.   I also held her back end up like I was helping her breed and massaged, hoping that would help her.

Eventually, it was time to let her do what she could do on her own.  

Checks through out the night revealed a tiny pair of legs sticking out.  She had graduated from problems having her kit to a stuck kit.

Ultimately, I brought her in the house, along with food and her water.  I lubed up the legs on the baby and made sure to get some on her, then gave an exploratory tug- unfortunately the kit was stuck fast.  I was afraid to pull it out for fear of hurting her, or tearing the baby (which was obviously dead at this point) and killing Catching Fire.

For the next hour or so, I massaged her belly, or just sat stroking her back.  I filled up a small container with warm water and let her soak in that a few minutes.  She seemed to enjoy it and it helped clean off her messy bottom.

After she was dried off, I put more lubricant on her and gave one last gentle tug at the babies feet- they still weren't budging.  Catching Fire started to contract again right as I was headed to bed, so she got one last belly massage.

At this point, there was nothing left to do but pray she could get the kit out during the night.

I am happy to report that as of this morning, she had passed the kit.  No more swelling, no more diarrhea.  I am hoping she is done and there aren't any more kits in there.

What a night!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More Babies!

Hopefully the baby boom has begun at Keep's Rabbitry (yes, I know- I already have a lot..now I have more.)

Keep's Muse kindled two beautiful little black babies this morning! There was a third that didn't make it, it looked like she had trouble with him.

Southland's Snickers was pulling wool like crazy when I left.  She tanked her last litter, so I am anxiously awaiting the moment I can go home and check on her.

Keep's Catching Fire has made a lovely nest on the wire, while Keep's Tequila Mockingbird and Lyle Creek's Violet haven't done much of anything.

Keep's Dove missed this round of breeding.  For some reason she went completely off feed and has brought herself nearly to the brink of starvation before I was able to tempt her in to eating again.  Needless to say, she didn't have the extra calories needed for an unborn litter to grow.  I'm just thankful she is eating again.  Hopefully in a few weeks we can try her again.

Southland's Snickers kindled two dead babies this afternoon and one live kit.  She pulled a ton of wool and has done a great job caring for her singleton, but I made the decision to foster her kit over to the Florida White litter.  This chunky butt kit is almost as large as the day-older Florida White kits, so I think they will be fine.

Keep's Muse ended up passing another elongated kit.  I noticed she hadn't eaten (or scratched out her feed), which is unusual for her.  It's a relief to see she passed her baby, hopefully she's done now.  I checked her litter and one of the little kits had wool tangled around it's foot and stuck to it's butt.  I made sure to untangle the baby and clean up it's rear.  Leaving the wool wrapped around it's foot could have led to the circulation being cut off and the baby losing a foot- or even led to it's death.  It's really important to check over the babies in any wool breed, as the wool can get tangled.

I added Snickers's considerable pulled wool from her now-empty-next to Muse's nestbox- no point in letting it go to waste and it will help keep the two small babies warm as the weather cools off again.


Monday, February 11, 2013

A new litter

Sky's Eve (Florida White) kindled a successful litter today!  She had a huge litter her first breeding, but had trouble and they ended up scattered all over the wire.

This time she did everything perfectly and her labor was easy- we have a nest full of fat, pink babies. 

Happily, both Florida White does are now proven!  There was never a doubt that they wouldn't be great mothers, but I do like having the confirmation.

So far Eve has been a less aggressive mother than Lillith.  She easily allowed me to pull out her box and check on the kits and even submitted to having her head stroked.

Now that both girls are proven, Tim needs to get on the ball with deciding when he wants to take the rabbits down to Haiti so we can move forward with our plans.  I'd like to bring in another buck to send with the shipment so that the lines won't be as tight.

Lots of plans, but happily things are progressing!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Overrun and overwrought

I recently went on a trip overseas.  While there, both Keep's Mind Games and Keep's Skyfall passed away.  Of the 20+ juniors currently in my rabbitry, these were two of the Top 3.   Luckily both have brothers who were numbers 4 & 5, but it is a blow to lose these guys- Skyfall was especially a favorite, as he ran to the front of the cage to greet me every day.

Speaking of babies, did you catch that 20+ number?  Oh. My. Gosh.

I've got two does due in two days.  I've got more does due two days after that.  I just bought back a Keep's Doe from a friend who sold out of woolies and she is being bred today- several of the girls are set to be rebred this week.

I've got to make some very hard cuts and soon.  I will have some Florida White babies available for sale, as well as a pet wooly or two.   The large litter from Erb's Indiana is going to have to be culled down from six to no more than three.  The only reason I'm even considering allowing myself to grow out three babies is that two are does and I will be keeping both of them automatically to grow out.

The problem is that I can see rabbits I want to sell in the near future, but I am not necessarily done with them right now.  However, I'm going to have to move some out sooner than I might wish in order to let the next generation come up.  Sigh.

I blame Tim's Florida Whites.  Without them, I'd have four extra holes right now! :)