Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shak Rabbits

Welcome to The Shak.

This episode will give you the background to the pictures in the last episode. This entry may seem a little odd in that it often speaks of the past in the present tense. I thought you may like the choice of seeing it all together in one place as it originally appeared. I may or may not have done some editing of the descriptions. For the most part I simply copied and pasted them from my facebook posts.
Here you see the rabbit cages. They each measure 30"x36"x16". I bought them at Fleet Farm. They are made by Litttle Giant. Much assembly required. The first one took much longer to build. The second and third took about an hour each. I also used the rack system to stack them and got the slide out dropping pans.
The galvanized boxes attached to the cages in the foreground are 5" feeders also made by Little Giant. They work very well. There is a hinged lid on each one which makes feeding easy, because everything can be done from outside the cage. The blue bottles are 32oz heated water bottles. They are Farm Innovators model #HRB-20. Consumer reviews were very good. I got a great price on them through Shipping was free. So far they are working wonderfully. Beyond the waterers you'll see the hay racks. I built these using 1"x2" gavanized wire fencing I found while cleaning the barn, a wire cutter and some bending. They are fixed to the cage using the same wire clamps used in building the cages.
This is the buck. He resides in the cage. It took a while to obtain the right rabbits. All my research indicated that New Zealand White rabbits where what I needed. After spending hours on the internet looking for a breeder, I found a very nice farmer in Pulaski by the name of Ken, who was willing to sell me the trio. Thanks Ken
This is the first of two does. She lives in the middle cage. The photo is a bit is the rabbit. So, that's okay. The reason the cages are stacked and not side-by-side is good to know. Does spray. If they cannot see each other and have no angle, chances are they wont spray. And if they do, they can't spray each other. Part of the attraction of these rabbits is their pelts. So, I don't want them stained or ruined. Plus its just unhealthy. A clean rabbit is a happy rabbit.
This is the second doe. She hangs out in the bottom cage. As you can see, she is chilling in the photo. Probably just got done gorging herself on pellets and hay. Though the photo doesn't betray it, she is by far the largest of the rabbits. Eat and poop. Eat and poop. She also drinks far more water than the others. That is all good though. She and the buck are going to have a fur-flying good time on New Years Day. She'll need her strength to grow those kits(baby rabbits). If all goes according to plan, she'll have her kits the first week of February. Easter Bunnies anyone?
It has been a while; but, with nothing to report, not reporting seemed appropriate. Here you see the smaller doe. She is significantly larger than her previouse picture. Still the small one though. In her cage is the nesting box I built her. The big doe has one too. They will be needing these soon. The buck likes to...well, ... buck and my, up to just recently, coy does have seemingly lost their will to resist. Bunnies for Easter anyone?
This is the aforementioned nesting box. I built it out of 16ga 1/2" x 1" wire and j-clamps. It measures 18'L x 10"H x 10"D. I lined it with cardboard (rabbit hutch boxes), and covered the edges with plastic molding. I was a bit concerned about using the plastic, but they have not once chewed it. I cannot say the same for the cardboard. One doe chewed it up. The other hasn't. Since replacing the original cardboard, no more chewing. While it may be hard to see in the picture, there is a lot of fur mixed with the straw. Does pull their hair out to provide the kits (baby bunnies) with warmth. This is a promising sign.
This morning this is what I saw. While wondering aloud to the small doe..."how can u have any fur left?", I noticed movement in the fur pile. Whadaya know! Babies! How exciting! (My apologies for my overuse of exclamation marks)
Welcome to the world my little bunny rabbits. The small doe gave birth, sometime between 6pm lastnight and 8am today, to 9 babies. This was a welcome surprise after the sad death of one of my chicks lastnight. If farmers are bi-polar, I can understand why. Lastnight's sadness becomes today's joy. All appear to be alive, healthy and of uniform size.
I took this picture around 11am today. Incredible how they've grown in just 5 days. See how pudgy they are? And their fur is coming in. I've never once seen the mother in the nest box with them; however, this is good evidence that she is quite a mom. All 9 bunnies are thriving even though mom only has 8 nipples. It's a mystery. Their eyes should be opening Tuesday.
They all made it through a week.
You may recognize this as the picture from the last episode. It is that picture. They are nine days old in that picture. That picture is two days old. Between this and the previous episode, you are up to date. I will post again when the little buggers open their eyes. I thought that might have been today. Can't rush these things.

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