Our Journey beginning to now

When I was a kid we raised rabbits for meat. It was a healthy meat source that we raised and butchered ourselves. I wanted to be able to do the same for me and my family. In July 2016 we started looking around for rabbits in our area and that’s when we found our first breeding buck we named Max. But the breeder didn’t have any Does that were unrelated so I started searching for a doe on craigslist. I found a breeder who had his rabbits in a colony type setup. I contacted him and we set up a time to pick up a rabbit. I chose a red doe that was more of a mutt and we named her Ruby. She is part lionhead and who knows what else. She quickly became a loved member of the family. When we would go out to feed her and check on her she would come to the door. When we stuck our hand in the cage she would lick us. If you know anything about rabbits, a rabbit licking you is the highest form of affection a rabbit can give. The breeder told me she was probably bred because she was in a colony setup. I took him at his word and had no idea how to palpate but I tried. I thought I felt babies. I put a nest box in and I left it there for two weeks. Never had any babies but I thought better safe than sorry. I decided I would put her in with Max. If you’re experienced with rabbits you’re probably saying you didn’t quarantine her long enough. And you would be absolutely right because then we found we had fleas from which we brought home with Ruby. We gave both Ruby and Max a shallow bath with Dawn soap to kill the fleas and also used diatomaceous earth to make sure we got all of them. Our flea problem was short lived and we didn’t have any more issues. A month later about twelve hours before she delivered her kits. I went out to find a kit on the wire. We were frantic . We didn’t know if she was going to be a good mom or if we just bought a dud. We brought the kit in and tried to warm it up to no avail. We came out the next morning to a nest full of fur and 5 healthy kits. We were so excited. Our journey was in its baby steps and we were off to a decent start. We watched as these kits grew. We handled them daily to get them accustomed to being handled. I had my eyes set on.31 a Doe and a Buck from the litter to hold back for breeders i chose two without manes because i didn’t want to pass the mane gene on to the next generations. When we started this i was not that great at sexing rabbits. Well when they hit five months I put the “Doe” in with the buck. They ran around in circles and the Buck mounted the Doe we got a fall off and then a few more. I was excited i was going to have kits from from my first home bred rabbits. A few days later i came out to check on the herd and i caught a glimpse of testicles on my “Doe”. My first thought was I just got the rabbits mixed up when I separated them after breeding. So i pulled the Buck and “Doe” out and checked them again. Sure enough I had two bucks. I was a upset because I sexed them wrong. Most people blame it on the sex change fairy so I did the same and rolled on. So i put Ruby in with one of the bucks and we had fall offs. We had more kits on the way and two days after the breeding. We were already having a bad day I got up in the morning to take a shower and get ready for work and i didn’t have any hot water something was wrong with my hot water heater. So I was already having a bad day. So I go to work and I come home from lunch to find one of my bucks with a broken back and some what looked to be chewed up toes. I figured something was trying to eat his toes from beneath the cage. As he was trying to escape he broke his back. Well I had to cull him. He was the smaller of the two bucks. I wasn’t completely heartbroken because I thought he was a doe to start. To keep this from happening again I moved my other buck to a new cage one that was higher off the ground. Well about a month later Ruby kindled and she had seven kits. All varying colors she had one red, black, and opal and four chestnuts. We checked them everyday and we started to notice that we had some failure to thrive. We were giving supplemental feedings to no avail. We were losing kits and couldn’t do anything to save them we lost four kits the red and black that i was really hoping would survive and two chestnuts. The opal survived but she had a mane which I have been adamant that I did now want in my lines. We were going to keep her just because she had the Dilute genes and we wanted to see if we could work towards Blue New Zealands. Then we found a new breed that my wife and I really liked. The Giant Chinchilla so we started looking in the rabbit groups looking for some Giant Chinchillas. We found some they were in Arkansas. The breeder had an unrelated Buck and Doe so we made the trip to Arkansas and picked up Goliath and Sugar Pie. They are two big gentle giants and they are also now members of the family. About two months ago my Wife brought both Goliath and Sugar Pie in so she could take some pictures of them and nature happened. Goliath mounted Sugar Pie and the fall off damage was done so we let it go we got three fall offs. About a month ago Sugar Pie Kindled 12 Kits. She’s a first time mom so we expected some losses which we had. In the first week we had lost half of the kits things were looking grim for this litter. We hit two weeks and hadn’t had any more losses and they were getting bigger. They started coming out of the nest box at first I was putting them all back day in day out. They hit about three weeks and they were all coming out of the nest. So i left them out well i came out later one day to check on everyone. I had one in the middle of the cage not using its back legs so I pulled it out looked it over and it was paralyzed. So I had to cull leaving us with five Giant Chinchillas. One week after the Giant Chinchilla babies were born Ruby kindled She had nine kits. One kit died about three days after birth. Everything was doing great.until about a week ago we had a heat wave I was expecting the heat so i had the Ice bottles ready. I went out at about nine in the morning the heat and already started getting to them so i started adding ice bottles. Giving the biggest ice bottle to Ruby and her kits. About noon i went out to check on everyone and change ice bottles as needed. The babies were cuddled up to the ice bottle I reached in to check on them make sure everyone was ok. I then found a kit that was almost dead. I brought the kit inside to cool it off and tried to get it to drink some water I waited for an hour before proceeding. Finally I decided it wasn’t going to recover so I decided to cull. Now we have 3 breeding Does and as of right now one breeding Buck. We also have 12 kits in various growout stages. We are still learning. We would like to invite you to learn while we are on this journey.

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