Updated: Jun 15
We finally have our breeding trio. I'm so excited, even though it'll be a few months before they are old enough to breed. Maybe we will have rabbit meat in time for spring!
The first two we got are black New Zealand rabbits, a buck and a doe. This trip was only a short one, being about 30 country miles (those go way faster than city miles, believe me). The gentleman was kind enough to show us around his setup. He had hanging cages in a small enclosure of PVC and plastic sheeting, to keep the wind and rain off, and keep them warm in the winter. He also gave us information and tips on breeding and care of our new livestock and showed us how to sex the rabbits. I've seen plenty of pictures in rabbit groups, on blogs, and in books but seeing it in person sure makes me feel a lot more secure in actually knowing what I'm looking at. We picked out a buck and doe from unrelated litters, he gave us a container of the feed he uses for transition and we were on our way.
We named the buck Zarjin, who was 12 weeks at purchase.
Our new doe is Marello, 11 weeks old at purchase.
I downloaded an app from the apple store called My-Farm, which I'm using to track everything. So far I'm liking the simple entry forms and easy to read-at-a-glance pages. I entered their info into the breeder section, along with their price and the cost of the first bag of food, to help track our total costs. It has trackers for breeding and harvesting, also, which I hope are just as easy to utilize.
Our second doe was a bit more of a trek, but I feel like she was worth it. 100 miles almost straight north, and just under 4 hour round trip. It was a relaxing drive and the breeder showed us around, not just their rabbit setup, but a lot of their homestead. It was such a great thing for me to see, as it's close to what I'm hoping to work towards, and gave me something I could point out to Kallo and make sure it's what he was picturing, also. Always good to be on the same page!
This breeder had a colony style rabbitry, which wasn't what I pictured. It was more organized than I had envisioned, with separate pens for each rabbit couple. It's not something I'm ready to go with since I want more control over when kits are coming, but it was a very educational trip, nonetheless.
This is the second doe, a 3/4 silver fox and 1/4 red New Zealand, and already has a beautiful coat. We've named her Sylvanus (note that we are both recovering World of Warcraft addicts, so the names are a nod to that). We were enjoying our visit with the breeder so much, and chatting so long that she and I both forgot about transition food. We realized when almost an hour away and she texted shortly thereafter, apologizing for forgetting. We started her off on just timothy grass hay for days 1 & 2, then gave a couple of pellets with the hay, then increased a little bit at a time over the last week. Everything appears to be good, and she's eating pellets.
All three rabbits have been transitioned over to our feed and seem to be doing well. Marello is the least skittish of the three, mostly because she's a bit of a pig and is eager to see her food. Since I bring the food, I'm forgiven for being a dirty, scary human. They've also slow been introduced to things like parsley stems, applewood sticks, and plantain leaves. Very little to start, of course. I saw someone say a rabbit's favorite thing to do is drop dead.
Make sure you check out the post on how we built this rabbit hutch on THIS POST.