Please click "Read More", to see a slideshow of pictures from birth to the last couple days with his family.
Last week, I got the news that one of the babies I had sold to some friends just died. He was playing in his outside run and got spooked and bolted. He broke his leg running away. His family took him to the vet and tried to get an amputation, but sadly, Ronnie passed away during the surgery.
Please click "Read More", to see a slideshow of pictures from birth to the last couple days with his family.
Holly's Cinnamon had 6 babies today, 5/18/14! All are alive and healthy, and so is mom! I am so proud of her. In just 2 hours, while my family and I were at church, she went into labor, pulled fur, and delivered! The babies are also fed, warm and cleaned in mama's nest! She DID inherit her mom's baby skills! I am so incredibly blessed.
When I went to count them, I noticed they were a lot smaller then Gracie's babies have previously been (and she's had some small babies. One was only 2lbs at 4mos). I'm expecting some pretty small adults.
This is also the first time I've had a litter out of a homegrown, and out of this new buck, Lance! I'm so excited to watch these babies mature and grow! Because there's so many, some will be for sale at 8 weeks. I will not allow anyone to reserve them until I'm sure of who's staying for further evaluation, and who's going to be sold.
She's been VERY protective and is super vocal and skittish right now, so it might be a couple days before pictures. I'll try to get some tomorrow but I don't want to stress out our new mama.
Here's to the healthy growth and development of all 6 of these babies!
I remember the day well. I was on the computer, looking at the Dragonfly Farms website. Looking on the For Sale page. I had been following Kristen's website for a while, waiting, watching, for the perfect baby bunny to call Mine.
That day, after scrolling through the cute bunnies, I found her. Brown and gray, with tiny ears sticking straight out to the side like an airplane, hunched up, a little ball of fluff. I don't know how, but I knew that was her immediately. Something in my heart said, "Say hello to your baby." Below her were her two siblings, a black male and female, but I barely glanced at them. I didn't need to see any more. She was the one, and no one was going to tell me otherwise. We were planning on naming her Leia, but the name her breeder picked for her fit perfectly - well, almost perfectly. ;) Her name was Elsa.
I ran to my mom in the bathroom - I believe she was taking a shower - so excited I could hardly stand it. "I found her, I found her!", I cried. Of course my mom whisked me away and said we would talk when she was done.
When she came out, she looked at the picture. She said she was cute. She told me that I could email the breeder, and ask her when we could bring her home. My mom said that if the breeder says we can see her and pay for her that next day, we would.
We had everything ready. Her cage was waiting hopefully in my room, ready with all the supplies.
A couple days later, we drove to Monroe to pay for and meet Elsie. Kristen pulled her out of a cage she was sharing with her mom. Her siblings had already been weaned, but because she was smaller then her big brother and sister, she stayed with her mom a bit longer to gain weight. She's overweight now. Her cage was on the right, on a top tier, stuffed with hay. Kristen told us how Elsie's mom was getting sick of her; Elsie was a hog and always took all the hay.
The breeder pulled Elsie out and set her on a carpeted table. I pet her and immediately knew she was fearless and curious. She still is to this day. She nibbled my sleeve (it was December and cold, so I was wearing gloves and a windbreaker), and licked my fingers. I held her and couldn't believe how soft she was - once I took off my gloves. I left after about half an hour with a full heart of love for that girl.
A week later we brought her home. She took to litter training almost immediately, but I remember sitting by her cage, reading, so pleased and happy that she was there. I would talk to her and get her used to the sound of my voice, my smell.
Elsie was difficult, insane, adorable, loving, spoiled and impatient. She would drive me up the wall at times - like the day she decided to pee on my bed when I forgot about her in my room, or the first time she nipped me - but she was always there for me. And really, she was more sweet then crazy. Sometimes I wish I had adopted her when she was 3 though. Just these past couple months she's gotten so much sweeter and cuddlier. I love it.
Elsie was there for a pretty difficult time in my life. By the grace of God she helped me get through it. I felt like she wasn't real - like one day, in the middle of all the crazy chaos, I'd wake up one day and she wouldn't be there. But she always was.
I forget how, but somehow, the idea of owning a rabbitry and getting more bunnies was intriguing and immediately I clinged to it like a lifesaver. I'd go through periods of not wanting to save up, to forget all about the rabbitry and how controlling it had become.
It was two years before I found that free hutch by the side of the road, and bought Gracie, that spring in May of 2013. We were planning to wait until I was 16....
but, as you all know, the rest is history.
Rabbits bathe themselves very well like a cat. Have you ever seen your rabbit drop everything to groom itself? This is the way it should be. People who bathe their rabbit on a whim without even researching if it's safe or not, or for any particular reason, are irresponsible and could cause harm to their bunny.
If you MUST bathe your rabbit, or if your rabbit is very dirty, you can wash it by dabbing it with a cloth and water. This is much easier and much safer for your bunny then submerging it in water.
When you bring your bunny home, I recommend that you keep their diet as similar to their diet here for the first day or so.
Each day, the bunnies get a huge handful of hay, half a cup of pellets, and a teaspoon of oats and black oil sunflower seeds on alternating days (one day BOSS, the next day oats, then BOSS, ect). They usually get a veggie or fruit every other day.
This is for single Holland Lops without kits. Baby bunnies and moms get as much food as they want and oats every other day. They don't get BOSS or veggies. Well, mom gets the fruits and veggies secretly, but babies don't!
...don't you think it doesn't.
DON'T buy from an add that mentions "Easter", unless it's saying that "Easter bunnies" are not available.
DON'T buy mixed breeds from a backyard breeder that has no idea what they're doing.
DO buy from someone that is a member of the ARBA and his/her respected breeds' clubs (Holland Lops have many clubs about them. The breeder doesn't have to be a member of all of them!).
DO buy from a breeder that can answer your many questions. What the breeder says will not only line up with what the internet or what books say, but it should be logical and obviously researched or learned from experience.
DO ask about the breeder's credentials. How long have they been breeding, what breed do they raise, where your rabbit comes from, ect.
DO, DO, DO ask questions, questions, questions!!!!
If you don't care about breed, and don't need a purebred rabbit, consider buying from a shelter or rescue. Mixed breed rabbits do make good pets, just as any purebred can, but it's not worth buying a random "dwarf bunny", or "lop-eared rabbit", to support bad breeding practices.
Purebred, good-quality, pedigreed rabbits will cost more then a backyard breeder or pet store. But know that you are supporting their hobby and investing in someone that raises rabbits for the right reasons.
From reputable breeders, the rabbits will be healthier, have more personality and better temperaments, have lots of time spent with them and know what's expected of them as a show rabbit, breeding rabbit or pet. You'd pay more for a rabbit that will be a definite weight as maturity, that will look a certain way, whose personality is pleasing and cute, rather than paying little money for a rabbit with a skittish and boring personality, with no sure weight limit, and no way to tell what it will look like at maturity, wouldn't you?!
A bunny is born with no gut bacteria, good or bad. It is at its most critical stage in life; if it gets stressed or introduced into anything too new, it could die because of lack of proper bacteria and enzymes to handle the stress.
A mother bunny's milk is equipped with all the gut enzymes and bacteria that will aid the baby bunny in the coming weeks. The babies, even before they open their eyes, nibble on mom's poop that she leaves in the box, to bring good bacteria into their little tummies. I love this article. It really explains what goes on in baby bunnies' bellies. You can find this article on the website, www.thenaturetrail.com.
Newborn rabbits are quite unique in that they have no living microorganisms in their stomach or intestines. They start off life with a pH of 5-6 and are protected by the special milk oil in rabbit milk.
Lots of people feed baby bunnies and mom the same greens and veggies/fruits. I, however, do not. It's not the veggies themselves that could cause diarrhea; it's the fact that anything too "new" could. And depending on the fruit or veggie, it could cause more harm then good. I feed my babies oats starting at 3-4 weeks old once they are pros at eating solids. The oats help them with "drying up", their excess cecotrophes once they start producing their own. It keeps them cleaner, helps to fatten them up, and keeps them strong and healthy. If you feed your baby bunnies greens and fruits, I would love to hear how your experience has gone. Leave a comment! :)
There's a very strong difference between "ShowABLE" and "Show QUALITY" Holland Lops.
"ShowABLE" Hollands means that the rabbit CAN be shown. Any rabbit can be shown if it is free of disqualifications, such as wrong eye, fur, or toenail color, over 4lbs, health issues, spinal deformities, ect.
"Show QUALITY" Hollands can very well be the same thing (some breeders don't discriminate between the two), but QUALITY Hollands will often WIN or place at shows.
You see, there are disqualifications and faults. They are two completely different things.
Holly's Cinnamon, above, is showable and a nice quality, I must say. She is completely free of disqualifications. She has never been unhealthy, has no deformities, and her toenails are the right color (ect). But no Holland Lop is perfect; she has a slipped, tight crown (giving her a little bit of ear control), and a lower headset. She has many strengths that offset her faults.
Sir Lancelot, above (sorry for the bad pic), also has a few faults, but at a show he would be disqualified because he's over the weight limit. He has no other DQs except for that.
Dragonfly's Gracie, not pictured, would not place at a show even if she was at the proper weight (which she's not). Not only would she be DQ'ed, but she would also be faulted for almost everything about her. She has nice width but not much else going for her - besides her amazing teddy bear personality and the fact that she produces AMAZING babies. That's why I keep her around ;).
In breeding, its best to breed rabbits together that have little faults overall, to produce the best babies. And if one rabbit has a fault like a sloped hindquarter, try to breed her to a buck with a full, nice HQ. That way, you're giving the babies born a better chance of having the better hindquarter gene. If you breed two slipped HQs together, that's what the babies will have also.
Most breeders try to stay away from DQs, and don't use any rabbit that has a DQ in their breeding program. Brood, or bigger, Hollands are the exception. As long as the big bunny has nice type, he can produce babies that also have nice type, in small and bigger varieties (as long as the rabbit it's bred to is smaller).
Hereditary DQs besides weight are best to stay away from. Such as deformities or severe faults. DQs that a rabbit picks up overtime, like a broken nail, or injury from a mating gone wrong, as long as they have good type, can be bred just as easily as any other well-typed, show quality Holland. They just can't be shown.
I got the idea for this blog from my friend's blog over at Rock River Rabbitry. Click HERE to visit her page!
I found this SUPER interesting article today!
FOLLOW MY NOSE
I think I'm going to go lie on the floor and play wiggle noses with my house bunny now. Bye!
In breeding, which rabbit is the most important? The buck or the doe?
Both are equally important for what they have to do.
In the herd, the buck is the most important because he is the one that will benefit the WHOLE HERD. Rather then a doe may just benefit a few litters. Because you can use the buck on everybody, he benefits many more litters then just the average doe. Depending on how many does you have, he could produce well over 100 litters per year. Whereas a doe will only produce 5 litters a year at most.
Your buck needs to be your best quality animal in your herd. When people look and comment on your herd, they first look and comment on the buck. He becomes the backbone to your herd. If you have a bad quality buck, you have a bad quality herd. Not always true, but it's very common.
I'm still such a new breeder that I don't have the best quality buck. Lance will suit me just fine for the meantime. I plan on buying another buck - maybe. If I produce an amazing buck, I'll just keep him. Cinnamon, a doe, is currently the best rabbit in my herd and I'm so proud of her. I doubt I'll ever sell her, just like her mother, Gracie. Maybe, when the two of them are done producing, they'll come inside to be house bunnies with my Elsie. Since I have such a limited space for my rabbitry, this also leaves more space for, guess what - more bunnies!
Of course when it comes to giving birth and being a good mother, that's where does have the title of BEST.
My name is Holly.
I'm glad you're here! Don't be a ghost; leave a comment every once and a while! Let's talk ;)