- Not all rabbits are cuddly. When I was younger, and I thought about rabbits, I thought about sweet little bunnies that always wanted to be pet and snuggled. What kid doesn't think that way?! But the majority of rabbits, especially Holland Lops, will not appreciate being hel. Rabbits prefer to have all four feet on the ground, since they are a prey animal and avoid trouble by running away from it.
- Rabbits are not a "cheap" alternative to a dog or cat. Often, their cage and start up supplies will be just as expensive as a dog or cat's.
- Rabbits are not nocturnal. They are crepuscular. This means that they are most active during the early morning hours and late into the night. They take several naps throughout the day.
- Not all vets treat rabbits. Rabbits are considered "exotic", and need to be seen by exotic animal vets.
- Uterine cancer is not as likely as vets will make it seem. Not all rabbits NEED to be neutered or spayed. Of course, it's always recommended, by me, other breeders, and vets around the world, but if you don't do it your rabbit may be hormonal, unhappy, and mean towards you and everything else, but he/she won't immediately be sentenced to death by cancer.
- Rabbits are amazingly hardy little animals. They are delicate, compared to a dog or cat or horse, but if they ingest a bit of plastic or foam it won't be the end of the world. It always depends on the rabbit, however. Some rabbits will die immediately following eating a bite of a poisonous leaf, some rabbits will fight off the effects of the toxin.
- Rabbits purr by grinding their teeth. They only do this when they're very happy and content.
- Rabbits eat their droppings. They must ingest their food twice like cows. Instead of chewing their cud, they eat their droppings.
- Rabbits NEED SUPERVISION when playing outside, in your bedroom, etc. They love to eat and chew and get into trouble.
- Each rabbit is different. Rabbits cannot be put into a "mold", of every rabbit will do this or that. There are things you should expect. But some rabbits are just filled with the unexpected.
There are some things people just don't tell you before selling or giving you a rabbit. All of these things I didn't know when I was going into it, but I wish I had. I'm sure it wouldn't have affected my decision of getting into rabbits or not, but it sure would've changed my perspective and made things a lot easier!
Please skip to the pictures if you have a weak stomach or can't handle the mention of dead baby bunnies or the birthing process.
At 3:00 on Monday, October 27, Holly's Cinnamon went into labor. I thought her labor would be quick and easy, like her last one. However, she was in the box for a long time. Over half an hour. When she hopped out, she had one stretched, big baby at the front of the box. Luckily two were healthy and alive, warm and snuggling together in the back of the box. It was the color I was really hoping for in this litter - a solid blue tort.
The next morning, Tuesday, when I went out to feed the rabbits at around 9:00, I noticed a fourth baby with the placenta still attached on the wire. It was long and big like the third one. She must have had a difficult night. I took her out of the cage to check on her and make sure she didn't have anymore babies. She was clean and I didn't feel anything in her tummy. While she was out of the cage I also took out the dead baby.
The babies are two days old today. Of the four, two babies are alive and well. They are healthy, toasty warm, and CHUBBY! Oh my goodness, these are the FATTEST babies we've had so far! And they are going to be spoiled. So spoiled. We're used to handling 5-6 kits; with only 2, they're going to get constant attention!
On to the pictures, taken today. These two are so gentle, sweet and cute! Tomorrow I'll take a nice warm photo shoot with some props to make them extra cute :)
Tomorrow is Cinnamon's due date! I have the feeling she'll give birth either tonight or early tomorrow morning, most likely before noon. Most likely when I'm at my orthodontist appointment tomorrow morning!
I doubt I'll get much sleep tonight. I always get too excited and can't sleep. I am SO EXCITED for this litter! I won't be able to keep any babies, but my brother will be keeping a buck. We'll be keeping most, if not all, of the bucks for several months to make sure he gets the best one.
Everything is better with babies. After my homeschool work I love going out to spend hours with the babies. They are so relaxing and therapeutic. My stress just immediately melts away. I think that the world would be so much better if everyone had baby bunnies. LOL.... ;)
Holly's Cinnamon is 23 days pregnant today! This morning she started pulling fur and nesting, so I gave her the nest box and she made a cute little nest. She'll be adding to it over the next few days and right before delivery.
I clipped her nails earlier today to get her ready for babies. I always make sure my does have short, trim nails before delivering. When they're stressed and in labor, they can be running around crazily and pull out a nail. The last thing they need while in labor is pain from their foot and more blood. Also, when a doe jumps into the box to nurse or deliver, sometimes she'll step on the babies and sharp nails can cut the kits.
While clipping, I felt her tummy for babies. I felt several little kicks! The kicks are very easy to feel after these couple litters I've had. At this point, if there were no kicks, I would know she isn't pregnant. The kicks are similar to her heartbeat, but obviously that is much faster and rhythmic, and higher up on her chest instead of in her belly. I'd say there are at least 3 babies because of how many kicks I noticed and where they were in her tummy. Since she had 6 last time I'm sure she'll have around the same amount this time, which is good because I may keep a buck or doe and I have a large list of people waiting for babies!
It's sometimes hard to explain the main reason why I raise rabbits, besides, of course, that I just love the little guys so much. Winning isn't the most important thing to me. Improvement is. Of course I'm excited over a nice win, a new leg, or ribbon to add to my wall, and yet, that's not my end goal in breeding rabbits. What do I mean by that?
Each rabbit has a Standard of Perfection. Within this Standard, are the "rules" for how each breed is supposed to look. On the show tables, the judge is judging based on how each rabbit of that breed attains to their Standard. The rabbit that has the most points, the rabbit that looks most like the one described in the Standard, gets the highest placing in the class. Mind you, there are no 100 point rabbits out there. Every breeder will tell you that. Some of them have come darn close, but as of yet, the "perfect rabbit" just doesn't exist. Yet we're all striving for it. Winning isn't as important as it may seem. Ribbons and legs are nothing if you aren't breeding purposefully to "better the breed", or to breed strictly to the Standard.
In reality, depending on the situation, it can be fairly easy to win a ribbon or leg. Even with a lot of rabbits in the class, depending on their overall type. If there are five rabbits in the class, but all of them have major faults, like a shoulder dip, weak ankles, low head mount, etc, yet one has a fault that isn't considered major, but still severe, then that rabbit will win, depending on the other traits. But that doesn't mean that it was actually a good quality, or that it deserved that winning. Because all the rabbits were lacking, one of them had to win, and that doesn't mean it's a "great" rabbit. It just means it was, in the judge's opinion, not as faulty as the others.
Two different judges can also have entirely different opinions of a rabbit. So you can get Best of Breed in the first show, and then 3/5 in the next show, even up against the exact same rabbits. It's all relative to the judge's interpretation of how the breed is described in the Standard. Not all judges raise the breed you do, and not all judges have studied that breed thoroughly enough.
How can you know if your rabbit, the one that placed BOB and then only 3/5, is good or not? And which judge can you fully believe?
Go to a trusted breeder. Get his or her opinion of your rabbit. Ask how they would place him in that same class. Talk to the judge. Ask how long they have been judging, how long they have raised rabbits, what breed they raise. If one judge raises my breed and the other doesn't, I'll know which judge is more likely to have placed my rabbit truer to its quality.
As breeders, we should strive to "better the breed". We should strive to produce that 100 point rabbit. Each of us has a unique outtake on life, and a unique perspective of the interpretation of the Standard. Not everyone will feel the same way about the same rabbit.
Keep in mind, that the MOST IMPORTANT thing, as breeders, is to ENJOY WHAT WE DO. Don't raise rabbits if you hate them. Don't go to shows if they drive you up the wall. Successful breeders and exhibitors are those that truly, truly enjoy what they do. Raising rabbits, breeding them and showing them, brings us joy. Maybe not all the time, like when we lose a baby or a homegrown junior decides to knock a tooth out, but in the long run, they make us happy.
I've been writing a Rabbit Care Guide for several months now, and it's finally almost complete. Tomorrow will be spent editing it on my computer, then Tuesday night we'll get it printed and bound hopefully. After that, it'll finally be ready for order!
This booklet is very extensive. Most of its contents can be found in this website, on my blogs. However, since my blogs are so hard to weed through, I've made the decision to make this booklet, with a full Table of Contents, to help you find what you're looking for much easier.
This booklet is 30 pages long (give or take a couple pages, the editing isn't complete quite yet), and I'm so excited about it. There are over 20 chapters, covering every subject from how to keep your rabbit healthy, to how to train your rabbit, and what rabbits need in their diet. Believe me, this booklet covers everything, except some health issues that you may want to talk to a vet about. But even simple health stuff like malocclusion and heat stroke (among others), are included.
Holly's Cinnamon is 13 days along in her pregnancy! Tomorrow I will be putting her with Lance again. If she growls at him like she did with her previous pregnancy, she's pregnant. If she's willing to mate again than she's not pregnant. She's pretty easy to figure out :) Usually I recommend not to do this, because some does can be willing to be bred even if they are pregnant, and some does will be unwilling to mate even if they aren't pregnant. But I know her so well, this method really works for me.
I'm really excited about this litter. I have a new *old* camera and I'm excited to use it with the little ones. I have a couple of cool ideas to use for photo shoots.
The next doe I'll be breeding is Hazelnut. I'll breed her either at the end of the month or the end of next, depending on how big Cinny's litter is. I'm not expecting Hazel to have very many, but with the strict 15 rabbit limit my parents put in place, if Cinnamon has 6 like last time, or more, I can't breed until the babies are around 4 weeks old - which will put the doe's due date exactly when the babies will be weaned. Once I get a shed, the limit will go up, probably to around 25.
Today is the first day I've started to unpack from last week's show. My next show is in 2 weeks, on October 25. It's in Port Orchard, so quite a bit away from Everett, but we're making the drive up there hopeful for another leg for Saige. Rabbit shows can also be a great source of family time, lol. One of my brothers thoroughly enjoys the shows. Once I get my shed next spring, I'll be buying a couple cages for him to use for a couple rabbits of his to show, and, eventually, breed. He's pretty excited about it. So am I. The WSHLRC is in need of new youth members. Most of the shows don't have enough entries to qualify the winner for a leg, which is the whole point of showing rabbits in the first place.
There are today's ramblings. I'll probably post an article about my upcoming booklet in my next blog. See you tomorrow! :)
October is the month that most blog writers try to write daily blogs, or at least blog more often than they usually do. I'm accepting the challenge to blog daily, about rabbits.
Of course, I've started late in the month, but who cares?!
Here's to (starting today), daily blogs in the month of October!!!!
:) :) :)
Yesterday's show was just amazing. I had so much fun and learned so much. Let's start at the beginning though.
My mom, little brother and I didn't leave until a quarter to 8 - the show starts at 8, and check-in is 8, but we wouldn't be there until a quarter after.
Luckily the show was late to starting. There were quite a few newbies in the youth division, which is awesome, because the youth shows are generally very small.
The classes go in this order: Solid senior buck, solid junior buck, solid senior doe, solid junior doe, broken senior buck, broken junior buck, broken senior doe, broken junior doe.
We waited around, watched the classes we didn't participate in, and talked with friends until the solid junior doe class, the first one we had for the day. It was Hazelnut's turn. There were three other rabbits in the class. However, when judge Kevin Rudolph (LOVE him as a judge by the way. He did great with the stressed bunnies and made them feel relaxed), was looking them over for DQs, Hazel's three competitors turned into two because one of them was a buck in the doe's class.
Out of the three rabbits in the class, Hazel took first place! Kevin knew she couldn't compete for Best of Breed (she would just get last), and she was being very jumpy and skittish, so he sent her back with me.
Saige and Rosie's class is the last one, broken junior doe. When the two of them went up, I was hoping Saige would get best in class, but I definitely was not expecting what really happened.
When one of the new breeders had a question about balance, Kevin took Saige from her coop and kept saying how balanced she was. Her width and length and depth are all equal, her head is half the size her body. Her big couple faults are her slipped crown and length of limb, but she has amazing bone.
Holly's Rosemary got third in her class. When he placed Saige as the top of her class, I was so excited! I thought he would give her back to me like with Hazel, because I was sure she couldn't compete with the senior bucks and does.
However, he carried her back to the winning coops. When he said Best Opposite of Breed was the buck I loved, I was sure one of the amazing does was going to be Best of Breed - yet he said, the "broken junior doe", meaning Saige! My girl! I was so ecstatic, I really almost cried. I couldn't believe it. It still seems surreal. Everyone clapped and congratulated me and I got a super nice rosette (big ribbon). I think it's safe to say this has been the best show ever!!!!
The next show (there were 2 youth shows that day), was almost the complete opposite. Hazel got last place out of the same three solid junior does. Saige got fifth place out of the same seven does, and Rosie got second place.
That judge didn't know Hollands very well, or the outcome probably would've been different. I'm excited for the show at the end of the month. I'll have two more chances to win again. This time with (hopefully), Holland judges.
I'm still in shock. What a day!
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 ;)