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Northern Lass

Rabbits: The Class of '15

We've had the first mating of 2015 here, chinchilla rex buck with ermine rex doe - so far it looks successful, fingers crossed we should have some little grey kits in March.

I'm planning my matings this year to try and establish three lines of rabbits in the collection: chinchilla rex, black rex and harlequin rex, and since I have some recessive REW genes in there I'm going to have a few REWs around as well.

I'm reducing my rabbitry somewhat as I want to concentrate on the Rexes this year - if anyone's looking to get started in bunnies in the UK, I've a proven breeding trio of New Zealand Whites looking for a new home! Last years' litters were all of 9 except for one of 11, only lost 1 kit (chilled when it fell out of the nest) and all have made it to the freezer inside 10 weeks. Two does, half-sisters, and unrelated buck, all just over a year old, so plenty of litters left in 'em yet!

Happy to deliver anywhere in Scotland.

Anyone else started breeding for the year yet?
bodger

Kaz and I kept rabbits for meat when we first got married.  She'd divorce me if I had any now but I'd love a look at the Rex rabbits in your project.
Rena

I'd def like to see how your Chinchilla and Harlequin rexes come on! (I am a bit far to reconsider bunnies... Would like to enjoy through you though! )
Northern Lass

I'll post up some pix of babies when I have them! In the meantime....there's some pix of the adults on this thread - http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/ftopic31126-15.php and this is my chinchilla buck, Silver; I traded a black rex kit for him last autumn. He doesn't really have red eyes, that's just the flash. He has brown eyes.




and this is the buck I'm keeping to be my foundation black sire, I bred him myself last summer and he's a beauty! (yes, I know I'm biassed. )



Excuse the state of the floor, I let them out for a run as I'm cleaning their cages each day and Jet happens to be at the end of the rota, so the floor had suffered from 23 previous rabbits playing before he got there!
bodger

He is indeed a beauty.
Rena

bodger wrote:
He is indeed a beauty.


Agreed!!! Very nice indeed!! Your Silver fella, is he really light on the front of his body or is that just the angle of the camera? He is pretty nice looking too. Thank you for the pics.... I miss our Mini Lops, New Zealands and Californians. It's nice to see a rabbit breeding program in action again. <3
Northern Lass

It's just the camera angle - he's a bit of a livewire, I have trouble getting him to sit still and this pic caught him in mid-scrabble. He's also a tad smaller than my other rexes but there's a serious shortage of Standard Rex breeders here in Scotland,and I'd have to go about 400 miles to find another Chinchilla Rex  so I'm hoping his offspring inherit size from their mother.

Fingers crossed!  
welshboy

This brings back some memories. When i was a child I had some rabbits given me and made some hutches for them. Well rabbits being rabbits I soon had almost 40. By now collecting dandelions dock leaves and grass to feed them had become quite a chore and I discovered that they would eat chicken pellets and grow faster it seemed. One evening I came home from school to find them all let loose in a 10 acre field halfway down our lane. My dad had discovered my feeding secret and was not amused so he had turned them out ! I got some earache that night off my dad.
Northern Lass

Finally! I have baby bunnies!  

My ermine doe mated in February decided to give it a miss so was re-mated in March; this time she's produced 6 (to my harlequin buck, I think, since she seems to have 3 white, 3 black - which is what they normally produce together ). On the same night, my black buck Jet became the totally oblivious father of at least 8 half-NZW kits (she won't let me ferret about in her nest long enough to count accurately yet!) They'll be perfectly edible and at least I know he's fertile.

My younger ermine doe and young black doe are both looking quite stout and practicing building nests, so hopefully there'll be another couple of litters along shortly.
Rena

Yay!!!!
Northern Lass

Went out this morning and the black doe had covered her entire floor with black fluff, then scattered kits randomly all over the place.  

One was in the nest - more by luck than judgement, possibly! - the other four were ice-cold and seemed dead, so I took them inside and warmed them up. Three revived, one stayed dead, so there's now four nice warm ones in the nest and I have my fingers crossed she figures out how to feed them. At the moment she's hiding in her litter tray at the far end of the cage, looking confused.

I might just get away with fostering them into the slightly-older litters..... if I have to.

The one that died was black and went to the ferrets (waste not and all that), the survivors were a black, a pink (albino, both parents carry an albino gene) and a patchy one, which should (I think) be a magpie. I don't know what the one I left in the nest was - most likely black, if the rabbits have read the statistics.

I was quite surprised by my whippets - after I'd warmed the kits up under the grill and put the three live ones back outside, I offered them the dead kit, thinking they'd probably scoff it in no time - but instead, they sniffed it carefully, then started licking it. Newborn rabbit must smell like newborn puppy, I guess!
kaz

What a shame - I hope that the doe has got the hang of motherhood now.
Northern Lass

I've just been out for the evening rounds of the buns and the kits are warm, in the nest and look fairly round in the tum, so I think she may have fed them. She's bouncing round the shed looking exceptionally pleased with herself and prancing!  

I'll see how they are in the morning. As long as they're warm they're okay.
polaris

Northern Lass wrote:
I've just been out for the evening rounds of the buns and the kits are warm, in the nest and look fairly round in the tum, so I think she may have fed them. She's bouncing round the shed looking exceptionally pleased with herself and prancing!  

I'll see how they are in the morning. As long as they're warm they're okay.


You're right about that, my black Rex Midnight is a big wuss. He gets as much and more attention than the others but still a big scaredy!
He's getting put to my REW Rex, but if you get a Magpie or Chinchilla Doe I'll have one off you in five minutes to make a trio.

My REW Rex girl Ghost has just had her first litter, 6, but one was teeny tiny and didn't survive and the other she dumped in the midden heap overnight for some reason. The other four however are growing twice as fast as the NZW's and as cuddly as can be!

My Jack Russell bitch too, will not take kits, just licks them. But she's holding a grudge at Ghost who bit her something rotten the other day while she was out grazing... So I'm not convinced rabbit is off the menu for her just yet!!
Northern Lass

Ebony's definitely got the hang of it now, the kits are starting to grow away nicely, although not before she managed to let the potential magpie die..... Trudy's bunch are doing well, and Jezebel - although she managed to drop two kits on the floor to freeze the other night - has good strong kits in the nest. I'm really surprised - at least one has turned out black otter, and how a REW NZW crossed with a self-black turns out an otter....!

It's got to be Jezebel who's carrying a tan-pattern gene from goodness knows how far back, since it can't be Jet with his double-recessive self-black genes....

Ivory's had hers this morning, looks like she has a couple of patchy ones in there so, fingers' crossed, she might manage to raise a harlie or two! At least she built a decent nest and put all the kits in it, unlike her sister!

Nice to hear Ghost and Midnight are doing well! I sent two does from that litter up to Orkney and they had kits this year, too - gives me a nice warm feeling to hear they all turned out ok!

I'll keep you in mind when I succeed in breeding chins and magpies!
Northern Lass

Quick update - Trudy's 6 are all starting on solids nicely, Ebony's 5 (3 REW, 2 self-black) are exploring the cage nicely and Ivory's 7 (3 REW, 2 self-black, 2 harlies) are starting to totter around normally. I must remember to take the camera to the shed with me!

Jezebel has 7 survivors, 4 REW and 4 agouti (not otter - she was fooling me!) and they're all starting to eat like gannets too, but Jezebel herself has developed mastitis and although she's holding her own on baytril and loxicam daily with hot compresses on the affected milk gland three times daily, she's not showing signs of recovering. She's eating greens, fresh-baked bread and carrot peel but not hay or her kibble - unless she gets back to eating properly, she's not going to put weight back on again but I'll wean the kits at the beginning of next week and see if that takes enough pressure off her to get the weight back on and start healing up.

I won't be breeding from her again, obviously, in case it happens again - rabbits are so difficult to get over infections; they form abscesses for fun and then the abscesses won't drain properly because rabbits have such sticky, thick pus.... but she's not in pain and I'll give her the chance before I cull her.
Rena

Maybe you could try some vitamin A? (skin, mucous membrane and mammary gland help) Also apple cider vinegar in her water (excellent all encompassing body support) and a udder rub of liniment with loads of peppermint essential oil added, (draws circulation in, in spite of any inflammation). If you rub it on in the morning, it should be faded enough not to bother the babies while they nurse at night. Not sure if it would be available, b vitamin complex is amazing at helping the animal feel well enough to eat and drink.

We found our bunnies had a vitamin A deficiency which opened them up to infections, abscesses, infant giantism, heavy bleeding at birth, just to name a few things.

Hope something of this might help your Jezebel.
Northern Lass

Thanks for the advice, Rena - she's looking bright and chirpy this morning  and came out to poke around the shed, nosy as usual, while I was cleaning out so fingers crossed! I was thinking I'd add some lavender oil to the treatment - it's a great antiseptic and should penetrate the skin to get into the infection, but I have peppermint too and they usually mix fine. We've plenty of almond oil to use as a carrier but I might pick up some hazelnut or grapeseed oil, I think they're better at being absorbed. The feed I use has vits A and B added, though I was thinking B when I started feeding her fresh home-baked bread!

She won't want to talk to me if I start making her stink as well as getting her soggy and shoving things down her throat!  
Rena

Northern Lass wrote:
She won't want to talk to me if I start making her stink as well as getting her soggy and shoving things down her throat!  


I totally understand our bunnies were the same and yet they also seemed to know we were trying to help. Glad she is doing so much better today
Northern Lass

An update - the four litters are now all weaned and bouncing around the shed like rubber balls whenever I let them. I have 3 black and 3 REW from Trudy's litter, 4 REW and 3 agouti from Jezebel (now deceased - that infection just wouldn't play ball so I culled her), 3 REW, 2 black and 2 harlie from Ivory and 3 REW, 2 black from Ebony. Delilah, my other NZW doe, has just produced a shameful 6 kits (though big and lively) by my NZW buck. Trudy and Ebony are due again at the beginning of next month - Trudy's by Silver should be (fingers crossed!) chinchillas and Ebony's having another lot by Jet.

I've lost my harlie buck recently to a back injury so I'm keeping one of the harlie kits but I have 38 rabbits in the shed! If anyone wants rabbits, please don't hesitate get in touch!!
polaris

[quote="Northern Lass:333893"]An update - the four litters are now all weaned and bouncing around the shed like rubber balls whenever I let them. I have 3 black and 3 REW from Trudy's litter, 4 REW and 3 agouti from Jezebel (now deceased - that infection just wouldn't play ball so I culled her), 3 REW, 2 black and 2 harlie from Ivory and 3 REW, 2 black from Ebony. Delilah, my other NZW doe, has just produced a shameful 6 kits (though big and lively) by my NZW buck. Trudy and Ebony are due again at the beginning of next month - Trudy's by Silver should be (fingers crossed!) chinchillas and Ebony's having another lot by Jet.

I've lost my harlie buck recently to a back injury so I'm keeping one of the harlie kits but I have 38 rabbits in the shed! If anyone wants rabbits, please don't hesitate get in touch!! [/quote

If you get a Rex Harli or Chinchilla Buck I'll take one, now that Midnight has shown HER true colours.... She's got 7 large, happy Agouti kits at the moment, all coming strong, we lost one to a cold snap but it was the tiniest of the litter. Looking forward to seeing these grow up, they look just like baby wildies right now Pleased he turned out to be a she, the kits are crackers, and one more colour for me to hold back

I'm guessing Agouti is dominant to pretty much everything else? The father of these kits is still unknown.... XD I think it may have been the little wildie i had so much trouble with, as he may have been big enough to get in under the lip of the run, where she was too big to get out. Run now patched though, so more of that!!
Northern Lass

I think agouti pretty much does top out any other colours, though albino can top that by switching off the colour altogether.

No sign of any chinchillas here yet - I'm beginning to wonder if Silver's firing blanks!   Trudy's looking slim and trim and non-pregnant. Ebony's looking very stout and nesting so fingers crossed I may have another black/albino/harlie litter coming along soon. Fingers very much more crossed she figures out what to do this time and doesn't make another muck-up of it!



Delilah the NZW managed to lose a kit so now has 5 exceptionally huge, well-grown kits in her nest. I reckon she's feeding them for a litter of 10....
Northern Lass

Just an update on Ebony's litter, now they're up, out of the nest and driving her nuts. She did a brilliant job of parenting this time round!

She had 11, though one was a runt and dropped dead at 14 days old, for no apparent reason. She has 4 ermine, 4 harlies and 2 blacks left, all very healthy and good-sized.

I'm looking forward to getting her away from the kits in another couple of weeks, she can't eat enough to keep up with feeding them all and is looking very scraggy!
bodger

Is there a chance of a few pictures?

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