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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Breeding Rabbits

You know, before all that happened with me being sick and all the other problems I said we would be talking about breeding rabbits.  So, I'll do a lttle of that here today and elaborate the next time I write.

I raise New Zealands and Californians, and I have one lonely old Flemish Giant buck, fondly named Mr. Brown.  Mr. Brown travels to the local nursing homes where lots of oohs and ahhs are his and, "Oh my, how soft!"  And "Oh look how big his feet are!!"  LOL.  You know there is nothing so pleasing as to watch the smiles on those folks' face when you take some critter in to let them pet them.  My husband has Bible studies in all 4 of the nursing homes in our county and when babies are born on the farm, he's sure to tell them to look for a surprise next week!  Those that are alert enough, will keep him at his word and they turn out just to see the surprise!  We have taken baby chickens, ducks, goats, and rabbits in to see the folks and they love all of them.

Anyway, back to the rabbits.  New Zealands and Californians are considered meat rabbits because they have the best meat to bone ratio, meaning that there is a larger amount of meat than bone as opposed to the Flemish Giant.  They have a much larger bone structure, and are called Mandolin shaped.

Breeding rabbits can be quite rewarding, but challenging.  When you want to breed a doe (female rabbit), you must take her to the buck's (male rabbit) cage.  To do the opposite could result in castration of your buck, and the end of your breeding program.  Now I have met folks who swear they do it the other way, but after having been successful at raising rabbits for 17 years, I'm not about to change this just to "see" if they are right.

This is where the conversation gets a little risque.  When a buck has done his job, he will sort of curl up and fall off.  This pretty well assures you have baby rabbits on the way.  I allow this to happen a minimum of 4 times, and yes, I do watch.  I hate to wait 30 days and then find out I have wasted that time because nothing happened when I thought it might have.  If you watch, you know.  I watch at least the first mating.  If I have several rabbits to breed, I only watch the first mating and then move on.  Within 30 days or so you will have a wonderful litter of babies.  When first born, rabbit babies are hairless, or rather they have hair, but it is so fine, they look pink, like baby mice.  In fact, reptile owners, look for "pinkies" (which are baby rabbits who have died) to feed their snakes.  Some folks will keep the pinkies in a plastic bag in the freezer and sell them.  So there is a market even for those.  I don't do it, simply because I don't have them often enough.

Well, I have to run, almost time for church, so I have to go get ready.  As always, more to come tomorrow!

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