Diary of a New Rabbit Breeder
Wheat and Spunky Bunnies are located in East Texas,
where it's hot and beautiful. Lynn's children,
Haley and David, got the family started with
rabbits as 4-H projects, and now they both
want to breed rabbits.
Breed or not to Breed
What a week! Haley decided she wanted to
breed Jake and Chelsie, so we picked Chelsie up and put her in his
cage, thinking that would be the end of it. Jake knew what to do,
but Chelsie was not interested in the least. She kept her
back to the cage wall, and Jake had such a hard time. She's quite
a bit bigger than he is, which is what everyone has recommended to
me, but it made breeding her harder because she was so uncooperative.
Poor Jake tried about for about 20 minutes until he just gave up
and lay down. We took Chelsie out and placed her back in her own
cage - she looked really put out and Jake was just plain tired.
came in and wrote to my friends on the Rabbit
Luckily, I got lots of good advice. We put apple
cider vinegar in Chelsie's water, left lights on
for a while, and tried putting Jake in Chelsie's
cage. None of these things worked, though. But
one piece of advice that I put to good use was
to pick up Chelsie's back end and hold her. Poor
girl - I had her almost standing on her head. Her
toes were dangling on the cage wire and were a
really funny sight. But Jake did his job and then
snorted and rolled off, so I assume he was successful.
We repeated this process the next morning with
the same results, so we're hoping that Chelsie
is pregnant. Now we have begun a 30-day wait to
see if rabbits really multiply like rabbits!
Your Bunnies' Toenails!
We brought home three new rabbits from the last show! David won
two mini rex in a raffle, and I bought a little baby holland lop
for Haley. The two David won are very nice rabbits, with one exception.
Sparkle, the doe, has sore hocks, all because someone did not take
care of her toenails. I found out that when a rabbit's toenails
are too long, they lift off the cage bottom, causing the rabbit
to sit wrong on his or her back feet (hock). This actually causes
the cage wire to damage the hock. I've always tried to cut toenails
frequently, but acquiring Sparkle has made me wonder if I'm doing
it right. Luckily for me, Cooley's Critters website (http://home.talkcity.com/MemoryLn/cooleys-critters/)
has a very good explanation of how to cut toenails, complete with
I watched this rabbit
try to hop, and she looked like she was almost
paralyzed in the hindquarters. I immediately cut
her toenails as short as I felt comfortable, and
now a week later she hops fairly normally. I hate
that Sparkle was hurt, but I am so glad that I
realized the importance of keeping those nails
Oh, yes, Chelsie loved
the wet carrots! She actually started eating only
one day after we got back home--that's a vast improvement
Try Something New!
I've been worried about Chelsie because she travels so poorly.
She stops eating and drinking each time we take her to a show.
I've made her chamomile tea and put Acid-Pak 4-Way in her water--both
of which are supposed to help ease stress from travelling or showing.
In the latest paper from the Texas Rabbit Breeders Association,
I found a new idea that I will use this coming weekend when we
show in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Soak carrot strips in water for
a couple of days before the show, and then feed your rabbits the
water-soaked carrots. They not only eat something, they get some
water at the same time! I can't wait to try it. (I'll let you know
how it works.)
It's amazing how much I have to learn about rabbit care. I am so
thankful I've made some online friends on the Rabbit Web and have
been able to piece together a program that works for us. I think
the idea that surprised me the most is giving rabbits
tea! I am so glad Rochelle told me about that. I adapted her huge
recipe for our four little bunnies, and it turned out very easy
to do. I make a gallon of tea using one regular tea bag and give
it to our rabbits once a month instead of their plain water. Easy
as pie, and I prevent intestinal bacteria and reduce the ammonia
smell from urine at the same time!
It also occurred to
me that one of the most important things to know
is that when you bring home a new rabbit, be sure
to ask the breeder for a Ziplock bag of the pellets
that he or she has have been feeding the rabbit.
Because abrupt changes in a rabbit's diet are very
stressful on them, you can mix the old feed with
new feed for a while in order to make a more gradual
change. It's wonderful to learn something new each
Show in Paris
We've been to Paris! This past weekend, the
kids and I showed rabbits at the Red River
Valley Fair in Paris (Texas, that is). It always
interests me how wonderful "rabbit people" can be. There was a
friendly air of competition, of course, but, all in all, everyone
cheered for the winners and had a good time. Haley was especially
happy as her little junior buck was awarded Grand Champion Mini
Lop! At five months old, that means he will only be a junior for
only one more month. I also learned some very important things
for keeping rabbits cool at a show. Take your own fan and aim it
directly at the rabbits; keep a spray bottle of water to mist their
ears since the ears regulate body temperature; and, lastly, freeze
bottles of water to place in the carry cages. David's little Mini
Rex doe was really cute lying on top of her water bottle. Too bad
I also forgot to take my camera.