April 9, 2012

More rabbits coming

We have four does and three bucks: Matilda, Cuddles, Rosebud, Big Bertha, Happy Jack, Davidson and Cinnamon Bun.

Reaching up to eat from the big feeder
Big Bertha was bred to Happy Jack. She had a littler of nine. One was stillborn, one died the next day and one died at two weeks.  The remaining six bunnies are thriving.  They are eating grass, eating their rabbit pellets and most of them have figured out how to use the waterer.  Next week, they'll be weaned and will be on their own for food and nutrition.  They are incredibly entertaining to watch when they're playing and bouncing around.  The cuteness factor is off the charts.  As adorable and cuddly and cute as they are, it never leaves my mind that the care and nurturing we put into these bunnies will eventually result in butchering and selling them as food.  While in our care, I will give them the best life possible, treat them with kindness and dignity and make sure they are healthy.

Cuddles and Rosebud were both bred the same day to Davidson and Happy Jack respectively.  They are due to kindle on April 15.  Rosebud is in a pasture pen and is doing well. Greg will build Cuddles' pasture pen this week so we can get her on grass before she is ready to start building her nest.

Matilda building her nest
Matilda was bred to Happy Jack and is due to kindle on April 18.  Normally a pregnant doe will build a nest for her babies right before she gives birth. Sometimes she'll start building it a day or two before giving birth.  Matilda built a nest two nights ago.  That was a shocker!  I put the nesting box in her hutch but she rejected it and used it as a litter box.  I removed the nesting box this morning and she's hard at work rebuilding her nest.  She pulls grass up and carries it into the hutch, then arranges it.  I have her a huge pile of hay so now she's moving that into the hutch.  Her kits would be very premature if they were born now and they most definitely would not survive.  I'm hoping that her nesting instinct is kicking in early and that she'll hold labor off until closer to her due date.

We are livestock farmers.  We are raising animals for food.  That is the reality of life on this farm. While they are with us, we are responsible for the well being of all the animals on this farm.  We are responsible for giving them access to the best pastures possible, the best feed possible, clean fresh water, a safe living environment and the best care we can provide.  And if I can get some bunny cuddles out of the process, all the better.  I'm going to soak up every minute of every experience this farm provides. Not many people will look back on their life and say they experienced caring for newborn rabbit kits or saved the life of a kit by warming it against ones own body or shed a tear over a dead bunny.

I'm proud to say that I have. 

Butchering day will be hard. All I can do is my best to care for the animals and do my best to process them.

1 comment:

  1. Such adorable bunnies! And I love that a doe "kindles." I can imagine butchering day will be even harder than for us and our chickens. Although the pigs were really hard (even though we didn't do it). Here's a link to something I wrote about that in response to negative comments we've gotten from people: