Memphis Backyard Farmer


Bunny Birthday?
February 16, 2012, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Livestock, Rabbits | Tags: , , , ,

Ruby's NestI’ve been trying to broaden my backyard livestock from simply bees to rabbits (and hopefully, soon, chickens). Someone gave me a dutch buck over a year ago, which I was glad to receive just for the poop (great fertilizer). But I decided to pick up a New Zealand doe and see if I could breed some meat rabbits. You’ve heard the jokes about breeding like rabbits. How hard could it be?

Harder than you think, actually.

After three breeding sessions over three months, I think we finally got “Ruby” mated. I think the difficulty had to do with her being a rodent of unusually large size, and Bugsy (our buck) being much smaller. Basically, it took an incredible feat of strength and balance for Bugsy to…do what he needed to do.

Based on her breeding date, Ruby should have been due on Valentine’s day (awww, isn’t that sweet?). On the 13th, Ruby started the day with some really weird behavior. She was gathering large mouthfuls of hay and moving it frantically around the cage. I shot off a note to my new friend Meg the Brooklyn Homesteader (http://brooklynhomesteader.com or http://twitter.com/#!/BKHomesteader) who has been coaching me through my breeding issues. She sent me a video of what pre-kindling nesting should look like (check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eRo84D-rpY). That was exactly what I was seeing.

It was really cold and raining here. I didn’t want the newborns to be in the outside cage, so I snapped up Ruby and brought her inside. Then I watched. And watched. And watched. Nothing.

Occasionally Ruby would go into a fit of this nesting behavior again, but then, again, nothing. Here it is, February 16th, and I still don’t have kits (baby bunnies).

However…as of this morning, she’s taken the nesting up a notch. She’s yanking huge balls of fur from her underside to line the nest with. It’s incredible. You wouldn’t believe anyone could get that much hair in one mouthful. The pic above should give you an idea of just how much hair she’s yanked off her belly.

So we’re anxiously awaiting the birth of our first batch of kits. Stay tuned.

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