Tag Archive | angora rabbits

Fawns Achieve Maximum Cuteness

The baby angora rabbits are four weeks old today and they have achieved maximum cuteness.  All six are healthy and rambunctious.  Last night they came out of the pen and ran all over the barn for the first time.  Bunny paradise!  These friendly fawns enjoy cuddling.  It’s my onerous task to snuggle the little ones, accustoming them to being handled.  Sometimes raising rabbits is a tough job!

There are three white albinos with red eyes, and one each of chocolate, sable and color point.  I have not checked them yet for sex, but am hoping at least a couple of the colored ones are female so I can keep them.  I might even keep a white one since I’m down to just one adult rabbit with the loss of my buck.  He sure gave me some pretty babies.

The color point is such a lovely shade. It’s creamy with brownish-gray point. Even the little tail and feet are pointed, so adorable. The chocolate and sable are beautiful, deep shades.  And who can resist a red-eyed white fawn that loves to sit in your hand?

The babies eat like little piggies, taking in the nutrition they need for rapid growth.  Fresh dandelions, clover, wild carrot and grass are a daily treat they rush over to nibble.  Mama Moonstone is doing an excellent job raising her babies.  A really great mother bunny.

Since I have so few rabbits, it will be hard to let any of them go.  At least there is another month to enjoy their antics.  The ones going to new homes will be ready to leave at eight weeks of age.  I hope to also locate a young, unrelated buck for my rabbitry so there will be baby bunnies next year.

 

Advertisements

Little Bunnies One Month Old

Moonstone’s three babies are achieving maximum cuteness at one month of age.  The angora rabbit fawns are little bundles of fluff that fit neatly in your hand.  Two are white albinos with red eyes and one is a chocolate point with blue eyes.  I believe the chocolate point and one white are female and there is one boy.  They are still so young that I can be fooled when sexing babies.  I’ll check again in a month.  At that age their sex will be fairly obvious.

By copying what mother does, the little ones have learned to eat pelleted feed, drink from a waterer and bowl and nibble grass, hay, fruit wood twigs and apples.  Young rabbits have big appetites.  We go through a lot of pellets when there is a litter of rabbits to raise.  Happily, there are only three this time so the feed bill won’t be as big as when there are six or eight to grow.  

I talk to the babies and handle them frequently so they will be gentle and accustomed to humans.  As they enter four to five weeks of age, the fawns develop a natural curiosity and are moving away from the protection of their mom.  This is a great time to socialize them with humans. 

Mom still nurses her fawns and allows them milk once per day.  Whenever anyone tries to get a little extra drink, she hops smartly away.  At two months she will wean them and the little ones will be ready to go to new homes.  If the chocolate point turns out to be a doe, I may keep her for my rabbitry.  She is adorable!

Little Bunnies First Day Out

dsc09318

We’ve had some gorgeous, warm, sunny days lately and now that the little angora rabbits are a month old, a few days ago it was time for them to get to know the great outdoors.  The fawns and their mother came out to the large outside rabbit run.  The area is approximately 8 ft by 16 ft, plenty of space for little bunnies to race around.a4

The babies kicked up their heels, tasted fresh grass, clover, dandelion and plantain from the lawn and stretched out in the shade to enjoy the balmy air and gentle breeze.  Mama rabbit is very happy for the break from close quarters with her infants.  There are three fawns:  two female albinos and one male color point.  The color point can be told by the smudge of brown on his nose.  As he grows, his ears, feet and maybe even tail will turn a soft brown shade.  His coat will be cream and his eyes are blue.a3
He is an adorable baby and I plan to keep him. To enlarge my herd I also will keep one of his little sisters. My rabbit population dropped to just two before these were born. Rabbits do not live terribly long, seven years on average. I had several about the same age who passed away this last winter and spring. Now, thanks to rabbits doing what they do best, I have new members of the rabbitry to produce fiber.a5

a1a2
After a good romp and feed, mom and babies settle down to doze away the warm afternoon.a6

Babies!

a3.jpg

They finally did it!  Mom and Dad angora rabbit are pleased to announce the birth of their three babies on 9/15/16.  After several mis-starts and fails, these three are healthy and doing well.  Mama bunny has provided them with a thick bed of the finest fiber in the world to keep them warm and comfy.

a2

Proud daddy Marble

a1

Relieved mom Jade

Born hairless and with their ears and eyes sealed, by the time they can see and hear, the babies will be nearly two weeks old.  They are already able to pop themselves around with powerful hind legs.  If their naps are disturbed, the nest bounces and funny little grunting sounds ensue as the babies involuntarily kick their hind legs and call for their mother.

Mom will feed and clean them once per day.  Rabbit milk is so nutritious that only one feeding is required.  The babies grow quickly.  One little rabbit is larger than the other two.  It gave the mother some trouble coming out.  Such a small litter can lead to the oldest fetus growing too large to easily pass.  When this happens, the entire litter can be lost, even the mother is at risk.

Not sure why this doe has such a hard time carrying babies.  She is only four years old, prime reproduction age.  When I got her she was pregnant and kindled ten healthy fawns.  Since then getting pregnant and carrying to term has proved difficult for her.  I am so grateful to have gotten these three and am hoping for a pretty little colored female to add to the herd.

Nest Building

a1Mama bunny Jade has a secret!  She is building a nest for a surprise.  She thinks babies are on the way. This rabbit can have false pregnancies, so I won’t get my hopes up.  She is due to kindle somewhere between April 8-9.

Nest building is a good indication she is pregnant.  Also, her belly feels very full, and her appetite has changed, all positive signs.  Rabbits have a strong nest building instinct.  To satisfy her needs, I give her some hay each day.a2Jade carefully gathers the hay in her mouth, strand by strand.  Then, she hops to her chosen spot and goes to work.  She drops the hay and using her front feet and head, pushes and pats to make a mound. When she is happy with the hay arrangement, she pulls hair from her belly to line the nest.  The super warm and soft fiber keeps hairless babies nice and snug.  Removing the belly hair frees her teats for nursing.a3Mama is intent on having a large, luxurious bed for her little ones.  She has built the nest in the same corner she used last year for a successful litter.  My fingers are crossed that all goes well!

4/11/16  Update:  sad news, on 4/8 she gave birth to 10 full term stillborn babies.  Wish I knew what was up with this rabbit.  She’s had 2 normal litters and two stillborn now.  We will try again in a month.

Determining The Sex of Baby Rabbits

e1

The baby angora rabbits are nearly old enough to go to their new homes.  They will be weaned in one week and can then leave their mother.  Rabbit breeders must be able to tell the sex of the babies they produce.  Over the years I have shown several people how to sex a baby rabbit.

Telling the gender of a young rabbit can be difficult.  I do not bother trying until they are at least a month old.  Even then I can be fooled into thinking males are females.  By the time they are two months old (at weaning) it is much easier to determine the sex.

The following photos and diagram are provided to help illustrate the differences in anatomy between the sexes of the baby rabbits in the above photo.  I have distinguished three females and two males in this litter.  It is nice to have more females, there is a greater demand for girls than boys.  It only takes one buck to service several females.  It is very important to prospective customers that they receive the proper gender rabbit.  It is also important to separate the sexes when the babies are eight weeks old to prevent any unwanted, very premature, pregnancies.

To determine the sex of a baby rabbit, first hold the bunny on its back, supporting it with one arm and using the hand of that arm to gently push the tail down and away from the genital area.  With the thumb of the other hand very gently press down at the front of the genitals and pull away from the tail area. This will open up the genitals and expose the shape. A little girl has a line, a straight opening, that starts near the anal area and runs up to the end of the genitals.  A boy has a little cone that is expressed and presses upward from the genitals.  The following rough diagram I made demonstrates the differences.e4

e6

female 7 week old rabbit

e7

female 7 week old rabbit

Here are photos of the genitals of baby female and male bunnies from the litter.  Note the position of the thumb that gently depresses and extends the area to expose the anatomy.  The babies are not at all perturbed by this procedure.  Bunnies enjoy being held resting on their backs and stroking their bellies puts them to sleep.

I hope this has been helpful for anyone who finds sexing baby rabbits to be confusing.

e3

male 7 week old rabbit

e5

male 7 week old rabbit

New Rabbit Quarters

bun4

Gem and Citrine at the new place

 

The angora rabbits have moved to their housing in the new temporary barn.  There was only room for five of the six cages so old grandfather bunny, Jasper, stays in the other barn with the chickens.  There is now plenty of space for him and he is out of the part of the barn in danger of collapse.  I can hardly believe Jasper still lives. He is an ancient rabbit, eight and one-half years old, getting thin and with a small tumor.  The past two winters I thought would be his last, yet he goes on and on and even thrives.

bun1bun3The rabbitry in the temporary barn consists of four does and my young buck, Marble.  They live in fairly large cages, requiring lots of room.  I wish the rabbits could all live in a large community as some rabbit growers keep their animals.

Mostly, community keeping is done with meat rabbits where production of young is encouraged and rabbit lives in general are short.  This arrangement does not seem practical for the high maintenance angora.  The coats would be too easily tangled and soiled by contact with other rabbits and the bedding.  Adult rabbits tend to fight, rearing up to scratch at each others’ faces.  Some nasty injuries can occur.  The buck could not live with the does unless I wanted endless litters of fawns.  Even the does together could be trouble since females often try to mount one another and the act of mounting causes them to ovulate (rabbits are induced ovulators.)  Ovulation without impregnantion can lead to pyrometra, a death sentence for a doe.  So, sadly, my bunnies must spend most of the day in a cage.  I try to get them out for a few hours in separate runs on the ground for exercise and a change of scene.

bun2

Marble, the herd buck

To keep angora rabbits clean, they are best housed in wire cages.  I give mine a piece of untreated pine board to rest on and also for chewing.  The boards quickly become soiled.  I keep a bunch of boards on hand and rotate out the dirty ones for cleaning.  Rabbits like to use one spot for their toilet and if the waste builds at all they sit on top of it and mess their fiber.  So the cages must be cleaned to prevent manure accumulation.  The long fibers that are shed tend to collect on the wire floor, preventing waste from falling through. Cage cleaning is a frequent chore to keep the rabbit’s underside mess free.

Cages are suspended at a comfortable height for the care person.  In the winter I use grain bags to close the sides of the cages when it is cold.  In very cold temperatures, the rabbits are given hay to sleep on.  To protect the walls beneath the cages from urine spray, I use old pieces of plywood.  Rabbits produce thick whitish urine rich in minerals, particularly calcium.  This urine quickly stains a wall white and is difficult to remove.  I keep the cages over a dirt floor, periodically removing the waste piles and sprinkling the floor with lime or stall freshener to keep odors down.  Rabbits require good ventilation without drafts, hence the open ends at the ceiling.  For a grooming table, I set up a temporary spot using a transport cage and a piece of plywood. Angora rabbit coats need frequent brushing and spraying with compressed air for clean, matt-free maintenance.

The bunnies seem happy in their new spot, no complaints voiced, anyway.  They are active, eating well.  The new area is warmer than their last two homes, better protected from direct outside blasts of winter.  They appear content and I guess that’s the best I can hope to achieve.