Sadly our much loved doe New Zealand White bunny, Flo, passed away last night. We noticed on Monday morning that she didn’t seem herself, having not eaten and just generally being quite quiet. Normally everytime we went into her area to fill up her food and water she’d lollop over and take a little biscuit to munch on and/or push our hands or the food box to encourage us to fill her bowl up. Instead she allowed us to pick her up and was generally quite floppy and lethargic. Her nose was running a little and she wasn’t keeping herself as clean as usual. We decided to monitor her and later in the day she chirped up a bit, drinking plenty of water, sunbathing and eating some willow and kale we gave her. However, by Tuesday morning she wasn’t much better so we decided to book her into the vet, with a view to having her put to sleep. Flo is (was) 4 1/2 years old and has had several (7 or 8) litters of baby bunnies. By the time an unneutered doe is 5, the chance of her having ovarian cancer is 50% and inevitably, breeding takes its toll on animals. Rabbits are very stoic animals and tend to hide symptoms of illness until it’s too late. There is actually very little vets can do to help rabbits with more than a few ear mites or a bit of a tummy upset. Flo has lived all but her first 3 months on our plot and we weren’t keen to have her go through the trauma of being taken to the vet, being pulled about and having her life prolonged to make us feel better. However, we did book her in for this morning in case she didn’t seem to be improving. However, during the day yesterday she took a real turn for the worst. We set her up in her hutch with plenty of straw and nature took its course last night. We think she had a pretty good life overall, plenty of natural bunny type activities, lots of room to run around in, raising kits, more grass and natural stuff than she could possibly eat, chance to dig whenever she wanted and Mack to keep her company. And when the time came, it didn’t take long.
We’ve been mulling over what to do with Mack now. As an unneutered buck, he won’t be good company for many (any) other animals, and we want to avoid getting into a situation where we’ve forever got bunnies. We need to simplify our stock. So we’ll just keep him as a pet for now and monitor his mood. Like Flo, he does have a pretty good deal so we hope with a little more attention from us, he’ll cope without seeing her through the fence every day. That’s the problem with having animals, you often end up with just one. It’s sad, but part of the deal.
RIP Flo, we’ll miss you x
We were getting a bit concerned about the state that the growing bunnies were getting themselves into through the week. Four in a run just seemed a bit too many. So we set up Rabbit-opolis. This is a double wall of electric fence. Containing a large arc (DAVE), and a food and water station. It seems to be going well. The rabbits haven’t escaped yet and are loving the xtra space. They have a week and half to go before D day, so I am pleased that they will be enjoying it.
8 babies for Flo on Thursday morning, all look fine, couple of little ones but they’ll probably catch up. She seems good, no problems, she’s an old hand now!
We let our breeding bunny pair out together this morning as we’ve decided given the lack of poultry success thus year we have enough capacity for another set of bunnies. Flo seems to get bored when she doesn’t have babies to look after and digs enormous holes instead. They had a lovely time for half an hour or so and were frankly exhausted after that and we’re quite happy to be put back for a kip afterwards…
I had a great day on the plot today. It felt like the first day of spring, which in some ways sucks, as it is half way through May. The good news is that, with all this rain, the hose pipe ban will not be effecting the midlands. Hoorah!.
We turfed Vita off of the goose eggs today, as they were unsuccessful, long over due and starting to smell. I gave her a shower with the hose, which she really enjoyed. Sadly no goslings as yet. Becs and I have begun to think about investing in a large, kick arse, incubator to hatch a few goose eggs, and maybe even some Muscovy eggs. After chatting this through with her Dad, we became the proud recipients of a ‘Johnson Speculative Christmas Grant’. Which basically means, Becky’s dad has said he will pay for the incubator if we provide their Christmas dinner. 🙂 So tonight I am incubator shopping, we may even be able to pay him back in sixth months if we get enough geese to ‘give away’ around Christmas.
I spent all day mowing and strimming, for a change ( as Becs was out and about and therefore unavailable to be bossy about the power tools ;).
Oh…I nearly forgot, Flow (bunny) has had 6 huge babies, and is doing a great job at raising them. Our rabbits are brilliant, and never fail to deliver….well done Mack and Flow.
Today we let Mac and Flo out for half an hour of romance. We let them both out in the chicken area which was a mistake as the chickens didn’t seem to respect the sanctity of the consecration and kept rushing up to the coupled pair and pecking them on the head. Mac didn’t seem to mind, or notice, such was his joy at the unexpected meeting.
Flo looked a but fed up with him after half an hour do we moved him back into his own arc.
Four weeks till baby bunny time again,
So far we have been pretty restrained in terms of breeding. Virginia is currently sitting on 4 goose eggs, due to hatch in another two weeks. I’m really excited about this, even 3 goslings would be a result. Due to Vg sitting, and our Indian runner drake mating with Vita, our Muscovy girl, we haven’t brooded any Muscovy ducks yet, but we are hoping to do this later in the season.
We have given a few pure bred Muscovy eggs to my friend down the road to put under her broody duck, so later in the season at the right tome, we will get a few back, to make our clutch even bigger. Muscovys can sit on clutches of up 20 eggs, so we should still have plenty of ducks for the winter.
Having mixed parentage in one clutch is good, as you can sell them as a breeding pair. Bs drake is black so we should be able to tell the two lines apart.
Tomorrow we will put our love bird rabbits together. This is the hightlight of Macks year. He obviously enjoys the procreation, but he seems to just love being in with Flo. They lay around together for a week looking very happy and relaxed until Flo gets fed up with him. I wish we could leave them in together for longer but obviously rabbits breed like …er.. Rabbits if you give them half a chance.