Aquitaine Chevre rabbits

Chevre

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So it seems I was overfeeding pellets big time. The doe seemed to enjoy it though! So I've cut a scoop out of a plastic bottle to the right size so that I know how many pellets to give.

I am worried about the buck not eating much nor drinking. He's only nibbled at his pellets and he does not want to eat the nice hay I've bought. I've occasionally been feeding him bits of grass and he had some carrot bits last night so I know that he can physically eat. I just hope I haven't turned him into a picky eater.

Would he starve himself if I stopped giving him grass and bits of carrot? I'd like him to eat hay but I don't want him going on hunger strike. Then again if I had to choose between eating hay and eating nice bits of carrot I think I'd agree with him. If I take away the option of just eating treats, would he stop eating entirely?

I've also moved him up away from the floor. He can now see the doe through some wire and he's away from any night-time visitors that might be putting him off his food.

I might be over thinking things and moving things around too much but my instinct says that an animal that is off it's food has something that's bothering it.

Part of me thinks I need to breed him quickly before his picky eating affects his condition and that he won't be able to if I hold off for a couple of weeks.
 

Chevre

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The greedy doe and the picky buck:

20221230_112829.jpg


20221230_112802.jpg
 

Chevre

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... Do you have names for them yet?

Thanks for the feeding advice. When I was first looking into raising rabbits, I had the idea of feeding them as cheaply as possible. I have access to as much grass as any rabbit could want. So I thought about picking an armful of grass and weeds every evening and the rabbits would grow nicely on that. But almost everywhere online and the Storey's guide said that this was a crazy idea and that pelleted feed and hay was the right way to go.

Now I have a buck that wants to eat grass and not pellets which is exactly what I wanted but now it's supposed to be a problem. Talk about a learning curve!

They do have names, given to them by the breeder's daughter. They are called 'Currant' and 'Little Wolf'.
 

Chevre

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After getting to know the rabbits for a bit, everyone has seemed to settle down. The buck isn't as picky as he once was and now eats his hay and pellets nicely. He is a lot less jittery and although I can't say he enjoys being stroked, he is a lot more tolerant of being touched.

The doe on the other hand seems to growl a lot. I've tried putting the pair together to breed and although the buck tries to do his part, I haven't seen a 'fall off'. I have seen a wet back leg on the doe though so he is trying. The doe alternates between flopping down on her side while the male tries to find the right end and actively trying to bite off his family jewels. I tried for two consecutive days, putting them together in the morning and the evening and the doe is so adamant that nothing will happen that I separate them before she can do any permanent damage to his manliness...

This is all very much a learning process for me. I started to think that the doe could already be pregnant as I have had the rabbits for less than a month. I even managed to convince myself that she was nest building when it was probably more her just pushing straw around and making little tunnels in her bedding.

I've been trying to look for a dark pink coloring and but have only seen pale pink during a somewhat awkward inspection.
She's not in the mood and the more I try the more she seems to dislike me. She growls and pounces towards me.

The plan is now to wait and see if any kits are born before the end of the month then I'll know for sure if we're clear to have another breeding attempt.
 

Baymule

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Does often have bad attitudes. Are you taking her to the buck’s cage?

If you put the buck on her cage, she is territorial and will put up a fight. Doe to bucks cage and she may cooperate. Maybe.
 

Chevre

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Thanks for the advice. I've been taking her to the buck's cage. She might just have a bad attitude.

I'm not giving up on her yet but her attitude is making her eventual trip to freezer camp a lot easier for me to prepare for mentally.
 

Finnie

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Thanks for the advice. I've been taking her to the buck's cage. She might just have a bad attitude.

I'm not giving up on her yet but her attitude is making her eventual trip to freezer camp a lot easier for me to prepare for mentally.
I was kind of thinking along the same lines, that if she is that ornery, you might be better off with a nicer doe.
 

Chevre

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Finally an update. The doe still has a bit of a strong caracter but we have gotten to know each other so all is ok.
She had a first set of 6 kits that were born during a cold night on February 6th. Although I warmed them, they didn't make it. She pulled fur like crazy for the next day but it was too late. I kept some of this fur for the next litter.
Her second litter was born on March 13th. The weather is warmer and although I gave her a nest box, she made a nice nest next to it using the recycled fur and more that she pulled during the afternoon. I'm really happy. It looks like there are six kits again but I'm going to leave them to do their own thing until they are a bit older. I haven't touched them but had a quick peek at them wriggling in the nest.
Everything seemed easier the second time around from the mating, to the nest building up until now. Fingers crossed they all make it.
I'll post some pictures when they leave the nest!
Thanks for all the advice on this forum!
 

Ridgetop

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Frequently does are confused with first litters. Pulling all that hair the day after kindling shows that she has good instincts but was just confused. You were right to save the hair since some does don't pull any, and sometimes the hair gets messy from the birth process. Leaving the dirty, bloody hair in the nest box can be a problem. Ants will come after the bloody hair and the kits can be eaten alive. Having fresh hair to replace any nasty stuff is good. Don't be afraid to remove the nest box and transfer the kits in to it. Put the box back in the exact spot where the doe made her nest. Taking the box out of the cage to check the kits won't make the mother abandon them. That way you can make sure to remove any dead ones (if any) before they start rotting and contaminating the other kits. Leaving dead kits in the nest box is a certain way to kill the others from being next to the decomposing corpse. Rabbits don't move their young like cats and dogs do so you can transfer her nest and kits into the box as long as it goes back in the same place she chose to make her new nest.

BTW, those extra long ears will help keep the breed cool in hot summers.
 
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