Yesterday I processed Maples first litter. A batch of 9 at 10.5 weeks old. They weighed between 4.5-6 lbs! I was thrilled with the weights, my average being right above 5 lbs. This was my first batch so I am VERY happy to know my meat breeding pair (Am. chin buck and NZ doe) produce litters of this size. They were weaned between 4 and 5 weeks and fed free choice 16 percent pellets. Maple has another litter of 9 in with her now ready for weening this week.
Momma, the newest addition, has settled in nicely. Yesterday, first attempt, she took to Sir Hops and successfully bred! Hopefully I will be getting some pedigreed Am Chins out of her in 30 days.
Crewella, at my wife's behest, escaped processing yesterday and has been retired to a pet/garden rabbit. My partner has taken responsibility for her and filled her new outdoor hutch with toys and treats. She will live out her days in comfort, free loading and making my wife smile.
Update time. Some good news and bad news. Bad news first: Crewella has passed on. My wife got her a toy and it kinda unraveled and she ate a string of it. The string jammed up her intestines and she died. My wife was devastated and I was sad. We dug her a grave in the yard next to another beloved pet. Enough bad news...
Momma successfully birthed a first litter of 8 kits! Pure bred American Chinchillas. They are 2 days old now and all 8 seem to be thriving with full bellies and maximum wriggliness. I am beyond excited for a few reasons: 1)these babies are ones I can cuddle and socialize with to make them great pets. 2)If I sell this litter I will pay for a whole year's worth of rabbit food. 3)I don't have to start over again trying to get purebred pedigreed bunnies. And mostly, 4)this is THE FIRST PROPAGATION OF A CRITICAL BREED ON MY FARM. I can't express the fulfillment this brings me. I ordered a tattoo pen and bunny burrito so I can ID the babies and pedigree them! Planning to sell them at 8 weeks old for pet, show or breeding stock. I got my ARBA standard and am looking forward to seeing how they conform.
Maple's last litter is about 8 weeks old now and growing fast. I will be processing them in 2 weeks or so. In a weird turn of events, I have a market for cleaned rabbit skulls. This has led me to reconsider my current dispatch method, captive bolt gun, and I ordered a hopper popper so I can keep the skulls intact. I find it hard to believe that I currently have a waiting list of people that want to pay me 25 dollars for a bone, but that is the current reality. What a wonderful way to recoup some of the set up costs of my first year rabbitry. I have found an excellent resource through the Alaskan fish and wildlife website for cleaning skulls and will be trying it with this next batch.
Another pleasant surprise has been Maple. Since transitioning out of mommy mode, her personality has really begun to shine. She in incredibly friendly and demands physical attention from me every feeding. It is nice to see her hormones calmed down and to have such an amiable NZ meat rabbit.