Winter Rabbits

Nothing is better than rabbits born during a warm spell in the winter. During the first two weeks of their life, I don’t have to worry much about keeping them warm and yet when they get older, they grow a nice first coat. Winter coats make for the best wool and tend to grow quickly. Young winter coats are the best for determining what the density and quality of the rabbit’s adult coat will be. This is particularly handy when you have a billion young rabbits and are trying to figure out who to hold back for breeding, who to sell, and who will get a first-class ticket to the freezer. Hopefully we will have more rabbits that fall under the first and second categories.

Last night two litters arrived in the Rabbitry. After a little inspection this morning, it looks like both does had a healthy, easy birth with no stillborns. Phew! That is pretty hard to accomplish in the rabbit world. Cross your fingers that we can take that a step further and have no runt deaths either. That’s the goal anyway. Both lagomorph mamas pulled lots of wool, but I have yet to see if they feed their babies well within the first 48-hours; the ultimate test. In the past they have both done well, so I’m not too concerned.

Begrüßen die Babys!
Welcome the babies!

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Philadelphia (Ruby-eyed White, doe) x Basil (Lilac Tortoiseshell, buck)
Estimated Litter Colors: Self Black 1, Opal Agouti 3, Blue or Black Tortoiseshell 1, Ruby-eyed White 2.
Birth Date: January 2, 2014
For Sale: February 27, 2014

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Khaleesi (Chestnut Agouti, doe) x Toblerone (Self Chocolate, buck)
Estimated Litter Colors: Chestnut Agouti 3, Opal Agouti 5, Self Blue 1, Ruby-eyed White 1. Possible lilac colors.
Birth Date: January 2, 2014
For Sale: February 27, 2014

11 thoughts on “Winter Rabbits

  1. Congratulations on the new babies! I was totally surprised to see Basil listed as one of the “responsible” bucks… they are really beautiful.

  2. Do you breed all year round? I have chosen not to breed again until late February just because it can get so bitter during the next two months. We did okay with some mid-December births, but the mid-November ones we had problems because of the cold.

      • Ah. I guess Angoras would have a lot more fur than New Zealands. We have only six really hot weeks here in the summer, so next year I will not breed for anything that will be due in July or the first couple weeks of August. Even with all the fans we put up and having a lot of the rabbits outside in tractors in the shade during the day, it was pretty bad for them. I didn’t lose any of them, but I worried about it constantly in the heat. I lost four kits to the cold though in November. This is my first year with rabbits so I am learning a lot as I go that wasn’t really in any of the books.

      • No one wants to talk about the hard stuff in books. A lot of if is floppy ears and furry tails. Summer is downright harsh! We get temps into the 100’s. Let me tell you, it is hard to keep everyone alive. It is a constant battle all summer. Frozen water bottles twice a day, three fans, shaved bunnies, and constant shade…. and I still barely make it through. I feel ya sista!

  3. Congrats on the healthy babies! I’ve always been afraid to breed my meat rabbits in the winter months as they are outside. It’s not so much as the babies getting cold but the mamas need to conserve their energy for warmth. Here we bounce between lows in the 50s to the 30s in a matter of a few days. Maybe twice a year does it get below freezing.

    • Thanks! I think it all depends on the type of breed you are trying to breed in the winter. Angoras make fabulously warm nests with all that wool to spare. It makes me want an angora blanket to cuddle up with in the winter too!

      It ranges from 60*F to 35*F most days. We also get a couple feet worth of snow from November to May depending on the severity of winter. And many weeks, temperatures dip to 13*F. That’s nothing compared to, say, Michigan, but it is still darn cold for California.

  4. How do you not keep them all!?!?! I had an accidental litter of 4 that are 6 weeks now. I definitely know I am not ready to be a breeder, not only because of all the stress and worry (appropriate and then self inflicted, ha!) But also because I can’t imagine letting them go! I am really excited to further my wool production though, and even had a local store inquire about my product. Cheers to baby rabbits and those of us who love them (through all their ages of course!)

    • That is awesome! Are they interested in raw wool or spun wool? Either way that is amazing because it turns out that wool is not as easy to market as one may think.

      It is SOOO hard not to keep every last one. I especially love the “self” colors so it was very difficult to let some of my self blues to last year. But I just remind myself that I need to be extremely picky in genetics; relations, wool, and color. Erg.

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