… well, they should be, anyway, as long as the heat sterility business is over with!
Our first rabbit is Thumper, who was abandoned and rescued. We bought our first doe, Pearl. Their first (and only, so far) litter gave us our other doe, Squeak, and a cute buck named Pinto. Pinto was not going to stay, because we already had our buck. But since he was our son’s favorite from that first litter, we promised he wouldn’t end up in the freezer. So we set about to find him a new home. We almost had one, but it fell through.
Now it’s a good thing it didn’t work out. Since then, he and Squeak (our daughter’s favorite from the litter) have matured. They’re roughly 8 1/2 months old now.
It was time to rebreed Pearl, since her mating five weeks ago produced no kits. It was quite hot this summer (quite regularly flirting with 100*), so I figure Thumper was heat sterile. I figured it was about time to breed Squeak as well. (The whole inbreeding thing isn’t as much of an issue for rabbits as long as you do not breed rabbits with undesirable traits. With meat rabbits, it’s even less important.) So Sunday I put Pearl in with Thumper, and, since Pinto is still here, I put Squeak in with him.
Thumper did manage one successful mating with Pearl. He’s way too sweet for this job. When Pearl plays hard-to-get (which is pretty much all the time), he just starts grooming her. And he grooms her some more. And some more. Finally, he decides he’s finished, and saunters over to the other side of the cage and lies down. So now I’ve got two rabbits stretched out, relaxing, and not mating.
Meanwhile, Pinto is being an assertive and very persistent young buck. Squeak’s not very happy, but Pinto has managed to mate successfully some three times with her. I finally had to take Pinto out of his cage in order to remove Squeak (who was so cross she gave me a light warning bite when I went to pick her up).
Hmmmm…. maybe Pinto needs to stick around.
So eight hours later, I mated the does again. Only this time, I mated them both with Pinto. I put Pearl in first, because she’s older, larger, and (I figured) more likely to give Pinto a problem. Well, she certainly didn’t make it easy for him, but his persistence paid off and he mated several times with her. Squeak ended up being the bigger problem, perhaps because this will be her first litter. She was pretty ticked off, but he managed several more matings with her as well, in spite of her. After another, slightly harder, warning bite from Squeak, I decided to just remove Pinto and let them stay in each other’s cages overnight.
I am very pleased with Pinto. While he did bite the girls’ fur a little, he was mostly quite good with them, just very persistent. The girls did not appreciate the persistent part, to be sure. But I can’t just keep four rabbits with no return. I need for them to be productive. It’s only one day every couple of months or so that they have to be mad at me.
Now, I can keep one rabbit with no return… Thumper is staying. We had already promised that he was here for good. And he is an excellent pet rabbit! So I guess there is some return. And he gave us Pinto, so that’s even better!
So now that Pinto is staying, I don’t have to try to get a female Pinto for our son to keep. Bunny-Wan Kenobi is very happy.
Pictures of our rabbits can be found in this post: http://rabbittalk.com/blogs/24carrot/2010/08/17/our-working-bunnies-so-far/