Hot Cross Hoppenings
As many of you know, my younger daughter is doing a breeding project for 4-H this year. To be exhibited at the fair, the doe needs to have a litter of three kits that are 6-8 weeks old when the fair begins. Due to our poor litter outcomes earlier this year, she decided to err on the side of caution and bred five rabbits. These are the results.
Cookie had three healthy kits. All are doing well.
Apple Jane had five living babies. She wasn't producing enough milk, so two are being fostered.
Blueberry Muffin had two babies, but one was a peanut and died shortly after birth, She is fostering two of Apple Jane's kits.
Mango had five kits, but only one lived. We are happy she has one little kit to care for in her first litter.
Babette was the surprise mama. We didn't think she would be able to have kits due to some health issues expressed by her previous owner, but she had seven fat, pink babies squirming in her nest box yesterday afternoon. We will be observing this litter closely to be sure Babette's milk supply can handle such a large litter. If she can't, we will foster a couple babies to Mango.
I haven't posted much lately as I have been busy responding to bunny inquiries and building a rapport with several nice families who are interested in some of the Hot Cross Buns. Caramel went home with Ruth M. today. What a joy it was to see them together! We look forward to hearing how Caramel settles in. Pancake went home yesterday with Markie W. It was wonderful to finally meet her and place sweet Pancake in her arms. Best wishes to both ladies and their new little does!
Last week I had to have the other broken chocolate baby put down. There were some physical problems that were just beyond human intervention, and the difficult decision had to be made. We will miss that little guy.
I have been asked by a few people why we don't take outdoor photographs of our bunnies to post. The answer is very simple. Because we raise sheep, goats, and chickens, we don't want to risk a young bunny's health by exposing it to parasites that are in our grass and soil compliments of the livestock manure. We have dealt with coccidiosis, lung worms, and have seen some resistance to wormers in our flock. As such, we really do not want any of our buns being exposed to that particular variety of nastiness. In order for us to raise healthy bunnies, we need to keep them indoors.
I wanted to take a moment to send a big THANK YOU to the owners and operators of Hook's Holland Lops and Hickory Ridge Hollands . Diane and Wendy have been our mentors over the past year, but more importantly, they have become dear friends. I trust them whole-heartedly for advice and information and would like to take this opportunity to fully endorse them as providers of excellent bunny care information.
I haven't been as good about adding information to our website as originally intended, but you can always hop over to their websites to discover a plethora of useful bunny help, in written or video format.
Diane can be found at www.ohiohollandlops.com and she is the Bunny Video Queen. She sold us two of our lovely ladies, Plum Bun and Mango, and is wonderfully creative in producing her unique videos. If she doesn't have a YouTube video about it, it's probably not something you need to know. We have been asked why we don't make our own YouTube channel with our own informational videos. The answer is twofold. 1). Lack of time. 2.) Why reinvent the wheel when Diane has already covered it? We follow her site regularly and always share her site with our customers who may not know of her work. Thank you for all of your help and encouragement, Diane!
Wendy's website is now up and running again after her family's huge cross-country move to Arizona. www.hickoryridgehollands.com is the place to go for well-organized blog posts about all manner of bunny-care topics. While she isn't currently breeding hollands, she wanted her website to be a place full of rabbit care information that was easy to access for new bunny owners and experienced bunny owners alike. She is definitely achieving her goal. We also include Wendy's daughter L. in our thanks. L. has quite a mind for figuring out bunny genetics, and even volunteered to figure out the genotypes of all of the Hot Cross Buns so it would be easy to tell what colors each breeding pair could produce at a glance. She has a unique talent. Wendy and L. make a fabulous team and we are secretly hoping that they begin a breeding program again someday in the not too distant future. :)
Thank you so much, ladies!
Things have been hopping in the rabbitry, some good and some bad. I'll cover the bad first.
The little broken chocolate baby with the missing foot lost his battle on Sunday morning. On Friday, Tiny Tim had been zooming around, playing with his siblings. On Saturday, he seemed a little listless and out of sorts. I gave him some bunny gatorade to try to perk him up and he loved it. When I checked on him Sunday morning, he was gone. We were heartbroken. He never gained much weight and I wonder if he wasn't absorbing nutrients properly. It's so hard to know. We did our very best to help him thrive, but so little is known about bunny health and wellness that we had to trust our gut where he was concerned. There is a real need for scientific study and research into rabbit health issues. I'm trying to talk at least one of my children into becoming a vet who specializes in bunnies. A special "Thank You" to everyone who emailed and asked about the little guy, and who offered to take him into your hearts and homes. Your kindness and concern were so appreciated. Rest in peace, Tiny Tim. Your sweet presence in our home will be missed.
On a happier note, Friday morning brings the temporary return of Licorice, the classroom bunny, for the summer months. We offered to be Licorice's vacation resort while school is out, and Ms. P and her class accepted. This decision will provide some stability and peace of mind for all concerned as the original plan involved lots of house hopping. Even the sweetest of bunnies would find all of this moving around very disruptive, and since Licorice can be something of a scamp, we volunteered for this joyful responsibility. Licorice was recently neutered, so he needs a little downtime to recuperate. Our eldest son is excited to look after him again because Licorice is the son of his bunny, Cookie. We will be doing special updates for Ms. P and her great (former) students who will be moving on up to 6th grade in the fall.
Our youngest child elected to do a breeding project for 4-H this year. In order to meet the project requirements, she needs to exhibit a doe and litter of at least three kits who are 6-8 weeks old at the time of the fair. Knowing that bunnies are less likely to have successful litters during hot weather, we originally scheduled five breedings for the project. However, only three of the ladies were obliging. The other two declined politely and showed no interest in becoming mothers next month. We are hoping for at least one successful litter that will be born on July 10th or 11th. The potential parents-to-be are Blueberry Muffin and Little Boy Blue, Mango and Coconut Cream, and Apple Jane and Wee Walter. Given that this will be Mango's first litter, we believe Apple or Blueberry will be the more likely possibility.
We have exhausted our current list of approved families waiting for does on our waiting list, and still have not found the right home for little Annabelle. We updated her photos today and hope that an interested family will come forward for this gentle little girl very soon.
I took this photo of one of Plum Bun's broken black kits lounging on the castle hideout in their nighttime cage just before bedtime. Sweet dreams, little baby.
Already approved families are currently being contacted regarding Annabelle, but we only have a couple families waiting for pet quality does. If you are interested in Annabelle or another one of our upcoming kits, please fill out our New Bunny Questionnaire. We would love to get to know you and help you find the right Holland Lop to be your new family member.
We were able to update the kits' pictures today, despite the wriggling balls of energy being so uncooperative. Also added were some new photos of Mango, now that she is all grown up. She will officially be a senior doe tomorrow and will be bred late next week with her first litter.
After hoping for chocolate kits for months, we are finally ready to announce that Charlotte's five kits are all chocolate, three solid and two broken. They are a week old today and have enough fur growth to be certain.
Pictures and updates are on the Hot Cross Babies page. :)
We received a special blessing when Charlotte surprised us and delivered a larger-than-normal litter this morning. She had five squirmy kits (and one stillborn baby) in her nest box when we went to check on her first thing. The fact that she has living kits to care for after losing two litters is bringing much joy. We aren't certain of peanut vs. non-peanut status yet, but I believe they are all healthy kits that are on the small side because of the larger litter size. I'm not speculating on colors for at least a week, because I'm always wrong. LOL
Amy is the Big Bunny at the Hot Cross Buns Holland Lop Rabbitry. She manages the furry bunnies as well as her own brood of five kits, with the help of her incredibly patient husband of eighteen years. Hot Cross Hoppenings will be a journal of our adventures in Holland Lop life.