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
If you hop over to the Hot Cross Does page, you will see a lovely new lady among our bunny family. Babette (or Babs if you have the privilege of knowing her well), arrived home last Friday, but it took several days to earn her trust and friendship. She is one of us now, and tolerated her first photo shoot with more dignity than cooperation. She is absolutely beautiful. Her photos do not do her justice.
Also added to the Hot Cross Babies page are new photos of all four litters. It appears that we have a lot of color variety blooming forth in the bunny nursery.
If you or someone you know would be interested in one of our bunnies, we ask that you contact us soon by filling out our Bunny Questionnaire. We are moving to a system of matching a family's lifestyle with the bunnies' temperaments, rather than solely relying on color and gender. We are making this change in the hopes that many happy bunny matches will be made in the future. Of course, color and gender preferences will certainly taken into consideration, but our primary focus will be upon finding the right home for each of our bunnies' temperaments and needs. You can read more about this change on the Available Bunnies page.
After two months of sorrow in our breeding endeavors, we are having a time of great joy!
Abby had three little roly-poly babies in her nest box first thing Saturday morning. They look to be two broken opals and a solid squirrel. All are normal and healthy.
In the mid-afternoon, my youngest child shrieked loudly enough to rattle the windows. Her beloved Plum Bun delivered a whopper of a litter. She has eight babies, all with a broken pattern, so that means Luigi is definitely a Charlie. There are possibly some dilute babies in there, but time will tell.
And just a short time ago, Sweet Tart delivered her first litter. These proceedings occurred with a minimum of fuss and muss while I was folding laundry in the bunny room. She started pulling fur, lined her nest box neatly, set to work on having her babies, cleaned them up, and hopped back out to enjoy a nice meal before giving herself a good face-washing and settling down for a nap. All of this happened within 20 minutes. She has three healthy little ones to care for. I'm not quite sure about colors yet because I was keeping the lighting in the room dim so as not to disturb her. I will take a closer look tomorrow.
Because of the size of Plummy's litter, we decided to foster two of her kits to Abby, who has experience with large litters of her own. We so appreciate all of our friends who have been praying for things to go well for our little rabbitry. God certainly answered them with great abundance.
Just for fun, here's a picture of Plum Bun's litter:
We managed to take and post some pictures of Cookie and Wee Walter's kit this morning. Today is his/her three-week birthday, so the really adorable stage is just beginning! Here's a quick peek:
Nothing new to report in the nest boxes, yet, but it's still a bit early. I'm thinking Abby and Sweet Tart will have their babies some time during the night. Plum Bun will probably keep us on pins and needles for three or four more days.
May 5/6 is hopefully going to bring some lively wiggling in the nest boxes at Hot Cross Buns.
Sweet Tart is expecting her first litter, sired by Coconut. She has grown considerably over the past couple months, and has some characteristics that point to her being a false dwarf, which may make her a nice brood doe. If she is a false dwarf, she should have a much easier time kindling and there would not be a genetic possibility of peanuts (those tiny babies that carry the double dwarf gene and have no chance of long-term survival.) Statistically speaking, she could have 50% true dwarf kits and 50% false dwarf kits. Color-wise, we would expect to see sables and possibly some red eyed whites.
Our hopes for this litter are that she kindles live kits successfully, proves to be an attentive mother, and that by breeding a broken patterned buck to a broken patterned doe, there may be a Charlie baby or two in the litter. A Charlie is a rabbit that carries less than 10% of color on his body and, when bred to a solid colored doe, the breeding will always produce broken patterned kits. We would love to have a typey, true dwarf Charlie buck in our rabbitry to breed back to Plum Bun, who is a false dwarf brood doe. The pairing would always produce broken patterned kits.
Abby (Natalie) has been bred to Wee Walter. This is her first litter with us, but we were told by her previous owner that she tends to have 4-6 kits in each litter, which would point to her also being a false dwarf brood doe. We would expect to see 50% brokens and 50% solids in predominantly opal and squirrel coloring.
Rounding out our May 5/6 mothers-to-be, Plum Bun was bred to Hook's Luigi, with the hope of ascertaining whether Luigi is a Charlie or a broken patterned buck, and possibly, whether or not he carries dilute. As mentioned above, if Luigi is a Charlie, every kit in the litter will be broken patterned. If he is a broken, there will be a mixture of solid and broken kits. We know Plum Bun carries dilute, as she produced a blue kit in her last litter, and if Luigi also carries dilute, there is the possibility of a dilute color (blue, chocolate, lilac) popping up again. Bunny genetics is absolutely fascinating and the number of possibilities is astounding! Thank you so much to Hook's Hollands for their generosity in allowing us to work with that handsome hunk of a buck, Luigi. :)
Due on May 16/17
We have tried breeding Charlotte to Joshua once more. This is our third try in four months. The first month she had no kits. Last month she had two stillborn kits, possibly peanuts. We are hoping, with a change of food for our pregnant does, that Charlotte may have a successful litter this month. She is halfway through this pregnancy and seems to be doing well.
Gladys has been bred to Wee Walter in the hopes of a live litter this month. Her story is identical to Charlotte's, except she had four stillborn kits. If she is not successful this month, we will take a break from further attempts at breeding. Our eldest daughter would like to work with her for her 4-H pet rabbit project, so Gladys will be going through the rigors of flip training, grooming, and bunny exams in preparation for the fair.
Keep checking back for updates!
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 nineteen years. Hot Cross Hoppenings will be a journal of our adventures in Holland Lop life.