Along came a spider

20120830-231009.jpg

I feel like Charlotte’s Web is being reenacted out in my rabbitry. We’ve had a spider making big, beautiful webs every night. I keep expecting to come out and find “Some Pig” written in the web, or maybe “Some Bunny”. Normally spiders and I do not get along, and had Charlotte set up her spinning inside my house she would have been squished flat in a New York minute, but out in the barn I try to ignore the spiders as they help keep down the flies. This one caught my eye though with her unusual coloring, never seen a spider like this.

According to my research on the Internet, she’s a common Orb Weaver. It seems we’ll have lots of little Orb Weavers soon as Charlotte’s abdomen was double in size yesterday and now it’s much smaller. Not sure how I feel about that, hoping they’ll float away as Charlotte’s daughters did. Now if only we could have Wilbur in the back yard. Guess I’ll just have to make due with a fat Beagle.

20120830-230845.jpg

Advertisements

Wow, how time flies!

Wow, the month of August has just disappeared!!! I wasn’t able to log in to WordPress for several days for some reason and then summer finally hit. We’ve had over two weeks of 95 degree plus temperatures here. It makes for so much more work, freezing and putting out the bottles and then the mess that running the mister creates… Makes me wonder why I didn’t pick an easier hobby. Lol, just kidding!
Though our weather has cooled off beautifully for this weekend. Makes me anxious to go breed some bunnies and start planning for the fall shows. On a side note we will be attending the Sept. 8th show in Stockton. We’ll have lots for sale all in an effort to cut back our numbers. I also just donated 12 culls to a local reptile center and I’m pleased with how much food that’s helped conserve. Now that the obvious junk bunnies are gone its time to make some tough decisions. Gotta follow my own advice after all.

My Best Tips for New Breeders

My best tips to new breeders, is cull hard and have an outlet for your culls!!! Culling is not always fun, but it’s important to remove the undesirable traits from your herd. When I first started, any of my Dutch that were show marked I kept. I had a lot to learn about body type. After doing a lot of learning I realized I had long, low shoulders and pinched hindquarters in my herd. So now I cull heavily for those traits, but still would like to see a bit more improvement. I currently have a “good” problem in my culling endeavors. Nothing that I have is obvious junk. So it’s time to raise my standards again. For example this doe…

20120808-194943.jpg
There’s nothing terribly wrong with her. Her body is decent but her ears are just way too long. I feel my polish are getting a bit racey. Just look at the skis on her!

20120808-195822.jpg
Not what I’m looking for. Then I have this doe, her head and ears are much better but her body is crap.

20120808-200720.jpg

At one time I would have picked one or the other, but in an effort to cull harder and get to the next level, I’m culling both of them.

It’s also import to have a reliable outlet for culls. Do not expect to sell all your culls as pets. Eventually all your friends that want bunnies will have bunnies from you. This usually only takes one or two litters. After that you might think, “I’ll just place an ad”. Well I’ll tell you, that market is pretty seasonal and if you’re breeding enough to be competitive you’re supply will far surpass the demand. I personally don’t sell pets anymore. After selling several, I got uncomfortable having strangers come to my home after all the Craigslist crimes that were happening. I also regretted selling several of the bunnies when several days later I find out the bunny is already dead. Usually from heat stroke (some people just don’t listen) or I even had one choke on the “rabbit food” they bought at the pet store. Plus $15 was not worth my time. I usually spent several hours educating the new owners. I will sell a pet occiasionally at a rabbit show to responsible people, but I just really don’t like my animals to suffer and that’s what was happening selling them to the public. I decided a long time ago, that a painless death beats a poor quality of life. So the majority of my culls these days end up as snake food (they are humanly eauthanised first). But my main point is to find this outlet before you have tons of culls to get rid of. I stress this point because it takes time and connections to get a reliable outlet. I’ve been raising bunnies for over 5 years and don’t have my own dedicated outlet but through networking with other breeders I’ve got several outlets available to me. However, I know there’s a seniority system in place, so I often have more culls than the open spots available. I need to take a bit of my own advice too… I just looked over my receipts and noticed I’m spending $130 a month on rabbit feed!!!! Holy cow, that’s more than it costs to feed my horse for the month!