Monday, June 14, 2010

Feed and Other Stuff

It is continuing to be busy around here with new litters born and new breedings being planned and carried out. Last week Spang's Margaux gave birth to a litter of 8, and Juno (surprise, surprise!) gave birth to a litter of 6. Over the last several days I re-bred Etienne (this time to Diego), and Diana (to Beauregard), and also took 3 or 4 does to my black Giant buck Milo, so we will see how everything goes over the next couple of months as these babies are born and the existing ones get weaned:).

Out of the lack of anything better to say (I am totally strung out on kid activities this month and have little to no brain matter left:-)), I figured I would post a picture of my feed storage corner in the basement, since this type of thing always fascinates me in other peoples' rabbitries:).

Anyway, once every month or so a friend of mine from our local rabbit club coordinates a one ton order of Heinold feed for several breeders in the area. I drive out to the next town where it is stored in another guy's hardware store (a guy who is the president of the rabbit club, LOL), and I pick up enough to last me for 3-4 weeks.

In a corner of my basement where it is clean, cool, and dry, my dh put a wooden pallet next to the ramp we installed to make it easy to roll dollies loaded with feed in and out. I store my feed in two piles---one for the Wool formula (used for all adult rabbits including those over 14 weeks old), and one for the General formula, which is used for babies up to 14 weeks. Next to my feed piles I have three large rubbermaid tubs that hold 'Adult feed', 'Baby feed', and 'Grain mix', consecutively, and on top of those closed tubs are the buckets and containers I use to haul the feed and supplements in and out (luckily, my rabbitry is located right outside the basement door, LOL).

There are lots of efficient ways to store feed, but the main requirement is always that it is kept in a cool and stable environment in airtight containers to keep everything fresh and palatable to the bunnies.

More again next week when life calms down and there is more time to snap pics and do other interesting bunny work:). I hope everyone out there is enjoying a mild summer so far with tons of litters and LOTS of promising new herd dams/sires:).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bunny Bulletin Board:)

--another post from the old blog

At some point in the future I plan on setting up a nice bulletin board above my computer to put all of my bunny-related paperwork into one place:). I realize that many breeders keep all their bunny records on computer nowadays using the Evan's program or related software, but I have always been a person who needs things directly in front of me (being primarily "visual"), and have always had lists and pieces of paper all over the walls and doors of my house in order to keep our life and my bunnies' lives organized, LOL:).

Anyway, here are a few of the "bulletin board" records that I keep on hand for my herd:

1) Ivomec Schedule--This list has each bunny's name or ear # on it and a date posted as to when they were last ivomeced. Clearly this information is important in order to keep everyone on a regular schedule during show season, but it is also important to know who was dosed when to be sure that at least 3 weeks have elapsed before I do any breeding and risk a possible birth defect:(. I try to Ivomec all my showbunnies during the show season and summertime, and then give them a long break in the winter.

2) Clipping Schedule--Another list I keep has the names of each bunny alongside dates as to when each was clipped so I can keep track of how quickly the wool grows back and also get an idea of how long each bunny holds a coat. Information like this has been invaluable so far in determining the average hold time for each bunny as well as the average for my herd. I try to always clip during the slipping stage so as not to cut off the ingrowing tips of the next coat, so knowing when to expect this stage really helps me to time my coats. The next thing I hope to do in the future is get even more specific and have information next to each bunny stating how long each stage of wool growth lasts--for ex. New Growth/ Prime/Slipping/ Molt/, etc.

3) Breeding Schedule--I also have a chart hanging up that shows a list of my most important show dates and what month/week the does need to be bred in order to get Juniors and Seniors of the proper age for each one. Before breeding anyone I always try to refer to this list to find out when I OUGHT to be breeding according to a certain show date (such as Convention). However, there are times when I have to disregard this totally, like when I have a schedule change, or if a doe is older and needs to squeeze in a few extra litters before she 'retires'. Breeding really depends on the factor being considered at the moment, but I do always try to breed my best buns on the most 'important' show schedule dates.

4) Grain Mix Recipe and Schedule--I also have a list hanging up containing my exact grain mix recipe (since it has changed a few times and I don't really have it memorized:)), and also the measured amounts that my herd receives depending on the time of year or individual circumstances (ex. prego does get a specific amount until they kindle, after which they get no supplements at all until the babies come out of the nestbox and begin eating pellets with her out of the group feed dish).

These are just a few of the bunny records that I will be including when I get a bulletin board set up, but I'm sure I will be adding more info. such as tattoo numbers (where I left off after the last baby batch, etc.), calendars with breeding and kindling dates listed (instead of using my everyday family calendar:)), and a host of other tidbits that I could easily enter in my computer program but that I prefer to stare at instead:).