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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Sunday, 31 May 2015
Things are really hopping around here!

As we await the birth of two new litters of bunnies in the next few days, it seems like a good time to take a breath and update on the developments of our little rabbitry.

First of all, we finally came up with a rabbitry name.  Naming things is a big deal in our family, and this one was hotly contested.  When we stumbled across the abundant folklore which links the rabbit with the moon we knew we wanted to work with that relationship~ look at the moon and you can see the rabbit shape, which in Japanese tales, is making sticky rice balls!  
Bigwig, Top Bunny in Charge (20 lb. Flemish Giant)

The problem is that the sparkly teenage vampires have taken all the good moon names!  We finally agreed upon Flying Moon Farm.
I have been around animals my whole life and spent a number of years active in the dog fancy, running a rescue and so on. But learning about the care and raising of rabbits has been a huge learning curve!  They are truly fascinating creatures.  I have had to let go of my dog & pet mindset as regards breeding and raising stock in order to be able to enter into rabbit raising both ethically and practically.
Rabbits produce. A Lot. And I'm not just talking about 'bunny berries' (poop!). They are made to reproduce~ our entire (North American, at least) ecosystem is based on rabbits being eaten by pretty much everything. SO they reproduce quickly and efficiently, adapting rapidly as needed to environment as generations blur past every 31 days.

This means I am developing breeding plans and goals and keeping a careful eye on keeping them on track. Temperament, breed type, purpose, size are all malleable pieces of a good program. And a plan for those who don't fit the plan. When a single doe could produce 70 offspring or more in a year, you have to have a plan for every one of them: pet, breed, cull, eat.

You can find the following image here: The Easter Bunny Problem
Yes, I said 'eat'. And that is a whole other topic. I have never eaten rabbit.  But when I had to do my first cull a couple of weeks ago, it was a terrible waste to trash a 7 lb. bunny. She had developed signs of an upper respiratory issue and the hard truth is it becomes the life of one rabbit vs. an entire herd. And it was hellishly difficult to do the deed with my own hands. But part of my commitment to these animals is humane treatment, which may include a clean, quick death instead of lingering illness. In taking on the responsibility for their lives I owe them that much. I said the learning curve was big.

I will say that watching them breed, kindle (give birth), develop, grow, interact and play has given me a whole new appreciation and deep respect for the species.  Every facet is fine tuned for their life.  To quote from our current reading, Watership Down:
All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they have to catch you. Digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

At the present time, I am working on a Flemish Giant breeding program for size and temperament, as well as working in some interesting harlequin coloring (genetics is so much fun!) which I am calling my Giant Tiger Bunny Project~ we are keeping two does from Clover's first litter, Holly and Speedwell, towards this end.
Rowan is growing out her little Holland Lops and is going to try her first rabbit show in June!
She also hopes to keep a kit out of our Rex doe 'Spice' for the sport of 'bunny hopping' ~ agility for rabbits. And, oh my, the science she is learning without even knowing it!
Coco is always smiling!

If you want to follow our learning adventure you can follow Flying Moon Farm on Facebook and Instagram. ♥♥

{I've just got to say... I know that this topic can be controversial. Respectfully, if you don't like it, don't read it. Respectful dialogue is welcomed, but we reserve the right to simply delete comments that are harassing, negative or inflammatory.} So play nice or I will release the killer rabbits.


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