Welcome to the World!

A wonderful Christmas surprise welcomed us. Daisy was actually pregnant and delivered one large, healthy and incredibly adorable baby! After several attempts and her thinking she was pregnant each time. I have to admit, I didn’t believe her this time. My comment to a friend was, “Yep, Daisy thinks that she’s pregnant again.” Well the joke was on me.

Even though I was skeptical, I still kept an eye on the dates, albeit somewhat loosely. Day 31 she stopped eating, I have never known Daisy to miss a meal for any reason. That evening I reached in to pet her and talked to her…I got boxed….From sweet Daisy. This is so out of character that I was no thinking that this might actually be it.

Checking on her every hour or so, sure enough at around 11pm on December 18th. A little, well, actually rather large, and very bald, pink baby was in the nest box. Just one.

Of course the nerves set in with just one. Will it be warm enough? Will it get enough to eat? More than my share of worrying and more middle of the night “check-ins” than I’ll admit to.

But, with luck, and Daisy being a GREAT mom, the little one is thriving wonderfully. Daisy is a fairly hands-on Mom and they are always snuggled up together.

Now, at 4 1/2 weeks the little comes out to play, run and jump, loves alfalfa and oats and drinks from the water bowl like a champ. The perfect name is Lily…and it will be even more perfect if she’s a girl!

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Bunnies & Infections

Well, we continue to fight an infection on Doc’s right leg. A rabbit’s system is fantastic at walling off an infection. Unfortunately, this same tendency makes treating an infection very difficult. Sometimes a bunny is lucky and the antibiotics win, sometimes it’s a bear of a battle…this is one of those bears.

Even after a partial amputation of his foot (since the infection was in the bone), almost as soon as it healed, that stubborn infection moved up his leg. With the implantation of beads it looked like we were starting to get ahead of it, and I think we were, but now that sneaky thing has again moved up his leg.

His leg is flushed daily and the beads are on order for yet another surgery to implant another set a little further up the leg. Luckily, we have sent in samples on two different occasions to find antibiotics that, at least in the lab, work.

Although Doc hates the meds that he has to down ever 12 hours, the fact that he now has to travel with us if we go overnight everywhere has made him a bit of an ambassador for German Angora’s. It’s a good thing that he’s such a good traveler.

Other than the infection he is sure a happy and healthy bunny that loves to be carried around and enjoy’s lap time. We’ll keep hoping that THIS time the procedure will kill of the infection for good!

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Rabbitry Odor Control

An indoor rabbitry has a few challenges. While it’s wonderful to be able to go in any time, spend time with the bunnies and free time is spend hoping around the bunny-proof rooms, it also has a unique set of challenges. The biggest…smells.

bunnynose2As anyone with a rabbit can tell you, their urine smell is pretty hard to miss. And we’ve gone through quite a few options. to come up with…finally…a set-up that is working well.

In addition to the two large German Angoras that live in their bunny condo’s. The two cottontails, Cooper & Emma have an x-pen and are litterbox trained. Since Cooper is 8-9 years old he doesn’t enjoy roaming around much anymore and prefers to just stay in his area.; it’s really only Daisy and Doc, the two Angora’s that take turns running around the house. So, this leaves one litterbox and two big cages (and I mean really big cages) that need to be cleaned…and that can mean a lot of smell.

It is known, or at least suspected, that high protein diets make the urine smell worse. Because the two angoras are fiber rabbits, they are on a high protein diet. Given the amazing amount of “wool” that they produce at each shearing, it sure seems to be working. They are fed Kings rabbit feed and supplemented with Dr Cheekes YQ. 

What didn’t work

  • Pine Shavings: Very economical. I filled the litterbox and the tray of each of the cages. However, I found myself having to dump and replace all three twice a day. I bought a really large bag from the local feed store. While economical and very convenient, the smell was still way too much for indoors.
  • PDZ Refresher/Sweet PDZ: I really had high hopes. It comes in a granular formula and in large bags for horse stalls. I was ready to be impressed…and… that was the closest I got to being impressed. Honestly, it simply wasn’t much better.

What worked

  • Well, okay, I can’t honestly say that it’s working. But, I think it’s working. I ordered this air cleaner from Amazon. I’m going to say that it’s working. Actually, I think it is. I run this little guy 24/7 and the filter has picked up quite a bit of “stuff” and it certainly can’t be hurting.
  • Lime: I sprinkle lime powder in the bottom tray of the cages. The litterbox doesn’t get any since I don’t think it would be safe for my elderly rabbits to jump around in. But for the bottom tray of the cages, it’s working VERY well. It’s a great helper to the main litter. I pick it up from the local feed store. 
  • Cat litter: I’m still playing with which brands. So far the lightweight and dust free clumping versions of Fresh Step and Advanced have worked. The Fresh Step has been better at odor control so far. I’m down to cleaning once a day and I’ve even skipped a day and it hasn’t been terrible. I scoop, add a little more litter and sprinkle lime on the top. Since rabbits tend to go in the same areas. There’s really only a few places in their three foot cages that need scooping. I’m trying more brands, but want to stay with the lightweight and dust free. Let me know if anyone has had great success with their cats. (Noah, our large Ragdoll cat, has a wonderful self cleaning litterbox. If they could invent a way to do this for the rabbits, I would be in heaven!)
  • Cage deep-cleaning: Once a week…well, okay, maybe a little less depending on my schedule, the cages get a deep cleaning. The flooring is pulled out and washed with bleach and water. The sides of the cage also get cleaned with a safer cleaning solution.

I have heard that wood stove pellets in the tray absorb odor but I have yet to try this. It might be worth a try, but I’m not too optimistic that it cat beat cat litter.   Between all of this you can’t even tell there’s a rabbitry in the house. And, given that it is in the same room as my fiber studio, it is happybunnyreally important to me that it smells great in there. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to spend as much time as they can in a fiber studio with fresh smelling, cuddly bunnies!

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Bunny Medical

What a scare we had with Doc! What seemed like all of a sudden his front leg swelled, was red, warm…obviously serious. Anyone that is familiar with rabbits knows that infection in one of those little thumpers is no little matter. My rabbit vet is about an hour away so off we went. It was quite an infection. But the staff at Chabot Veterinary Clinic are great with rabbits. We left there armed with pain killers, lots of antibiotics and lessons on “flushing the wound.”

For two weeks we gave medicines every 8 hours and flushed the open wound twice a day.

Admittedly, Doc was not at all excited about any of it. But he has been quite the trooper. We’re just ending week three. The wound is completely healed, he’s off of his pain meds, and on the last round of antibiotics.

I still have no idea what happened or what could have possibly caused it.

Doc’s personality is back…and actually, sweeter than ever. He’s so used now to having all of this done that he is pretty calm about everything. He’s taken to sitting next to me when I’m spinning or weaving and LOVES hanging out on the ‘big’ chair. He’s a happy boy and we’re very lucky!

 

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Cottontail Farms and Blissful Bear

While running the business, The Blissful Bear and running the rabbitry, Cottontail Farms simultaneously, they’ve shared a website, Slowly, as the rabbitry is growing, I’ve decided to separate them some. A little hectic, yes. But it makes sense. The Blissful Bear focuses more on crochet items, soaps and other fun items. Cottontail Farms’ main focus is the amazing German Angora rabbits, fiber and luxury yarns. They’re heading two different directions.

And, as the rabbitry is expanding with Daisy expecting, I can better blog the fun happenings at the farm!

 

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