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New Arrivals in the Rabbitry

After several hectic years, I am finally finding some time to get back to writing about my journey in self-sufficiency.

Last time I posted, I had a fairly sizable rabbitry consisting of 20 breeders and was selling quality New Zealand White rabbit breeding stock. Most of my rabbits came from a show breeder in Tennesse. The remaining couple of rabbits were from other sources, including one that produced for the meat market.

In 2014, I gave away my entire herd and started over with Silver Fox rabbits.  I was interested in eventually trying a free-ranging or colony setup and wanted a rabbit that would blend in better in a natural setting. The bright white albino New Zealand Whites would make extremely easy targets for predators. Another reason for my interest in the Silver Fox rabbit was that it was listed by The Livestock Conservancy’s as under Threatened status.  I wanted to help offset the breed’s decline.

While rabbits are thought of as prolific creators, my experience has taught me that each rabbit is different.  The three Silver Fox does I started with were often reluctant to breed.  When they were finally in the mood, they would get pregnant with very small litter sizes.  I never had a litter larger than five.  They also demonstrated lackluster mothering instincts.

After two very frustrating years, I abandoned the Silver Foxes and returned to raising New Zealand Whites.  I gained a new appreciation for the value of a good doe.  While many people tout these values as large litters or fast growing kits, I disagree.  After having my patience tested to the limits by the Silver Fox does, I truly believe that strong maternal instincts are the true hallmark of a quality doe.

A year ago I purchased six New Zealand White does and one buck  and I can’t be more thrilled with the results.  The does are true nymphomaniacs.  They breed readily and have never refused to be serviced.  They also consistent produce and raise to harvest age litters averaging eight in size.  I had purchased six with the intention to cull and keep the best three.  They are all so impressive compared to the Silver Foxes that I am reluctant to cull any of them.

On Valentine’s day, I bred three of the six does and they all bred readily again.  Two were bred to Silver Fox bucks and one  was bred to a New Zealand White buck.  Today, I was greeted with three healthy litters of eight, eight, and seven kits.

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