3/26/14 we welcomed a litter of 12 babies from Lilly and TJ. As of this morning 9 had some milk in their bellies so we are hoping that's a good sign moms milk has come in or is coming in. Her last litter we sadly lost 9 of the ten due to her milk not coming in.
First and foremost, you should always pick a feed and stick with it. The constant change is hard on their guts. If your rabbits are doing well on something don't switch because something is cheaper. If you are going to switch, switch because it is a better feed or because you can't get the other one anymore.
Fiber is an extremely important factor. Anything below 18 is really too low. Rabbits can do fine on lower but for the larger breeds many think they do better on the higher. Fat is also important. A minimum of 2.5- 3 is better.
Protein is another extremely important piece of the nutrition puzzle. A giant breed such as the French Lop should be on an 18% protein blend. In some areas this can be hard to find in a quality feed but for their development and overall health of your giant breed rabbit.
I personally struggled with finding a feed that worked best for my rabbits. It was a nightmare for a while. My two French lops started losing weight and there was nothing I could do to fix it. They were eating fine, getting treats and exercise and still, dropping weight and deteriorating. I found out that they needed a feed with 18% protein in it and most feeds only contain 15-16%. I was feeding a feed with 15% and it just wasn't enough even with treats and fresh veggies daily. Once I started learning more about it from experienced breeders they turned a major corner and started gaining their weight back and becoming my healthy and happy rabbits they were before. Most people are unaware that not all feed is equal for each breed. Their size, activity level and portions all determine which feed to choose for your rabbit. The issue is how do you know what your breed needs? If you are buying from a breeder, they should inform you what to look for in a feed for that specific breed as well as send you a small bag of feed to help transition your new rabbit over to what ever feed you decide to put him on.
A friend of mine forwarded me this in an email and I thought it was very interesting
Five Fun Facts about the Color Chestnut Agouti
By Ellyn Eddy
The study of coat color genetics has taken the rabbit world by a storm. Breeders remain extremely interested in this important subject. Not only do you need to know color genetics to be able to choose your breeding pairs wisely, but the study is fascinating in itself. Here five fun facts that you might not have heard before about an important rabbit color.
Fact 1. The color we call "chestnut agouti" is the original rabbit color. It shows the "normal" gene in every category. As you may notice, wild rabbits appear chestnut agouti.
Fact 2. Every other color results from a mutation of one of the genes that makes chestnut agouti. A mutation happens when some genetic information is lost in the process of transferring a gene from a parent to its offspring. As a result, almost all other colors are less dominant than chestnut agouti. If you breed a pure chestnut agouti to almost any other color, the resulting babies will be 100% chestnut agouti.
Fact 3. Chestnut agouti shows a beautiful blend of pigments. If you look at a chestnut, you'll see a brilliant blend of black and red pigments. The top of the rabbit looks brindled with the two colors, and if you blow into the coat, you'll see black and red/orange form concentric rings on the hair shaft. All recessive mutations of the chestnut genes limit this pattern, either by reducing the color intensity (so the black hairs would become blue or chocolate) or by preventing the two pigments from interacting properly. (For example, a solid black rabbit has the potential to produce red pigments, but it doesn't because the self pattern geneisn't giving the red pigment a place to show up.)
Fact 4. Chestnut shows the normal dominant gene in every main category. So a pure chestnut - one that didn't carry any other colors - would have the genotypeAA BB CC DD EE. A rabbit that had the most recessive gene in every category - the genotype aa bb cc dd ee - would be albino. Another highly recessive color is lilac tortoise - the genotype aa bb CC dd ee.
Fact 5. There are a couple mutations that produce a color pattern that's actually more dominant than AA BB CC DD EE. These are in the "E" series, and the names of them are Steel and Dominant Black. The steel gene will cause the black pigment to over-produce, so it covers up some of the orange pigment in a chestnut, and only lets the light tips of the hairs show. You can see that illustrated in the picture below.
With a rocky start to their life, my Lucky seven litter beat the odds and pulled through with an amazing mom/foster mom. For reasons we are unsure of, the moms milk dried up when they hit three weeks old. Losing two of the seven babies from internal damage caused by mom. Friday morning the remaining five babies (The Fab Five) were all listless and weak. Due to the horrible odds baby bunnies face when bottle fed I was not sure they would pull through. They can over eat and actually cause themselves internal issues if you let them over eat so I started with many small feedings throughout the day Friday to get them hydrated and full again. Slowly I started fazing out feedings and increasing the amount they got in them. By Monday night, they no longer needed my to feed them through the night (THANK GOODNESS). as of today, Tuesday, they will be on two feedings a day and by Friday, I hope to have them on their usual one feeding per day of milk like their mother would give to encourage them to start eating more solids and develop their digestive system. Rabbits are a very hands-off mother to begin with only feeding the babies twice daily for the first couple of weeks then moving to only once daily when they are old enough to come out of the nest box and nibble solids. They do not need to be spoiled and should not be treated like most other baby animals for this reason. Over feeding is the number one cause of death in hand raised baby bunnies. I fed many small feedings until they were going to the bathroom regularly and then started cutting back slowly due to the poor nature of their health. Even new born baby bunnies should not be fed more than 2 times a day (unless difficult circumstances such as the one my babies faced arise) then they should only be small feedings not full feedings to prevent over expansion of their tummy. My babies are not out of the woods yet at 3.5 weeks old and day 4 of bottle feeding, but with each day their odds increase greatly.
Yes, I breed quality, healthy and show quality, papered rabbits. That does not make me a bad person or mean that I am over populating or causing more unwanted rabbits in the shelters. Nor am I taking homes away from a shelter rabbit. First off, we do NOT have a shelter near me, nor do most people. Second, my rabbits are loved and if they are going as pets, placed in homes that I feel are good. This does not mean a shelter rabbit is losing out on a home. Yes, adopting from a shelter is good but for those who want a giant breed rabbit, even in a city that has a shelter for rabbits, it is hard to find one. The ones that don't go to homes as pets stay in the show circuit. Other responsible breeders who are making sure they are producing HEALTHY and quality rabbits to continue on the breed will get them. If everyone only rescued, many many breeds would die out.
I raise on a variety of different surfaces. Any with white feet are on wire bottom cages with a resting mat, not one has ever gotten sore hocks in my care on the proper gauged wire for the breed, and some are on solid bottoms with litter pans. The only rabbit I have EVER had get sore hocks had never been in a wire bottomed cage in her life. At three years old she had lived her life with me in a dog Kennel and a litter pan that was always clean and she developed sore hawks. After getting her in a wire bottomed cage, she finally cleared up. She is now back in a dog kennel until she has any other issues. Wire bottomed cages are not bad like people will lead you to think either, They keep them clean and out of their own filth, they give proper ventilation and so many more pro's than con's if used correctly. Plus, no one wants to see yellow footed rabbits, it just makes them look dirty and does not look good while showing.
A breeder has to keep their animals healthy for showing and, well, breeding. You can't show, breed or sell unhealthy animals nor do you want one in your barn. A breeder, not a back yard breeder who will produce mutts and focus sales towards holidays and gifts, cares about the breed, the standards and the well being of their animals. We give the females proper spacing between litters and do not over breed them. The stereotype breeders have is thanks to those who do not care.
I may be a breeder but at my place we rescue just as many if not more animals than we sell. I educate my community on why animals do not make good gifts, refuse to sell at any holiday or as gifts and I will take any animal I have sold or re homed back if it didn't work out for them. We take in rescue rabbits, cats and wildlife and we rehab them and find them new homes or release them in the case of wildlife. I have been an active member of rescues since I was a child with nearly every animal in my care having been a rescue. Yes, even some of my prize rabbits came from bad homes/breeders. The very rabbit this site is based off of, Milo, came from a horrible place. The people thought that it was OK to carry him by his ears, he was not fed enough for his size and he was scared and mean towards people due to it. I worked with him and he turned out to be an amazing member of my family and barn. Mailey, my very first French Lop came from a farm where she over powered them and she thought if she could them then she could anyone. She is now one of the best rabbits and trusted around the smallest of kids. No more attitude issues, nothing. I have stories like this for several other rabbits in my barn now but my point is not to tell stories of how they have been miss treated but to show that an animal does not have to come from a rescue to be rescued nor are all breeders bad. In fact most breeders I know, or at least the ones who care about the breed standards and are not raising animals as a profit but to improve and carry on the breed, refuse to sell as gifts or Easter and other holidays and have similar views as myself.
As a breeder and a person who's heart is animal welfare and rescue I can tell you that BREEDERS are not the bad ones in all of this, most of it is the uneducated people who are buying from pet stores, fairs and back yard breeders who are raising no particular breed or for standards and are breeding too close together so they can have more to sell as gifts or a novelty item not knowing that a rabbit can live well into its teens not just a couple months/years. They are a long term commitment and social animals. They need interaction not just to be in a cage in a child's room to be played with when remembered about.
If you are going to rescue, I applaud you! It takes a special person to take on the baggage most rescue animals carry from previous homes. But if you are going to purchase, please do so from a responsible breeder who has quality animals and purebreds. Someone who will answer your questions and be there to help you through any hurdles you encounter in your rabbit owning journey.
The Lucky Litter is three weeks old today <3 Sadly we lost another one of the babies yesterday but everyone else is looking great and they are getting nosey and exploring more and more now :) Couldn't have asked for better personalities in this bunch. So So So happy with them all. It is going to be very hard to part with these little ones for sure! But the fact that they have good homes lined up for them makes it all the better. They love the cat, the cat does not feel the same about them. They love to climb on me and they all love to snuggle in when they g
The French Lop Rabbit Breed is a native of France developed in the 19th century by Mr. Cordonnier, a book binder. In 1853, Mr. Cordonnier started by breeding English Lops with some of the larger French breeds of the era, the Normand (also known as the Picard) and the Rouennais which is now extinct. This breed was originally developed as a meat producer not a show rabbit. Though it existed in France for many years, the French Lop was not recognized and given a standard until March 25, 1922.
It is thought that the French Lop was imported to American sometime during the early part of the 20th century because it was one of the first breeds recognized by the National Pet Stock Association (now known as the ARBA). The early standards were much the same as the English Lop, but with shorter ears.
Though shorter in body length, the French Lop has a shape similar to the Flemish Giant. When sitting erect, the ears of this breed should hang at least 1 1/2 inches below the jaw line. The ideal coat length for this rabbit is 1 1/4 inches with colors and markings conforming to the Lop Color Guide:
• The Agouti group in chestnut, chinchilla, lynx, or opal coloring
• The Broken group which is white combined with black and golden orange, white with lavender blue and golden fawn, white with chocolate and golden orange, or white with lilac and golden fawn
• The Self Shaded group, which consists of frosted pearl, sable, sable point, seal, smoke pearl, or tortoise (in blue, black, chocolate, or lilac)
• The Ticked group, which includes the silver / silver fox (in black, blue, brown or fawn), steel (black, silver, gold, chocolate, smoke pearl, blue, or lilac tipped steel)
• The Wide Band group, which includes the colors cream, fawn, orange, or red
Senior Bucks 8 months and older should weigh 10 1/2 pounds or more. Senior Does should weigh 11 pounds or more. Intermediate Bucks 6 to 8 months old should not be over 11 1/2 pounds and Intermediate Does should not be over 12 pounds. Junior Bucks and Does under 6 months old have a minimum weight of 5 1/4 pounds and maximum weight of 10 1/2 pounds.
Information found at http://www.examiner.com/
The National FFA Organization gives young men and women a chance to develop their skills in agriculture while earning high school credit. Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization also offers leadership opportunities and competitions at local, state, and national levels. One of the projects you can earn FFA credit for is rabbit raising.
What is the difference between FFA and 4-H?4-H and FFA are very similar programs; the primary difference between them is simply that FFA is sponsored by a high school and 4-H is not. (4-H is governed by the national cooperative extension, often in partnership with state universities.) Not all high schools offer FFA (it's mostly available in rural and agricultural communities), whereas almost all counties in the United States offer a 4-H club of some type. Unlike FFA, 4-H is not restricted to agriculture, but also offers a variety of projects including homemaking, crafts, community service, and performing arts. 4-H may offer more shows throughout the year, or more contests such as rabbit showmanship. Therefore, there are many more members in 4-H than in FFA. But although involvement in 4-H can look good on scholarship and college applications, it won't actually earn you school credit like FFA will. The good news is that you can be a member in both FFA and 4-H at the same time, and many FFA students are also 4-H members.
What type of rabbits do you need to show in FFA?This totally depends on your project focus. If you intend to show your rabbits, you will probably need purebred stock. But if your goal is to provide food for your family and exhibit your success through your project record book, mixed breed rabbits might do well enough. The nice thing about FFA is that it is very structured, so you will have a teacher to answer your questions and make sure you start off right.
If you are raising rabbits for a meat pen project, breeds with "commercial" type work best. These aren't the largest rabbits that exist, but rather the breeds that mature at 10 to 12 pounds, have a quick rate of growth, and a medium-light bone structure. The Californian and New Zealand breeds are most popular, but other food choices include the American Chinchilla, Champagne d'Argent, and Satin.
If you want "fancy" rabbits for show, popular breeds include Dutch, Mini Rex, Holland Lop, and Polish. The size rabbit cage you should purchase will depend on the size of the rabbit breed that you choose. Your FFA rabbits should probably have pedigrees.
How many rabbits do you need to show in FFA?Your FFA rabbit project can be large or small; it depends on what your goals are and what your program leader requires. The important thing is that you keep your herd to a size you can manage. If you are trying to produce meat for your family, use the following numbers to help you decide how many does you should purchase:
One female rabbit of a Commercial breed can have about six litters per year and stay in good shape. Each litter will produce six to ten kits on average. Considering that not all kits survive, you can still expect to get at least six fryers out of each litter if your doe is a decent producer, more if she's a good one. Each kit needs ten weeks to grow to market size of five pounds. A five-pound fryer will dress out at about 55%, or around 2.5 pounds of meat. That means one litter of six kits will produce 15 pounds of meat in ten weeks. A litter of ten kits will produce 25 pounds of meat. If a doe has an average of 8 kits per litter and 6 kits per year, you're looking at about 120 pounds of meat per doe per year. Of course, it might take a little while for you to learn the ropes before your does produce as well as you want them to.
How many cages do you need to raise rabbits in FFA?Again, this depends on the scope of your project. But whether you are raising rabbits for "fancy" shows or for meat, you can usually achieve your goals with about 25 cages, or "holes." If you are raising rabbits for meat, you should have one buck for every eight to ten breeding does. (If you have ten or fewer does total, you may want two breeding bucks for genetic diversity, and as security in case something happens to one of them.) For every doe in production you should have three or four grow out cages for her litters, since you will want to grow some to fryer weight and others to maturity to use as replacement stock.
If you are raising rabbits for showing in FFA, you can be successful with 25 holes without being overwhelmed. It can be difficult for one person to care for more than 25 or 30 cages by themselves.
What equipment do you need to raise rabbits in FFA?First off, the cages. You should have use all-wire cages when raising rabbits for FFA. These are not only healthier for rabbits than solid-bottomed cages, but they are much easier to care for. In addition, a professional study was presented to the World Rabbit Science Association that shows rabbits prefer wire to solid-bottomed cages! You should use cages that can stack on top of one another, such as the Supreme Rabbit Homes, or use cage shelving units to preserve space.
Tip: If you prefer to build your own rabbit cages for FFA, you can buy welded wire, J-clips, and other supplies at PremiumRabbits.com
Next, the feeders. Metal J-feeders are typically preferred by FFA students, but others use crocks for food as well. Water bottles are also popular. One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need is a nest box. Each doe needs her own nest box to keep her kits safe. You can buy wood, wire, or metal nest boxes, but many people prefer metal nesting boxes that have removable wood floors. These are easy to sanitize between litters and won't harbor urine and bacteria like all-wood boxes will. They are less clunky and therefore easier to manage than all wood boxes. Steel rabbit nest boxes last for a very long time - the metal box will probably never wear out, and it's quick and easy to replace the wooden floor.
The National FFA organization is a youth leadership organization that strives to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.
FFA functions within the three-circle model of agricultural education as a student leadership organization that complements a student's classroom/laboratory instruction and supervised agricultural experience program. FFA members can compete in Career Development Events (CDE) that cover job skills in everything from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams.
Students are supervised by education teachers in cooperation with parents, employers and other adults who assist individuals in the development and achievement of educational and career goals.
FFA is represented at several different levels across the nation; FFA administration may change from state to state. The basic levels are the national level, serving all of the United States of America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; the state level, serving an individual state association; and the chapter level, serving a school or set of schools in an area. By definition, there can be three types of chapters at the secondary level, they are middle for middle school, junior for ninth grade and senior which can be either tenth through twelfth or ninth through twelfth depending on the school. Other levels include districts, subdistricts, sections, regions, areas, federations, etc.
Originally created to serve high school students, the FFA has recently moved into middle schools where membership may begin as early as age 12, allowing members to become active earlier and stay active for longer. Each chapter is chartered as part of the state association and national organization. Collegiate chapters exist as well.
Most states hold FFA conventions at least once annually, where members gather to compete, be recognized for awards, attend leadership workshops, debate organizational issues in a delegate process, and more. Nationally, the National FFA Convention & Expo is held once a year in the fall, and was originally held in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1928–1998. The convention moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1999 before moving again in 2006 to Indianapolis, Indiana. The 86th National FFA Convention & Expo will take place once again in Louisville, Kentucky in October 2013.
As the FFA is a member-led organization intended to serve youth around the Nation, it elects officers from its own diverse membership to certain levels of the FFA. At the Chapter level, and many other levels, officers elected are usually:
The most recognizable symbol of the organization is the blue corduroy FFA jacket that is worn by current FFA members. The back of the jacket features a large FFA emblem just underneath the name of each FFA member's state. The name of the local FFA chapter, district, region or area is embroidered below the emblem. The front of the FFA jacket features a smaller FFA emblem on the left chest and the FFA member's name, office and year on the right chest. FFA members are required to wear the FFA jacket as part of official dress while participating in all official organization activities.
Originally created to be worn by the Fredericktown Band of the Fredericktown FFA Chapter by Dr. Gus Lintner, the FFA Jacket was adopted in 1933.
The color of the jacket’s corduroy has ranged from shades of blue to shades of purple through the years. In 2004, the National FFA Organization worked with a supplier in North Carolina to set a new standard for the blue corduroy by using samples from archived FFA jackets. The jacket's color standardization was accompanied by a restoration of the embroidered FFA emblems and fit corrections led byClemson University's Apparel Research Center. The improved FFA jacket, produced in both Van Wert, Ohio and South Vietnam, was first made available in August 2005. Currently, all lettering, embroidery and finishing of FFA jackets is completed by Universal Lettering Company in Van Wert, Ohio.
FFA members are required to wear official FFA dress while participating in official organization activities. For females, official dress consists of a black skirt (black slacks may be appropriate for traveling and outdoor activities), a white collared blouse, an official FFA blue scarf, black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe, black nylon hosiery, and an official FFA jacket zipped to the top. Male official dress includes black dress pants, a white dress shirt, an official FFA tie, black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe, black socks and an official FFA jacket zipped to the top.
FFA members earn metal pins that signify achievement within the organization. These pins can be placed on the front of the FFA jacket, though official guidelines say no more than three pins may be worn at one time. The pins are placed beneath the FFA member's name on the right chest and can recognize the highest office, highest award, and highest organizational degree. Two exceptions exist within pin placement guidelines. When an FFA member earns a State FFA Degree or American FFA Degree, the award keys should be worn above the name on right chest or attached to the FFA jacket with a standard key chain.
As an organization, the FFA has many traditions and trademarks identifying it as an agricultural education organization:
The FFA Motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.
The FFA Mission: The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
The Official FFA Colors: National Blue and Corn Gold (worn on the Official FFA jackets).
The FFA creed was written by Erwin Milton "E.M." Tiffany of Wisconsin and adopted at the 3rd National FFA Convention. It was revised at the 38th and 63rd National FFA Conventions by the assembled delegate body. It is recited by new members to the organization to reflect their growing belief in agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA Creed also must be memorized and recited to earn the Greenhand Degree.
I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.
I believe that to live and work on a good farm or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny.
I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturalists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.
I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so-for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.
I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.
FFA Career Development Event, or CDE's, are contests that members compete in to test their skills learned through agricultural education instruction. They vary at the different levels of the FFA, and some are competed in only at certain levels and certain states, districts, areas or federations.
At the National level, there are 23 CDE's:
To be an active member in the National FFA Organization, a member must have an Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. The projects involve hands-on application of concepts and principles learned in the agricultural education classroom, with guidelines for the SAE projects governed by the state FFA delegation. SAE programs are grouped into four different areas:
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