Sunday, October 11, 2015

Let the Breeding Season Begin!

Fall is the beginning of Mission Hill Farm's rabbit  breeding season

I admit it: I’ve been lazy. I kept waiting for the miserable summer heat to abate, but it kept coming back, day-after-day-after-day.

I told myself that I would get my rabbits going again after it cooled down into the 80s. But each day, even with the air-conditioner cooling and jazz music serenading, the rabbits looked hot and bored: too hot to go out and play in their exercise yard. They even yawned from boredom. Most of the day they just lay by their frozen water bottles dreaming of frosty mornings and falling leaves.

Well, today was it, even though we were once again in the upper 90s, the cages were cleaned; the spiders and their cobwebs were chased away; and the garage swept and hosed out. It is time to begin the Mission Hill breeding season for 2015-2016.

I took my new broken red buck, LoverBoy, purchased from Manuel Hidalgo last spring, and put him to work with my best doe from last year, ButterCup.

We tried something new this year: holding the doe, while the buck breeds on a breeding table. It worked surprisingly well. No more demolition derby races in the buck’s cage. Tomorrow night, I will breed LoverBoy to Lucy, another good doe from last year's breeding season.

I had forgotten that the ARBA national in Portland is at the end of this month. We wanted to show our reds, but couldn’t justify taking a week off from teaching and school; however, next year, the ARBA will be in San Diego, only a five-hour drive to Southern California. So that means those little bunnies that will soon be filling our nest boxes will be traveling with us next year to the ARBA national show. How cool! That will be our first taste of an ARBA national show.

But what to do with all the rabbits we held back to show in Portland? We have three bucks and a doe that we were planning on showing. We can breed the doe, but with five resident bucks, we really don’t have any need for the three more. Side view images of these three bucks will be posted on our For Sale page by next weekend. If anyone wants a nice, young red buck, send us an email and we will send head, top, and rear view images.

With my son away at college, I think I will reduce my show dates to just the January KRBA show, the Porterville Fair in May, and the ARBA national next October/November.

Today’s mission has been accomplished: rabbitry cleaned, rabbits bred, first blog entry completed and posted. Sometimes, we just need to get up and get going, even if the conditions aren't ideal. Now if I could just implement that new diet and exercise routine! Maybe when it cools down and the leaves start falling.