Sunday, May 8, 2011
Today marked a milestone in our farm experience. We sold livestock. In March our Angora doe, Flora, gave birth to her first litter. I had been putting off breeding for a long time nervous and anxious about the possibility of landing an enormous litter of kits and no one willing to buy them. "Breeding like rabbits" isn't just a cutesy saying.
Its a big responsibility, this breeding business. But this is one of the main reasons we got into rabbits in the first place. They are small, economical, breed quickly, low maintenance and can bring in money by the hair on their backs.
We have owned rabbits for about 18 months now. I am still a nervous wreck when it comes to breeding. Flora's litter netted 7 babies, three of which didn't make it. This isn't uncommon for a first time mom and four healthy kits is a respectable number. Three does and a buck turned 8 weeks this past Thursday. I weaned them from their mom, giving them cages in the house for now while they await their new owners. Leaving the buck with the other girls could be a bad thing in a couple weeks. Two of the does are promised to an Alpaca fiber farm down south and the buck went home with a nice girl across the way.
For some reason, I feel safer having does on hand than bucks. Maybe because males are so under-prized in the farming community. You need only one, really. This sale today makes me feel a little more confident in breeding our rabbits for sale. I will expose Flora to Duncan again this week, giving her a break between litters to dry up and grow back her tummy hair. I will only breed her three times this year. I want to breed rabbits for sale, placing them in homes where they will be cared for properly and enrich lives by their companionship and fiber, not churn out a rabbit mill.
So, I mark today a success in the books of the HeartSong Farm Rabbitry.