Day 30 came and went, and soon, I acknowledged that she likely missed a third time with yet another false pregnancy. But then I began to wonder if she could possibly have retained kits that she couldn't pass.
I took her to our local veterinarian who admitted that they rarely see rabbits, but two of their doctors kindly gave Envy an ultrasound (which was as much a learning experience for them as it probably was for me). They didn't see anything, but I still felt uneasy.
So today, I took Envy to the Animal & Avian Medical Center here in Ohio and met with a very nice veterinarian who seemed to know a lot about bunnies and spent about a half hour giving Envy a thorough exam (eyes, nose, mouth, rectal temperature...poor Envy!) The doc confirmed that she did not feel any retained kits and didn't see any signs of illness other than slight earwax buildup and a bit of tearing near one eye (which I can treat with eye ointment).
I left feeling relieved and happy that the visit was much less expensive than my regular veterinarian (it was under $50)
The veterinarian was also kind enough to confirm the genders of two baby bunnies that I brought with me. Eeyore (blue buck below at left) is indeed a he, and the chubby little chestnut on the right is a doe! This boosted my confidence a bit; now if I could just boost Envy's confidence and convince her to have a few babies!
What has six floppy ears and hopped a plane to Ohio today? Three gorgeous Holland Lops from Luv Lops rabbitry in Montana! After months of drooling over their stunning bunnies and several more months waiting for a trio to become available, I finally have three amazing Luv Lops to help my herd in so many ways! I am incredibly grateful to Rachel and Deb from Luv Lops for this opportunity, and I really hope to make them proud of their decision to sell to me!
The bunnies' journey began with an early (and I mean EARLY) morning arrival at the Montana airport, all snuggled into their very carefully secured shipping crate. After a brief siesta in Denver, they hopped another United flight to Cleveland Hopkins. You better believe that I stalked these flights like a ninja all day long on my computer! Mid-afternoon, we picked up the kids a bit early from school and headed to CLE, giddy with anticipation.
Unlike the time I had bunnies flown in last summer, this United flight arrived promptly, and the bunnies were waiting for pickup in the cargo area. After a few chuckles from the airport employees about having shipped rabbits (doesn't everyone fly rodents across the US?), we headed out and took a quick peak at the bunnies before heading home. (OK, so maybe I stopped at TJ Maxx AND Olive Garden for a quick never-ending pasta bowl, but then it was straight home). By now, the normally dismal Ohio weather had turned into a total sleet blizzard, so the trek home was more than just depressingly dark at 5:30pm.
We arrived home, and I got my first real glimpse at each of the bunnies. Emmy's rich blue coat immediately caught my eye along with Kaylee's massive orange presence - what a doe! Timmy looked like a shy teddy bear with an enormously cute head, and while I really wanted to cuddle him, I didn't want to add additional stress to the poor fellow, so all three went into their brand new cages alongside Anna, Ruby, and Envy.
I quietly observed each bunny. Kaylee seemed the most timid and just pretended to be a meatloaf in the corner of her cage for a while before finding her crock of reverse osmosis water and slurping it down like bunny Kool-Aid. Emmy attacked her toilet paper tube of 3rd cutting hay like it was bunny crack - that girl can eat! Timmy pretended that he didn't notice me, but I couldn't resist petting him just a little, and he didn't seem to mind. Then he proceeded to test his hay and check out the hot does who surrounded him (what a lucky guy...but there's no getting lucky tonight, Timmy).
So, today marked a significant milestone for Hook's Hollands at the graciousness of Luv Lops, and their efforts are immensely appreciated. I am excited to see how their rabbits can improve my herd and help me work on wideband and dilute colored Hollands. Thank you, Debbie & Rachel!!
It was a seasonably warm fall day on October 8th, 2015, as I anxiously awaited the arrival of our first two litters of Holland Lop kits. Both nest boxes were chocked full of fluffy hay pillows and carefully lined with soft shredded paper. I provided the moms (one first-timer and a seasoned pro) with cold filtered water, fresh timothy hay, a dish full of pellets sprinkled with a bit of raw oats, and garnished with just-snipped-from-the-garden parsley. Wait a minute, we're talking about rabbits, right? I KNOW, I went a hare overboard, but I was one nervous bunny-breeding-rookie.
Suddenly, just after lunch, my husband casually mentioned, "That white rabbit is sitting in the nest box." WHAT THE WHAT?! First of all, she is a broken chestnut (though now is not the time to split hairs), and secondly, she's in the nest box?! I grabbed my camera and reached Clementine just in time to catch her last kit being born:
She had 5 kits in all; four solids and a broken that appeared to be a peanut (a rabbit with two dwarf genes, which is unfortunately fatal...this peanut lived for three days). Three of her solid kits were dark, and the other was completely pink, which I thought might be a ruby-eyed white. It didn't really matter though - I was so excited to finally have baby bunnies and incredibly relieved that Clementine had done this successfully before and should know how to take care of her babies.
That left the other doe, Cocoa, a solid chocolate normal (a rabbit that does not have the dwarf gene and is larger than a typical dwarf Holland Lop) who hadn't ever had kits before. It wasn't until after we returned from my son's soccer practice that evening that we saw she had her kits, and there were 6! For a first time mom to have six kits is unexpected, but it is likely due to the fact that she's a large girl ...or as she prefers, "big-boned."
All of her kits were solids since the sire was also a solid, and as expected, there was quite a mix of hues. Three looked blue-ish and oddly resembled baby hippos. It seemed to take her milk a while to come in, so I diligently held Clementine on her back to feed some of Cocoa's thinner kits. At one point while trying not to nod off during the monotonous feeding, I noticed that she had eight nipples. Strange, I thought, because I know I read that Hollands only have six. Perhaps I counted incorrectly...or maybe Clementine is a freak of nature, but now we're just getting off-track.
Take a look at both litters at three days old and then at two weeks:
As I write this, the babies are now just over four weeks old, and I never tire of opening their cages and being greeted with their soft kisses and nibbles or bringing them inside to have chaotic playdates. Of course, it isn't all fun and games, as there is a lot of work keeping cages clean, dishes filled (with expensive food), worrying about the babies, and dealing with the loss of the peanut and one of Cocoa's kits at three weeks old...and then there's the bubble-burster of having to sell most of the babies. It's all part of the game called bunny breeding, but watching the bunnies grow and working on improving the type of colorful Holland Lops so far, is worth it.
I want to give a special shout-out to Wendy from Hickory Ridge Hollands for being my mentor throughout this process. I'm sure she's uttered a few choice words when seeing yet another email from me appear, but her wise advice is greatly appreciated!
UPDATE: Clementine just recently had her second litter since being in my care, and I happened to catch it on video also. Take a look:
Hook's Hollands is a small hobby rabbitry on our Ohio farm and is operated by me (Diane) with the help of my family. We have a small herd of Holland Lop rabbits and focus on raising colorful bunnies with the best type and temperament possible.
This blog serves to spotlight various bunny care topics and share a bit about my experiences raising bunnies.