Thursday, July 30, 2015

Adventures in keeping Angora rabbits - Part 1 - Living Quarters

I thought rather than another update on baby bunnies, I would share a little more with you about Angora rabbits and some of the little tidbits I have learned thus far.  Believe you me, I am still learning so much all the time, but we definitely took a crash course with these little ones, and doing is always the best way to learn, or at least that's what I like to think.

And as I started typing, I realized that it would be a very long post if I just shared everything I want to share with you.  So...this will be part one of a small series on our adventures keeping Angora rabbits.

1) Living Quarters:

We got Penny and Rory back in February.  Penny was about 2 years old, and Rory was just 7 months at that point.  First thing we thought we ought to do was build them an outdoor mansion.  Space to run outside and in, and a divider so they could see each other but not get *ahem* too intimate.

Penny looking a little camera shy...

But not Mr Rory...silly boy!

They loved it, but as we soon found out, there were some flaws.  First and foremost, our attempts to keep the lovebirds apart were futile.  The way we had built the enclosure had more vulnerable spots than initially thought.  So, our breeding plans had been sped up dramatically.  (More on that in the next post.)

Rory is always mugging for the camera.

Yup...I figured out how to get to Penny, why do you ask?

Second, we found that something that we had hoped would give them relief from the Central Cali heat was also not working for us.  Digging.  Man, are rabbits good diggers.  The tunnels that we had hoped they would create in the dirt to keep them cool were deeper and more extensive than we thought, and there were several occasions in which we found ourselves chasing rabbits around the yard.

This is one of the more extensive tunnels they dug right out of their caged area.

And third was grooming.  Most of the time it was fine.  But if it got muddy, or they escaped into the weeds and brush, they would be covered in mud or burs or foxtails.  Think long fur on any animals and then you know why that is a problem, so even more so when you plan on using that fiber later to make yarn.

After removing Penny from the enclosure, we would
walk her around on her silly bunny leash and she always
wanted to go see Rory.

And of course the heat was a constant issue.  So we packed them back up into their initial cages with some modifications.  Well....kind of.  At this point, Penny was caring for her second litter (the first was unsuccessful, but again, this is for another post) and she and the babies were tucked away in their special hutch.  So we set up the old cages inside this lovely little lattice work structure already on the property right by our house, equipped with a box fan and misters.  We moved everyone inside of it, which came with the security both they and I needed (you can ask the hubby, I was a constant wreck while they were outside that they would be eaten) and we were able to keep them cool without them digging, kept clean and separated from each other.

We are outgrowing our little hutch! Also, feed us.

Now that the babies are getting bigger, we are about to add a new cage structure inside this area for them.  I know it is probably just my human feelings and not an actual rabbit need, but I like that they will be set up where they can see each other and with the new cages, will be able to play together some (except for poor Rory who will be our only unaltered male, so he has to be separate, but does live right next to Penny so they snuggle up against the cage to each other.)

So we have eventually figured out a living situation that seems to work well for the rabbits as well as us humans. As for the mansion we built, it will make quite a lovely chicken coop with a few minor alterations.


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