Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This is what can happen.......

........ when you don't follow proper procedures or use common sense.
Actually this is after 4 days of healing; it had been much worse. This one got me good and I had to run to the house to get it, and other bad scratches, bandaged before I could go back out and finish. It just would not stop bleeding. Thankfully, we both had had life-time tetanus shots.
I "most" always wear at least long sleeves ( can't stand gloves) when loading fryers to go to market. This day was hot (95*) and muggy and I was only moving a few jr. does into new cages to space them out. Should have known better. Common sense should have told me they , like humans, don't like messed with either, when it is so hot, and I should have had them seperated a week ago, before the heat hit so hard. But, there I was, at the hottest part of the day.... you get the picture.
So.... new rules for this rabbitry ....
1. I don't care how hot it is, always wear long sleeves when moving rabbits.
2. Whenever possible, move rabbits early in the day.
3. Plan ahead (thats a no-brainer! and not actually a new rule.... just a forgotten one)
On the up-side, one of the new jr.does had her 1st litter today! Came through it just fine, with 8 nice fat little babies!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Time for a rest.... and fans in the barn

With the heat of summer coming on , we are slowing down our breeding schedule and allowing the does more time between litters. They need this time to gain condition, as when the heat rises they don't eat as much as in cooler weather.
Besides this. we are taking the nessessary steps to try to keep them unstressed from the heat.

We have cleaned all the fans and made sure they are in good running condition. That meant taking off the grill covers , air hosing all the accumulated hair, scrubbing them. air hosing the motor parts and washing the blades and entire casing., and putting them back together. There are 4 fans (24" square box) hung from the ceiling, all blowing the same direction to cause air flow through out the barn. We also use a 42" barn fan on the floor to move damp air out of the barn. This one needs cleaned of the hair accumulation every week.

These fans, plus the insulation put up last winter to block the heat from the metal roof, should keep it much cooler. We are hoping for at least 10* cooler than the outside temp.
You can see the temp gauge on the pole at the right of the last picture. The goals are, keep a lesser number of fryers per cage, keep the air moving , but not blowing on the rabbits, check nest boxes often for expired bunnies and for dampness, feed often but not let feed sit in feeders more than 12 hrs, make sure all water nipples stay in good working order, and allowing more time between breedings.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tools of the Trade

While working in the barn the other day, I thought about the different tools we have tried and what worked and what didn't. I thought it might be neat to share what common tools we have found that work best and why.

The propane torch is used for burning off hair before the pens are scrubbed down. This wire-brush barbeque grill scraper ( available at wal-mart) works wonders for cleaning the floors of the cages while torching them. Gets rid of all the residue from torched hair build-up. Gets into the corners really nice and has a long enough handle to get to the back of the cage easily. We have tried regular shop-type wire brushes, but the nose of it is too long to permit getting the bristles into the corners, and it really isn't long enough to reach the back under the cage.

Bags of pine shavings work well for nest-box material. A wide-bladed putty knife with one edge slightly longer than the other helps get right into the corners when cleaning the nesting material out of the boxes after use.

The feed cart is an absolute nessessity for feeding more than a few rabbits. Just push it along the isles and stop at every feeder to distribute their needed ration. For our number of rabbits, it lasts about half-way around the barn, then needs filled again to finish the job. When there is a high number of fryers being fed , we go thru about 120-135#'s /day, and average about 2 ton /month.

Index cards, pens, and black fine point permanent marker for doe cards, to keep record of when doe was bred, to which buck, when she kindled and how many. Also snack size ziplock baggies are great for putting doe cards into to keep clean and nice. Then the cards are attached to the back of the feeder with a clothespin for extra security. The container of wipes is handy for quick needed "hand wash". The coffee can holds extra hair pulled by does that didn't need that much in their nestbox. During winter it will come in handy for those does that don't pull any, or don't pull enough.
I f you have other tools that work for you or other nifty ideas for your rabbitry, please let us know. We would be glad to have you share with us.