Monday, May 19, 2014

And they called it, Bunny Looooooove...

It was the beginning of May, and spring was in the air. Twinkle, our Angora fiber bunny, was looking lovely as usual, enjoying her spacious hutch. Her beautiful fiber was finally growing back out, after that time she had a false pregnancy and pulled half of it out to make a nest for her invisible babies.... yes, she was vibrant and healthy and receiving many carrots and sprigs of fresh Willow branches.

But something was missing. Can't you tell?


She never quite forgot her empty nest. She had moved on- to a new hutch, even- but nothing could erase the memory of the tiny Angora bunny babies that never came to be. I wanted to give Twinkle a satisfying and fulfilling life.

And I wanted more luxurious, lofty fiber.

But mostly, I longed for my first Angora doe to have that *twinkle* in her eye, that she so deserved.

That is why, when I found the perfect buck for her at a nearby farm, the kids and I hopped into the car, picked him up, and brought him home to carry out his assignment at Weeping Willow Microfarm.

And also because I wanted more fiber to spin. Unbelievably light, fluffy, whiter-than-white, fiber. Like spinning a cloud. And so, this handsome white buck, was dubbed, "Cloudy."

Hey, I let my kids name the animals...

The plan was to let the new boy get settled, lest he be too nervous to "perform" after being smothered loved on by well-intended children. So a few gentle pats it was, then food, water, and relaxation in his new hutch. I would let him relax all day and night before introducing him to Twinkle. He would need to be at his best in order to properly woo her.

Okay, so I've never bred rabbits before. All I knew, was that you must bring the female into the male's hutch, and absolutely not the other way around. Twinkle would be too territorial about her space.

I don't know how it happened, but after only a few minutes of exploring his new hutch, Cloudy had a new friend in his space with him. He wasn't nervous, but he was, in fact, very excited. Very "friendly." He was eternally grateful for the company that was Twinkle, and a successful "date" was had.


And I beamed with pride at becoming a rabbit breeder/ someone-who-puts-a-doe-in-with-a-buck-and-sees-what-happens.

In all seriousness, I do not intend to let this amorous couple breed "like rabbits." Although I'm sure that I can find loving homes for any extra fluffy babies that I cannot hoard keep, I do not intend to contribute to the overpopulation of pet bunnies. I do know, from my experience of perusing Craigslist ads for Angoras, that there are not many available in my area. As with most things microfarming, there is a learning curve, and this is just one experiment that I will try to be as responsible about as possible. "The  Fluff Experiment."

And maybe... just maybe... I will keep a Cloudy/Twinkle baby. For fiber purposes, of course, and not just the cute fluff factor. *Ahem.*

Then with all that fiber, I will need to acquire a spinning wheel, so that I can more efficiently spin up and eventually sell my yarn. How convenient... or inconvenient, depending on how you look at it. Spinning wheels are ridiculously expensive, and it will take a miracle for me to acquire one without selling my soul.

Anyway, I digress... Twinkle and Cloudy had several consecutive "dates" over next few days. The first ones were successful... success being measured by witnessing the buck literally falling off of her onto his side... according to the experts, that is not a bunny seizure, but a sign of completed breeding. The last "date" involved much less interest on Twinkle's behalf- another sign of a doe being bred. The final positive sign that I noticed, was that Twinkle was already gathering nesting materials, and pulling out fur. She's been confused before, though... only time will tell if she's working on some real babies this time. She's stopped with the fur pulling currently, and I'll be observing her in the next 10-12 days to see if she makes a nest and fills it up with pink squirming things.

A rabbit's gestation is about 28-32 days, by the way.

In the meantime, as we wait for the results of "The Fluff Experiment," we've been getting to know our fluffy white Angora cloud a little better. He behaved very well during his first grooming session. It never ceases to amaze me how placid these Angoras become while on the grooming table.

He's due for another grooming session as soon as I find the time, because sampling his fantastic fiber has left me wanting to work with more!

Bowl of fluff

Carding the fiber

Some added sparkle for spinning 
Spun with sparkle

Want to find out what happens next episode of the Bunny Love Saga? Me too! I hope it's a happy ending, but as with all things farming, things do not always go as planned. Litters do not always survive. And sometimes bunnies have invisible babies...

To Be Continued...

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