What Are Your Rabbits For? Bunny Stories
Rabbits are a versatile animal. They can be pets, show animals, breeding stock, show animals and…well, dinner. Many object to meat rabbits, but there’s no doubt they’re a lean, clean meat for many.
We have many that do double duty and a recent conversation on Facebook brought up stories. In talking to a friend yesterday I lamented we need a better story to get people signed up, moving forward but the truth is if we tell the truth some say it’s made up.
Take Storm Cat – like his horse namesake he’s from good breeding. His story – well we can’t make it up! Several years ago with our first Giant Chinchilla, a friend in Arkansas wanted to breed her doe. As it happened, I was going to Arkansas to see Mark Wills, Jeff Bates and Trent Willmon do a concert. I put Mr. CR into the car, and met my friend there. A bunny rendezvous in the back of a pickup in the parking lot and a litter of bunnies was born to Filly (friend’s doe). I got two from that litter – Star City (the name of the town she was conceived in!) and Mark (yes named after Mark Wills!). So they came to Alabama and settled in.
Fast forward a year – another friend, Bonnie, came through going to Mississippi with a nice buck, Keeper, and we met at the gas station in Natural Bridge for generation two back seat rendezvous. Unfortunately, a few weeks later Keeper died.
At this same time frame, Mark had been bred to CB5. Her litter had been born a bit early, fell out of the cage, and miraculously ended up together on the other side of the fence! I scooped up leaves, CB5 and bunnies and put her in a room with a nest box. Then the tornadoes hit the area. I thought the litter was done for. She raised them – her first litter – and cemented her permanent home with her daughter SMF Stormy earning a national Top 10 win from that litter. After the show, Stormy was bred to Keeper2 (above!). History repeated itself – Keeper2 died suddenly in his pen, and Stormy raised her litter just as well as her mama raised her. From that litter – SMF Storm Cat! He’s the last of that particular line and he’s something special.
But he’s not by any means the only arguably spoiled rabbit here. There’s Ghost, all white head meat rabbit sire, who plays dead on a regular basis – quite convincingly! Until you reach in to remove the body and find he’s still very much alive. Brat!
There’s Dio – sired by Wine & Dine (aka WD) and out of Star City. Dio earned 4th place at the national convention when we went, and went to Michigan then later came back home to Alabama, where he’ll stay. He’s one of the few picky rabbits – pellets only thank you very much and don’t even try sneaking in alfalfa pellets! Hay? He glares as if saying “if I have to – it beats starving!”
There’s his littermate brother, who placed right behind him that year, who is the opposite – he’s low drama, got food, got water, comfy place to sleep – thanks! Bargain is so low stress we could all take a lesson from him.
There’s Holly, who is so picky she wants NO help with her babies. No they don’t need more fur – she snipped ears on the first litter we tried to help with. So from there came Twisty, Mistletoe, Shorty and Split. Today Twisty and Mistletoe remain, as does Holly who has raised other litters without attitude.
There’s Tipsy, who takes a nap every afternoon. Even at shows. Do not disturb.
They may be little, and may be less expensive than larger livestock, but they have stories. When people see the tattoo of N241 or P81 or AR4 they think it’s uncaring to assign an identification to them. That it dehumanizes them…but they forget these aren’t humans! They’re rabbits and don’t see life as we do.
When CB5 had a rough start with her litter, she could have abandoned them. She didn’t. When the tornadoes pummeled the area, she got up the next morning and went about caring for her brood. No power, no problem. No excuses.
Our rabbits, like our venture, has stories. People often don’t see it but they’re real. When we offer subscriptions it’s to share those stories, and when I do the blog it’s to share stories. It’s not something we get paid for. It doesn’t bring in funds, or subscriptions to hear more. Support would be awesome, but we do what we do no matter if it brings a monetary reward.
Despite what many keep repeating, it’s not all about money. Agriculture, like those in any job, needs to make a profit to survive. We’re eager to expand because we have ideas we believe will chart new territory in not just rabbits but in agriculture. That’s not just about money.
Nor are we. Even without the stories.