I wasn't really sure where to put this, (and this may turn into more of a rant) but I came across a post on a Facebook page (run by Breeders, full of Breeders) stating that everyone should have their rabbit spayed or neutered, and how we'll all overpopulating the shelters with our rabbits. That rabbits are healthier overall being fixed. It was even stated that becaue of us, there are rabbits that are dying in shelters, that the rabbits we sell are taking up homes that could go to shelter rabbits, that our rabbits won't ever be truly healthy, and that there are enough rabbits in the world to last a lifetime.
Let's get one thing straight here, if no one bred rabbits, there would be no rabbits. Certain breeds would disappear first, then the rest. For a while all we'd have is a bunch of mixed breeds from the backyard breeders who don't care and really don't know what they're doing. And then eventually, there would be none. It's the same with cattle. If people stopped eating beef, the farmers would stop breeding. Then those breeds would disappear, forever. Breeding is preserving. Breeding is bettering. (Is that a word?) Any ethnical breeder (be that rabbits, cows, chickens, dogs, etc) picks the breed they like. Or one they may find challenging. You find the best specimens you can afford or find and you work with it. Most animals have a breed standard. And that is what you work towards. You will never start out with the best, but you work towards it. And you always use healthy, well cared for animals. And they are treated wonderfully. If they are not, then you aren't bettering anything. You're just making this worse.
My rabbits aren't top notch. I've got a long way to go. And I'm still learning. It's always going to be a work in progress. But the breed I chose, I love. I don't do it for anyone else. I do it for me. Yes, I sell to pet homes, I also sell to other Breeders, I sell to people who want to be Breeders. I sell to 4H. A lot of Breeders don't sell pets. And this post accusing us is why. If a rabbit isn't good enough to breed or show, it's gets terminally culled. Is the animals life wasted? No. These rabbits are eaten or fed to their dogs, or taken to zoos for food for those animals.
I'd also like to point out that you would be hard pressed to find a purebred tattooed rabbit in a shelter anywhere. It's not us that are the problem. It's the backyard breeders. The ones who breed who knows what together just to make a dollar or to have "cute babies". I guarantee you, breeders aren't making money. We're usually in the red. All money I make from selling my rabbits goes right back into them. It goes to food, new cages, new water bottles and dishes, new trays, grooming supplies, better stock. Does it drive me nuts to see "baby bunnies for sale" for $10? Yup. It also drives me nuts to see people looking to breed their "X" dog to a "X, Y, or Z" dog. They just looking for money. They're not doing it to better any breed. It's people like that, that makes ethical breeders look bad. Because that's mainly what people see.
Why does it matter what breed a rabbit is? If you don't care, then it doesn't. But if someone is looking for a certain breed, then it does matter. You can go to a shelter looking for a dog, but you've probably got something in mind, right? Lab? Husky? Shitzu? Small, large, short haired, long haired, good swimmer, high energy, lap dog? Everything is indicative of a breed that's in it. Rabbits are no different. If there were enough rabbits in the world to last a lifetime, how old do these rabbits have to live? 60 years? 100?
I also must point out that I have a return policy. If for some reason you can no longer care for the rabbit I sold you, I will take it back. I will take care of it. I will find it a new home. I did this to ensure mine wouldn't end up in shelters. And some people like to "set them free". You can't "set the free", they're not wild hare, they're domesticated rabbits. And I'm always there. Any issues, questions, my buyers can always contact me. Always.
And let's talk for a quick minute about spaying and neutering. If you want to, go for it. But I like people to understand there are risks. Anesthesia is very hard on rabbits. Please be sure that your vet is rabbit savvy before getting them to attempt the procedure.
I also raise chickens. I don't understand why some people won't eat eggs because they think it's unethical. An egg is not a chick. You're not killing anything. No one is screaming at you because you ovulate once a month. No different. And hens are not forced to lay eggs. They will do it with or without you. If you do it because you believe the hens are not treated humanely at the Big farms that supply the grocery store, buy your eggs from your neighbors. Or the farm up the road. Or your coworker.
And just so we're clear, I'm not against shelters or rescues. In fact, I'm all for them. I think people should be able to make their own decisions. Do want you want to do. You need to what fits you. Don't let people bully you for wanting an animal from a breeder. Sometimes a shelter just doesn't have what you're looking for. I got my dog from a rescue. My barn cat is from the SPCA. And they're all fixed so I don't have to do it myself. If I was just looking for a pet rabbit, I may go to a shelter too. But they don't usually have rabbits here, at least not in recent memory. But I love my Nethies. And my Mini Rex. And my Flemish Giant.
If we don't breed animals, eventually there will be none. You can't save them by extinction. It just doesn't work like that. Please don't let the backyards Breeders out there ruin what you think of all Breeders.
Do you need a rooster to get eggs?
No, absolutely not. Hens will produce eggs as long as they are healthy. Production may slow down as they age but may continue to lay as long as they live. Chickens, like humans, produce eggs with or without a male present. Hens are actually born with all the egg yolk they will ever produce in their lives.
Can I feed my eggshells back to my chickens?
Yes. I just let them dry in a bowl and then I crush them up a bit. But you still need to feed them calcium. I use oyster shells. Egg shells are fine but they are a source of quick-release calcium. Oyster shells are a slow-release calcium which breaks down throughout the night, when the hens are making their eggs. Without a good source of calcium, hens actually pull calcium from their bones and can make their legs weak and brittle, possibly causes breaks just from jumping off the roost. Also, oyster shells should be freechoice and given in a separate feeder, as roosters don't need the extra calcium.
Can I sex my day old chicks?
Nope. Unless they are sexlinked. Sexlinks are two certain breeds that when bred together, male will be one colour, females another. You will notice differences as the age. I find pullets (young females) will usually get their tails feathers first, and cockerels (young males) will develop larger combs and wattles. Also, when I they are older, cockerels will have saddle feathers. Then, obviously, one should crow, the other should lay eggs. Some people claim you can feather sex chicks (by looking at the shapes of the feathers on the tips of the wings at about 1-2 weeks old) I've never found this to be true, and was told it really only works with certain breeds. Vent sexing is how hatcheries do it, but you must be trained properly or you could seriously injure a chick.
Is the yolk, the chick?
I used to think so, but no. You are in no way killing a baby when you eat an egg. It may have been a potential baby, if it were fertilized, but you did not kill anything. Fertilized eggs are perfectly okay to eat, and if you get them farm fresh, they may be. If you look at the yolk closely, you should be able to see a white spot. If the spot has a ring around it, like a bullseye, (blastodisc) then it is fertilized. The yolk is actually the nutrients that the chick absorbs. If you buy eggs from the grocery store, those chickens have never been in contact with a rooster (and may not have ever seen grass for that matter) so those will never be fertilized.
How long does it take to hatch chicks?
21 days. After the start of incubation, the blastodisc will form veins. It will continue to develop for 21 days, at which point the chick will poke through the membrane inside the shell to get some air. This is called internal pipping. Then the chick wil begin breaking through the shell. The first break through is called pipping or external pipping, then they will start to "zip" around the shell until they can push out. This can take up to 24 hours after the initial pip. Hatching is hard work.
Fact: They're all called chickens.
I've heard many people refer to "egg layers" as the chickens and the males are roosters. Incase you didn't know, they're all chickens. Female chickens over a year old are called hens. Male chickens over a year old are called cocks. Young males are cockerels. Young females are pullets. Until you know, its best to just call them chicks.