Our Rabbitry Philosophy

We attempt to provide the best possible life for each rabbit by placing it in an environment that includes:

sunshine

exercise and natural styled habitats

a nutritious diet

friendships

cerebral challenges and experiences

human contact and love

natural birth experiences for Does

natural family interactions

We accept responsibility for every life that comes into this Rabbitry.

This is a NO CULL Rabbitry.

This Rabbitry commits to the preparation of every rabbit for its future life as either show animal, breeder or pet by:

early familiarization with human contact.

promoting early socialization.

providing new owners with unique bonding information and techniques.

following the progress of each rabbit sold to ensure animal comfort and    owner satisfaction.

WHAT WE DO

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Sunshine - We live in as area known for its long sunshine hours and our rabbits take full advantage of it in large outdoor pens. Most of our rabbits live outside 365 days a year. All have access to insulated hay filled hutches as well as digging ground, in which some of our rabbits prefer to make their homes.

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Exercise - We build Natural Style Habitats that recognises a rabbit's instinctual need for burrows and platforms.We buy hay bales by the dozens and use vast amounts to create and support natural styled homes with tunnels, high spots and burrowing areas. The pens were originally built by digging out the area to a depth of three feet and laying down stucco wire as a barrier, refilling the hole with wooden and plastic structures that were then overlaid with hay (lots of it!). The hay eventually breaks down into a form the rabbits are happy to dig in.

For rabbits whose areas are not big enough for natural styling, we provide a large "common" area where each rabbit has its own "playday".

We believe it is important to our rabbits' health for them to get up to speed at least a couple of times a week.

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Diet - We feed a consistant diet of:

16% Pro feed Rabbit kibble

crushed corn, oats and barley with molasses (C.O.B.)

blackoil Sunflower seeds

33% protien Calf Manna

Plus Apples, Carrots, Pears and any inseason greens including fresh alfalfa, grasses and tree twigs. (For more info please see FOOD)

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Friendships - We raise rabbits in groups and honour pair bonds. Mated pairs live next to each other for the duration of the litter to its weaning. We have smaller groups of four and five Does who live happily together with a single male housed next to them. The cages allow for noses to touch and even for some grooming to take place between them.

Our largest warren group is sixteen Does with one neutered male. Single males are housed around the larger pens to allow for nose contact with Does.

Our Bucks are always healthy and hopeful.

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Challenges and Experiences - Because we raise in groups, the natural order of the warren is recognised and rabbits learn to socialize and work together (yes, they do). Rabbits are problem solvers by nature and we provide them with cloth and cardboard structures with food hidden inside, something the rabbits have to push over, chew on and dig at.

We also use hay, tree limbs, wood and stucco wire to create habitates that challenge the rabbits to think and work together to alter their surroundings. Every day has an adventure.

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Human contact and Love - Right from birth, we handle our rabbits, the Does trust us and don't mind our hands in the nests. Young rabbits are socialized early with humans by spending time as 'pet therapy' animals in local Extended Care Facilities, as well as being part of a hands-on program at local Schools and Daycares. We spend a great deal of time with our rabbits, talking to them, interacting with them and watching them.

The rabbits have taught us quite a bit.


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Natural Experience Births - Although this Rabbitry breeds in controlled situations (not in the large pens) we do allow some of our Does to experience a natural underground warren situation (Doe digs out her own tunnel and nest chambers) for at least one mating and pregnancy up to weaning.

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Natural Family Interactions -This Rabbitry allows for fathers to participaite in the rearing of their babies. Dads are kept in adjacent enclosures to the Mothers with a small doorway between them that allows baby bunnies to visit and interact with their dad.

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO.....

After many years of observing and tracking the numerous bunnies we have placed in homes, we have noted how much healthier and socialized the rabbits that have been raised in natural surroundings are. By observing the natural actions of rabbits in groups we have discovered techniques for bonding and training that use the rabbit'sl instinct as an herbivour as well as its nessecity to be part of a group to allow for a Pet/Owner experience unlike any other!!!

We believe our rabbits are unique, not just as beautiful examples of the amazing Lionhead breed but as Rabbits who are eager to face the world ahead, ready to show their love, ready to communicate and are certain of their place in the world!

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU if you are a Rabbit owner or breeder with POSITIVE experiences to share.

WE ARE NOT, however, interested in debating the merits of our breeding or natural style raising philosophies. We have found our methods to be very successful and we believe them to be more humane than other methods being employed by many breeders and owners. In that regard:

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1.

If you disagree with our No Cull policy. It is the regular policy of many Rabbitries to choose the best one or two babies from a litter and kill the rest. Entire litters may be sacrificed to keep within exact breed parameters. It had been argued that our failure to do this "weakens" the breed and "dilutes" the stock.

If all breeders kept to this policy, it is highly unlikely the Lionhead breed would even exist.

Planned breeding and manipulation has produced detrimental traits in uncounted species around the world. This Rabbitry refuses to contribute to the overengineering of a species. Biodiversity is the key to ALL of our survival.

This Rabbitry chooses the best of each litters to offer as pedigreed breeding stock, the rest are privately sold as non-pedigreed petstock to loving owners. Petstock does not reenter the pedigreed breeding lines.

Every rabbit from every litter is a loving and intelligent animal.

We choose to share these blessings with as many caring people as possible.

There can never be enough BUNNY LOVE in the world!!!


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2.

If you disagree with our breeding policy of allowing Does to experience natural tunnel births and raising of young.

We've heard the arguments that:

1.

Domestic or caged rabbits have no instincts in common with wild rabbits and therefore do not require or recognise natural breeding situations and...

2.

That baby rabbits raised in earthen tunnels (the ground) are diseased.

To the first, we can only provide our observations. We believe that some behaviors are universal whether the rabbit is caged or wild. For example:

every time a rabbit thumps its back foot on the ground to signal danger,

every time they run for cover at an unexpected sound, presenting their back for defence,

every time a new mother makes a nest of her own fur,

we are seeing instinctual behaviors.

We have had experiences with a number of Does who, although their ancestors were raised in cages for generations, have dug perfectly constructed tunnels with two chamber dens (the perfect nest) and succeeded in raising large, healthy litters.

We are convinced that instinct remains strong in every rabbit.

To the second, we would dispute the belief the babies emerging are diseased. On the contrary, We've found them to be brighteyed and healthy, even more adventurous than their caged cousins.

We are well aware of the bacteria, germs and even disease that can be present in soil. Beyond following standard cleanliness practices of regular clean bedding, fresh food and water twice a day, we leave the rest to nature.

We trust in the Does ability to keep everything clean, she works very hard to do so and she is the result of millions of years of evolution that have well shaped her for the task.

We believe the rabbit's immune system is strengthened by exposure to the germs and bacteria of everyday life. Here to date, we have never had a disease related death in this Rabbitry.

As Rabbitry policy, we routinely follow the life and health of each rabbit sold and so far have not had a single disease related death in over 300 placements. Our rabbits regularly outlive companions from other sources.

We will let that record speak for us.


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3.

If you believe that rabbits raised in small cages, never to see the light of the sun or have real earth beneath their feet are happy, healthy and fulfilled.

How can any animal be happy in that situation? Rabbits are not hothouse plants or steel widgets, they are living, thinking, feeling creatures. They experience love and joy, they are capable problem solvers and have a sense of humour.They are capable of tender expressions of caring and concern. They can fall into deep depressions. They know sorrow and they grieve.

We honour all of their natures by providing environments that encourage social expression and interaction.


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4.

If you disagree with our policy of allowing Bucks to interact with their babies, the argument being that it's 'unnatural' and the Bucks will kill the babies.

In nature the fathers are the ones to train, clean and watch over the babies. Mothers stay away from the nest except for feedings, part of a strategy to keep predators from finding the young. Fathers play an important part in the babies development. Given the choice, babies will spend the majority of their time with Dad.

We can't think of anything more natural.

We have found the babies develope into calmer, smarter, more trainable rabbits that are quicker to accept new situations.

In over 6 years of maintaining this policy, we have never had a Buck injure or kill a baby.

We are dedicated to providing the best care available to our Lionhead Rabbits and we continue that care by providing you with helpful information about your rabbit's instincts and habits.

See CARE for more information

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