Ever think that when you write something down, or think it out loud that maybe, just possibly, you have jinxed yourself?
This is precisely what happened to us. Over the last week, we have lost 8 Silver Fox bunnies. Granted, we do raise them as meat rabbits and not pets - but losing them is devastating none-the-less. We take great pride in raising our animals, and the purpose they serve is important to our lifestyle. So this loss comes at a great cost. No, we are not cattle ranchers where losing a bull means the loss of a great deal of money from the potential sale at the next market. No, we are not large farmers where the loss of an entire crop of soybeans could potentially bankrupt an entire family as well as have a financial impact on the local soybean market. Some people might say "So what, their just small rabbits." Well, we are a small homestead - working hard for only ourselves to become more self-sustaining. So, the loss of these 8 bunnies, two of which would have been does for breeding - that means a loss of twelve meals from the six that were due to be processed. It also means the loss of maybe twenty more meals after the breeding season. It also means loss of the income from the pelts we would have sold. All of this hurts when you're a small homestead.
To let you know what happened, we were told that the breeding pairs we purchased had all their vaccinations… but apparently not. There is a bacteria that can be passed from the mother to the babies and there is no way of knowing anything is wrong until it happens. All will seem right as rain until a little bit of stress causes the babies to die. These little ones were doing quite well and were 10 weeks old - then from 70 degrees one day to 90 the next and it was simply to much for the little ones to handle. We were prepared for the heat, and took every precaution. Was it the stress of the increased temperatures when the bunnies weren't finished shedding their winter coat? Very likely. Could it have been the stress of the noise from the fans and the wind blowing on them? Possible.
Now that we know this, we will be more cautious about the breeders we purchase our breeding pairs from. All we can do is learn from it and move forward.
When I wrote a few weeks ago about how losing an animal on the homestead is the worst, something in the back of my head said that something bad was going to happen just because I wrote those words down. It had to be done though - it had to be said. It is important to us for others that are looking to homestead know that sometimes things just don't go as planned.