Why yes boss, there is rabbits in here. We’ll just sort that for you in a moment.
Three rabbiting dogs retired and away to new homes and another that hasn’t worked out as he keeps nailing ferrets, which is no use to us.
So Coffee, the best dog I’ve ever had for rabbits, Bolt who is another cracker and Pip. A solid workhorse who at five years old is really struggling phyiscally with the job now are all away to new homes along with Boy. A real shame I can’t get the ferret habit out of him as otherwise he was shaping into a real wee workhorse.
So now its time for the young dogs to step up to the plate and shine.
It seems we are into a bumper season for the rabbits as they have started very early, here we are at the start of July and we are already digging nests up and seeing young rabbits. A litter of eight was found two weeks ago and everything is heavily pregnant or has already dropped.
These were got last week, very well developed rabbits for this time of year.
We also have a litter of puppies on the ground and ready to go! Knowing the parentage these should be great rabbiters. They’ve just come home after being rared by a young lass, it makes for such better dogs when kids are around as they handle them so much, where as adults are always a bit busy….
The team hard at work on Andrew Farms in Hyde, Otago. We’ve put a lot of work into this place and it looks very different now to when the rabbits were there in big numbers. Now it’s a case of a quick going over every so often just to keep it right. They got the rabbit out and it didn’t take long. Hard country on the dogs but they love it and this one got nailed.
I just checked the dog diary today to see some ages, looks like there will be one retired mid 2015 as he is getting to the age of seven. For a working rabbit dog this is a good life span, one in particular is starting to slow down. Old Rua (Ru for a working name) but the old bugger is sneaky and still catches more than his fair share. Bit of a grumpy bastard with the young pups, but still has a play with a few of the other dogs when he is in the mood which isn’t often.
The older retiring dogs I put on Trade Me, a local auction site. Always for free, but I like them to have a few cruzie years once they’ve finished rabbiting. A lot of people prefer an older dog so it works out well for everyone.
All of the dogs in this photo apart from the white English Pointer on the right are two years old or younger.
This is by far the biggest job, namely keeping good food up to them that they will eat. Sounds simple, but it’s not. Story below…
The main problem I have is getting food that is high enough in energy levels to keep weight on them but doesn’t cost silly money.
The variety in dog size throughout the pack is where it gets tricky, dogs from 5KG through to just over 25KG means one size doesn’t really fit all. If you buy any working dog food it’s normally targeting large dogs, as that is what most farm dogs are being that those dogs are heading dogs (Strong eyed collies) and Huntaways. They tend to start at around 30KG and go up from there.
This lot can’t just survive on fat and trim from the butcher, although they do enjoy it a few times a week. But they become bored with it quick if that is all they get and go backwards on that too. They LOVE a feed of rabbit, but I try to keep that to a maximum of once a week. Rabbit is such a lean meat that the dogs lose weight and very fast if that is all they get, and it only takes 3-4 days if they are working before you start to see this happen.
I was using Eukanuba and had reasonable results, but they choose to rip me off. I bought 36 bags of it at over $4000 dollars, a lot of money in one lump, but that was meant to give me the best discount possible. Then a mate went in at the same time to a different supplier and bought 6 bags for a lot less. I hate getting ripped off!!
So they can get bent.
Just three days ago I got onto a New Zealand made dog food manufacturer/retailer, MightyMix I’m trying out the MightyMix Nourish but after a couple of feeds some of the dogs don’t seem to keen on it. However I will be trying their MightyMix Frozen Concentrate as apparently this is the bees knees (Really good!!) I also much prefer to support local business whenever possible.
|Jess and Happy|