Depending on the week of your event, we will have different bunnies available to bring. Our kid instructors transform any event with other children into a fun, hands on experiential learning time that reinforces S.T.E.M. concepts (Science * Technology * Engineering * Math).
Here are some of the class favorites bunnies from other events...
(All photos are copyright 2014. Contact us for written permission to republish
The majority of our rabbits are pure-bred, pedigreed domestic Silver Fox or American Blue rabbits, some of which are albino (white fur with red eyes). We purchased the original rabbits through reputable, ethical breeders. We have been breeding them with the intention to help increase the number of their breed, which is "threatened." To become a rabbit breed listed by The Livestock Conservancy as threatened, it means that there are fewer than 100 annual registrations in the United States for that breed and that breed has an estimated global population less than 1,000!
Recently we also accepted a Blanc de Hotot and a Beveren so our rabbitry has four threatened rabbit breeds. Even though rabbits multiply readily -- breeders began focusing on Californian and New Zealand rabbits or fancy show rabbits, so these larger breed (8-11 pound) rabbits were not being bred at rabbit farms. Also, not every baby rabbit preserves the traits of the breed, so not every baby should be eventually bred. So there is a lot of science behind rabbit breeding/animal husbandry. And that's part of what we are excited to share with you.
From the beginning we wanted to ensure that our rabbits weren't simply caged rabbits, so they live in a colony where rabbits get to play, dig, jump, and simply act like a rabbit. During the winter they live in a barn or at people's homes in outdoor hutches that are insulated. Rabbits have very thick winter fur that they shed in the spring, and staying warm in the winter is actually easier than keeping cool in the summer! We keep the boy bunnies (bucks) away from the girl bunnies (does) until we give them an opportunity to breed. But most of the girls get along and they love to spend time grooming each other and playing together. They were all very sweet this winter helping to keep each other warm and were quite loving as many of them experienced pregnancy for the first time. We have a few Does that are territorial so we keep them separate from the main colony, but ironically they are fine with people. We also have a second colony of breeders offsite from the farm, to help ensure that somehow these breeds will survive if germs spread through a colony.
OTHER FUN BREEDS:
Over the past year we have added some additional breeds to help demonstrate the great diversity of rabbit breeds in our K-4 STEM Bunnies classes. In our rabbitry, we currently have a variety of New Zealand, Mini Rex, French & English Angora, Holland lops & Cinnamon -- all of which were introduced into the colony only after extended quarantine to ensure their health and disposition. Many of these extra rabbits were rescued, but have found their way into our hearts and have become pets for children in our program.
Here are some favorites from children who have visited with our S.T.E.M. bunnies.
|Caramel with adopted siblings (2 wks)|
Daddy Bunny: Casper (Purebred American White)
Momma Bunny: Taffy (rescue rabbit from Taft Park)
Born October 2013, Doe
She was the only bunny from her litter to survive. Luckily another Momma Bunny had babies the week before and was willing to allow Caramel into the nest box and willing to feed her. Caramel was lovingly raised by Creampuff Peacebunny along with five brothers and sisters who are all white (albino) born one week earlier than Caramel. Can you find her in the picture? Hint: She's a different color.
|Caramel saying hello|
Now five months old, these bunnies love playing with each other, nibbling on branches when they go outside to play. We have some in the barn and rotate who gets to go outside for special snowy adventures.
The four siblings like playing hide and go seek in the back yard with her and treat her just like a member of their family. They lick snow and ice, dig holes and like to slide on the frozen concrete.They also like to go visit the dog and will chase it. HA!
Caramel is very snuggly and curious. She enjoys crawling on my legs when we play outside in the snow. She will come right up to you and want to jump on your lap.Because she is so friendly, everyone wants to take her home. And just because you'll probably ask --no she isn't up for adoption. She likes being around lots of children and lots of new places so the STEM classes seem to be a really good fit for her personality. Caramel is currently at a foster family for the Easter weekend.
|Westley --Autumn 2013|
English Angora Buck
Born Summer 2013
Along with Nutmeg, Westley is the proud parent of two Angora babies who are gorgeous with a brown, black and grey mix fur.
This autumn he really enjoyed playing in the flowers, chasing falling leaves. In the winter time, he has become a HUGE fluff ball! The winter fur is so much thicker to keep him warm. His brother, Quiet Wyatt, is an albino angora (all white bunny with red eyes).They are both amazing fur balls that we need to brush regularly. Their brushed fur is sold to be made into angora yarn.
|Moe Monday snacking Spring 2013|
Daddy Bunny: Paxton Peacebunny
Momma Bunny: Creampuff
Born April 2013
(Currently fostering with Ryan)
This is a picture of Moe when he was three weeks old. Coming home from a STEM class, we spotted an endless sea of dandelions and we let the bunnies out for a snack. Yum Yum Yum.
Moe has ALWAYS found ways to escape and is always hiding. He was so tiny compared to his siblings so we fell in love right away and always knew which one he was. And we found ourselves asking "where's Moe" a lot because he would stay hiding when the others came in to eat. One day when he was playing in our back yard, we simply couldn't find him anywhere. The neighbors came to look too... Guess where we found him?
He was hiding under the leaves of a Hosta plant next door, just chilling out in the shade under the huge leaves like in a rainforest compared to his little body. He looked at me and it was like he said "Ok you got me" and then jumped right into my lap to go back to the hutch. I was so frustrated but so relieved to find him.
He is now full grown adult buck and will be a Daddy this spring too. Because his Dad is American Blue with a hidden gene for albino and his mom is American White albino, his babies will be a "rainbow batch" with some blue, some black, some white and maybe some brown. We're looking forward to seeing his spring babies just before Easter when Aubrey delivers.
PAXTON PEACEBUNNY is now a Grandpa bunny even though he isn't two years old yet.
He is owned by Caleb S. who enjoys coming to STEM classes to teach other kids. As a purebred pedigreed American Blue rabbit, most of our bunnies descended from Paxton with either Creampuff or Star as the Momma Bunnies.
|(c) 2014 SSmith PAXTON PEACEBUNNY|
You'll see him sniffing and rubbing his chin or neck on things, leaving a little of his scent, marking his territory. He is the Alpha Bunny of our rabbitry and reminds all of them that this was his yard first. He is very loving to the kids and grand kids, coming to lick their ears and snuggle close.
We've never seen him bite any of the babies, but he DOES sit on them, probably to show them who is boss. Ha. He is very protective of the does (adult girl rabbits) and is very affectionate with everyone, well except for the other adult bucks. He and Casper can't be around at the same time, so we only bring one buck to class.
ABOUT THE USA"ANIMAL WELFARE ACT" & USDA REGISTRATION:
Rabbits are USDA unregulated animals if they are part of an agricultural educational program or a farm like ours. (Our kids are all registered in 4H, many are in the Hennepin Hoppers Club and are completing a rabbit project). However, we seek to exceed the USDA animal standards that are set for adequate housing, space, feed/water, sanitation, ventilation, shelter from extreme weather, veterinary care, separation of incompatible animals, and transportation. We welcome the transparency of how we operate and are always open to learning from other breeders to ensure the best treatment possible for these sweet animals.
PETTING ZOO: We do not operate like a "petting zoo" for people to come and pet/try to hold the animals. We are about teaching, not just touching. All of the STEM Bunnies are privately owned and taken care of by families with children; these families graciously allow the rabbits to be part of this special program.
VACCINATIONS: Unlike dogs and cats, in the US there are no vaccinations for rabbits, including rabies.
FARM TOURS: We are asked regularly if someone can take tours. Due to biosecurity policies, this is not possible. Safety - prevention and animal welfare best practices. We are so thankful to our farm hosts!!
VOLUNTEERS: Contact us if you'd like to find out more about how to support this exciting fun project...we don't have "membership" -- we're a network of families that have chosen to work together to support their kids as they dream up this rabbit project. There are plenty of ways to get involved in rabbit care, farm work, administration and help with the events/classes.
We look forward to seeing you at a class or one of the community events!