Saturday was the last exotic auction of the year. I went with #2 and we had high hopes of picking up some cheap bunnies. Top of the list, as always, was a French Lop buck to pair to Caduci Mook. We've been looking for two years now and as of next year we will have to stop because she won't be young enough to warrant buying a virile young buck. Since she's been refusing the buck this month, chances are we will retire her soon. Other rabbits we had an eye out for - a Jersey Wooly doe or two to pair with the bucks we picked up at the last auction, some more meat rabbits, and as always, I wouldn't turn away from some cheap English Lops either, but those rarely come through auction anyway.
I have to say, I am not at all impressed with the auction house we were at. This is the second time I've gone to an exotic sale there and it's just not well done. I appreciate that they don't charge a seating fee like the other exotic auction, but we sat through two hours of "junk" sales (random stuff people bring in that may be loosely related to animals, but come on... a plate with a rooster painted on it, canes and walking sticks, used bits and feed bowls that were fused together, mixed in with a cow hide, a couple saddles, boxes and boxes of random crap, and Amish cheese?). After that we had four hours of goats, sheep, pigs, calves, and horses. We are now six hours into this auction when they finally got to caged animals. They were done within 45 minutes. Seriously there was almost nothing there. The auctioneer was shill bidding throughout the entire auction (taking bids when nobody was bidding to inflate the price, or asking for a $2 bid, then accepting it as a $3 bid only to ask for a $4 bid). At one point a bidder said he'd like four or five of the goats currently displayed. They picked out seven or eight and billed him accordingly (at nearly $100 each). I doubt we will be returning to this auction again. It simply wasn't worth our time.
So while the last auction saw rabbit sales largely in the $1-$5 price range, this auction was seeing mostly $5-$10 sales, largely because of the shill bidding going on. At one point the auctioneer was calling out bids and pointing in our direction. There was nobody behind us at that point and nobody on our side of the room was bidding - he was just jacking the bidding up for the other person. A couple times he caught himself doing this when nobody would outbid his fake bid and then he'd just start it back again at the highest the last bid was - as though nobody would notice. Seems that nobody did. Or at least, nobody said anything.
At the tail end of the auction as people were losing interest and leaving, I was able to snag two cages of rabbits. But as with all auction purchases - it's a buyer beware world.
I bid on a cage with two New Zealand White rabbits. A lady in the crowd had brought them in and said they were two bred does, exposed to a Flemish Giant. Now, I'm not interested in Flemish crosses, I have a few already and I don't want any more, but two bred does is money in the bank if they both have litters within 30 days and you can sell the kits in another 6-8 weeks after that. Then you're left with two nice NZW does to breed back into your own bloodline. I paid $11 each for them ($22 for the cage with two rabbits).
One of the last cages up was one of those plastic storage cubes with a top of a hamster cage wired on the top. You couldn't see into the box, but the auctioneer said it was his own daughter's lionhead cross doe. He claimed she was tame and easy to handle and that she'd been shown several times. Well, I wonder how in the world you could show a rabbit of a breed that isn't recognized, that's a mixed breed, and wouldn't qualify to show in a meat lot. But there were no bids, so I went ahead and threw my hand up. For $2 I bought myself a lionhead cross, sight unseen. I could breed her to one of the Jersey Wooly bucks and get some cute small fluffy bunnies that would make great pets.
It was pouring rain and dark by the time I got home Saturday night, so I put the cages in the quarantine area so they'd be dry, and put some food in for them.
Flash forward to Sunday morning when I went out to get the rabbits sorted out. The cage the two New Zealand Whites were in did not have a proper door, just a piece of hardware mesh zip tied over the opening of the cage. I took them out to move them to the rabbit tractor, which is now serving as a temporary quarantine cage. Surprise! Not two bred does... But a buck and a doe. So now I have no idea if the doe was exposed to a Flemish buck, or if she'll be having NZW babies from the buck with her. I also had planned accordingly to house the two together, which means I have no spare cage to separate them out right now. Well, if nothing else, she'll have babies or be bred during her 30 day quarantine hold, and probably be bred back again if she has kits before her hold is up and I can separate them out.
I then cleaned out the cage they came in. It was caked in feces and as the manure and nasty stuff was hosed off I realized the whole cage was rusty and had various holes. It will work for a temporary quarantine cage, but I wouldn't use it as a normal cage for long term.
The lionhead cross doe was next. The little cube she was in had no food or water containers (other than the bowl of food I'd put in the night before), and had a solid bottom, which means she'd be sitting in her own yuck. I had put several handfuls of pine shavings in the night before just to try to keep her dry. My nine year old had come around the barn about now and was interested in picking up this new friendly bunny. Well, she is friendly. But that's where the compliments stop.
As of today, Bacon is shy in the cage, backing away from us when we reach in to refill her food and water. When her cage is approached she runs in circles around the edge of the cage. I'm thankful she has space to move around. I don't know how long she'd been in that little cube cage or what conditions she was kept in before. I hope she's feeling better soon with good food, trimmed nails, and space to move around.
And in more naming news, I've come up with a name for the brown Jersey Wooly buck. He is still matted despite our attempts to groom him out. Progress is slow, but it's there. I've decided to name him "Mister Cellophane." It seems to fit him. I'm considering naming the broken black Jersey Wooly "Celery" but I'm not sure yet. The New Zealand White doe we just picked up will be "Taco Belle" since this seems to be my four year old's new favorite thing to say, sing, and call everyone (and no, we don't eat out often, he's eaten a taco from there maybe once in the last four months). I was going to name the other one Dairy Queen as a fast food joke, (but she's a guy , so...). I'm not sure what we will do with this guy. I don't really need him right now. Especially since I decided to keep Yang back for breeding if I couldn't find a pointed buck.