There’s a new craze in town, bunnies!
Chatting about a business venture with a friend of mine the other day, he happened to mention that he is in the process of setting hatches and getting into the rabbit business (no, no, not the Hugh Heffner kind, the more furry, less Blondie, more animal-like kind). Rumor has it that a kilo of rabbit meat is currently retailing at anything between KShs. 500-800, more if you can find a sucker. Its good business, given that they take about six months to breed, but let’s not get into details Google can readily furnish you with…
I once reared rabbits, and that was long before I had caught the naming craze, otherwise I would have named them anything from Minions to Durex. They were three small cute things that lived in a raised hatch I had bullied, nay used hypnotic powers, to convince my dad to get built. It was a simple thing, but sadly, no photos exist. Suffice to say they all died from some mysterious death syndrome (I just made that up). Either I fed them with the wrong weeds, or our gardener poisoned them, or their souls were abducted by aliens, either that, or am just bad at keeping things alive.
Anyway, fast-forward to last year when I went to visit my favorite auntie (that kinda sounds wrong, but I digress) and spent the day with her, moving all over the capital city and its environs running her errands. The last was a visit to a home-hostel she has in Karen, where I found, in the backyard, these cute animals (and others, all of them cute and looking so yummy, in a food-menu kind of way)…
Demented as I am, I sort out the gardener and sort his side of the story (did I just jump the gun there, okay, I wanted to know how he breeds them, scratch that, how they mate them!). The next thing I know, and this is proof that there is a hidden mental disease somewhere in all human beings, the conversation between four adults, with yours truly being the youngest (and thus the one with the most questions) turned to rabbit mating. You would be surprised to learn that contrary to popular belief, it is actually possible to watch rabbits mate. Look at the following picture closely….
Kimani, the gardener, taught me several things.
- The doe is taken to the buck’s hatch. They cannot mate if the reverse happens (which goes to prove that masculinity is actually a universal gene among the males). He said ‘the buck will get confused’ and a fight will ensue. My auntie used the words ‘fur will fly’ because rabbits are territorial to a fault.
- The shag starts immediately: rabbits have no foreplay, either that or they are fast at it, because they start mating immediately the buck steps into the does hatch/cage. Hold your pants perverts, it happens so fast that by the time you actually realize that it is a marvel of nature you are witnessing, the buck will have fallen five times with a grunt (fallen, you ask?)
- Yes, the buck mounts the doe from the hind end (in a non-gay, non-orgy, non-lets-try-something-new way), mounts, thrusts too fast to count, then falls off with a grunt. It doesn’t end there, the two will mount each other for as long as the doe is in the buck’s cage, and for the sake of the sanity of the poor doe (assuming it’s not in on the game) please remove it after one or two, or maybe four falls (a mount is denoted as successful if the doe gets pregnant)
- He has a way of checking whether the mount was successful, something he ‘learnt as a boy’. I googled this part before typing it because I wanted to see whether there was any science behind it, because it sounded like crooked voyeurism at the time. And true as Google is a search engine I found this “when you remove the doe from the buck, you might want to check her genitalia for the presence of sperm, seen as glossy moisture around her vent.” So it is true, and this is where you might want to remain objective…
- Sometimes, the buck becomes all-macho and thumps the cage floor, most likely notifying the neighbors that he has successfully conquered (Do not try this at home, unless it’s an orgy or it’s the Playboy mansion and you are Heffner).
So those were the five lessons I learnt from Kimani before we took one doe and placed it in the buck’s cage, just to see whether it was all true. True, the minute the doe sets its foot, the buck starts circling it and…I’ll let you finish off the other part (no pun intended)
I was using my Sony Ericcson, so I had a good camera, but methinks the buck (which by the way, has some a Maasai name that escapes me) was a tad bit too horny because all the photos I took were fuzzy.
I found this online,
and topic-related video on YouTube (its for ‘educational purposes’, what was that?)
The moral of the story is, if you are thinking of going into this bunny business, apart from feeding them and supplying them with water and pellets, you have to establish a practical mating schedule for them. I know it will make you feel like a pimp when you have a notebook where you write
Mated:_______________ Mated With:______ Successful?
Second Mating:_________________ (if the first one was not, well, successful
This should ideally be posted on each cage because it keeps it easier to keep tabs, especially if you have someone else taking care of them. Remember that you only keep tabs on the does (just thought I should clarify that)
Also, remember to study your market and eliminate the middle man (no, no, no, now we are not thinking mating still are we?). If the past is prologue, then the market will be filled with bunny meat in a year or two, supply will shoot up and prices will go down up to the level where they balance each other (Yes, economics is a side passion). It promises to be a lucrative market, and its start-up costs are fair.
The next big thing, cats?
_ (Which, by the way, are the only domestic animals you can never see mating)?