Post It Notes in the Rabbitry
by Judy Godfrey
There are many different variations of record keeping in a rabbitry. We have found the little, square, yellow "Post-it Notes" to be a very handy item to have around, and use them as a way of keeping records of our litters.
Whenever we breed a doe, we record the day she is due along with the ear number of the Sire and Dam. We then stick this "note" in a conspicuous place on her cage (in this case on the front of the feeder). This enables us to walk through the rabbitry daily and determine who is in need of a nest box, who has been bred and who has not, how many times we have used a buck recently, how many litters we have coming due on a particular day, etc. Each day we walk up and down the rabbitry and read the "notes" to see who needs a nest box, who needs to be palpated, and so on.
Once the doe has kindled, we mark on the "note" to show how many live bunnies she had and transfer the "note" from the cage to a central spot where we keep all the "notes" on the litters that have been born so far that year, in order of date. This way we can compare our production from year to year, or month by month, or a certain month this year compared to a certain month last year. By looking at these notes, you can also tell which does have been bred to which bucks, how many bunnies each doe has had with each litter, the performance of your bucks, and much more valuable information. Whenever we get a combination that clicks, and the litter is outstanding, we put a star on the "note" indicating that this was a good breeding combination.
Therefore, when walking up and down the rabbitry and we see no yellow note on the front of the cage and no nest box in the cage, we know that the doe is open. If there is no note on the cage and there IS a nest box in there, we know that the doe has already kindled. If there is a yellow note on the cage and no nest box, we know to check the date, because the doe is pregnant.
Does that miss are marked so on their "notes" and these are put in another central location near the posting of the live litter "notes", so that we can tell which does have missed and how many times they have missed, consecutively or not, and who the buck was that they were bred to. In this way, it is easy to tell which rabbits are not producing well or at all.
We find this to be a fast, easy way of keeping track of the reproduction of our herd. The only minor snag is that occasionally a small child comes down to visit and removes the tags. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen every now and then. The only thing one can do is be aware of the problem and watch that children in the rabbitry dont remove the tags. You might also specifically ask the child not to touch the yellow tags on the cages. Other than that minor snag, this system has worked successfully for us for five years.
HLRSC Official Guidebook - 5th Edition 2002