One cat, two parrots, and ... rabbits. I love having the rabbits. They make going outside so much more interesting. I always have an eye open for nutritious weeds they can enjoy.

     Though I am very new to rabbits, it has been great fun learning about them. I have written up some things about breeding and feeding, the two most important parts of rabbit rearing. It should be said that I have designed my hutches for longevity and security, since I have never completely recovered from having the home break-in (plus all that other stuff I saw while living in the city.) I am also totally freaked out by big dogs. Every single dog around here is a big dog, and one came into our yard and attacked the toddler. I guess I haven't recovered from that day either.

    I keep the rabbits locked with a padlock at all times. This keeps out neighbors and teenagers, and anyone who might be interested in taking them. They are too friendly to fight back, after all! The hutches are securely wired to cement blocks, making it impossible for winds to knock them down.

     I believe the difference between a regular gardener and a homesteader is that a homesteader will attempt to grow as much animal feed as possible, so as to limit how much is bought at the store. Most hobby farms buy feed, and most pet owners buy feed. Moving away from that is where I want to be.

     I had originally planned to build some rabbit tractors as grow-out pens for the young rabbits. This is still something I want to do someday, but my new plan is to build a more permanent rabbit run along my back fence. This will involve buried fencing and a covered roof, maybe some tiers for rabbit exercise. I am of mixed opinion as to whether the rabbits should have access to dirt... I know that sounds cruel, but when poop and dirt mix then you run the risk of coccidiosis, much as a penned human would eventually fall to E. coli. As clean as I keep them, it would be impossible to scoop all droppings every day for multiple rabbits with tunnels.

1 comment:

db said...

Nice writeup. Rabbits are a passion of mine as well.

Two things to expand on your ideas.
1. Exercise = developed muscle tissue = less tender meat. I'm assuming you are raising rabbits for food, and if so, I'd suggest walking the line between rabbits with little exercise opportunities, and bored rabbits. For my grow out pens, I've added a second layer shelf about halfway up the side to add more "floor space", resulting in a 30% increase in cage space, roughly.

2. If these really are for food, keep them suspended on wire. You end up with less health and sanitation problems.

Great site, I's reading through it now :)