After you have chickens on your homestead its only logical to start thinking about another meat source. Especially if you're like me and hate butchering chickens because you hate plucking feathers. Honestly, when my parents and I processed chickens I could gut all day but ask me to defeather them and it was torture. I'm the sort of person that loves research, in fact, I over research. I research the crap out of things. All my searching led me to believe that rabbits were the next logical step for us. They didn't need much feed or space and put out a nice steady flow of meat. I know what you're all thinking....
Not bunnies! They're cute and fluffy balls of adorableness. Yes, that is true. On the other hand, they can be a little bit evil. I have scars on my wrists from the sweet looking flufsters. Even that though I chalk up to me not paying attention to the rabbit enough. As for those concerned for the evils of eating the sweet bunnies, my rabbits have very happy lives. Their cages are large and they go outside often if not every day. They are supplied with as much hay as they want, tons of fresh greens, unlimited fresh water and a delicious mix of pellets and sunflower seeds. I'm assuming its delicious by how they dive in when I give it to them. They are handled and petted daily. Groomed and have their nails clipped almost every two weeks. All in all they are very spoiled rabbits. Honestly they might be treated better than some people treat their pet bunnies. Baby rabbits will get the same treatment. They will either be sold or they will have one bad minute and then will feed my family. Not a bad life for a rabbit.
Honestly, do these rabbits look unhappy to you?
Now for a little bit about our rabbit set up. We were happy to have a shed that worked perfectly to become the Bunny Barn. Hubs of course made all the cages because he is just handy like that. If anyone is interested in the how-tos of building a rabbit cage comment below and I'll
make ask Hubs to write a blog post or a tutorial on how to make a rabbit cage or how to make rabbit nesting boxes since he made those too of course. It's ok to be a little jealous.
This is the outside of the Bunny Barn. To the right is the rabbit garden where I grow rabbit approved goodies.
Inside the Bunny Barn, please excuse the mess. It was raining on cleaning day and I'm just waiting for it to dry up so I can clean every thing out again. Rabbits don't like to be wet. Their fur doesn't dry easily. We may be reworking this in the future so that there are metal trays under each cage. That way I can change them easier and more often. We saw the poop chute on pinterest but its just not working out as well as we hoped it would.
Other side of the Bunny Barn. I love my shelves, I wish they were more organized but that would mean staying in there and working on it instead of snuggling bunnies.
Now one of the hard things when you first get your cute adorable rabbits is waiting. We got some really cute 8-16 week old rabbits. They were old enough to be away from mom but not really old enough to breed. I had to sit back and feed them and watch them grow. It honestly felt like they were not holding up their end of the whole 'cheap and easy to feed' thing. For some reason my Californian Rabbits seem to eat the most. Not sure why but they out eat the New Zealands and the Rexs. We did get a Rex doe off of craigslist who was a year in hopes we could get a kindle (rabbit litter) out of her but thus far no luck. I think its because she's so fat. She also hates me. Loves Hubs but growls at me any time I put my hands in.
She knocked her platform down and I wasn't going to put my hands in to fix it for her since she was growling loudly. I call her Patricia. Or Fatty Patty. Or Buttface. Whatever. The duct tape is so that the cage doesn't scratch up my arms. Friendly tip.
This is Bill, or Bilbo Baggins he's my favorite bunny. I love him the mostest. See the bite on his ear? That came from when he tried to 'cuddle' with Patty.
Picture of Miss Bunny when she was still super preggers. She looked like she was going to explode the poor thing. I thought for sure she was going to have a huge litter.
Up close picture of Miss Bunny in all her pregnancy glory. She only had 8 kits but they were big fat ones.
Xena did not want to pose for pictures. You can tell here she's pretty pregnant. She delivered 13 squirming kits. Thus far she's been an excellent mommy. She has lost one baby but I think it was because of something being wrong with the baby not her caretaking skills.
Now instead of introducing the rest of my rabbits how about adorable kitten pictures? Ah didn't you know a baby rabbit is called a kitten or a kit for short? Learn something new every day.
Miss Bunny's 8 kits
Xena's 13 kits
Checking on the fat little lumplings. Miss Bunny had a momentary first time mommy lapse where she peed on her nest. I had to pull all of them out and wash them off with a wash cloth and make them a new nest. That's why I check them twice a day. Even if I'm going to eat them eventually, they're going to get the best care possible while they're with me.