Katie's Journal

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Rabbits: A Little Whine and Some Random Thoughts

by @ 2:09 pm on February 13, 2014.

I am so very, very sick of this cold. I can’t properly clean the rabbit cage because the bedding freezes overnight – all I can do is add new on top of what’s there. Because of a poor design (this was a $15 Craigslist homemade cage), the door finally came off. Since I couldn’t find new hinges to fix it right off the rabbits had to make an emergency move to an empty water tub. Which the buck promptly escaped from before I could get the lid on. Thankfully we were able to catch him later that day. I knew the doe could be bred and due any time. Sadly I found 3 frozen kits in the nest box when I went to move it. I’d tried to check for kits a couple days ago, but it’s awkward trying to look in the nest box in that old cage. They may have been there and I missed them. I didn’t dig too deeply as I figured if they were there, I didn’t want to expose them to the cold. They looked at least a couple days old. On the up side, it proves the doe will breed and make a nice nest. She did try – I don’t blame her for it being so darn cold. So I’m hopeful to be better prepared for the next round. I should get some color from breeding these two. One kit was pink, one black, and one somewhat mottled. I have no idea what fur colors that translates to, but at least something other than California colored! I’m still hoping to find a meat buck sometime this spring, but if I can get another litter or two out of this cross till then I may end up keeping a doe or two if I get some pretty ones.

Mainly I just need to figure out that to do with these rabbits come spring. Mom and dad built a new chicken house, and said I can have their old one. It’s just a hair under 4×8, and will be ready to go if I just add wire on the bottom and get it toted up to our house. That will give me some room, but not excessively so. I liked having the rabbits in the chicken house, as it gave more room for them. But the pig is there right now, and we don’t have any plans to butcher him till probably next fall. Even so, it was after I moved the rabbits there that I suffered so many losses, and I don’t know if that was because of something with nutrition, or because it got too hot in there.

If it was a nutrition thing I’m going to have to figure that one out. Right now I’ve just gone back to TSC pellets, but once we enter our final organic year this spring I won’t be able to do that. I’d love to be able to set up something bigger, more of a general outdoor colony so they’d have access to grass. But that requires a pretty big commitment to set up, having to bury wire and such so they don’t dig out. And that seems like a lot for a project that is just for my amusement. The rabbits don’t sell well around here, and even when I’ve had the time to get them butchered and in the freezer, they seem to go to waste and not get eaten. Maybe if I canned them… But they still need butchered first, and I HATE that job.

I gave my kennel to mom and dad for their new dog, and regardless I really don’t have room to put the colony back in the calf barn (although it worked really well when I had it there). I’ve eyed some different rabbit tractors, but even if I built a few of those, I don’t really have flat space around to move them. I almost need something more permanent.

I don’t know. But I’m starting to research again, and will have to figure something out for early spring.

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