Sunflower

Sunflower

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Year Raising Rabbits

    When we started raising meat rabbits, I had never even eaten them before. Not even wild ones. But I heard that they were good, and take up less space and are easier to house, feed, and care for then other meat animals.  So, after reading a lot about the subject, the girls and I picked out two lovely Rexes, a buck and a doe, to start out.
    I should have read more.
    Not that the rabbits were a bad choice, it's just that they were mini Rexes. Not the best choice for meat rabbits. Fortunately, a neighbor was kind enough to give us a New Zealand (i.e. bigger) rabbit. HE was supposed to be a girl. When we found out his true sex, in a REALLY OBVIOUS way, we had to get another doe. Shucks, I have to get another bunny!😁


Sweet Pea
   Sweet Pea was the last rabbit we bought. She was the mother of one of my best breeders. All the other breeders I have were born and bred here.  Except Pepper. She just wandered into the yard one day, was easily caught, and has stayed here ever since and produced most of my breeders.
    Things can change a lot in a year with rabbits, especially ones who live in a colony. Every 30ish days, more babies are born to at least one mother. Babies grow up, get processed or sold, and some have had babies themselves. I started with a wood-framed wire box, which became the foundation for a colony. Then I bought a small hutch, then a bigger hutch, and then another smaller one, all of which are in use.
Current colony
    It isn't easy processing these formerly cute fuzzballs who I played with and held from birth, because it shouldn't be. Ending a life isn't something to be taken lightly. I just have to remember why I am doing this. I am providing food for my family that was well taken care of and not mistreated as can happen on commercial farms.
    Unfortunately, sometimes you also have to deal with unexpected deaths. I have had a pregnant doe die for no reason, and several kits.  The doe was buried, and the kits were sold to give nourishment for snakes.
    People ask how many rabbits I have. I usually answer that I don't count. That way if my husband asks how many there are, I can honestly say I don't know!
    I did count. I currently have 50: breeders, babies, and grow outs.
    Wait, I had 13 born last week...