A few weeks ago, my girlfriend and I decided to get a couple rabbits. We came to this idea because I recently ordered the “Grow Your Own Groceries” by Marjory Wildcraft. After watching her series of videos and researching raising rabbits on the interweb we were ready to get started with the rabbit project.
We found a chicken swap happening in Denver so we headed out to see what our options were. At most chicken swaps, folks bring more than just chickens. We seen lots of varieties of chickens, a couple goats, turkeys, sheep, and rabbits. The weather was cold and had started to lightly rain and snow so we buzzed through the other animals and ended up looking at a couple California rabbits. We wanted a breeding pair, and to our luck there were two different breeders present that we could get a female and male from different litters. We asked a lot of questions and both breeders were extremely helpful in our decision. We left there with a breeding pair of 9 week old rabbits.
We scurried to get a few rabbit cages, and some feed before going home so that we had a place to keep them. We kept them in the house for a few weeks before completing their new rabbit hutch. We purchased a few feeders and waterers and set the rabbits up in there new home.
The weather was not cooperating either as it rained and at one time began to flurry as we were still seeing the temperatures dip down into the low 30’s, but the rabbits seemed to be doing well. They get a few hours of sunshine in the morning, but usually by 8 or 9 am they are in the shade. I think they like the morning sun as they are pretty active, and then they calm down after the temperature starts to climb. We named the female rabbit Carmen, she was “kid raised” and is such a sweet-heart as she allows us to pick her up, and usually comes over to us to say hello, while Doc the male rabbit doesn’t want anything to do with us. He plays his game of keep away when we try to fetch him up. Its been a bit over a week now and they have adjusted to the outdoors and love their new rabbit hutch.
We started them out on a nutri-feed or something that is suppose to be healthy, but they went through a 10lb bag in a couple weeks. We then tried them on a different brand called RabbitChow, this is a food that is mixed with enriched hay, and other nutrients. They devoured the 10lb bag in a week, so now we need to re-evaluate the food situation and see what is more economical, without compromising the food quality. We want what’s best for our rabbits as they will be providing for us, and are seeking out some information on what may be the best feed for our rabbits.
Shortly after setting up the rabbit hutch we noticed that after leveling the stone pads, that the hutch stood a bit too high. Taking about a foot off the legs seemed to bring it more down to a manageable size, and now it is a bit easier to get the rabbits in and out. This should help us to spend more time with them and get them socialized with people, and our two indoor critters.
UPDATE: After several weeks the rabbits are doing great, they are really taking to their new diggs, and are becoming more social and enjoy being held. They are producing a lot of droppings, as you can see in the picture above, and this is going to be helpful when planting time comes. We have heard that rabbits produce a dropping that does not need to be further composted and can be added to our soil mix for planting. I am interested to see how this works out and am starting to see how everything is intertwined into the system.
One of our future projects is to begin sprouting, and growing fodder for these rabbits. I have seen a few videos on growing fodder to supplement rabbit and chicken feed on the Interweb. I am gearing up to do a test run to see how productive this will be and to see if it will work in supplementing our feed for these little critters. We are a small scale homestead and are particular about ratios in producing meat rabbits. Please comment, advise, or respond if you have suggestions, comments or questions, thanks.