Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Rabbits, Rabbits, and the Rabbitry

Last week I talked at some length about the garden plans and touched on the meat rabbits. This week I'm going on about the English angora rabbits and the rabbitry building, and touching on the garden.

The rabbitry building is coming along very slowly. I wish I could help Mel more but only being able to lend A (as in one functioning) hand doesn't help much. All I can do is assist rather than build which still irritates me to no end. I currently wish that I hand my mother's hand which were large with beefy fingers. She wore a size 8 ring. Or my paternal grandma's really large hand with a 11 ring size because then I could grab and hold a pair of pliers or wire dikes single handed. But no, I had to born with my maternal grandma's hands very petite and dainty with long straight finger. In case you were wondering, I wear a size 4 1/2 to 5 ring. The half size makes a huge difference as in one of the cooking videos I made where I lost my engagement ring of my 20th anniversary wedding set. You see when I first moved here I weighed a whopping 183 lbs. Today, at my morning weigh in, I weigh 150 lbs. Don't ask me how but it probably has something to do with not being able to get out of my house much with my husband alive. Here I'm constantly doing stuff. My wedding set spins around on my finger. I should get them sized down, but can't bear to take them off and leave them anywhere just yet. I will someday.

But I digress (what's new with that, huh?). The rabbitry ceiling is done. The walls, two walls are only partially complete. The floor is still undone. When looking at it, it looks a mess right now. But in our minds we want it done. So what have we been working on? The poo drainage system. Unlike their JerseyWooly/Lionhead and American Chinchilla rabbit cousins, the angoras are in an enclosed space with flooring. We don't want rabbit poo on that. Remember all those light panel covers we bought from the ReStore to do the walls? We had a few left over. Although we've seen similar rabbit waste removal systems online, we wanted something different. Of course we did, we're the cockeyed homestead. The system we designed has the poo and urine running towards the front where it is caught by a gutter which in turn is angled to drop into a Tinker Toy configuration of sewer pipes to all drain into a five gallon bucket at the end under the building. If the poo gets stuck on the panels as it's apt to do, we simply flush the system
with water. The bucket at the end has holes drilled into the bottom and lower third of the bucket for water drain off. we did dig a small trench lined with pea gravel giving the water and liquid waste some place to go. The solid poo will go into the garden beds for slow release fertilizer or sold to other gardeners. We are thinking $7 for 10 pounds, but our beds' needs come first. We will be also making rabbit poo tea, a liquid fertilizer. At $7 a gallon, it's a bargain.We have used both in our garden with great success.

We have started up the fodder system again. This summer was way too hot. Now that we have an air conditioner in the rabbitry, we can grow it in there during the summer. With 15 rabbits and looking to breed them, the standard, commercial rabbit food gets expensive. Over the summer we spent over $100 on feed for them, plus their timothy hay and black oil sunflower seeds (another casualty of the chickens) :o( I ordered from the seed and feed company, 100 lbs of winter wheat and 96 lbs barley seeds. The cost $66 for a year of fodder that will feed all our existing rabbits and kits for a year! Is there any question of why I made this choice? Plus, I know it's organic. That ties directly into our record keeping for organic certification process of our produce. While in the Spring the rabbits could eat it or leave it, the rabbits are gobbling it down especially the new angoras we got last month.

Speaking of the new angoras...they now have names. We ran a poll on our Tea Time for August. The commenters had a choice between 6 buck names, 4 doe names, or they  could write in their names. At the end of the month we had winners for the two bucks and one doe babies of the new English angoras I purchased.
Angus is the buck with all the furnishings on his face. 
Alby is his brother with the tan tipped nose.
And, the precious, little doe is named Moira.
They join their parents
Benjamin
and
Daisy

We decided to use Celtic/Irish/Scottish names for all the new rabbits in our rabbitry. Benjamin and Daisy were already named by their previous owner, Kim

Well with the new triple hole cage Mel made this week, we now have six pure bred English angoras in our rabbitry. I've got feelers out for at least four more does before the end of the year. Then we can start breeding them. Although, we might go ahead and breed Daisy to Dustin, our only surviving buck of Mel's. That's after I build some drop down nest boxes for the doe cages for Mel to install. The are only 10x14x8 so I should be able to manage that providing the J clips and their pliers behave. I thought this was perfect. It solves the problem of a rabbit having their babies on the wire and it
Got this pic off Pinterest
mimics nature by giving the doe a burrow to have their kits in. I also won't have to worry about baby proofing the whole cage because when the kits are big enough to jump out they'll be too big the wiggle out between the 1x2 cage wire. I plan to do the same thing with our meat rabbits, but Colleen's will be proportionally larger. I'm thinking 12x18x10 because she can have twelve or more kits at a time. English angoras rarely have more than eight babies at a time, and they are considerably smaller. Rabbits grow pretty quick. They'll double their birth size in a matter of a few weeks.

Talking about babies. Another new happening sort of on the homestead is a new arrival. My #4 daughter, Jenn, delivered a healthy baby boy this week. Murphey Fíon Behan was born 10/4/2016 at 1:27 PM. He weighed 8 lbs and 4 oz and was 20.5 in long. You may remember, Jenn moved into my Golden Isles house back in August and last month brought a U-Haul with my things to Cornelia last month. She was released from the hospital just in time to be evacuated to Charlotte, NC to be safe from Hurricane Matthew.

That's it for this week. Y'all have a blessed day!

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